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.
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.
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.