Keyword Research Mistakes that can Ruin Your SEO to Oblivion

Keyword Research Mistakes that can Ruin Your SEO to Oblivion

As a marketer, you have to come up with profitable keyword opportunities before you execute any of your marketing campaigns.

It doesn’t even matter if you’re preparing for SEO, PPC, or a full-on content marketing.

To make sure your efforts lead to profitable results, you need a refined list of target keywords that strike the balance between keyword demand, competitiveness, and user intent.

That’s pretty much keyword research in a nutshell.

Unfortunately, plenty of marketers overlook the importance of keyword research in digital marketing. In turn, they end up wasting thousands of dollars on marketing activities that draw in the wrong audience.

Trust me — I’ve been there and I know that cutting corners have very costly consequences in this business.

That said, you need to ask yourself one question: Do you value every cent that goes into your marketing campaigns? And are you truly serious about getting positive results out of your marketing campaigns?

If you answered with a “yes,” then you need to avoid these keyword research mistakes at all costs.

1. Targeting Broad Keywords

A classic rookie mistake is to target broad keywords that are too competitive to be viable.

Let’s face it, targeting high competition keywords has devolved into a game between big-name brands.

For instance, if you shoot for keywords such as “online marketing” or “search engine optimization,” you’ll get crushed by the likes of Neil Patel, Mark Schaefer, and Rand Fishkin.


What’s that?

You have a backlink from a popular blog and you feel like you can dominate the SERPs because of the backlink?


While it’s awesome that you managed to procure a backlink or two from authoritative sites, know that thought-leaders got cited a hundred more times across numerous publications.

Ranking for the first page of Google? Forget it.

Your chances of outranking trusted brands with deeper pockets is close to none.

You’d be better off targeting long tail keywords with a reasonable amount of competition, and those with the right user intent.

Which brings us to the next point.

2. Ignoring User Intent

So, you just realized that you should look for more specific and less competitive keywords. The next thing you did was grab yourself a keyword research tool.

Props to you — that’s a step in the right direction.

Keyword research tools help marketers find lucrative keyword opportunities through metrics.

Ubersuggest, for example, narrows it down to just three: the average monthly search volume, cost per click, and keyword competitiveness.

It’s not rocket science. A keyword with thousands of monthly searches, high cost per click, and low competitiveness rating definitely looks great on paper.

However, you shouldn’t let these numbers make the final decision. You must put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think: What could their reasons be for typing in these keywords?

Are they doing it purely for research? Are they looking to buy products or services?

A rule of thumb for most bloggers is to sprinkle their seed keyword with action-oriented or question-based terms, like:

  • How to
  • For hire
  • For sale
  • Buy
  • Order

For example, rather than targeting the keyword “web designer,” look for keywords like “web designer for hire” or “hire web designer.” These keywords may not have as much monthly searches, but they are definitely used by people who are ready to convert into leads or customers.

3. Failing to Diversify

Finally, you should never put all your eggs in one basket when conducting keyword research.

A well-written blog post can definitely rank for multiple keywords as long as they make sense and fit naturally. That’s why you should never stop researching for keywords until you bag up to 5 ideas for your next article.

Speaking of diversification, you should also create a portfolio of keywords with varying competitiveness levels.

Sure, targeting low competition keywords is a great way to produce measurable results in a shorter amount of time. But there’s no harm in optimizing for a few high competition ones, especially if you picture yourself as the next thought-leader in your niche.

4. Not Localizing Your Keyword Search

In the examples above, the keyword phrase “hire web designer” is more feasible to target (for a lot of reasons) when compared against “web designer.”

However, check out what happens if you localize you keyword search.

As you can see, the competition became far less when the word “vancouver” was added to the search term.

Not only did the competition become lesser, but your search query became even more targeted.

In addition to gauging a keyword’s competitiveness and user intent, you must also check its localization.

Keep in mind that a keyword that’s searched a lot in the United States may not be as big in the UK or Canada.

If you run a local business, make sure you look for keywords that your target market is using. It would be a shame to draw in individuals who are genuinely interested in your products — only to find out that you don’t ship to their location.

Final Words

Believe it or not, keyword research isn’t meant to be complicated. In fact, you can probably end up with a haul of juicy keyword opportunities within a few minutes.

You just need to be wary of the pitfalls that can turn your marketing success into an absolute fiasco.

Did I forget to mention a fatal keyword research mistake that marketers must know about? Let me know in the comments below!

Read about Best SEO monitoring tools you must use in 2018 to rule Google rankings


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