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When it comes to SEO, doing your research is crucial. You want your website or webpages to rank highly on Google and other search engines, but first you need to decide which keywords you want them to rank for. Tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner are useful, but it can be a difficult process, and mistakes are easy to make.

To help, here are five mistakes that are commonly made when conducting keyword research, so you know what to avoid in your own research.

Generic keywords

Targeting vague, generic keywords is a big mistake in keyword research. Keywords such as “women’s shoes” or “laptops” are going to be very competitive. This means you will have to pay much more to see any results from targeting these keywords. Plus, people searching for vague keywords are likely to be at the early stages of the buying process and are not ready to make a purchase. More specific search terms for a make, model, color, size, etc., indicate that the searcher has done the research and is ready to buy. So, targeting more specific, long-tail keywords can prove more profitable for you.

Overly specific keywords

Specific keywords are good, but it can be taken too far. If you combine all of the important features of your products into one long-tail keyword, you’ll end up with a highly specific phrase that no one is ever going to search for. Targeting keywords that are overly specific will lead to a much lower search volume and won’t attract many visitors to your site.

Pluralized keywords

This one may seem a bit pedantic, but it can potentially make a big difference to your results. Marketers often consider their products as plural because they offer a variety of different models. However, consumers looking to buy are only thinking about the single item that they want, so they would be more likely to search for “Samsung mobile phone” rather than “Samsung mobile phones.” It’s a small difference, but search volumes for singular keywords are generally much higher.

Focusing too much on search volume

Search volume is a good indicator of how much attention a keyword will earn you, but it is not the be-all and end-all of keyword research. Many marketers make the mistake of only focusing on search volume and ignoring other important factors such as click-through rates. Sometimes, keywords with a lower search volume can actually have higher click-through rates and can result in more qualified leads to your website.

Ignoring exact match figures

Another mistake made with search volume is looking at broad match rather than exact match figures. A keyword may have a high broad match search volume, but then the exact match figure is much lower, and perhaps not worth targeting. Exact match figures give the most accurate assessment of the popularity of search terms.

Effective keyword research can massively improve your website’s SEO and the success of your search advertising campaigns, so make sure you avoid these simple mistakes when conducting your research.