Keyword research mistakes can happen at any time.
We all have to start somewhere, and when we begin anything for the first time, it is natural to commit mistakes.
It is no different from keyword research. We wish to discover hidden keywords with great volume and conversion potential, but most of us have committed one or the other keyword research mistakes that I have described in this post.
As a beginner blogger, I would advise you to learn from the mistakes made by me and other bloggers while doing keyword research on your blog.
This will not only save you valuable time and but also help channelize your efforts on finding keywords that are worth pursuing.
1) Searching Random Keywords Is Also Counted As Keyword Research Mistakes
Aren’t we all guilty of this some time or the other? You fire up your favorite keyword tool, type in some random words related to your blog niche, and hope to find high volume keywords with low competition.
While you may find some golden keyword once in a while, but most of the time, you will end up with random, unconnected keywords that will add little value to your immediate content strategy.
Whenever you search for keywords, you should aim to find keywords that are part of your current content goals.
Let’s say you are currently creating content on the broad topic of mobile accessories.
You should find keywords on related sub-topics like mobile USB cable, mobile cases, mobile chargers, etc.
What you should avoid is searching for arbitrary keywords like mobile phones under 5000, mobile phone themes, mobile phone radiation, etc.
Searching for keywords related to a focus topic helps to plan your content better and create targeted content around that topic.
2) Not Doing Content Planning Before Searching For Keywords
The mistake of searching for random keywords is related to the bigger problem of not considering the broad topic while doing keyword research.
Do you find yourself in the scenario where you wait a few days between writing new blog posts and then suddenly start finding keywords on any random topic you can think of?
This is due to a lack of adequate pre-planning.
Before you conduct keyword research, you should devote some time to content planning. What is the broad topic you want to focus on in the next one or two months?
Once you have determined the broad topic, segregate this topic into its sub-topics that are large enough to accommodate individual blog posts.
This is also called the Cluster approach to blogging, where you create Pillar content on a broad topic.
Then you create individual posts on sub-topics and link to the pillar content. In the example of mobile accessories, this would imply creating pillar content on the broad topic of mobile accessories.
After this, you should create individual blog posts on sub-topics like mobile USB cable, mobile cases, mobile chargers, etc.
When you conduct keyword research using the cluster approach to content creation, you are much more likely to find targeted keywords around your chosen topic as compared to searching randomly.
3) Only Selecting Head Keywords
This is another beginner mistake to avoid. Head keywords are the primary keywords on a topic that are short (1 or 2 words) and have quite a high search volume.
Beginner bloggers are tempted to go for these keywords by just looking at the search volume data.
However, what you should realize is that these head keywords are also highly competitive, and you will have a hard time ranking your articles for these keywords. That’s why you should target medium-tail and long-tail keywords with medium and low to medium search volume.
Of course, this does not mean that you discard the head keywords entirely. Rather, it is a good idea to select head keywords for your pillar content and medium-tail and long-tail keywords for the sub-topics.
Using the mobile example, mobile accessories would be the head keyword, and individual mobile accessories would be the medium-tail and long-tail keywords that you should uncover.
4) Not Looking At Search Intent
Search has changed enormously over the past 10 years. Earlier you could write a keyword optimized article and expect it to rank on the first page within some days.
Today, such tricks no longer work. Google has gone all out to improve the user experience (UX) for searches on its platform.
For this reason, it first tries to determine the searcher’s intent behind any search query and displays the relevant results that it feels will fulfill the requirement of the searcher.
Therefore, you also should understand the search intent behind a particular keyword before you create content around it.
Does the keyword have informational, commercial, or transnational intent? You can search for the keyword using incognito mode in your browser to find out. Observe the pages that rank on the first page.
Are the pages ‘How to’ type (informational) or they return list type posts like ‘top 10 mobile accessories”, etc. Using this knowledge, you will know the potential of the keyword in meeting your content goals and the type of post you should create.
5) Trying To Rank For A Single Keyword
I remember when I started my first WordPress blog way back in 2010. That time we could create entire websites around a single keyword with high search volume and low competition. But those days are long gone.
Forget creating single keyword websites; you cannot expect to rank web pages that target a single keyword. I was guilty of nearly committing this mistake recently when I wrote a review of Thrive Architect, a WordPress page builder plugin.
I initially planned to create the entire post around the primary keyword. But then I dug deeper and tried to understand the searchers’ intent and realized that people wanted to know different things about this plugin.
This included its pricing, templates, ease of use, etc. So, I included all these aspects in my review.
And this what you should do too when creating content. Keep a primary keyword ready but also search for secondary keywords that have lower search volume but complement the primary keyword.
One way of finding these keywords is by looking at the ‘People also ask’ feature on Google and also the ‘related searches’ tab at the bottom of the search page. You can also use free tools like WMS Everywhere and Answer the Public to determine the related searches.
6) Ignoring Your Competitor’s Keywords
So many bloggers completely ignore their competitors when researching keywords.
This is a big mistake, in my opinion. You can save tons of time and effort by checking out the keywords that the top pages rank for on Google.
You can use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to find the top-ranking pages for your primary keyword.
Then you can check out all the keywords that these pages rank for. This is the easiest way to research the best keywords for your focus topic quickly.
If these pages are ranking on the top of Google results for these keywords, it means that these keywords are relevant to the primary topic and have good traffic potential.
You should include the essential keywords that your competitors have used in their articles and give the content a unique twist to make it stand out.
7) Not Using Search Trends To Determine Demand
Not all keywords are created equal. Some keywords are seasonal, while others have perennial demand.
You may want to skip the keywords that show high search volume only during particular months.
This is quite typical in the education niche where certain keywords peak around the time of exams and lie dormant for the rest of the year.
You can determine the search demand using Google Trends and also check out the regional and country-specific search trends.
An even better and free tool to determine the search trends is explodingtopics.com.
Using this tool, you can find promising keywords in your niche and check their demand over a five-year period. What’s more, you can also plug in your own keywords in the tool to check out their search trends.
Keyword research is arguably the most important and primary step in creating rank-worthy content. If your keyword selection is wrong, no matter how useful and detailed your content is, it will not attract the right search traffic that you hoped for.
That’s why you should always try to find keywords that fit in with your current content strategy and are easy to rank with adequate search volume. This will make it worthwhile to create content around these keywords.
Most importantly, try to avoid the keyword research mistakes I have listed above that are all too common among beginner bloggers. I would also love to know what is your favorite keyword research strategy and also the biggest hurdle you face while searching for keywords in your niche, in the comments below.
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