Keyword research isn’t the most fun or glamorous component of any SEO campaign, but it is the most important. If you don’t target the right keywords, your site won’t rank well for appropriate search queries and your target audience won’t be able to find you. Essentially, without the right keywords you are dead in the water and the rest of your SEO will go to waste. If you are attempting to conduct keyword research for your company without the aid of an SEO expert, here are a few things to watch out for.
1. Shooting for the moon
If you run a small business, let’s say a local boutique that sells women’s clothing and accessories, you are never going to rank number one in the SERP for “women’s blouse.” You can target that keyword to death, but it’s just not going to happen. A keyword that broad (and that profitable) will have shopping giants like Banana Republic, J. Crew and Ann Taylor all fighting to own it. Frankly, small businesses don’t have the budget or manpower to go toe-to-toe with these companies. You’re better off targeting localized and long-tail keywords that you have a real shot of gaining ground on.
2. Choosing keywords that don’t fit the content
You must select keywords based on the content of that particular page, not just what you want to target. For instance, a pet store sells a lot of different products—dog food, aquarium filters, scratching posts for cats, etc. You don’t want to dump all those keywords on the same page! “Dog food” and related keywords need to be incorporated onto the page about dog food. Just because it’s a keyword you want to target, that doesn’t mean it belongs on every page of your site.
3. Refusing to redo your keyword research
No one says you have to get it 100% right on the first try. Be willing to accept that fact that some of your keywords aren’t working as well as you may have hoped. That’s why it is so important to keep an eye on your analytics. You need to know which keywords driving traffic and which keywords aren’t. You may find that a keyword you didn’t even intentionally target is driving more traffic than those that you cherry-picked. It’s ok to redo your keyword research! It doesn’t mean you failed at SEO.
4. Not considering user-intent
This is probably the biggest and more common mistake site owners make when conducting their keyword research. It doesn’t matter how you would search for your product/brand/services; it just matters how your target audience searches. For example, if someone is searching for “insurance” (one of the most competitive keywords there is) what kind of insurance are they actually looking for? Home? Auto? Health? People use different words to search for the same things, but they can also use the same words to search for different things. There is no way to incorporate every keyword a visitor might use to find your site, but you have got to consider ones that are being used frequently.