Mistakes in keyword research

I recently wrote about analyzing SEO competitiveness and in that article I mentioned identifying the top keywords. Now I thought it could be good to write about mistakes one can do in keyword research. James Gate wrote a good article about keyword research in SEOmoz’s Daily SEO Blog and I will highlight some of the six mistakes he mentioned.

Being unrealistic

You start doing the keywords research and find immediately relevant keywords for your industry and website. Then you go and choose the ones that have the highest search volume. Unfortunately, that is not the way to do it.

Most often the high-competition keywords are out of reach in the short and medium reach. You should be realistic and choose keywords that are appropriate for targeting and take into consideration the age and current authority of the site, and future optimization.

Rather than very generic and one word keywords, choose more precise search phrases. Don’t take the most competitive keywords, even though I know it’s tempting to choose keywords with high search volumes. If you choose lower competition keywords (unfortunately also lower traffic) and you are able to dominate with these, you will get much more traffic from search engines than you would get from more competitive search phrase.

Targeting plural instead of singular

Often websites are targeting the plural version of a keyword. This is very common especially on eCommerce websites. The site owner is targeting naturally for plural keywords because they are selling more that one product within the same category. Targeting for a keyword “iPhone chargers” feels more natural than for “iPhone charger” because they have more than one charger in stock. The reality is that “iPhone charger” has significantly more searches.

Ignoring conversion

Often companies want to target a keyword that is bringing lots of traffic without looking at all the conversion. There is no point in focusing on keywords that are bringing in lots of traffic but are not converting at all. The focus should be on targeting on keywords that are actually converting, even though they wouldn’t bring in that much traffic.

You need to understand human search behavior and make conversion and language analysis a vital part of the keyword research. It makes sense that traffic from a keyword with a prefix “buy” should be converting well.

Selecting keywords out of context

Humanize the keyword research process and think about what a certain word means for a human doing a search. This is a thing most of the keyword tools are lacking of doing.

An example could be “glass”. You don’t know if a person is searching for a “glass” if the meaning is to find water glass, or wine glass, or even glass for window.

Because there is a big possibility for confuse targeting, you should choose keywords that are highly relevant and very focused towards the business you are offering.

Good way to find most relevant keywords is to search manually from Google with the keywords and see what kind of results are coming up.

You can read more about the mistakes in keyword research from James Gates article.

Is your website SEO competitive?

SEO today is more than keyword research, and onsite and offsite optimization. It is a mix of web development and analytics, content creation, social networking and been present in social media, and much more. Even though SEO and its focus from being more automatized to been more social has changed a lot during the years, the content is still the king. Today it means optimizing all the content.

Mark Jackson wrote recently in Search Engine Watch about SEO Competitive Analysis, which was an update for his previous one written in 2008.  According to him the main components of an SEO competitive analysis are top keywords, site structure, linking initiatives/authority, and social presence.

Top Keywords

First you should identify your most important keywords, which are those keywords that have high search volumes and are bringing valuable traffic to your site. After identifying the top keywords and competitors that are the most relevant for your business and “stealing” a lot of valuable organic traffic by ranking well, you can go in to their websites and start analyzing why they have so strong presence in search engines.

Site Structure

Check how many pages your competitors have indexed in Google and Bing. It will give you an estimate on the depth of competitors’ websites and pages of content.

Today, it is worth to check other things as well than only the indexing of the website. You can start by checking the indexing of images and videos. Does your competitor have a Facebook or Twitter profile? How is the content in these social media? Is your competitor having a blog? How is their website optimized? What about URL structures?

Linking Initiatives/Authority

When you are analyzing the competitors link profile, pay attention not only to anchor text usage but also the mix of branded and keyword-rich links. Look at the number of unique linking domains, and check both the domain and page authority. See also where the links are coming from and analyze the diversity of the links.

Social Presence

Are your competitors present in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube? How many Twitter followers they have? What about the amount of Facebook Page likes and homepage likes? Is your competitor having a blog on their site? How has it been set up and what are they writing about?

I hope this article was useful for you and you got a clue how to analyze your website’s SEO competitiveness. I have to say though, that this was only the beginning of the process…

Welcome to Nordic Search blog


And welcome to the Nordic Search blog. As you probably already know, Nordic Search is an internet marketing consulting company with a main focus on SEO. The idea of this blog is “SEO for dummies”, but it will also keep you updated on what is happening in the whole online marketing industry.

Let me tell you a bit about myself… My name is Laura, I am the author of this blog and both founder and CEO of Nordic Search. I have a background in SEO consulting and online marketing. My previous employers are among the leading SEO companies in the world and most recognized and reputable Digital Advertising companies in Scandinavia. I have had the opportunity to get to know some of the best SEOs and online marketing specialists and work with them.

Nordic Search Ltd was founded in August 2011, everything started from a great opportunity and good contact network. Through Nordic Search’s vast partner network I am able to continue working with great people, the leading SEOs and online marketing specialists. The network enables Nordic Search to provide expertise in Search Engine Optimization, Search Marketing, Online Display, Analytics and Social Media. Through the partner network we have a tight relationship with Google, Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo.

We have Google certified employees and Google Analytics Certified Partners as well as former Google employees among our partners. This makes the relationship with Google very tight and enables us to offer great expertise in Google adwords and Google Analytics (GA) when it comes to Search Marketing.

Hope you enjoy reading the blog!