Search engine optimization (SEO) is heavily reliant on content, and the quality of the content itself rides on the keywords you use. Keyword research not only helps you in boosting your SEO ranking — it’s also crucial in defining the structure of your content and its overall quality.
There’s a lot to look into when it comes to keyword research, but being aware of the common pitfalls is a good step forward in strategizing your content.
Here are some of the common mistakes marketers and content creators make when doing keyword research:
1. Not creating buyer personas
Knowing your audience is one of the very first things you should do in any digital marketing strategy. However, it doesn’t stop there. You should also segment your audience by creating buyer personas, especially when it comes to keyword research. Buyer personas help you select more targeted keywords and thus making your content more relevant to your audience.
Solution: Get to know your audience better. Dig into their needs and goals, their pain points, the challenges they face, etc.
2. Failing to consider search intent
Context is essential in phrasing your keywords. And with Google’s BERT algorithm, this is all the more important to optimize your content with user search intent in mind. The keywords you use should be relevant to the intent of the users searching for that particular content.
Solution: Create buyer personas. Knowing where your audience is in the sales funnel will help you determine their search intent better. For example, those who are still at the start of the customer journey would most likely search for introductory content (e.g., “A Beginner’s Guide to X), while those further down the funnel would most likely search for more in-depth articles.
3. Choosing short-tail keywords
Short-tail keywords, as the term suggest, are short, one-word keywords that are often the ones being initially used when discovering content to write about. However, targetting short-tail keywords alone will lead to poor results: they are too broad and there’s too much competition.
Solution: Use long-tail keywords. Formulate your target keywords into a keyword phrase (2 to 4 words) that’s more specific. This also lessens the competition and will help you attract audiences that are more intentional in their search, and thus will be more likely to convert.
4. Focusing on only one keyword
Remember that different people may phrase their search queries differently. Focusing on one keyword could limit your reach, and you also miss the chance of ranking for similar keywords. If you use Yoast SEO, you may also notice that it has fields for a “focus keyphrase” (your primary target) and for “related keyphrases.”
Repeatedly using the same keyword in one page could signal search engines that you’re overoptimizing and could pull down your SEO ranking.
Solution: Choose the most searched keyphrase as your focus, then list its synonyms and phrase them as your related keyphrase.
5. Disregarding whether to use plural vs singular
While Google can automatically recognize the singular and plural versions of words to mean the same thing, the search results could lead to different pages depending on the search intent of users.
For example, those who use the singular version of keywords could simply be searching for information, while those using the plural might be comparing products.
Solution: Consider search intent and phrase your long-tail keywords accordingly. Additionally, insert keywords naturally into your content. If the plural (or singular) makes more sense to the context and is grammatically correct, use it. Grammar mistakes could affect your ranking as well.
6. Forgetting to analyze competitors
Competitor analysis can help you identify gaps in their current content that you could fill. It also gives you cues on what similar buyer personas are looking for. Only focusing on your content and not seeing what your competitors are doing could likewise lead you to miss out on current trends.
Solution: Analyze your competitor’s ranked keywords. Do a content gap analysis and work your content around that. Filling in the gaps could boost your authority, as well as SEO ranking.
Successfully doing keyword research takes effort and careful planning. If you want to learn more about content marketing and digital marketing as a whole, head on to our blog at https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.