5 Keyword Research Mistakes You Must Avoid to Maximize Website Traffic


Keyword research is one of the first steps a person should take when they are doing SEO. Many people evaluate only keyword search volumes during their keyword discovery. In this post, I discuss 5 common keyword research mistakes that people make when trying to generate their search queries.

1. Not Evaluating the Long Tail

Here are a couple of keywords that I targeted with blog posts and their Google Keyword Planner search volumes. Which post do you think got the most search engine traffic?

How to promote your blog = 1,600

Keyword research tools = 720

I wrote a post on each of these and the how to promote your blog article got way more backlinks and social shares than the keyword tool post. It’s also twice as long as the keyword tool post. But guess which article sends me more traffic?

The keyword tool post has many more long tail variations that people are searching for and therefore sends more traffic from Google.

2. Not Taking Commercial Intent Into Account

When people search for keywords, some people are looking to buy something and some are looking for information. Some phrases, like bridal shower games, might have mixed intent. Meaning that some people will be searching for information while others may be looking to purchase such games.

Check the current search results to see what types of results are coming up. Are they commercial or informational?

If you are trying to rank an informational blog post for a commercial keyword, you may want to reconsider.

3. Not Looking at the Adwords value

Not all keywords have the same worth and some keywords can be more valuable than others. While it may not be possible to determine exactly how much keywords are worth, the Adwords value can be a good clue.

Look up the keyword in Adwords and see what advertisers are paying to get traffic from those keywords. Even non-commercial keywords will have some value, so checking the values for keywords can be a useful habit.

A lower volume keyword could possibly have higher Adwords value, so you may want to take that into account when deciding what to rank for.

4. Ignoring the clickthrough rates of keyword phrases

Sometimes keywords with lower traffic can send you a lot more traffic. The reason is because the click through rates are much higher.

People often just target keywords with the highest volume. Instead, take time to research long tail phrases and see if there are a lot of long tail search phrases.

You can test the click through rates of various keywords by running some Adwords ads.

5. Not evaluating current search results

The current search results should give you a good clue about what people are linking to the most and clicking on. Is the post that you are trying to rank similar to the pages that are currently ranking?

Let’s say that I want to write a list post containing SEO plugins available for WordPress for my blog. What shows up when I do a search?

Individual plugins will show up, rather than other list posts. People will link to these plugin sites more than list posts because they are actually using them or because they were mentioned in a publication. A backlink analysis of these sites will show that they have lots of links that won’t be relevant to your blog post.

Furthermore, when people are searching in Google, they may be looking for a particular plugin rather than a blog post about plugins.

While it may be possible to rank your blog post in the search results, it may prove extremely difficult and not worth your time.


To sum it up, keyword research is more than just picking the highest volume keyword and trying to rank for it. Be sure to look into other factors too before doing your SEO.

By the way, if you want to learn more about SEO, click here to download my SEO guide that contains a list of over 100 keyword research tools and tips on how to increase search engine traffic.


About Joyce Cowles

Joyce is an account manager here at Kerboo. Her role is to help our customers get the most from the suite.

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