SEO Keyword Research: 13 of the Biggest Mistakes You MUST Avoid ARTICLE LINK:
by John Hawley
In a November 8, 2019 article by Carolyn Lyden at Search Engine Journal, a top search engine professionals website and news generator Lyden shared 13 of the principle themes she got from 40 responses of polled Search Engine Optimization professionals on Twitter. Here they are.
1. Forgetting Searcher Intent:
@Optimisey was quoted in his point that we should not only be focusing on having high ranking Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) web content, but making sure it matches the search intent in order to CONVERT into sales.
2. Not Looking at Actual SERPs:
Rebekah Meyer’s (@RebekahLMeyer) was quoted in her point that too often even SEO experts spend more time on the tools than actual queries in the SERPs which results in a distorted view of what’s actually going on in the Search Engine Results Pages where new insights can be gleaned. The type of content that is ranking for the sought after target keywords as identified by reviewing the SERPs should be part of standard practice in developing SEO strategies.
3. Not Seeing Past ‘Volume’ Metrics:
Amalia Fowler (@amaliaefowler) was quoted in association with this top as Fowler believes often website developers and SEO strategies focus too much on “highest volume keywords” versus the best match keywords for your business to make sales conversions. It is counter-intuitive to think that ranking highly in high volume keywords is not good, but considering nothing is free not even the time to develop organic SEO if the same effort and expense is put to targeting the keywords that drive sales that is a better investment.
4. Dismissing Long-Tail Keywords:
Sergio Arboledas (@sergi_seo) was quoted addressing the need to focus on your Top 10 competitors' behavior for chosen search terms and recognition on “long-tail keywords”. The importance of the long-tail keywords even though they have less search volume they likewise have the potential to be used by those closer to making the purchase or who will be looking for “the expert” thus building brand recognition in trust if you capture their attention and following.
5. Not Talking to Real People:
Jeremy Rivera (@JeremyRiveraSEO) was quoted on the need to communicate with sales staff, secretaries, customer support representatives about what is trending in their experience and including adjustments to website content and SEO activities based on this new source for data points.
6. Inserting Keywords After an Article is Written:
Lauren (@DreamRanking) was quoted with her take on some clients mistakenly thinking an SEO expert can go back and SEO’ their content by merely adding keywords. While tweaking existing content is indeed a part of SEO the initial copywriting with keyword research is foundational for PPC, SEO and content strategies. Research in such matters cannot be an afterthought of an article that was not written with SEO, PPC & content strategy in mind from the beginning.
7. Not Knowing Where Your Audience is Searching:
Yosef Silver (@ysilver) was quoted on his thoughts and experience on the necessity to research and understand the motivation and intent of people searching and consuming content from different sites such as google, youtube, Facebook, IG, medium, Reddit, Pinterest, etc. You may find you have better sales conversions with specific targeting content on different sites based on where your audience is searching.
8. Focusing Too Much on Exact Match:
Kayla Naab (@KaylaNaab) was quoted addressing in large part keyword stuffing content for the purpose of exact match ranking keywords in the SERP. She quotes the SEO joke; An SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor, etc…. That’s not how SEO’s operate in 2020 even though many novice web developers and copywriters are still stuck in a time when they did. Google, in particular, operates with Natural Language Processing and related entities in mind. Keywords are indeed key, but copy is better written in clear, correct and concise format and structure.
9. Ignoring Localization:
Aleyda Solis (@aleyda) was quoted on the necessity to be familiar with how local search queries as with Google My Business results impact overall search results and to keep apprised of trend in product & services preferences and seasonality.
10. Not Focusing on More Broad Topics:
Bimbo Lawal (@thebimbolawal) was quoted on copywriting for SEO and the benefits of stepping back a bit to see the forest for the trees so to speak and writing in a form called the “topic cluster model”. In this way, it can create better flow and continuity between individual targeted writing and make the website as a whole feel more natural. Plus, this provides enhanced internal linking capacity.
11. Being Unaware of Competitors:
Nigel McHugh (@IAmNigelMcHugh) is quoted on the topic of studying to identify who your actual SERP competitors are. While we may have a general idea or perception of who we choose to compete against for a variety of reasons it is important to research through the Search Engine Results Pages and tools to determine for our target keywords, traffic and other factors such as Facebook & IG insights who they are and how they are doing it so that we can adjust accordingly. Competitor Research is an important aspect of Search Engine Optimization functions.
12. Not Evaluating Keyword Difficulty Properly:
Ben Trigueiro (@TrigueiroBen) addresses this interesting topic of how your website is ranked relative to various subject authorities and this has a direct correlation with overall intent relevancy of the user who types in a series of keywords looking for applicable results in SERP. If google identifies you as an expert based on your established website content for “landscaping in Jacksonville” then it will be easier to rank higher in search engine results pages for that new or existing content than for something you don’t rank as an expert for.
The example was given that while SEO tools will rank keywords as easy or hard that would be more applicable to a new site with no existing authority than a website with established authority and expertise possible in a hard keyword category. Thus, “keyword difficulty” should be taken with a grain of salt over time.
13. Letting Clients Pick the Search Terms:
Rebekah Dunne (@RebekahDunne) is quoted on this important topic of the downside of asking inexperienced clients what keywords they want to rank for. While it is common practice and a great conversation starter the next step needs to be consideration of how popular synonyms maybe for the terms the client shared possibly with little or no research of their own. Using the example of wanting to rank higher for “lawn maintenance” and paying to do so with Google AdWords if the Top-10 local search competitors for the client are targeting a more popular search query such as “lawn care” with their organic and paid search they may be paying less for higher rankings in AdWords and have far better conversions for “lawn care” and “lawn maintenance.”
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