5 Common SEO Keyword Research Mistakes To Avoid

Topics: SEM Tips, SEO Tips, Web Marketing Written on August 15, 2016 by Surfaced Media

There are some typical errors commonly made by SEO firms, bloggers, and businesses that you should know before you start keyword research for your site.

Knowledge of these common mistakes is key, so without further ado…

1) DO NOT: Target keywords that are unrelated to your customers

The majority of people like to choose keywords with a large number of searches in their field without caring whether their target audience would actually search for those particular keywords. Tailor-make your keywords according to their relevance to your customers.

If for example, you are advertising good schools for children and rich families are your target audience. You don’t use keywords like “affordable schools ny” or “low-cost public schools ny” because rich families don’t care about the cost they only care about the quality. So your keywords should be “elite schools ny” or “best schools ny.”

Your target customers are different people with different things they are searching for, and each of them will use different keywords to search for what they need. So you need to have vast knowledge about the needs of your customers and the kind of words they would use to search.

Every customer has a particular thing they are searching for, and you need to make sure your page can give them what they want.

2) DO NOT: Focus on several specific keywords

If your site is so large that there are many ways you can combine the keywords, you may make the mistake of combining every little keyword to get everything. You may decide to optimize the combinations using color, type, size, prize and so on. By the time you are done, you’ll realize that you have generated quite a large number of keywords.

Out of all the combinations, many of the keywords have just a few numbers of people searching for them or none at all. Having many keywords can even make you overlook the ones that are even more vital to your site.

Look for only those keywords that have a large number of searches and are important to the growth of your business.

You should start with keywords that are directly related to your products and services. Leave the generic ones for now.

After you may have gotten the customers with direct and easy keyword searches, you can now target the most specific keywords.

After grouping your best keywords, you can then think of widening the keywords to target more groups with multiple search intents.

3) DO NOT: Select only a few big keywords

This mistake is often made by large websites. They focus on only some specific keywords. It is mostly black-hat SEO claims that adopt this method. Examples include “get top rankings for 30 big keywords “, are often used by black hat tactics like link networks, to propel the ranking of some single keywords.

So many businesses can’t compete with keywords like “leather women shoes” because they know it will be fruitless.

Imagine an online marketplace which has content of more than 100,000 asking to do an SEO for their list of 30 keywords. We know it is not a good marketing strategy. They should have over 300,000- 500,000 keywords for their 100,000 pages content so that traffic to their site will increase.

We use a simple rule of thumb as our guide: 3-5 keywords to a page. Simply put, the number of pages determines the number of keywords.

4) DO NOT: Target keywords based on existing site structure

Most people often go to the main sections of their websites to pick out target keywords. The problem with this is that you will be using old keywords that people may no longer use.

There are many new keywords that have not been covered by the current site content and structure, and you can easily miss them if you focus only on picking from the main sections of your site.

You need to carry out a comprehensive keyword research so that you can discover the kind of words that your customers may use to make their search for your business. This has nothing to do with your site structure.

You need to modify your site structure to fit the needs of your business. Add new sections; create new pages so that you can have space to group keywords into their rightful places. Sometimes, customers search for words that are very much related to your business, but they don’t find anything about it on your site because you have not modified your site structure to add it.

For example, we went through a school consulting website and came across some specific and related keywords which weren’t even found on the site like, “boarding school for girls” and “boarding school for boys.”

We had to open new sections and pages to add these vital keywords that were not available on the existing site structure. Do this so you won’t miss so many good keywords.

5) DO NOT: Put the wrong keywords on the wrong pages

After getting the keywords you need, the next step is to know where exactly to put them on your site. This important step in keyword research is known as keyword allocation.

People often make the mistake of placing keywords on pages whose content do not even correlate with the keywords or on pages that are not even related to the search intent.

A keyword that says “boarding schools in the USA” is likely to be targeted at people living overseas. This means that the keyword should be on a page that promotes the importance of families overseas sending their kids to schools in the US.

Another example is “top private schools in upper east side NYC.” This would be searched by people with deep knowledge about their neighborhood, therefore, it should be on a page that has multiple options to accommodate the different needs of the people. The keyword “boarding schools for girls” should be on a page talking about schools for girls.

The trick is to ensure that the keywords and the page content are related.


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