Keyword research is the most crucial element of any SEO marketing campaign. The first step in planning your future marketing, website design, and content creation is figuring out which keywords you want to rank for. If you get that part wrong, your whole campaign won’t produce the results you desire. Therefore, you must avoid the common pitfalls and create a successful keyword research strategy.
Here are eight mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research:
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1. Skipping the Entire Keyword Research Process
Most business owners are eager to get their marketing campaigns up and running. Some will get anxious when they hear that keyword research and SEO take a lot of time. However, using the wrong keyword won’t make your website stand out. If you are a marketer or SEO expert working for a client who is rushing you, explain the importance of keyword research to them. Don’t let your clients bully you into using keywords they think are correct without doing the necessary research.
On the other hand, if you are a business owner, you may feel like no one knows your business better than you do. While that can be true, it doesn’t mean you should eyeball the keywords you will use. Achieving a high rank isn’t just about stuffing your pages with keywords. Honestly, it hasn’t worked that way for a long time. Regardless, if you are an SEO expert or business owner, thinking you will instinctively know which keywords to use is one of the critical mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research. The research will help you understand your audience and the words and terms they use when performing online searches. Additionally, you will be able to provide a better customer experience by ensuring users can find the relevant content they are looking for.Regardless, if you are an SEO expert or business owner, thinking you will instinctively know which keywords to use is one of the critical mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research. Click To Tweet
Even if you have previously done the research, you should update your lists regularly. Perhaps the focus of your business has changed, or there is a new trend in the market that can affect your search engine ranking. Staying up to date with keyword research can help you adapt and get ahead of the competition.
2. Disregarding User Intent
To know which keywords to focus on, you should first have a solid understanding of your target audience. Keyword research shouldn’t only be about which phrases to use for your advertising or website content. Instead, you need to focus on users’ intent when they type in those phrases. Understanding search intent lets you know what a potential customer is looking for, and then you can optimize accordingly. When it comes to keywords, we can break up this intent into three main categories:
Informational intent. When people want to learn or understand something, they often do online research. Google tries adding meaning to informational intent by giving users the most common desired information about any subject.
Navigational intent. Sometimes, users look for a specific website even if they don’t know the URL. For example, people who want to reach Wikipedia’s website can type ‘Wikipedia’ in any search engine. The website should be the first result since that is what the algorithm thinks you are looking for. A high ranking for navigational intent is helpful if you think people will specifically be looking for your website.When you are doing keyword research, we advise that you don't only focus on single-word keywords. Click To Tweet
Transactional intent. When users are looking to purchase a product or service, they frequently use search engines to find what they need. When they know which product they want, we call that a transactional intent. However, when people are researching potential purchases, we refer to it as a commercial investigation.
3. Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
When you are doing keyword research, we advise that you don’t only focus on single-word keywords. Building your entire SEO strategy on unrealistic keywords can sink your optimization efforts. Even if your business is all about a single product, handbags, for example, you will have difficulty ranking for a single keyword. The competition will be too high, and you will be facing off against huge brands.
Instead, you can focus on complex and precise phrases (long-tail keywords) that will give you a chance to appear on the first page of SERPs. We suggest using phrases that consist of around four words. Going significantly above that is being too specific, and the search volume will decrease. In our previous handbag example, based on your keyword research, you could try ranking for “fashionable, affordable winter handbags.”
You shouldn’t be facing too much competition for that kind of specific long-tail keyword. The more accurately you describe your product and user intent, the higher your chances for ranking and improving your organic traffic. If you have been in your industry for a while and have no problem ranking for long-tail keywords, you can consider taking on head keywords.On the one hand, you want to focus on relevant keywords with a high search volume; however, on the other, you should also consider keywords that have the potential to increase conversion rates. Click To Tweet
4. Not Checking Out the Competition
Knowing which keywords your direct competitors are going for can be very useful. Why get into a bidding war with them over the same keywords if you can find a niche that isn’t oversaturated? Regardless of which stage of research you are in, analysing the competition is a crucial SEO activity that can help you outline your entire keyword strategy. Focusing only on your company when you are in the early stages of developing an SEO strategy is a common keyword research mistake.
Be aware that some niches or industries are naturally competitive, and it can be challenging to stand out. However, keyword research on your competitors lets you know how they rank for specific keywords. You can even look for which competitive keywords you have in common and discover ways to outrank them in search results. Thankfully, numerous online tools can help you scope out the competition. We recommend conducting a comparative analysis every week so you can promptly react to any changes.
5. Neglecting Keyword Variations
Focusing on just one target keyword can derail your marketing, website design, and content creation. Even if your chosen keyword has a large search volume, you will miss out on numerous searches by neglecting keyword variations. One of the most common mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research is developing tunnel vision and forgetting to use variations. Think about how users express themselves and look for synonyms for your chosen keywords. Including multiple variations for common phrases can also improve your SEO by diversifying your content creation. Your website content will look much more natural if you aren’t repeating the same phrase just for the sake of including it.Why get into a bidding war with them over the same keywords if you can find a niche that isn't oversaturated? Regardless of which stage of research you are in, analyzing the competition is a crucial SEO activity that can help you… Click To Tweet
Spicing up your content with numerous variations can help you rank higher and boost your traffic. When thinking up synonyms and variations, try to look for alternate keywords with a good search volume. Including them will bring up your pages on more searches and improve the visibility of your website.
6. Focusing Only on Google
Forgetting about other search engines and talking only about Google is a common bias, something we are also guilty of. Although most of those search engines have similarities, there are also differences in their algorithms and the type of content they prefer. Get to know your audience and target demographic and find out how they conduct online searches. You can extend your keyword research and search engine optimization to include the specifics of those engines.
Additionally, more and more users rely on social media networks as a source of information and high-quality content. We suggest looking into platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube and how they typically handle a search query. Get familiar with the algorithms and requirements of those platforms when researching keywords and creating content. However, it’s also crucial to remember that you should avoid posting the same duplicate content across multiple social media profiles. It’s much better to create a unique social media post for each of your company profiles. This strategy will improve the user experience and incentivize your audience to follow your company across several platforms.
7. Neglecting Local SEO
Sometimes you need to adapt the scope of your keyword research to fit the local market. If you are a small business and most of your customers are from the local area, you should have a good idea of common terms and phrases. Consider including the local dialect or slang in your research and look up the volume of searches for industry-specific jargon. Remember that you shouldn’t trust your gut without backing those ideas with data. If you want to be an SEO expert, you should always look at actual SERPs to see what customers are searching for.Keyword research on your competitors lets you know how they rank for specific keywords. Click To Tweet
The same principle applies if your company is trying to break into a new market—factor in changes for localization and conduct research that is specific to the market in question. Even within the same country, there can be differences based on location. Those differences only get more significant when you attempt to target users from other countries. Following our previous example, consider using region-appropriate words such as purse vs. handbag. Sticking to the same keywords across multiple countries is a common SEO mistake that you should be wise to avoid.
8. Forgetting About Conversion
Keyword research often involves a delicate balancing act. On the one hand, you want to focus on relevant keywords with a high search volume; however, on the other, you should also consider keywords that have the potential to increase conversion rates. Here is a secret: you might get a better ROI by focusing on lower-volume keywords if they have high conversion rates. High-volume keywords that don’t convert and only result in a high bounce rate won’t help your bottom line. Additionally, those keywords will have lower competition, making it easier to bid on them. To be on the safe side, you can look at your current keywords and the traffic they generate. Multiply the traffic by the rate of conversions, and it will be obvious which keywords have the best return.
The Bottom Line
We suggest you don’t rush keyword research. Instead, take that time to plan your web design and blog post strategy. With a bit of careful planning and preparation, you’ll know which mistakes to avoid when doing keyword research. A carefully conducted analysis of your competition and which relevant keywords you should be using can improve your traffic and website conversions. However, we suggest paying close attention to the latest SEO and keyword trends and Google’s guidelines. Knowing the common mistakes along with the best practices will help you reach more users and stay ahead of the competition.Even if your chosen keyword has a large search volume, you will miss out on numerous searches by neglecting keyword variations. Click To Tweet
Author Bio: Taylor Garret is a Creative Marketing Manager working for AZ Citation Services. He frequently conducts SEO audits and keyword research to discover the best strategy for each client. When he isn’t refining a new draft for the latest marketing campaign, Taylor loves assembling and painting miniatures.
Disclaimer: The author’s views are entirely their own and may not always reflect the views of Mauco Enterprises.
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