Keywords are what help your customers find you online, so using the right keywords is an essential part of putting your website and content together.

Keeping your website optimized is important, but are you using the right keywords? Sometimes, people can select keywords that are not as related to their brand as they appear to be, and those keywords can harm their ranking. Here, we will examine some of the common mistakes that people make in keyword use. 

Mistake 1: Using Irrelevant Keywords

When selecting your keywords, one common mistake is using irrelevant keywords. Using irrelevant keywords can harm your SEO since you will show up in searches that have nothing to do with your brand.

You need to think about what keywords your potential customers will use to search for the products you sell. Suppose you run a clothing store and want to boost your sales in shoes. Do you use shoes as your keyword, or heels or boots? The keyword you select matters. Shoes are the more generic choice, but it may also be the best choice since it covers all shoes and can therefore bring people looking for any type of shoe to your site.

Another type of use of irrelevant keywords is when you do not distinguish between American English and UK English. While the two versions are mostly the same, there are a lot of words that are slightly differently spelled — for example, favorite and favourite. If your brand is in the United States, you need to make sure you are using the US spelling of words because your audience will not use the UK spelling when conducting a Google search.

Mistake 2: Not Using Long-Tail Keywords

Long-tail keywords are becoming increasingly important for brands, so ignoring them can be a huge mistake. This is partially because voice searches are becoming more popular, and people speak longer keywords than they tend to type. The search volume for the more generic keywords is huge, but if you are a small business, you might not be able to reach page one with a keyword like shoes because the more prominent brands have beat you out in that.

However, if you use a keyphrase that is three to five words, you can get more specific, and you have a better chance of getting a higher ranking in search results. To use the shoe example again, if you optimize for women’s black running shoes, you are getting more specific and can get better results. A key phrase with only one or two words has more sites that can be matched to it than a longer keyword will.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Search Intent

Search intent is the reason that people are looking something up; whether they are looking for a product, information on a subject, or something else, they all have a reason to be using those keywords. By taking the time to determine the search intent of your users, you can get a better idea of what keywords they are most likely to use.

There are four types of search intent:

  • Informational. They want to learn about something; whether it is information gathering or a how-to guide, you have the information they want to know.
  • Transactional. They are looking to buy a product from you.
  • Navigational. They are searching for a specific brand, company, or website.
  • Commercial Investigation. The person knows what they want to buy and is now searching for specific information before purchasing.

When you think about search intent, putting it into these categories is a good approach; it can help you narrow down keywords a little more specifically.

Mistake 4: Keyword Stuffing

Back in the early days of SEO, people would just use their keywords repeatedly, stuffing the content with keywords. You may have seen text like this, where you see certain words or phrases used repeatedly, even when they do not seem like they should be there; that is keyword stuffing. Search engines have now advanced to the point where they now pick up on keyword stuffing and will mark you down for it.

Make sure that you create content that is useful to your audience, not just because you want to optimize content for those keywords. You can also use synonyms for your keywords to help you avoid stuffing and potentially increase your site’s visibility. Also, using long-tail keywords can help you with this. It can be tricky to stuff a five-word phrase into an article more than a few times, so that can also be helpful to avoid keyword stuffing.

Mistake 5: Choosing Difficult Keywords

You may decide to pick hot and trending keywords right now, but this can also be a mistake. If your niche is popular, there are most likely some large brands ranking high for those keywords already, and it can be challenging to compete with them in the top ten on search engine results. Yes, the eventual goal is for your brand to reach the top ten, but if you are just starting out, you need to focus on getting your brand out there with keywords you have a better chance of ranking high for.

When you conduct keyword research, it will tell you how difficult it is to rank for specific keywords. If you see a keyword ranked with high difficulty, it will be better for your SEO to go for an easier keyword. You can always turn a hard ranking keyword into a long-tail keyword; there is a chance that it is not as hard to rank for as the one- or two-word key phrase.

Final Thoughts

Keywords are a powerful tool that can make a website become more visible to its audience. But, using the right keywords is important, and if you use the wrong ones, your site may end up popping up in searches for people that are not interested in your product or services. SEO and keyword use are complex topics, but the experts at Oregon Advertising are here to help! Contact us today to get started.