Common Keyword Research Mistakes

Keyword research marks the beginning of an SEO campaign. Bad planning here can have long-lasting effects. Here are some common keyword mistakes.

Keyword research is the cornerstone of any SEO campaign. Find out whether you are making any of these common mistakes.

Keyword research is the blueprint of any SEO strategy and helps you map out the plan for your on and off-page optimization. Finding quality keywords is a laborious and painstaking process but if you put the hard yards in at the start of your campaign, you will reap the rewards in increased traffic, a lower bounce rate and an improved conversion rate. Here are the frequent SEO mistakes that people new to SEO can make.

Assuming you know what keywords to use

A common keyword research mistake is to simply guess the keywords that your target market is using to find your products. Brainstorming keywords in essence is not a bad tactic as you know your products and services best, but it cannot be used in isolation. A variety of different strategies should be employed to find keywords, and then you need to drill down to find a shortlist. These tactics include:

  • Google Analytics and other web analytics tools
  • Free keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner
  • Paid-for tools such as WordTracker, Linkio and Keyword Discovery
  • Surveying customers, clients, and suppliers and focus groups
  • Social Media accounts
  • Competitor analysis
  • Thesaurus

Pie in the sky promises

SEO is definitely a numbers game, but there has to be a balance between trying to rank for short-tail keywords such as ‘gym’ and long-tail keywords such as ‘Philadelphia gym Eastern Suburbs’. If you are a small business, you need to keep your expectations in check and focus on localized and long tail keywords that may bring you a smaller piece of the pie (lower search volume) but combined can lead to a considerable chunk of business.

Targeting only plural or singular keywords

People who are optimizing their own websites without the help of an SEO company may not realize that a search engine may recognize the singular e.g. ‘Philadelphia hotel’ or plural version e.g. ‘Philadelphia hotels’ of the word and return different search results for both. It is important to optimize your website for both keywords to ensure that you are capturing all possible traffic for that keyword.

Mutton keywords dressed as lamb

For your keyword research to be successful, it must reflect your product and services. For example, if you are operating a 2-star bed and breakfast and your keywords include ‘luxury hotels’, traffic may be driven to your website, but they will quickly leave the site when they realize the search result does not match the content. It simply results in a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. Be honest with yourself and your customers.

Not knowing what to do with keywords

So you have put in the hard yards and come up with what you think is a pretty good keyword strategy, but your efforts can be undermined by poor keyword placement. Done well, optimization of your website can boost your rankings, but spamming your website with keywords can result in a penalty or ban. Insert keywords naturally and seamlessly within your website copy and code and rankings will improve.

Forgetting about conversion

Focusing on trophy keywords isn’t going to bring you the results you want. Longer tail keywords are more likely to be the bread and butter of your SEO campaign. Customers who use longer tail keywords to search for products and services are more likely to be further along in the buying cycle, and this results in a higher conversion rate. However, it is still important to focus on customers at all stages of the cycle.

No keyword maintenance

Generally, an annual review is a satisfactory time period for most sites. Keep an eye on your Google Analytics statistics – they will tell you what keywords are driving traffic, what keywords are leading to conversion and what keywords are not pulling their weight. There is no room for complacency in SEO – you should be doing ongoing keyword research on tweaking, fine-tuning and expanding your keyword portfolio.

It bears repeating that SEO is not a ‘set it and forget’ internet marketing strategy. At The SEO Works, our large team of SEO experts work on formulating keyword strategies for high-profile clients that drive pre-qualified traffic to the website, resulting in high conversion rates. Contact us if you would like to speak to our SEO experts to find out more about keyword research and the vast range of SEO packages we have available.