Deadly Mistakes Made When Conducting SEO Keyword Research

seo keyword researchOne of the first things you need to do when building a website that attracts targeted traffic is to conduct SEO keyword research to find the keywords and phrases that people are searching for, have commercial intent and are not overly competitive.

Although that may sound quite easy, it is not and time and time again people make very rudimental mistakes when conducting their SEO keyword research for their websites that mean no one ever sees the site, let alone visits it and converts, in the form of a subscriber, lead or sale.

9 Deadly SEO Keyword Research Mistakes that Can Leave Your Website as Empty as a Ghost Town.

1. Choosing Vanity Phrases.

A vanity phrase is when you select a keyword that you believe in your heart of hearts you can rank for. It is like when you are younger and you have your heart throb pinned to your wall and you genuinely think that you have a chance with her (or him!). You don’t, in fact she won’t even look in your direction, leaving you deflated to say the least.

A vanity phrase would be “iPhone5”, you might think as it was only released last week that you may have a chance;   2,950,000,000 competing pages would say different. On top of that you need to get real; there will have been businesses, including Apple building up their SEO portfolio and positions for iPhone5 for the last year or so. It’s ludicrous to even think that you could rank and rank well for it.

Another area that I consider to be a vanity phrase is your business name, or even your name. Don’t get me wrong, you want a glowing online presence when someone types in your business or name to check you out but don’t have your business name as your primary keyword as it will bring little value, new leads, business or sales. Think instead of the keywords that people will use if they were searching for your products or services.

2. Copying the competition

If you know who your competition is then great! You do a little check and you find out what keywords they are ranking for. In your mind you think they are a successful company, they are in the prime spots in the search engine results pages, why not simply copy their keywords?

Don’t – how do you know that those keywords are converting? That company may have had years to build authoritative links for those keywords. Therefore it will take you a long time to compete, and that is all you will be doing. You will not be displaying your business’s unique selling proposition, you will be jumping on the bandwagon.

3. Trying to target every keyword possible.

Unless you have an army of SEO copywriters and link builders you are never going to be able to compete on too many fronts. When conducting your SEO keyword research select a few keywords, say up to 5 to start with, that complement each other and work on getting those keywords positioned in the SERP’s

4. Picking Keywords purely on Volume.

This is one of the biggest and most deadly mistakes. Some people and business pick keywords purely on the volume of search results. And although it is important that the keyword you are targeting has a search volume you also need to take into consideration:

  • Who is typing in this keyword?
  • Where is the keyword popular?
  • Is the keyword seasonal?
  • Is the keyword a brand or product you don’t know?
  • What is the level of competition?

Volume alone will not make a winning website, think longer and harder about the keywords that you will select before putting in the effort.

5. Keywords are only for the home page.

Keywords are not only for the home page of your website. Each and every page that you have online is indexed in Google and therefore, each and every page can act as a doorway to your site. Again when thinking about the keywords that you want to select make sure they are viable. However, not every page has to include keywords as that post, article or page’s purpose on the website may be for something else rather than attracting new visitors.

6. Using the same keyword on every page.

Using the same keyword on every page does not mean your website as a whole will rank higher for that term. Instead you should think about producing pages or posts that have keywords that are similar or related and link those together while getting backlinks to both pages.

7. Keyword stuffing.

Keyword stuffing is when the keyword phrase is used over and over and over again in an attempt to trick the search engines that the content is valuable.

The search engines and the people behind the search engines are not stupid; in fact they are some of the smartest people on the planet! A page that overuses keywords is not going to get through and could even end up working against your site’s rankings.

8. Using phrases that are not relevant.

Yellow Submarines have nothing whatsoever to do with accountancy practices. Or at least I don’t think so. The point is that your website and the keywords you choose to target need to be relevant to the theme of your site and the target audience otherwise they will be a waste of time, confusing both users and search engines as to the purpose of your site.

9. Using the same phrase throughout the website

The search engines want to see a website that is authoritative, relevant and trustworthy. If they send one of their customers to a site that is targeting one phrase and one phrase only then the user is restricted to what they can learn about the subject. The search engines want the user to have a great experience and find out more about the topic through information posts, videos relevant to that one search term.

To ensure that you do not fall into the trap of making your website a virtual ghost town follow these 5 questions when conducting SEO keyword research.

  1. Is the competition for the phrase unrealistically high?
  2. Is the phrase relevant to my website?
  3. Are these keywords really the most relevant for this page?
  4. Is there enough search volume?
  5. Is my target audience really searching for this?

If you follow the above questions when carrying out your SEO keyword research you should avoid the common pitfalls that are made and ensure that your website is a thriving hub of activity and not a ghost town.