4 common keyword research mistakes

These are a few common mistakes I see people make in doing keyword research for SEO.

Mistake 1: Only targeting keywords with X number of searches per month.

I commonly see people say to look for at least 1000 searches per month. Whatever the number is, this thinking ignores two very important factors: buyer intent and what are you selling.

I don’t think I need to explain buyer intent to anyone here. What I mean by what you are selling is simple.

What if the lifetime value of one customer/conversion is $10,000? Do you really care about search volume then?

I’m going after any keyword where the buyer intent is high. I don’t care if it gets 10 searches per month. I just need one conversion each month and that will generate a 6 figure revenue stream.

Now on the other hand, if you are building a made-for-AdSense type site, then yes, search volume is going to matter a whole lot more. In fact, I would probably ignore anything less than 10,000 searches per month as a primary keyword.

Mistake 2: Looking at the number of results in the search index.

I covered this one before in another Tuesday Tip, but it is worth mentioning again. The number of results in the search index has absolutely nothing to do with the level of competition for a keyword. It does not matter if there are 100,000 results or 100,000,000 results.

All that matters is the strength of the top 3 pages (or in really high search volume keywords maybe top 5). If you can beat #3, then #4 through 100,000,000 do not matter.

I don’t care what search operators you use either. Inurl:, Intitle:, etc. It tells you nothing about the level of competition.

The KGR is BS.

Mistake 3: Using competition level from Google Keyword Planner.

Over the years, this might be the mistake I see most often repeated. The competition column in the Google Keyword Planner has nothing to do with the level of competition in organic search. The Keyword Planner is a tool for Google Ads, not SEO.

It is telling you the level of competition among Google advertisers.

If you ever see a third-party tool with a “Competition” column and it ranks them as Low, Medium, or High, they are most likely pulling this data from Google. Same thing applies.

If anything, and I would still be careful about this, that data can be used to gauge buyer intent. The thinking being that if advertisers are willing to pay for ads, then that probably means they are making money off their ads. In other words, people doing that search are looking to buy something.

Mistake 4: Not checking the plural or non-plural version of a keyword.

Sometimes, when you change a search term to its plural version, the search intent changes in Google’s eyes and so do the results. Based on this you might want to create different content on another page to target the plural version or you may want to not target it at all.

For example, when I search ‘insurance agent’ I do get the local search box, but in the organic searches I get things like job listings, job descriptions, how to become one, and some local search results mixed in.

When I search for ‘insurance agents’, I see nothing but local results on page one.

If you just glanced at the search terms, they may seem closely related, but based on what Google is showing I would not create the same content to target both of those searches.

Tools I Use:

🔎  SemrushCompetitor and Keyword Analysis

✔  Monday.comFor task management and organizing all of my client work

🗄  FraseContent optimization and article briefs

👑  ContentKing AppSite crawler, monitoring, and audit tool

🤖  JasperAI writing assistant

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