Keyword research is the cornerstone of any SEO strategy. High-quality keyword research unlocks a plethora of vital data, like which keywords are easier to rank for, what your ideal audience searches for when looking for information on solutions like yours, and what keywords your competitors are using.
But to truly make a difference to your website’s SEO, it should also be at the forefront of your content marketing strategy. Keyword research is imperative for validating your content marketing ideas – ensuring your target audience actually wants to consume the pages you’re publishing.
For these reasons alone, it’s imperative you make the most out of your keyword research.
On the other hand, chances are, no matter how efficient or up-to-scratch you think your keyword research skills are, you’re still making mistakes. The tech that surfaces keyword-related data doesn’t always do so in the most accessible or thorough manner, and given the constant flow of Google algorithm updates, SEO is a highly dynamic discipline that can be hard to keep up with,
Let’s take a closer look.
What’s Keyword Research?
SEO marketers have performed keyword research in the hopes of mastering search engine algorithms for decades now, and for a good reason. Getting to the top of Google’s search results is one of the most potent tactics any marketer can use. Keyword research is usually performed during the early days of a content marketing campaign or new online business strategy, to determine what it might take to enjoy the best possible results.
This makes keyword research an important consideration to take into account before you even commit to funding your business, because it can show you how much demand potential there is for your product and how likely it is that you’ll corner the market or fail – depending on how entrenched the competition is.
Indeed, the advantages of first-rate keyword research are profound. Still, the importance of this task is often overlooked. If the practice is rushed, you’re likely sleeping on a pile of untapped potential. Getting your keyword research tool ready, finding the most relatable keywords, and checking their search volumes just doesn’t cut it anymore.
But, thankfully, some of the most commonly made mistakes are easy fixes. In light of that, we’ve listed three such blunders as well as what you can do to fix them:
1. You’re Ignoring Conversions
This is a big one. By ignoring your conversions, you’re more likely to target the wrong keywords. The truth is, the online world is an intensively competitive marketplace, and the competition is only going to get fiercer.
So to make yourself known in a way that actually impacts your sales, you’ve got to focus on conversion and language analysis and perform a high-quality “conversion audit.” This process sounds quite complex, but in reality, it’s relatively easy to determine how well your traffic will convert.
First off, you need to determine which keywords are already driving the most sales-qualified traffic to your website. If you have goal tracking set up on Google Analytics (and you really should), keep a close eye on the highest converting keywords your site’s benefitting from. See if you can spot any patterns.
This data is gold. With this kind of info in hand, you’re better positioned to influence other aspects of your keyword exploration and content creation and, consequently, increase your website’s conversion rate for all types of traffic referrals – not just from organic search.
2. You’re Forgetting Your Searcher’s Intent
If you’re not entirely in tune with what your users are looking for, then you’ll never make the most out of your keyword research. As we’ve already pointed out, driving traffic is one thing, but driving conversions is where the real benefits are. To get there, you need to be mindful of your searcher’s intent, a key aspect of the wealth of buyer intent information available.
Put simply, searcher intent is the reasoning behind what someone taps into a search engine. For instance, if you’re Googling “garden chairs,” you’re probably trying to buy one, not look at other people’s pictures of garden chairs. Most garden furniture websites recognize this, and that’s why their ads appear all over the search results.
Over the years, Google has worked hard to ensure its algorithm can determine search intent. After all, Google only wants to display the most relevant pages for the user’s search term. With this in mind, if you’re going to rank highly, you need to understand what users are searching for and, more importantly, why.
Common search intentions are: informational, navigational, transactional, or commercial, and luckily, there are a few top buzzwords for each category. For example, informational searches usually contain words and phrases like “how to” and “why,” and searches with transactional intent can include: “buy,” “discount,” or “deal.”
In light of that, it’s wise to look out for these words and phrases while conducting your keyword research. This goes a long way to ensure the content you’re producing serves an active need of your target demographic, consequently increasing the chances of generating those all-important conversions.
3. You’re Overlooking the Importance of Long-Tail Keywords
As the term so aptly suggests, “long-tail keywords” are more extended, specific keyword phrases. Typically, visitors use these to find more in-depth information about a particular matter, product, or service.
Often, long-tail keywords have lower search volumes, so people tend to forget the importance they hold. However, they represent a lower stage of the funnel, meaning the user is more likely to make a purchase or is closer to some sort of conversion. Plus, typically speaking, by targeting long-tail keywords, you automatically benefit from less competition.
Because people tend to favor shorter searches, there’s less data available on long-tail keywords, and keyword research tools will therefore often report that they have zero search volume, even when they don’t.
But to look back at the garden chair product example, think about how much more likely you are to convert customers looking for “blue garden chairs with orange stripes” if your products have those attributes and you optimize for that search term. Sure, there might not be so many of those people, but they’re yours for the taking.
Not to mention, you’re answering a direct query, which, if done well, works wonders for positioning you as an authority and instilling trust with your audience. As a result, visitors are more likely to return to your website for further advice, products, services and so forth.
Are You Ready to Up Your Keyword Research Game?
For your keyword research to pack a punch and truly benefit your brand, you need to cover all your bases. This includes really taking the time to assess and justify every keyword you’re considering using as part of your content and SEO strategy.We all make mistakes, and when you’re trying to navigate the vast oceans of SEO, it can be unavoidable. However, failing to perform effective keyword research can really push you down the rankings. Luckily, the most common errors are simple fixes. With time, effort, and understanding, you’ll soon learn how to get the most out of the research process.
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