In Part 1, we explained what keyword research is, how it works, what data should be collected and considered, and why it's so important as a foundation for your SEO strategy and campaign. In Part 2, we examine 6 common mistakes people make when conducting keyword research, which could make the difference between the data being correct or potentially inaccurate and even worthless...

I've spearheaded the majority of Liberty's keyword research in the past 1-2 years and have come across a variety of keyword research mistakes made by businesses, in-house marketers and even other SEO agencies.

Here are the most common, so that you know to avoid them:

1. Choosing keywords based on search volume alone: Some people consider effective keyword research to consist of only collecting search volume data for keywords, and choosing keywords based on that information alone. However, as explained in Part 1, obtaining competition and ranking data as well can give a much clearer picture of where there might be opportunities.

2. Recording broad match data: The default match type in the Google AdWords Keyword Tool is broad match. Make sure that you change this to [exact] match, in order to obtain more precise data on individual keywords. Check out our guide on PPC match types for more info. I've seen a keyword with 5,000 monthly searches on broad match that only receives 50 on [exact], so you don't want to be assuming that a keyword will bring you up to 5,000 visitors when it might actually be 1% of that!

3. Not considering keywords that customers would use: I remember hearing a story about a company that wanted to rank #1 for a particular keyword, but didn't realise that it was purely an industry team, and that their customers called this particular product by a completely different name. Therefore, they might've ended up ranking for a keyword that might not have necessarily brought any new customers to their door. One example might be "sweatshirts," which might also be called "sweaters" or "jumpers." You may want to opt for the phrase that your customers use, even if it's not necessarily what you yourself would call it.

4. Only focussing on head terms: I wrote a blog post called 'There's More To Life Than "Shoes",' and at that time, I discovered that although "shoes" had 50,000 searches per month in Google, it still only made up for less than 2% of the entire search market for that industry! Don't just concentrate on head terms - they are harder to rank for, they may not convert as well (as they're much broader) and ultimately you could miss out on a lot of other areas, which may have less search volume but may also be easier and more profitable to you.

5. Missing out long-tail opportunities: Did you know that the Google AdWords Keyword Tool has a word limit, depending on the length or the words you enter? Make sure that you haven't missed out wordier variations of keywords, such as keywords consisting of 6 or more words. After all, if you spot them - and your competitors haven't - then they could consist of some worthwhile opportunities.

6. Missing singular/plural and hyphenated words: The Google AdWords Keyword Tool can also be quite finite, depending on what you put into it. If you were to put in "keyrings" and tick the box that says 'Only show ideas closely related to my search terms,' you will only get keyword suggestions that have the word "keyrings" in them. In order to get singular variations, you would have to put in "keyring" separately as well. It also wouldn't show "key ring" or "key rings" (i.e. with a space), so you would have to manually include those variations, too. It may be long-winded, but then it could make the difference between seeing all the potential keywords out there or only a handful of them.

Liberty provides comprehensive keyword research services, whether it's to help kick-off an SEO campaign or as a one-off service to those who want to double-check that the keywords they're going for are the right ones for them and their business. For a no-obligation chat with an ethical online marketing agency, please call +44 (0)29 2076 6467 today.

Comments are closed