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Keyword Research: What Not to Do

Despite the fact that many experts say keywords have gone the way of the dinosaurs in Google’s post-Panda update world, keyword research is still important — just in a different way that it has been historically. Unfortunately, you can’t just abandon your keyword searches altogether and spend more time focusing on content; you still need balance between the two. This short “what not to do” guide will prevent you from making costly mistakes when you research.

Define “Traffic” as Your Only Goal

One of the biggest mistakes that search marketers make is to define being successful as having more traffic. That’s simply too broad. More traffic won’t do you a bit of good without conversions, so increasing your sales, subscriptions, or sign-ups should always be your overall goal.

That said, traffic is the avenue that will get you there. Think of the mythical traffic as a vehicle that can create the opportunity for more sales, rather than the end goal. Choose a mixture of keywords that bring in traffic that actually converts, rather than traffic that simply reaches the site and bounces out.

Fail to Focus on Product Terms

Product terms are keywords that describe what the product is, what it does, and how it can solve the consumer’s problem. Depending on the diversity of your array or services and/or products, using product term research could result in an incredibly massive list of keywords.

People who search for those terms will be a bit farther back in the cycle of decision and your CPA (Cost Per Action) is typically higher for these keywords than for brand terms. But brand terms will only get you so far. If you want your keyword research to pay off, mix at least a few product terms into your content. How-tos, buying guides, and instructional pieces work especially well.

Stay Away From Money Phrases

For years, the standard ideal was to avoid money phrases because SEO specialists believed that Google would rank them as pushy or spammy. Truthfully, what was happening was that websites were misusing monetary keywords in a way that was spammy. Avoiding these phrases isn’t the best approach — at least if you do it correctly.

Money phrases include phrases like “where to buy gadgets”, and “cheap gadgets”. These are both competitive and important due to the fact that when someone uses these terms, they are nearly always looking to take action to solve a problem (e.g. buy or source a product).

If you support your site with ads, money phrases are doubly important because visitors will more than likely make a purchase once they arrive. More importantly, research shows that they’re more likely to click your ad units and earn even more revenue for the site.

Proper keyword research starts with understanding how to unearth the very best keywords for your niche. If you’re just venturing into the SEO world for the first time, Go Digital WSI can help. Make contact today for a consultation on your campaign.