Top 10 SEO Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid

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Team Finleeds
Top 10 SEO Keyword Research Mistakes to Avoid
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These are the top 10 SEO keyword research mistakes you should avoid:

  1. Focusing Solely on Search Volume: Don’t just focus on how often a keyword is searched. Keyword difficulty and cost-per-click are also crucial metrics.
  2. Neglecting Search Intent: Understand why users search for a particular keyword. The content should satisfy this intent to be effective.
  3. Overlooking Geography: If a business is local, it should target local SEO keywords to reach its audience more effectively.
  4. Shunning Long Tail Keywords: These are specific search queries that may have low volume but can lead to higher conversion rates.
  5. Choosing Too Many Keywords: Focus on a few select keywords to better satisfy search intent
  6. Ignoring Competitors: To rank better, understand what keywords competitors are using and create better content around them.
  7. Avoiding the Customers: It’s essential to know the language your target audience uses, which might differ from industry jargon.
  8. Disregarding Other Search Methods: Besides Google, users also search on platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
  9. Forgetting about Trends: Keywords can trend or become outdated. Monitoring these changes can give a competitive edge.
  10. Never Monitoring the Results: Continuously track keyword performance to make necessary adjustments.

Every Search Engine Optimization (SEO) starts with conducting SEO keyword research. Website owners, web designers and developers, and content creators focus on relevant keywords, phrases, and questions for their niche. After all, the keywords refer to the terms individuals input into search engines to find related content. If website owners incorporate them into their pages, they can index for those searches and rank higher on search engine results (SERPs). 

SEO keyword research is not as simple and straightforward as it may sound. It is an intricate process, requiring attention to the tiniest details and careful keyword selection. Suppose keyword researchers neglect or miss important information or make a slight mistake. In that case, it can derail SEO efforts further down the line and lead to disheartening results.

Fortunately, our experts have compiled the top ten biggest SEO keyword research mistakes. This way, you can avoid these catastrophic errors and start your SEO campaign on the right foot. Take a look:


Top 10 SEO Keyword Research Mistakes

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1. Focusing Solely on Search Volume

When choosing their optimal keywords or phrases, many keyword researchers focus only on search volume. Search volume refers to how often that keyword was searched in a specific period, typically monthly. While it does show how popular a keyword may be, it is not the only thing that matters in selecting a keyword.


Keyword difficulty (KD) goes hand in hand with search volume. If KD is high, ranking in the top SERPs is more difficult. If KD is low, it may be easier to show up on the first page of SERPs. In this sense, KD should be carefully analyzed against search volume.


It is also worthwhile to look at cost-per-click (CPC), even if the website does not plan to run ads. If the competition runs CPC ads, they will show up in the highest positions on SERPs for that keyword. It highlights if users need to scroll halfway down a SERP to find the webpage or if they will see it right at the top.


2. Neglecting Search Intent

Often, keyword researchers forget about the why behind all the keywords in the first place. Why are users searching these terms? What information are they trying to find? Search intent is equally, if not more important, than search volume and keyword difficulty, and other metrics. After all, if the content does not match the search intent, a higher ranking on SERPs won’t matter. Websites may receive visibility and traffic but suffer from high bounce rates and low conversion.


So, website developers and content creators must contemplate why someone is searching for the keyword, what content they want to consume, and if the webpage satisfies that need. For example, if a website sells rustic copper silverware, it may not be worthwhile to target keyphrase “how to clean copper silverware” even if the search volume is relatively high. These users are looking for content that shows them how to care for the silverware they already own, not purchase new ones. However, they may fulfill the keywords “where to buy copper silverware” and “shop copper silverware” better.

3. Overlooking Geography

Website owners should consider utilizing local SEO keywords if a website caters to a specific area or region. Take, for example, a small thrift store in London that uses keywords such as “thrift store,” “vintage clothing,” and “secondhand clothing.” While choosing relevant keywords, they compete with websites from all over the world, so they cannot gain a high ranking on SERPs; likewise, their exposure and traffic are a global audience. It is unlikely that they will reach many people in London or the surrounding area.

Now, what would happen if they chose keywords such as “thrift store in London” or even “vintage clothing in UK”? 

  • They narrow their competition, so they will likely rank higher in these SERPs. 
  • They appeal to individuals in their town and region respectively, so they will receive more traffic and conversion. 
  • They attract individuals searching from their smartphones locally, showing up even higher on the SERPs as they rank on maps. 

Since this is the case, selecting local SEO keywords rather than broader terms would be in their best interest.

4. Shunning Long Tail Keywords

Short and sweet keywords and phrases are easier to incorporate naturally into webpage content. Additionally, they tend to have a higher search volume which causes many individuals to select these terms. While that may seem intuitive, online shops may need to include a key demographic of users. Accordingly, avoiding long tail keywords is one of the biggest keyword research mistakes.

Long tail keywords, such as “Where can I find soft t-shirts?” may have a low monthly search volume; let’s say 20. However, of those 20 searches, all users were willing to purchase the soft t-shirt. Since this is the case, if an online shop incorporates that long-term keyword, it may secure a higher and immediate conversion of those customers.

5. Choosing Too Many Keywords

Some businesses may believe the more relevant keywords they choose and include in their content, the better their SEO. Unfortunately, if researchers pull all the keywords, they will likely lose sight of the search intent and website content. Since this is the case, they may receive traffic from individuals who will not find their content informative or appealing. Additionally, they may lose ranking on SERPs because their content does not truly satisfy the user intent or keyword topic.

It is best to carefully select a few keywords and phrases. In this way, website developers and content creators can focus on satisfying user intent and delivering high-quality, relevant information. As an added perk, keeping track of a few keywords and their performance is easier! It can help businesses identify which keywords are working and which are ineffective. Since testing or monitoring is crucial to any SEO campaign, most web pages should aim for fewer than five keywords.


6. Ignoring Competitors

Businesses always wish to stand out from the crowd. Since this is the case, many search and find keywords without scoping out competitors’ choices. Yet, they are missing out because they leave their rank against the competition to fate. If users searching key terms fall on a competitor’s website first, they may lose that prospective customer forever.

Alternatively, they can focus on this fundamental truth. To beat their competitors, they must rank higher than them in SERPs. Naturally, website owners need to know which key terms the competitors rank for in search engine results. Then, they can create better content that outranks them on SERPs, incorporating those keywords and phrases.


7. Avoiding the Customers

Certain markets or industries use sophisticated language to talk about their products. One of the clearest examples of this is the techy world; professionals use jargon that other experts in the field may only understand and use. Likewise, they come at the products and services with comprehensive knowledge.


However, the average audience would not use those terms regularly or approach issues in the same way. Since this is the case, website owners may think they are using excellent keywords and phrases for their content; meanwhile, their actual target audience is using completely different search terms to find relevant websites. As a result, they miss out on their prime prospective customers.


It would be worthwhile to speak directly with current customers to find out what they are entering into a search, how they describe the products or services, their challenges, and what solutions they hope to find, amongst other vital questions. If they cannot discuss or survey customers, they can look at posts and reviews from similar, competitor products for clues.

8. Disregarding Other Search Methods

Google is a rockstar; everyone knows it is the primary method of searching for anything these days. However, many website developers need to remember there are not only other search engines; there are other channels that individuals search regularly. Many users use social media and other platforms to find information, businesses, shops, products, services, reviews, you name it! YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are all helpful search channels.

When websites do not pay attention to other search methods, they make a major keyword research mistake. A website that ranks well on Google may rank poorly on YouTube. So, if websites want to infiltrate their niche, increase their traffic, and improve their conversions, then looking into key terms and phrases for other channels is essential.


9. Forgetting about Trends

Keywords are not always static and stable, which could affect a website in two different ways. First, if websites ignore trending keywords altogether, they may miss out on golden opportunities to bring in a high volume of traffic. Second, suppose they forget that trending keywords exist. In that case, they may use certain keywords, never monitor their performance, and never realize a keyword dropped off in popularity months or years ago. In either case, bad news!


It is important to consider how keywords or phrases trend over time. If websites can catch onto a keyword that is trending upwards or about to trend, they can stay ahead of their competitors and receive early traffic to their pages. Likewise, they can avoid keeping out-of-date keywords and update their content to reflect current key terms and searches. 

10. Never Monitoring the Results

In numerous cases, keyword researchers take SEO keyword research tools and their numbers for granted; in other words, they expect them to work. When this happens, they may never monitor the results of their SEO efforts or only do so irregularly or sporadically.

Website creators and developers should keep track of their performance results for their target keywords, phrases, and questions. Did their rankings go up? Are their rankings dropping? Do they have higher search traffic? Is their bounce rate stable? In this way, they can take action when keywords are performing less than optimally. 


Keyword Research Mistakes, a Thing of The Past

If keyword researchers take these 10 keyword research mistakes into account, they will be able to avoid devastating consequences in their SEO efforts and activities. While it may be challenging to perform keyword research perfectly, it is worth considering these tiny details that can make all the difference in your SEO campaign.


Want to learn more about SEO? Read more about our insightful articles or learn how we can help you with your website today! 

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