Keyword research is no rocket science, but many webmasters still struggle with it. If you analyze the pattern, however, you’ll see that most keyword research problems and failures are connected with 4 basic mistakes. They are:
1. Not Doing Keyword Research
The most common mistake around is, well, not doing keyword research at all! Sounds like common sense, but the majority of webmasters are not used to performing keyword research on a regular basis. Sure, they might open the Google AdWords Keyword Tool once in a while, but on a daily basis they just trust their guts when it comes to choosing topics to cover, optimizing title tags and so on. The result? They miss the opportunity to maximize the amount of organic traffic they’ll get.
Example: Suppose you just finished writing a linkbait with the 100 funniest images on the web. But should you title it “Top 100 Funny Images Online” or “Top 100 Funny Pictures Online?” From the end user point of view both titles are equivalent. After performing some keyword research, however, you would discover that the term “funny pictures” is 15 times more searched than “funny images”, so it would be a good idea to use that in your title.
2. Using The “Broad” Match Exclusively
When you open the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, the default match type will be the “Broad” one. This means that the search volume you’ll get is the sum of the exact searches for your keyword, the searches inverting the order of the words inside your keyword, and the searches for your keyword along with other words. This can be a quite misleading, and that is why it is important to always check the “Exact” match as well
Example: Suppose you are researching a potential domain name for your blog about weight loss. You find that the keyword “fat lose” receives 1,800,000 searches per month, so it must be a good one to include in the domain right? Wrong. As soon as you change the match type to “Exact” you’ll discover that “fat lose” only gets 12,000 monthly searches. The rest of the searches are variations of that keyword, such as “lose fat” and “lose fat fast”.
3. Ignoring The Competition Factor
How do most people evaluate the attractiveness of a keyword? By its search volume. While this is part of the equation, it should not be the only part! The other, equally important half is the competition targeting that keyword. Targeting keywords you can’t rank for is one of the easiest ways to waste time and money online.
Example: Suppose there are two guys who want to start blogs in the online games niche. Both perform keyword research before getting started. The first one gets excited with the fact that the keyword “online games” gets 2,700,000 searches per month (under the “Exact” match) and he decides to target it with his blog. The second one, however, thinks that the competition for “online games” makes it not worth his time, so he decides to target the keyword “free online games for kids” instead, which receives 33,000 monthly searches and has a much smaller competition. After one year, which of the two guys do you think will be making more money with his blog?
4. Targeting Keywords That Are Not Profitable
Even if you target a keyword that has a decent amount of traffic and a relatively low competition you might still not make big money with it. Why? Because that keyword might not be a profitable one. If you want to target profitable keywords you need to analyze both the niche and the intent behind the search query.
Example: If you input the keyword “run” into the Google AdWords Keyword Tool you’ll get an interesting set of related keywords. One of them is “dino run”, which is a popular online flash game, and gets 110,000 exact searches per month. Another one is “running watch”, which gets only 22,000 exact searches per month. Should the competition for both terms be similar, which one do you think would be more profitable to target?