When in the early stages of crafting a digital marketing strategy, whether it be for SEO or a PPC campaign, keyword research is a critical element. That said, using a keyword research tool and looking for relevant keywords is not enough. If you want to be effective, read on and we’ll share the biggest pitfalls to avoid.
What is keyword research?
Before we get into it, what is keyword research? In a nutshell, keyword research refers to the process of identifying the most relevant keywords that your target audience is typing into Google when actively searching for the products or services that you offer.
By identifying these keywords, you can effectively optimise your website and strategize your content marketing approach.
1. Not knowing your ideal audience
You need to conduct extensive buyer persona research before you even think about your keywords. When you better understand who they are and what makes them tick, you can further get to know the biggest topics they tend to discuss or research online and this can help you tremendously with narrowing down your keyword research.
2. Neglecting short-tail keywords
It’s no secret that long-tail keywords are boss in today’s modern SEO practices (e.g., “3-bed houses for sale in Brisbane” as opposed to “houses”); they are cheaper, far less competitive and have much higher conversion percentages, however, you shouldn’t neglect short-tail keywords entirely.
Think of short-tail keywords as topics, and long-tail keywords as subtopics.
3. Not conducting competitor research
It’s very handy to know what your biggest competitors are currently targeting and ranking well for. This can help you create a counter strategy while filling in the gaps – and indeed identify how your competitors cover certain topics.
4. Choosing words with too low a search volume
Going for especially low search volume keywords is an excellent way to rank at #1, however, if very few people search for it, you’re not going to get much in the way of traffic – or conversions (which can be especially crippling for eCommerce websites where high volumes of sales are required to make an ROI).
That said, you can leverage data from Google Trends to identify which keywords currently have low search volume that show signs of potential for dramatic growth in the future.
It’s all about balance.
5. Allowing fear and doubt to drive your strategy
Starting from zero is overwhelming – particularly when many of your competitors have been working on their SEO for years. However, if you allow fear and doubt to drive your strategy, it can cripple you by forcing you to make poor strategic decisions.
Yes, be realistic about what can be achieved in a short time frame, but never assume that you cannot outrank your competitors. It’s all about having the confidence to take risks, while also putting the time, effort, and research into successfully outmanoeuvring the competition.
6. Focusing only on one type of SEO
Too often do we hear stories of businesses who invest in technical and onsite SEO, but then do nothing in terms of content marketing and then wonder why they aren’t getting anywhere in the rankings.
If you want to succeed, you have to cover all of your bases. Technical and onsite SEO without content marketing is like having a gun without ammunition.
7. Assuming once is enough
Keyword research is a never ending activity in SEO. You need to continually update and refine your approach, keep up to date with current trends, and optimise your website and content marketing strategy accordingly.
SEO is never a one-time thing, so be prepared to put the work in.
Keyword research is frequently underestimated despite the fact that it is arguably the single most important aspect of a successful SEO campaign. Rushing keyword research and allowing yourself to make costly mistakes is like shooting at a moving target while wearing a blindfold.
Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be.