This is something that has always been at the back of my mind from years ago when doing some local SEO for a few 'trade' companies. I noticed that when I first started on the projects that the search stats for keywords and phrases was quite low. After several months of work, looking back at the figures I could see the increase in the actual search numbers pretty much across the board. Hmm i thought, that's probably down to me researching competitors and running regular reports to check rankings. I just shrugged my shoulders as I'd achieved my goals of getting top spot for my customers and moved on. However I am now wondering if many of the so called micro niches and long tails aren't artificially over inflated in terms of search numbers by the likes of us and other IMs and SEOs performing research and ranking checks. And the question at the forefront of my mind is whether any actual real person searches for some of these things at all? It is, after all quite possible that some of us are chasing terms that came out of the head of another processional and don't actually get any real punter searches at all. Or at the very least are chasing terms with vastly over inflated search figures. Thoughts anyone?