Keyword Research: 7 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your SEO Plans

By Derek Fraser
For anyone who owns an online business or a simple website, SEO is a complete necessity. This is one of the main ways through which search engines can find your pages, index them and rank you. Without this, you will not get organic traffic or any traffic at all except your own. Search engine optimization is the one way through which you can ensure your website stands out from the millions and millions of websites online today. Running a search on Google, you will find a few dozen ways through which you can employ SEO. From using the right keywords to back-linking and guest posting, there are a lot of ways through which you can help your site stand out. What most people forget is that within those ways, there are a lot of mistakes as well. Mistakes that can render your entire SEO campaign moot. So when it comes to SEO and Keyword Research: 7 Mistakes That Can Ruin Your SEO Plans are as follows:

1. Not Including Keyword Research as Part of The Overall Site Design

Most people often think of finding the right keywords after they have completed their site design and are now looking for content. This approach is somewhat misguided. It is far better to include this research in your site design. Say for example, there are about six highly ranking keywords within your niche, wouldn’t it be much better to have six sub directories within your site rather than 18 or even less than six? Furthermore, if by chance you find that the long-tail key phrases all have the a common word, including that particular word within your URL structure will give you an added advantage on the competition. By carrying out this research during the site designing phase, you can easily tell who your market is going to be and just how many potential clients you are going to have simply by seeing how many people regularly search for a certain keyword.

2. Not Linking Keyword Research to other SEO efforts

As much as getting a high ranking keyword is effective, it is not a miracle drug in itself. It needs assistance from other SEO tactics. The trick to finding the perfect keyword is not in the characters involved within the keyword, it is how best that keyword matches to users’ queries. This means that the keyword you decide on will have a very high ‘per-visit-value’ if it matches the potential clientele’s queries well. When researching for the perfect keyword, involve data from your:

– Customer service department. These are people who interact with your clients daily and therefore are familiar with the common jargon and language.- Non-SEO marketing reps. These are the people who have insight on previous market behavior. They can help you communicate and connect to the market through synergistic and consistent phrases.- Competitors. Look at what they are doing, they might be using some keywords because they actually know something. You have to be careful though, most of them might be just as misguided.

3. Overusing the Same Keyword

In your search for high ranking keywords, you will every now and then come across a great keyword that doesn’t have that much competition. When this happens, you will be tempted to use the same keyword over and over within your site. Nip it in whenever you can within your content. This is a common mistake made by many professional and rookie SEO experts. When you use the same keyword in every page, you will be quite literally killing off your own pages by competing against yourself. This means that your pages will be unable to gain new traffic for other relevant keywords. What you want to do is, have one page that has high quality and relevant content, use this page as the landing page for your newly found keyword. Leave the rest of the pages for other keywords. This way, you will concentrate your forces (single page ranking well for your keyword) as well as sending out other sentries (using other pages to attract traffic from other keywords).

4. Not Strategizing and Using Different Keywords as Part of a Long Term Plan

This is a common mistake. Most people want to rank well and they want to rank well now. This means that they naturally concentrate on one keyword and do everything possible to get to number one using that. This is all well and good, but what happens when you do get to number one? After a little while, you plateau. This means, no more new traffic. You may even plummet as new and better ranked keywords come up. The best thing to do is use keywords as part of your bigger picture. This means that you should be trying to rank better for several keywords. This takes a great deal of insight and research. It might take years to rank better for certain keywords, but the hard work will be rewarded when you avoid plateauing because you only ranked for one keyword.

5. Localizing Your Keywords

Search engines are getting smarter by the day. Today, search engines spit out local results before anything else. This means that the search engines have realized when people search for certain keywords, especially those that pertain to services (for example mechanic, plumber etc.), they are usually searching for a local business. Granted, you will get some traffic as long as you are ranking for the searched keywords within your locale. But you stand a better chance of getting more and even all the organic traffic in that area if you localize your keyword research and use.

6. Prioritize and Effectively Allocate Your Efforts

SEO and keyword research takes a great deal of time. Not having a clear path of action can mean running around in circles spending time on activities that may not be as effective. You need to make sure that you have:- Found the right keywords and have directed most of your effort towards the highest ranking ones- You have put enough work into inherently authoritative and high quality pages that are viable to gaining you more organic traffic with staying power

7. Solely Concentrating on Volume

Yes, a high ranking keyword with the majority of searches is the ideal target. But these keywords are often so competitive that you may never rank well for them no matter how hard you try. Your far much better off concentrating on a low volume keyword or a ‘long tail’ keyword that will actually bring you some traffic. This traffic may be little in comparison to the amount potentially brought in by the high volume keywords, but this is traffic that actually converts. This is the main reason we are doing all this, to get conversions. It is hard work and it takes time, but do not wait to learn from most of these keyword mistakes the hard way. Be proactive today and save yourself the heartache tomorrow. Besides, you might actually get yourself some decent traffic for your efforts.

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