7 keyword research mistakes you should avoid

7 keyword research mistakes you should avoid • Yoast

Marieke van de Rakt

Marieke van de Rakt is the founder of Yoast SEO Academy and CEO of Yoast. Her favorite SEO topics are SEO copywriting and site structure.

Thinking about the keywords you want to rank for is really the first and foremost step you need to take for your SEO strategy. Still, keyword research can be quite daunting. So, which keyword research mistakes should you avoid at all times? In this post, I’ll take you through the most common keyword research mistakes people are making. Being aware of these mistakes helps you set up a successful keyword research strategy and avoid practices that harm your rankings.

Overwhelmed by all the intricacies of keyword research, and afraid you’ll still make these mistakes or others? Take a look at our keyword research training, part of our Yoast SEO academy training subscription, and let us help you carry it out!

1. Not executing your keyword research correctly

Some people seem to think that they can forego keyword research, or that it’s no longer important. Doing proper keyword research can indeed be a tough, time-consuming process. And it’s true that ranking high isn’t just a matter of stuffing the right keyword in your text, and it hasn’t been for a long time. But skipping or winging your keyword research means you create content without a single idea of what your potential users are looking for. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ll just instinctively know what your audience wants. 

It’s still crucial you take some time to really dive into the language of your audience. Which words do they use? What terms do they search for? Which terms are competitive and which less so? The result of your keyword research should be an extensive list of keywords you would like to rank for. Make sure to update your keyword research list or sheet regularly. Your audience may change, as could your business focus and business needs. That has implications for your keyword strategy as well.

Read more: Keyword research: the ultimate guide »

2. Aiming at unrealistic keywords

Make sure you aim for realistic keywords. Some niches are very competitive. Ranking in competitive niches is hard, especially if you’re just starting your website or business. If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t aim for the competitive ‘head’ keywords (yet). Instead, focus on long tail keywords (which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert).

For instance, if you have a fitness center and start a blog about fitness, it will be too hard to start ranking for the term [fitness]. Find out which aspects of your blog are unique and try ranking for those terms. Perhaps you write about fitness exercises for retired people. Aiming to rank for [fitness routines for retired people] could be a good strategy. In that case, you should also aim for [fitness tips for seniors], [fitness exercises for retirees] and so on. If you have been around in your niche for

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This article was written by Marieke van de Rakt and originally published on SEO blog • Yoast.

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