Five common pitfalls to avoid so you maximize your keyword strategy’s business impact

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A new article on Search Engine Journal says you can get the most out of your keyword list and set yourself up for success.

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SEO agencies already know the role that keyword research plays in understanding the business opportunities of clients. But how do they go from a large list of keywords to an articulated, coherent, data-driven set? Well, they can begin by ticking all the following boxes:

  • Having a diagnosis which details the challenge to be solved. This helps you narrow your focus to a clear, simple problem that your client faces.
  • Deciding on a guiding policy that defines the approach you follow for solving the problem.
  • Developing a set of coherent actions: the tactics you’ll use, step by step, in accordance with your approach to get the best results and solve the problem.

Avoiding the Pitfalls
You can refine all that by avoiding the following common keyword strategy pitfalls:

  • Pitfall #1 You include branded keywords in the mix: Branded organic traffic is not SEO traffic. The navigational keywords related to your client’s website or other websites (even competitors) won’t be valuable for your SEO campaign, as you can’t directly influence them. Plus, your client owns all the branded keywords, and they’re using other channels to amplify them (marketing campaigns, advertising, paid search, etc.). You don’t need rank tracking or SEO for that. When curating your initial keyword research, it’s important to define your brand keywords and group them separately.
  • Pitfall #2 You don’t take into account relevance: One crucial pitfall you can encounter when curating your keyword list is not to account for the relevance of each keyword included. Relevance defines, in this case, the client’s website ability to satisfy the search intent. A low relevance keyword will inflate your overall data with high search volumes without bringing any search value for your client. Even if you manage to rank there, which is quite difficult, it wouldn’t matter in terms of ROI.
  • Pitfall #3 You include keywords with high SEO difficulty: You can think about this category as the impossible for now. These are relevant but resource-hoarder keywords: they’ll require too much energy and time. Looking at the interplay between the difficulty to rank in the top 10 positions and their potential, including the competition already there, it’s clear whether you should bother with them or not at the moment.
  • Pitfall #4 You don’t mark highly localized keywords: The problem with these keywords appears when you track keywords at a country or regional level because the search volume aggregates all the locations there, while the rank only expresses a fraction of what the users performing those searches actually see — the result associated with a single location. “Restaurants near me” is a great example here. When you optimize for such a highly localized keyword, you should think about it in terms of one keyword, one landing page, one location, implying different SEO tactics. Be aware of these keywords in a broader market and group them accordingly.
  • Pitfall #5 You include tanking keywords in your target list: This pitfall is a tricky one, so it’s important to spot it as quickly as possible. Tanking keywords are keywords with a significantly decreased search volume over the past 12 months but which keep looking great as an average. You should look at year-over-year search trends to refine your list. Understanding current trends for your client’s industry and how demand and consumer behaviors shift is key in saving your resources and future performance.
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