Google Keyword research is the first step of doing SEO for your website. It is quite like constructing the foundation of a building; if done the right way, the building would be reliable. However if there is a fault in the foundation, then all of the efforts would be fruitless. SEO is around us for decades, marketers and webmasters still make mistakes that cost them later. Following are some common SEO mistakes you should avoid.
Mistake #1. Using one word keyword
It is really hard to rank one-word terms as they are too generic and too competitive. Besides being highly competitive, short-tailed keywords lack context. For example, a person searching for “bottles” may also be looking for a big plastic bottle, a bottle to keep hot water or a bottle to be used for gym or office!
Try to compose your keyword research list having long-tail keywords, as they provide more context. Lower competition keywords might not seem as exciting to target but if your website can dominate these areas fairly quickly, then you are going to see far more traffic from the search engines than failing to effectively target a much more competitive term. Every additional word should focus more specifically on user intent, this brings you closer to your target audience.
Mistake #2. Doing Keyword Research using Broad Match
Most keyword research tools offer you search figures based upon three “match types:”
- Broad match contains keywords in no particular order & may include other words as well. For example, if your targeted words are “blue shoes,” broad match may include “blue shoes for men,” “shoes for blue suit,” and so on.
- Phrase match includes your keywords in order and may contain other words. For example, “from where you can buy blue shoes,” and “blue shoes with high heels.”
- Exact match contains only your keywords in a given order – “blue shoes.”
And there is a huge difference in search traffic between all of these results. If you do not take this into account and estimate your potential visitors using broad match, you are likely to get absolutely disappointing results.
While using tools for research and estimating keyword search volume, avoid using broad & phrase-match figures. Always base your decisions on exact match.
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Mistake #3: Not considering competition into account
Ranking a specific keyword means beating your competitors. So in order to plan an effective keyword research strategy, you must understand the competitive landscape. If you choose your target words without considering the competition, you will likely waste both time & money.
Type your target query in the search box and take a critical look at the websites that are on the first results page. What are your actual chances of making your way to the first positions with that particular keyword? If your competitors are ranking too highly, you need to choose other words to rank for. You can find these words with the help of the Domain vs. Domain tool by SEMrush. This tool helps a lot in keyword research. It provides you with a list of keywords that your competitor is using, while you are not. You can sort them by search volume, CPC or level of competition and add to your own list of keywords.
Mistake #4: Not using Negative keywords
Another biggest mistake marketers do while doing keyword research is not using negative keywords. AdWords allows you to use negative keywords as a way to exclude keywords that are not a good match for your product.
For example: You own a retail shop that sells designer women dresses but not party wear dresses, then you won’t want your ads to show up on searches for “women’s party wear dresses” but do want them to show up on searches for “women dresses.” Thus, you can add “party” as a negative keyword, & your ads won’t be shown for any searches that include the word “party”.
Negative keywords can be added at both the campaign & the ad group level. Thus, if a word is excluded from only one particular ad group, then you can exclude it at the group level, but if you want it to be excluded from the entire campaign, even that is possible at your end.
In order to find words that should be excluded; you need to dig into Google Analytics since it has more detailed information than AdWords about specific keyword searches. Within Analytics, click on “Acquisition”, after that “AdWords”, and then finally “Matched Search Queries.” Next, click on “Query Match Type” and then either “broad match” or “phrase match” to view the exact keyword phrases people are searching for and which ones aren’t converting well. Moment you come across with phrases that are not converting, just take a look to see if a negative keyword can be added to eliminate that keyword from your campaign without excluding terms that are performing well.
Mistake #5 Not giving importance to conversions
Even if you have found a word with a good search volume and low competition, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have got gold. The reason is simple: this keyword simply may not convert. Traffic itself is a good thing, but its real customers whom we wish for. If the keyword chosen by you drives traffic but your visitors do not convert to customers, then that keyword is probably not profitable (informative queries are the exception).
You always need to conduct keyword conversion audit. For example, if you are tracking goals in Google Analytics, you can easily define the most converting words. Then you can try to understand trends and patterns of keywords during keywords research and apply this knowledge to your research strategy. Also you can use keywords that include indicators of user’s intent to perform a needed action – For example: Words like “buy”, “delivery” and so on.
Mistake #6: Targeting plural version of keyword, instead of singular
During keyword research, it is quite common to pick a website targeting the plural version of a keyword but in most cases, it is the singular version of a keyword that people search for.
Google is much better at determining that a singular and plural version of a keyword are one and the same, but in many cases there are still differences in the search results. Getting failed at targeting the singular keyword can be the difference between your search listing being highlighted in the SERPs (= higher clickthrough) and it can also mean your website appears lower (even slightly) than marginally better targeted pages that could be the difference between making a sale and not.
Most searchers use singular keywords, even when they are looking for something that is plural, such as information about windmills. In that example, “windmills” has only 27,500 monthly searches, compared to the 49,500 for the singular. However, there are some exceptions to this, namely cases where the singular word is rarely used. For example, “shoes” has 1,000,000 monthly searches where “shoe” has only 60,500.
Normally though, singular is by far the better version to target.
Check the search volume for the keyword both as a singular and plural, and as per search result, select your keyword.
Mistake #7: Selecting keywords with which people are unfamiliar
Another mistake marketers do during keyword research is that they only concentrate on what company thinks about its products, & not what the target audience does. Sometimes companies choose keywords from their corporate jargon. But the fact is that, words being used in day-to-day vocabulary doesn’t necessarily mean that your potential searchers know it at all. Or may be another version of this word exists, that differs a little, but is searched much more often. The same goes for using branded terms that may be not familiar yet to general public. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should leave aside all branded or jargon keywords. But you need to set the right balance between these words and keywords that your target audience may actually use.
Talk to people. Ask your customers, partners and employees about the vocabulary and terms they use to describe their need and questions regarding your product.
Mistake #8: Ignoring local keywords
One essential thing that companies tend to overlook during keyword research is the difference between global and local keywords. If you have a local or regional business, make sure that the traffic from your targeted word comes from your locale. If you only work with customers in a certain geographical location, keywords that are popular in other regions will be useless.
Solution: When doing keyword research with tools like Google’s Keyword Tool, always filter your searches by location.