There’s no question that successful keyword research requires a little time and effort to get the job done, but misconceptions and mistakes can not only prolong the process, but also lead to back-peddling in the future.
1. Don’t Be a Know-It-All
Think you know what keywords your visitors are using to find your site? If you haven’t done the proper research, you do not know the right answer to this question.
Marketers easily forget the language of their audience. They think their customers will use industry-related keywords to find their website.
Avoid industry jargon. For example, if you are selling SEO services to small businesses that do not understand SEO, targeting keywords like “increased traffic” will not get the job done. You may understand what traffic means in the context of marketing, but to your audience, traffic is nothing more than the 405 freeway in Los Angeles during drive time.
Open your mind and remember that your audience does not know the ins and outs of your industry. If they did, they wouldn’t need your services.
2. It’s Not a Numbers Game
The money isn’t always in the big keywords. There may be 500,000 monthly searches for a keyword, but if it does not bring customers flocking to your website ready to buy, it is meaningless. Acquiring hordes of traffic means nothing if your bank account remains fixed.
Successful keyword research cannot rely only on search volume. Relevance is a crucial factor. So what if your SEO company ranks for the term “Google results”? Do you think your customers will ever find you? If your keywords are not relevant to your website, your associated traffic won’t convert because your visitors will be uninterested in your services.
3. Going for the Money Keywords
Marketers who fall into the numbers game trap are also guilty of going after keywords that are out of their league. If you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars, you will not rank for the term “SEO.” And in my opinion, you should not even try. Why?
Though two-word keyword phrases are important to a marketing campaign, website owners should not neglect the power of long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords usually contain three or more words and are searched less than main keywords. Because of their lower search volume, some marketers see them as liabilities rather than assets.
One benefit of long-tail keywords is the low competition. Websites can rank for long-tail keywords much faster than more competitive ones.
But what is even more beneficial is the type of people searching with long-tail keywords.
Consider this example:
You sell shoes of all shapes, colors and sizes. If you spent all of your time, money and resources, trying to rank for the word “shoes” you would get a lot of traffic but you may not experience the increase in profits you would expect.
Let’s look at this from the customer’s point of view. Someone who types the word “shoes” into a search query may not want to buy shoes. They could need shoe polish, shoe repairs, or even shoe size information. But, if a customer searches with the word “red high heel shoes”, she knows what she wants and is most likely ready to purchase.
Moral of the story: Long-tail keywords target customers who are further along in the buying process. Though the traffic numbers are less than they are for “money” keywords, visitors arriving from long-tail keyword searches are more apt to buy. Would you rather have 1000 visitors to your site who aren’t sure what they want? Or 100 visitors with their wallets open ready to buy? Enough said.
The next time you sit down to perform some keyword research, consider these principles and see if it makes a difference in your bottom line.
Do you have any other keyword research tips? Please share with us in the comments below.