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Common keyword research mistakes to be aware of

Best Digital Marketing Comapny in India
Posted by:Seema Arora

Keyword research is, without a doubt, the fundamental first step towards Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Keywords are the basis of SEO, and admittedly, there are many common keyword research mistakes to be aware of. Indeed, even at its basic level, keyword research comes with numerous common pitfalls that can severely hamper your SEO efforts. As such, let us devote this article to 10 common mistakes you can quickly rectify and thus improve your efforts.

SEO and common keyword research mistakes

It is a well-known fact that SEO is a vital digital marketing strategy for any business. SEO strategies intend to provide long-term benefits to search rankings and increase traffic and, eventually, conversions. As such, any company that incorporates a digital presence into its sales funnel can benefit from SEO.
Naturally, there are many SEO best practices beyond keyword selection. Namely, among others:
  • Proper content structure
  • Optimized title tags, images, alt. tags
  • Optimized website loading speeds
  • Internal linking, quality backlinks
  • However, the very first step in most such lists is the keyword; adding it early, using it often but in moderation, and, of course, selecting the proper keyword from the start. Proper keyword research is of paramount importance, as SEO hinges on it. With that in mind, let us explore the most common keyword research mistakes you should avoid.

    #1 Choosing unrealistic keywords

    A prevalent mistake is choosing unrealistic keywords. In this context, keywords are often divided into two categories;

  • Head keywords
  • Long-tail keywords

  • Head keywords are short, often single-word keywords; “restaurant”, “PPC”, etc. Longer keywords, between the two categories, expand on head keywords; “Japanese restaurant”, “PPC agency”, and so on. Finally, long-tail keywords expand on them further; “Japanese restaurant that serves sushi”, “PPC agencies that focus on AdWords”, et cetera.
    The reason why you should avoid this common keyword research mistake is simple. Head keywords generate a much higher impression volume and thus have much higher competition. If you’re starting your SEO endeavors, you may find it much safer to use long-tail keywords instead. While they do generate fewer impressions, they often match users who are closer to conversion.

    #2 Choosing irrelevant keywords, a potentially costly keyword research mistake

    A similar, equally common mistake is using keywords that don’t resonate with your potential audience.

    Indeed, hyper-specific keywords may describe your product or service more accurately; “boots” is more accurate than “shoes”, and “fedora” is more accurate than “hat”. However, if your audience is using “shoes” and “hat” as search terms, it’s unwise to use “boots” and “fedora” in their place. It may feel more accurate, but it can hamper your SEO efforts and reduce potential traffic. Thus, you should make sure to avoid neglecting to look into the search terms your audience uses.

    #3 Choosing unfocused, inorganic keywords

    Similarly, using keyword tools may lead to the common mistake of using unfocused, inorganic language. Such software can often fail to capture how humans use language in real life and thus suggest sub-optimal keywords.
    For example, “storage” and “light” can mean very different things, and as such, they’re unfocused, generic keywords, as well as head keywords. You may wish to avoid this common keyword research mistake by using Google Analytics and other tools to find laser-focused terms your audiences use.

    #4 Neglecting search intent, a typical keyword research mistake

    Another common keyword research mistake is neglecting search intent; with what purpose does your audiences use keywords? Broadly, one can divide search intent into four categories:
    Users are looking for specific spaces, such as company websites, to navigate.
    Users are looking for information on a specific subject, product, or service.
    Users have purchasing intent and are actively looking for a transaction.
    With investigative intent, users are comparing different options.
    Therefore, search intent can vary quite significantly. If you neglect to take your audience's search intent into account, you may not accurately pinpoint the keywords you need to use to cater to their needs.

    #5 Not distinguishing between singular and plural keywords

    A very common mistake, and understandably so, is not distinguishing between singular and plural. Some SEO tools, and many humans, consider them to be the same; Google, however, does not. Furthermore, audiences often use either with different intent.
    For example, fewer people search for “shoe” than they do “shoes”. Similarly, far more people search for “PC” than “PCs” – although users with investigative intent may search for “PCs” to compare options. Furthermore, Google itself often ranks singular and plural keywords separately; “agency” is much more popular than “agencies”. Thus, you should make sure you avoid this common keyword research mistake and distinguish between the two for Better Digital Marketing results.

    #6 Limiting posts to one keyword - an avoidable keyword research mistake

    A comparatively less common keyword research mistake nowadays is that one may limit posts to one keyword each. However, many different terms are synonymous or otherwise related – and posts can fit many keywords.
    Consider, for example, users with informational intent; they may search for “pros and cons” on a given subject. There is little reason why you shouldn’t also include “advantages and disadvantages” in the same post as well. Similarly, users with transactional intent may search for “buy smart TV”, so why should you exclude the synonymous “purchase smart TV”? As long as you can make your content appear organic, it would be a mistake to limit posts to a single keyword.

    #7 “SEO-ing” articles after they’ve been published

    Closely related to the above, trying to “SEO” content after the fact is also a common mistake. It may sound appealing to pepper keywords into finished content to make it SEO-friendly, but it rarely works.
    Keyword research is the foundation of content creation; posts are written with specific subjects and keywords in mind. Adding keywords as an afterthought disjoints the content and makes it appear inorganic and forced. It may briefly increase your search engine result page (SERP) performance, but if it muddles the quality of your content, it will drive away audiences. SEO depends on your content’s quality and your website’s authoritativeness, and last-minute keyword additions hamper both.

    #8 Not analyzing competitors

    A more severe keyword research mistake is not analyzing your competitors. Your SEO efforts compete with theirs, so it’s wise to keep an eye on them.
    You can analyze your competitors to learn from their mistakes and successes; see which keywords they use and how they perform. By doing so, you can inform your keyword decisions accordingly with much less risk.

    #9 Not reviewing keyword choices

    Similarly, reviewing keyword choices may seem like an optional afterthought, but it is equally important. The market changes, and so should your keyword selection.
    Keyword performance certainly doesn’t drastically change overnight, so you shouldn’t need to review the keywords you use continually. However, they certainly do shift over time; trends emerge, customer behaviors change, search algorithms evolve, the market itself changes. Therefore, an occasional review of your choices can only help recalibrate and optimize your digital marketing efforts.
    As such, you should keep this metric in mind. A keyword’s success in generating traffic is meaningless if it doesn’t lead to conversions, so you should use tools like Google Search Console to gauge conversions and adjust your choices accordingly.

    #10 Neglecting conversions

    Lastly, a common keyword research mistake is focusing too much on impression volumes and too little on conversions. The initial aim of SEO is indeed traffic, but the final goal is conversions and sales.

    Conclusion: keyword research mistakes can be costly

    With all of the above in mind, it should now be clear that there are many severe and common keyword research mistakes to be aware of. SEO does hinge on many different factors, but your choice of keywords is arguably too vital a factor to overlook or take lightly. By avoiding such mistakes, you can ensure that your SEO efforts are more successful and succeed in helping your business thrive.

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