22 May Seven Top Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid
Finding success online comes from strong search engine optimization, or SEO, practices. SEO helps your website and brand rank high on search engine results pages, making it easier for internet users to find you. Off-page and on-page SEO strategies include content creation, meta titles and descriptions, keywords, link building, social media and more. Of all the elements of SEO, keyword research is the most influential on success, which is why it’s important to know what to avoid and what to do right. First, let’s take a look at how keywords and keyword research work.
What Are SEO Keywords?
Keywords are the essential words and phrases that indicate the topics of your content. These are the terms that users are searching for in search engines to find content relevant to their search queries. You can identify your SEO keywords by trimming down all of the content on your website to the most important words and phrases, and they should match the content that you hope your audience is searching for.
Why Are Keywords So Important?
Keywords connect users to your content based on the term they search. These words and phrases entered into search engines bring organic traffic to your website. They affect which types of users will be part of that traffic, so it’s important to focus on the right keywords.
Your audience isn’t the only reason to focus on keywords. They also impact your content. If your web copy explains your product or brand in a different way than how most users are searching for it, then you will not bring in the right organic traffic. Understanding your audience is key to creating content that will both rank high and drive up web traffic. Analyzing your audience’s online interactions and using tools like Moz’s Keyword Explorer (which requires creating a free account) are great ways to start forming your audience persona.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the heart of any effective SEO strategy. The process includes locating popular and common words or phrases people use to search for content online through search engines. The main goal of keyword research is to determine which keywords are in high demand and how difficult it may be to compete with other brands in organic search results depending on the keyword. Researching your keywords will help narrow down which keywords to use and which to avoid when creating content.
The Seven Top Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid
Beginning a keyword research process may seem daunting. In order to have a successful strategy, it’s important to avoid these mistakes:
- Not conducting your keyword search correctly — Conducting keyword research can be very time-consuming. Relying only on your instincts on what you think your audience will be searching for can result in completely missing the mark. Thoroughly researching your audience’s language and which terms they search is time well-spent. At the end of your research, you should have curated a detailed list of ideal keywords for your website to use to rank high. This list should be updated frequently, as your audience and business focus change over time, along with your keywords.
- Focusing on unrealistic keywords — It can be difficult to rank high in competitive categories, especially if your brand is new. Because of this, don’t hone in on the top-rated keywords just yet. Focus your efforts instead on long-tail keywords to boost your chances of ranking high and increasing conversion rates. Once you consistently rank high for long tail keywords, then you can start including some competitive head keywords, which should be your long-term keyword goal.
- Choosing irrelevant keywords — It’s important to select the same words that your customers do to describe your brand, products, or services. For example, if you own a business that provides lawn services, it’s important to know that “landscaping” searches are much higher than “yard work,” so your web content should focus more on landscaping since that’s the main term people search for online.
- Not verifying singular or plural keyword usage — Some words are often used both in the singular and plural form, but it’s vital to know which one people are searching for more often. The more popular search choice will be the keyword you want to focus on. One useful tool to compare the popularity of singular and plural search terms (as well as the relevance of words) is Google Trends.
- Selecting keywords that don’t bring in traffic — When you are just beginning your keyword strategy, long tail keywords are the way to go because you will have a higher chance of conversions even with less traffic than the head keywords. At the same time, it’s important not to make your keyword too niche or obscure, otherwise users will not be able to find your content when they search.
- Not evaluating your results — There’s no way to know how well your strategy is working unless you check up on it. Recurring evaluations should take place when your site experiences an increase in visitors. From time to time, search for your target keywords, but take note that the results may be skewed based on your personal searches and location. A way around this is to use a private search engine – such as duckduckgo.com – to search for your keywords and see if you are ranking for them.
- Using only one keyword — Find a happy medium. It’s not possible to rank for every keyword that you would like to rank for, but it’s also unlikely to bring in web traffic when only focusing on one keyword. For your web content, aim to optimize for a handful of keywords based on your research in order to reach more users and rank high without spreading yourself too thin.
Keyword research requires your well-invested time and energy, but the effort is worth it for the positive results of increasing web traffic and conversion rates. Without effective SEO keyword research, your website will be wandering around in the dark with no sense of direction.
Wanting to improve your search engine results page ranking for your website, but don’t have the time or resources to conduct your own research? Consider Virtual Stacks Systems UK for your expert SEO services based on the latest SEO research as well as the latest on-page and off-page SEO strategies. Contact us to start your SEO plan.