If you’re still stuffing keywords in your content, you got to stop. Google has got smart enough to penalize contents with overstuffed keywords. This has nothing to do with keyword research mistakes but your site will get all the hate from Google Panda Update.
But if you’re playing by the rules and still wonder why you did not get the traffic and the ranking that your content deserved, you may have committed these keyword research mistakes unknowingly. Some may have denied you a rightful place in Google search results. Others may have cost you money making opportunities.
Anyway, here’s the list of keyword research mistakes that could be hampering your SEO efforts.
1. Short-Tail or Generic Keywords.
If you’re starting a blog that intends to monetize on sports shoes, chances are you’re thinking of publishing a series of blog posts that targets the keyword “sports shoes“.
Big mistake here.
Yes, there is an average of 50 million people searching for “sports shoes” on Google. But the reality is, the top rankers for short keywords like this are major websites with very high domain authority. Just do a quick search for “sports shoes” on Google and you’ll get these.
It’s definitely a profitable keyword as the are four sponsored results appearing in my search results. But you’ll have to compete with sites like sportsshoes.com which has a domain authority score of 52. If you’re publishing from a new website, chances are your domain authority is just below 20. (Here’s a free tool to check your domain authority).
The possibility of outranking these high authority websites with your pretty new blog within a short period? You’ll have a better chance striking the jackpot.
Target long tail keywords instead.
You’ll stand a better chance of ranking faster in Google when you target phrases that are made of 4-5 words.
It doesn’t mean that you won’t be competing with high domain sites here, but you’ll have lesser of them to deal with for long tail keywords. Also, people who are searching for longer phrases have a higher chance of making a purchase.
Here’s an article on ShoutMeLoud with awesome tips for finding long tail keywords.
2. Keywords With Little or No Traffic
While you may want to avoid 1 or 2 words phrase when you’re building up your blog, you don’t want to end up at the other extreme with keywords with little to no traffic.
You may think that there could be a market for second-hand sports shoes for kids and thought “used sports shoes for children” could be a good idea for your next post.
Here’ the part where you googled “used sports shoes for children” and gladly pointed out that there are more than 16 million results and surely, there must be demand and traffic for this search term.
So you published a post with this particular keywords, promoted over and over again and you wondered why there is not a single organic traffic for this page.
Always check how much traffic you are expecting with Google Keyword Planner or other similar tools.
Yes. There is totally no monthly searches for that particular search term. But how did this happen? Well, that leads us to the next common keyword research mistake.
3. Searching for Broad Match rather than Phrase Match.
First thing first, when you search on Google in a typical manner, it shows you a broad match, instead of phrase match. Ben Hunt has a very good explanation on what is a broad match here.
Most people do their keyword research by typing in Google like this
Broad match results give a pretty inaccurate number of results as it listed every single page that has one or more of the words in the phrase.
Here’s what you should type to get results that contain all the words in the keyword.
As you can see, there are only 4 matching results. Think of all the wasted time and afford to craft a lengthy content if you have based the result on broad match.
4. Using Singular instead of Plural (or vice versa)
Say, you’re thinking of doing a post to attract parents looking for a good bargain for their kid. So you got a long tail keyword with pretty decent traffic and very little competitor with “kids shoe on sale“.
Doing a phrase match search on Google indicates there are only 28 competing results.
Why did I say 28 results when it clearly shows “About 4,530 results” below?
Simply navigate to the last page of the search result, and you’ll get what you call the “Quoted Search Result” or QSR. Check out the image below. The QSR for “kids shoe on sale” is 28.
So you published your post but you found you have difficulty ranking high and getting the traffic you desired. And all of a sudden you’re up against a host of major websites like shoebuy.com and footlocker.com.
Because you overlooked the fact that most users search “kids shoes on sale” instead of the singular ‘shoe’.
When you are in doubt whether you should drop a ‘s’ or not, use Google Trend to check it out.
It’s shocking how omitting a single ‘s’ could be the biggest mistake of your keyword research.
5. Targeting keywords that are on a downward trend.
You don’t want to waste your time building contents after contents just to realized that by the time you outranked all your competitors, the traffic just disappeared.
Sounds scary isn’t it?
That’s what happens when you build contents around the keyword “Toms shoes for women“. A quick check on Google shows there are only 90 competing sites for the exact phrase (QSR 90) and drawing a monthly search traffic between 1K to 10K.
What could go wrong with it? Well, pretty much, if you’re working on a downhill trend.
Use Google Trend to gauge if your primary keyword is trending or losing demand over time. I mentioned “primary keyword” because Google Trend normally couldn’t return any data for long tail keywords.
Here’s the result. A quick analysis that doesn’t take more than 60 seconds could determine the fate of your search traffic years down the line.
6. You don’t understand user intent.
When users searched “running shoes buying guides“, and your content offers nothing but an endless list of bargain running shoes from E-Bay, you risked turning away buyers for good.
The same goes to choking your readers with too much information on how to choose the best running shoe when they are searching for “Best Running Shoes”
The trick to keeping Google happy is giving your readers the content that they expected.
Bottom line is, you need to know if your readers are actually looking for general information, comparison, guides, reviews or ready to make an actual purchase.
A simple way is actually keying in phrases that you think your users would use in Google and analyze the content of the top search results. You can also check user’s behavior by visiting forums or sites like Quora and Yahoo Answers.
7. You use boring titles.
Boring titles are boring. Enough said.
The keyword “How To Choose Running Shoes” is actually a pretty competitive keyword in terms of monthly searches and competition. But the internet is full of bland “How to..” guides and users are tired of reading the same old thing again.
You could have produced some epic in-depth content but if your title is going to say “How To Choose Running Shoes”, you are going to lose traffic to another page that says “How To Select The Best Running Shoes For Comfort And Style ”
Why? Plainly because most users are attracted to catchy titles and just simply doesn’t bother to click on plain and boring ones.
You can do a simple scan on the search result and I’ll bet most of the top results have catchy and creative titles.
You don’t need to be an award-winning author to come up with catchy titles. It takes time and constant practice to deliver awesome titles. Jeff Goins mentioned in his article that using numbers and adjectives are among many tricks to writing catchy titles.
8. You are using irrelevant keywords.
You crafted 1,500 words in-depth content based on the keyword “how to choose a running shoe“. It looks promising with around 120 searches a month with 141 competing results. You hit published and you waited for a month for it to rank.
Here’s the surprise. You found that you’re ranking below competitors that target “how to choose running shoes” instead. A quick check found out that this keyword is the more popular version in terms of search traffic and competition.
Why are you not ranking for the previous keyword? Simply because the latter made more sense to the readers.
I wish that you could fix issues like this with doing a few manual searches on Google. But it’s going to be tedious and there are better and faster ways to do so.
You’re going to need a paid keyword research tool like Jaaxy, where it will list out all the related searches and parameters with just one click like this.
With a list of keywords in place, you can then manually check if you’re targeting non-relevant keywords. This will save minute
9. You don’t track keyword performance.
Your keyword research says you’re going to bring in at least 500 visitors a month for a very targeted keyword. But does it occur to you that you may be getting only a tiny fraction of it while the rest goes to your competitors?
Or worse, your pages barely attract any clicks as they struggle to rank in Google.
If you don’t track how well your keywords are performing, you won’t know what or where to make improvements. The reality is, when you’re hoping to draw visitors to your website, you got to make every single keyword count.
Check out my post on how to monitor keywords performance and increase search traffic from an awesome trick I learned from Nick Patel.
10. You don’t use sales converting keyword.
It’s true that most blogs don’t make a lot of money in their lifetime. Not because they produce below par contents or having little traffic.
It’s because they don’t sell at all.
They avoided words like “Cheapest”, “Buy”, “Review“, and “Sales” when they crafted their page titles and content.
I know some bloggers avoided selling like a plague, simply because of the common saying of “people love to buy but hate to be sold to“.
You don’t need to have every single page screaming “buy me” at your readers. But you need to have some pages for direct readers who actually trusted you to make a purchase from your site.
A change of mindset is in order.
Stop hesitating in recommending your trusted readers a product or program that you have used and trusted. You can start learning about how to develop proper sales funnel and strategy for conversion.
There are loads of online resources on this if you are willing to search around.
11. You only use FREE tools like Google Keyword Planner.
Are we looking at 100K or 1 million monthly searches? What about the actual Click Through Rate (CTR) for a particular keyword?
How many competitors you’ll face for a particular keyword. Try as you may but relying on FREE tools like Google Keyword Planner and the search engine itself has its own limitation.
For one, it is time-consuming just to get the parameters right for a single keyword.
If you’re serious about producing a quality website that ranks, you’re going to spend more time on planning, developing content, and more marketing and less time tinkering with multiple free keyword research tools.
There are many paid keyword research tools out there that promise a handful of features. But there are only 3 important parameters that I used in getting my pages to rank high on Google. They are monthly searches, projected traffics and competitors. I’ll recommend you to try Jaaxy for FREE to actually experience how much time you’ll save compared to using FREE tools.
You can start searching your next profitable keyword here.
Over To You
Did I miss out any keyword mistakes that I should have included? Are you making any of these on your blog? Do you have a better solution? Share your thoughts in the comment below.
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Hey, it’s Kenny here. I’m a single dad, freelance writer, an affiliate marketer. I have been making a living online since 2016, after quitting a 10-years engineering profession. When I’m not on the laptop, I’ll be in the kitchen experimenting with new cuisines.