Keyword research is usually the first and biggest aspect of any SEO strategy. A well-rounded, effective keyword research strategy helps you identify high-traffic, low-competition keywords that are not only relevant to your business and audience but also help generate MQLs and revenue.
As you can guess, there is plenty that can go wrong.
In this article, we have highlighted six common keyword research mistakes that SEO professionals should avoid.
1. Ignoring long-tail keywords
Head keywords may have a lot more search traffic than long-tail keywords, but it is rarely a good strategy to only go after head keywords.
That’s because head keywords are impossible to rank for. They also don’t represent high commercial intent. So if your keyword strategy is formulated almost entirely on head keywords, you will struggle with traffic as well as ROI.
At the same time, also be mindful of focusing only on long-tail keywords. Websites are rewarded in search results if they show authority on an entire topic. Achieving that exclusively with long-tail keywords is not a possibility.
Therefore, finding the right balance between head keywords and long-tail keywords is the key here.
2. Ignoring actual SERP results
SEOs spend a lot of time in keyword research tools when they are formulating a keyword strategy. Amidst all that, many of them completely ignore SERP results.
That’s a big mistake that you must always avoid.
By analyzing actual SERP results, you get to know:
- The actual, real-time status of a keyword,
- The pages that Google is ranking higher for a particular keyword, and
- How Google is interpreting the search intent of a keyword, e.g., whether you need a commercial landing page or an educational, long-form blog post to rank for a keyword phrase.
Never underestimate the importance of analyzing SERP results when formulating a keyword strategy.
3. Choosing low-trending keyword phrases
How often do you check how a shortlisted keyword is performing in Google Trends?
It’s important because creating high-quality and optimising for a keyword is a significant investment of time and money. You do not want to waste your efforts on a keyword that is down-trending at a rapid pace.
You want to invest in evergreen keywords that can consistently drive traffic and revenue for years to come.
4. Focusing on irrelevant keywords
During your keyword research, you will come across many keywords that have a high search volume. However, you should only pick keywords that are relevant to your business, business goal, target audience, and commercial intent.
Before finalizing a keyword, ask yourself if the keyword is actually relevant to your target audience and business goals. Moreover, will it help drive MQLs and SQLs?
If not, that keyword is irrelevant to you, despite the high search volume it may have.
5. Ignoring search intent
Interpreting the search intent correctly is a key part of creating an effective keyword strategy.
No matter how high-quality your website content is, it will not resonate with your audience or generate engagement and revenue for you if it does not correspond with the searcher’s intent.
Before finalizing your keywords, make sure to define the types of search intent each keyword represents. The search intent could be of the following types:
- Informational — TOF
- Commercial investigation — MOF
- Transactional — BOF
6. Ignoring competitor analysis
Competitor analysis is tremendously helpful when it comes to keyword research and developing a well-rounded keyword strategy. Ignoring competitor analysis is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
Organic traffic is usually a zero-sum game. Your win means your competitor’s loss, and vice versa. Therefore, make sure to analyze your competitors’ websites, their content, and the keywords that they are targeting.
More importantly, identify their best-performing pages and try to identify their strengths and weaknesses. You will need to do better in order to rank those pages and rank for those keywords.
A thoroughly conducted keyword strategy is the foundation of an effective SEO plan. However, that foundation crumbles if you make too many basic mistakes when conducting keyword research.
We hope this article helps you avoid some of the common keyword research mistakes that many SEO professionals make. If you have any questions regarding keyword research or just SEO in general, please reach out to us.