Keyword Research – Common Mistakes

May 24th 2012       Sally Ormond       Keyword research, search marketing, seo

This blog was first published on Freelance Copywriter’s Blog. Read on to discover the mistakes made when doing keyword research to make sure you don’t fall into the same traps.

When you start working on your SEO strategy, the most important decision you’ll have to make is what keywords you will target.

The decisions you make will determine how effective your overall strategy is, which is why it is so important you get it right.

But time and time again, mistakes are made that cause frustration because the desired results are not seen.

The main thing to remember is that the keywords with the highest number of searches aren’t necessarily the best ones to target.


Mistake #1

 The first mistake people make is going for glory – or at least the keyword that generates the most traffic. The problem is the competition for these words is very hot.

The problem with that is if you’re looking for short to medium term results, these highly competitive words will be beyond your reach.

When selecting your keywords, they must be specific. So rather than ‘camera’, go for the make and model because that’s what people will be searching for.

If you want to target a generic and highly competitive keyword, you just have to remember that it will take time, energy and money to get ranked for it. If you are looking for short term results, go for something less competitive:

Lower traffic & lower competition = quicker domination and an increase in traffic

 Mistake #2

This mistake happens early on in the process.Keyword Research tool - exact match

When using the Google Keyword Tool, people make the mistake of looking at the broad match rather than exact match. Broad match is selected by default, so it’s important you check the exact match box.

For example, when searching for ‘garden shed’, under broad it displays 135,000 local searches per month. But under an exact search, that figure drops to 6,600 – quite a difference.

If you get this wrong, it could have a serious effect on your predicted ROI and traffic.


Mistake #3

Many people target plural keywords, such as garden sheds. The problem here is that people tend to search for singular terms.

Let’s face it, if you were looking for a new lap top, you’re more likely to look for a lap top as opposed to lap tops.


Mistake #4

A lot of people already have preconceived ideas about what they are going to target. The problem here is that preconceived ideas are favoured rather than looking at the evidence of what people are really searching for.

This results in being listed for words that simply don’t convert because they are not the ones people use to search for your product. Sometimes, it may be better to target a set of keywords, rather than just one, to widen your chances of being found.


Mistake #5

Another problem is taking words out of context.

If you targeted the word ‘ink’ people could be searching for printer ink, pen ink, how to remove ink stains etc. So the chances are a high proportion of your traffic won’t actually be looking for what you’re offering.

That’s why it’s so important to be specific in your keyword choice.


Mistake #6

SEO isn’t static. Many people believe it’s a painful process they’ll only have to go through once. But the truth is you must continuously monitor and analyse the effectiveness of your keywords.

Just because one is performing well now, doesn’t mean that will still be the case in the months to come. SEO is about constant adjustment and refinement.

Researching and identifying your keywords is incredibly important. It’s vital you do it right and continue to monitor it. Your SEO strategy will constantly evolve so you have to be prepared for regular reviews and tweaks as and when necessary.


What has your experience of keyword research been?

Have you made any howlers or had any particular successes?

Leave a comment below and share your experiences.


Tags: Keyword research, search marketing, seo
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