In this digital era, business is all about getting found online as easily as possible. The more visibility you have online, the more possibility for you to attract your target audiences, and eventually make sales.
However, making a strong virtual position isn’t a simple task. You need to follow some smart, as well as realistic strategies to make sure you’re at the top of the search results.
When it comes to following the right strategy, one of the most common that marketers start with is keyword research. It’s a core SEO task that involves discovering popular words and phrases that your target audiences are using in the search engines.
But, there are some keyword research mistakes that can completely ruin your SEO effort.
The aim here is to optimize your website and its content for those keywords, which will help the site to rank higher on Google, and get the attention of potential customers.
Why Keyword Research is Crucial
While everyone wants to rank higher and get tons of traffic, most of the marketers don’t understand the value of proper keyword research. It’s one of the most essential SEO factors that can clearly make the difference between a website that gets huge traffic and the one with none.
SEO is a complex process and the rules of this game change frequently, meaning that you can fall behind any time if you don’t do it right.
With the right keyword research, you will be able to find out what people are searching for. It lets you create content that will bring you higher traffic and leads, as well as help your audiences to get what they want from your site.
Mistakes You Might be Making While Doing Keyword Research
While you understand the importance of keyword research, chances that you’re doing it totally wrong.
Look at the ranking of your content, which you thought to be at the top position on Google. Did it achieve the result you were hoping for?
If your answer is no, then this guide is for you. Here we will discuss some of the common mistakes done by the marketers while conducting keyword research.
For some people, keyword research is a pretty straightforward task. You log in to your favorite keyword research tool, find some related keywords with high search volume, put them in your content, and boom! You start to get a huge amount of traffic to your website.
Unfortunately, in real life, things don’t work like that. While search volume is a great factor to consider, there are some other factors that play a big role in SEO.
If your niche is highly competitive, ranking for a keyword with high search volume alone will be nearly impossible, especially if you’re a beginner.
For example, if you’re starting a fitness blog, it will be difficult for you to rank for the keyword “fitness” since there are already so many popular blogs in this niche.
However, if you go for a long-tail keyword such as “fitness tips for pregnant women” or “fitness routine for the seniors” it will be easier for you to get a better rank as a beginner. Once you become popular, you can gradually move towards the head terms.
Focusing Only on Broad Match Instead of Exact Match
This is a common mistake that most marketers do. While writing content for a particular keyword, some of them go for the broad match keyword, which can destroy their ranking.
For example, while selecting a target keyword, you see that its broad match search volume is 25000, which is quite good. However, its exact match volume is only 240. In this case, it will be difficult for you to rank for that keyword.
Going for a broad search volume isn’t a problem all the time if the difference between the broad match and exact match is low. However, if there’s a huge difference like my example, ranking for that keyword will be nearly impossible.
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Not Looking at Search Intent
Since you’ve decided to start your career as a content marketer, it’s important that you choose a keyword that goes with your niche.
However, what’s more important is you do proper research on what your target customer is searching for. They could be looking for a solution, a website, or want to buy a product.
Not understanding your audience’s intention will put your website in the wrong group, making it target the wrong customers.
For example, you have a blog site that publishes the content of DIY crafts. Now, you want one of your articles to rank for the keyword “wedding decorations.”
However, when you search on Google with that keyword, you see most of the results on the page are online stores that sell wedding decorations. Do you think your article can rank here? Definitely not.
Besides, you need to understand from the keywords on the search pages that what a user might be looking for. For example, a person searching with the keyword “Dell Inspiron” is definitely looking to buy a laptop, while another person with the keyword “laptop” may be looking for information.
Not understanding these issues will make you create content for the wrong customers, which will ultimately give you no results at all.
Ignoring What Your Competitors are Ranking for
No matter which niche you choose to go for, you will have to face a number of competitors. Some of them have been in this industry for a long time and dominating the search engine rank.
Do you think you can outgrow them so easily? You may not if you don’t know their secret behind their success.
While you’re doing market research on your potential customers, it’s also crucial that you learn about those keywords your competitors are ranking for. But how are you going to do that?
Some keyword research tools can help you with that. Just put your competitors’ domain name and find out their top-performing keywords. If you see keywords that are relevant to your niche but you don’t have any content of that, you know why your site isn’t ranking.
Confusing Between Singular & Plural
If you search for a particular keyword you will see some websites are targeting the plural form of a keyword while the users are searching with the singular form or vice versa.
This seems like a minor problem since Google can understand that both are aiming towards the same thing. However, it may show you different results on the search page.
Some e-commerce websites tend to use plural versions of a keyword since they sell more than one product. However, it may be difficult for them to rank because most people are searching with the singular version of that keyword.
Also, the version people are using also determines what they are actually looking for. A person using the singular version of a keyword may be looking for information while using a pluralized version for comparing products.
If you mix up these two versions while doing keyword research, your content may not reach the right customers, thus hurting your rank.
Not Looking at The Conversion
All your hard work can go into the vein if you ignore the conversion, especially if you want to make sales through your website.
Most people opt for a keyword that is highly popular and easy to rank, which is definitely a good idea. Ranking for such a keyword will be easy and you will get a lot of traffic on your site. But, are you sure you will be able to make any sales? Maybe not.
Using a keyword relevant to your niche can attract a lot of visitors, but they may not be your target customers. If so, you won’t be able to sell anything.
It happens when you go for a keyword most people search for with the intention of learning about it, instead of buying. On the other hand, people who intend to buy something will search with a keyword that has some prefixes, and traffic from that keyword will surely convert.
Using Irrelevant Keywords
This kind of mistake happens when you do keyword research without knowing what your target customer may be looking for, as well as who they are.
No matter how popular and relevant to your niche a keyword is, it may not be relevant to your target audiences.
It can lead to two situations. You can choose a wrong keyword that has no relation with the searchers. Or you are using wrong words for the right keywords.
For example, if you’re writing content for rich American people who are looking for a good school for their children, your focus keyword shouldn’t be something like “low cost high school in Texas.” Instead, you should go for something like “best high schools in Texas” or “best boarding schools in Texas.”
Another example will help you understand how using the wrong words can prevent you from reaching your target customers. If you have an online boutique shop that sells dresses for gala nights, you may want to use the keyword “gala dresses.”
It will be a wrong keyword to go for since most users search for either “gown” or “evening dresses” for such occasions. You will never reach your potential customers if you don’t know the right use of words.
Not Understanding The Value of Search Volume & Competition Level
Search volume and competition level are the two most important factors of keyword research and ignoring them is considered a deadly mistake.
Why is that?
As a beginner, you should always choose a keyword that has a high search volume. It indicates how famous the keyword is. If you opt for a keyword that is highly popular, your content will be more visible to the users.
Besides, you should also look into the competition level for that particular keyword. No matter how popular the keyword is, if it has a higher competition level, ranking for it would be difficult.
If you find yourself struggling to rank even after choosing a popular keyword, you might have chosen one with high competition.
Going for One Keyword Per Post
If you have an outstanding blog post, you should not limit its ranking opportunity to one keyphrase. Most people make this mistake, thus losing the chance to rank for related terms as well.
For example, if you want to write an article focusing on the keyword “timeless beauty tips,” you can also use some of the relevant keywords such as “beauty tips and secrets,” as well as “beauty tips and tricks.”
Going for a single keyword per post is a bad idea since it will make your ranking difficult. Always opt for some of the relevant keywords to make your job easy.
Keyword research is one of the most essential parts of SEO that most marketers do wrong. While it’s not rocket science, it’s not even that simple.
Doing proper keyword research requires time, patience, and some basic knowledge on how to do it right.
The above-mentioned scenarios are some of the most mistakes done by content marketers. If you find out you’re making the same mistakes, it’s high time that you fix those issues before it’s too late.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.