Four Keyword Mistakes You May Be Making In Your SEO Campaigns

seo punishment

Photo credit: Sean MacEntee

When it comes to Search Engine Optimization and keyword research, keep in mind that the keywords you select affect not only your search results ranking, but also what kind of traffic you are sending to your site.  Keyword research can be one of the hardest components of SEO, and it’s easy to make a mistake along the way.  Here are four simple mistakes you may be making that are undermining your SEO efforts:
1. NOT CONSIDERING THE USER

You have to realize that keyword research is all about the user.  It’s not about you – it’s all about what your visitors want.  How do they behave and search?  You can’t assume you know how your target market will be searching.  You want to consider the user in regards to search behaviors and terminology, as these will be ever-changing and evolving.  Make sure your research is on top of these trends when you are researching your keywords

2. KEYWORDS ARE TOO BROAD

If you mostly sell promotional items but dabble a bit in print, don’t target ‘printing’ as one of your keywords.  Make sure you are getting as specific as possible with your keywords – find the best fit for what you are selling.  Using too broad of keywords may send a bit more traffic to your site, but untargeted and unwanted traffic is just wasting your efforts.

3. MEASURING SUCCESS BY ONE METRIC

You can’t judge your SEO results by one metric.  Take the conversion rate for example.  Let’s say we have two keywords:
-KEYWORD A: 3.3% Conversion Rate
-KEYWORD B: 5% Conversion Rate
Keyword B is the better keyword in this example, yes?  Wrong.  While keyword B has the better conversion rate, if you look at the actual stats, keyword A is bringing more traffic and generating more leads:
Keyword A: 300 Visitors, 20 signups for a newsletter
Keyword B: 100 Visitors, 5 signups
You want to make sure you are looking at the whole picture when measuring the success of your keywords.  Honing in on one statistic could be giving you misleading results

4. WORRYING TOO MUCH ABOUT SEARCH VOLUME

If a broad keyword like ‘shirts’ gets millions of searches a month, it must be worth using for a keyword, correct?  Wrong.  ‘Shirts’ may get millions upon millions of searches, but the majority of the searchers are untargeted and uninterested buyers to someone selling branded shirts.  ‘Branded shirts’ may get far less search volume, but you’re getting an audience that has more interest in your product.  Make sure you’re not too concerned about search volume or you may be missing out on keywords that can boost your business.

In closing, make sure you are staying on top of your keyword research.  Remember that keywords are not set in stone – just as search behaviors and terminology is evolving so should your keywords.  My recommendation is to re-evaluate your keywords every 6 months or so, to make sure you are using the most effective keywords.  Keeping up with your research and keeping these four common mistakes in mind can have your SEO campaigns running more effectively.

Until next time,

Tom Zobel

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