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.
A prevalent mistake is choosing unrealistic keywords. In this context, keywords are often divided into two categories;
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.
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: Navigational Users are looking for specific spaces, such as company websites, to navigate. Informational Users are looking for information on a specific subject, product, or service. Transactional Users have purchasing intent and are actively looking for a transaction. Investigative 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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