Keyword mistakes can be avoided with a bit of knowledge
Getting your website found online continues to be a major challenge for businesses. Search Engine Optimisation is a dark-art and most people either don’t have the time or the interest to do it right. Constantly changing algorithms add to the frustration but there are some golden rules to follow to give you the best chance of showing up high in the page rankings.
Yoast SEO is the industry-leading authority that web developers use for Search Engine Optimisation for client projects. Recently, Marieke van de Rakt published an easy-to-read article that outlines 7 keyword research mistakes and more importantly how to avoid them. The information below is a summary of the post and you are encouraged to view the full article on their website.
Mistake #1 Not executing your keyword research correctly
Doing proper keyword research can be a tough, time-consuming process. So, perhaps you think that you don’t need to do it very extensively. You just instinctively know what your audience will search for, right? Do not make that mistake! Take some time to really dive into the language of your audience. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for?
The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure to update your keyword research list or sheet regularly. Your audience may change, as could your business focus and business needs. That has implications for your keyword strategy as well.
Mistake #2 Aiming at unrealistic keywords
Make sure you aim for realistic keywords. Some niches are very competitive. Ranking in competitive niches is hard if you’re just starting your website or business. If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t aim for the competitive ‘head’ keywords (yet). Instead, focus on long tail keywords (which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert).
For instance, if you start a blog about fitness, it will be too hard to start ranking for the term ‘fitness’. Find out which aspects of your blog are unique and try ranking for those terms. Perhaps you write about fitness exercises for retired people. Aiming to rank for ‘fitness for retired people’ could be a good strategy. In that case, you should also aim for ‘fitness for seniors’, ‘fitness for older adults’ and so on.
If you have been around in your niche for a little longer and you successfully rank for long tail keywords, you could aim to rank for more head terms as well. Ranking for competitive keywords should be part of a long-term successful keyword research strategy.
Mistake #3 Using irrelevant keywords
The keywords you aim to rank for should be the same words your customers use. Always try to use the language of your audience. Imagine yourself selling dresses for gala events. In your marketing, you refer to these dresses as ‘gala dresses’. However, people do not search for ‘gala dress’. They search for ‘gown’ or ‘evening dress’. You won’t get much traffic for the search term ‘gala dress’ compared to the search terms ‘gown’ or ‘evening dress’.
Mistake #4 Not checking whether you should use singular or plural
Always check if you should target the plural or the singular form of a specific keyword. Should you aim to rank for ‘ballet shoe’ or for ‘ballet shoes’? Do people search for ‘holiday home’ or ‘holiday homes’? While Google has become better at recognizing that the plural and singular versions of a word are the same, the search result pages and the number of results are often still different. Always check whether you should use singular or plural with Google Trends. Also, think about the intent of people searching for your keyword. Someone looking for the singular version of a keyword may be looking for information, while someone looking for the plural version could be looking to compare products and/or buy something. In any case, whether you should use a singular or a plural depends on your specific keyword, so give that some thought.
The other mistakes that Marieke outlines in her article are:
Mistake #5 Aiming for keywords without traffic
Mistake #6 Forgetting to evaluate
Mistake #7 Focusing on only one keyword per post
For the explanation of these last 3 points and lots more information about Search Engine Optimisation and keyword research visit the Yoast SEO website.
Contact us if you have a question about SEO and keywords on your business website.