As we like to say around here: “They don’t call them keywords for nothing.” (Actually, we really don’t say that a lot. But we probably should.)
Avoiding the most common mistakes is critical to an effective keyword strategy. Here at DBC Digital, we talk a lot about how important it is to get keywords right, especially for inbound marketing.
So, let’s go over some of the don’ts:
1. Don’t neglect research
How are people searching for you? What terms are they using? You may know your business, and you may have a good idea of which terms you would use to describe your products or services. But that doesn’t mean the words you would use are the same words your prospects are using to search for you.
Industry jargon, specific brand names and other keywords that you are familiar with may not be the ones potential customers are using—at least not yet. It’s ok to use these terms, just don’t place all your bets on them.
Instead, get inside your audience’s heads to come up with the search terms that they actually use. Use sales calls and social media surveys to pick their brains about how they’re finding you. A great tool to use in researching keywords is Google’s Keywords Tool.
2. Don’t forget the long tail
Long tail keywords capture the buyers who know what they’re looking for and are closer to making purchasing decisions. For example, someone searching for “marketing service” is probably at the beginning stage of their search, whereas someone searching for “Internet inbound marketing service Denver” knows exactly what they’re looking for.
Your keyword list should be a mix of short- and long tail keywords, to capture all buyers at all stages of the sales funnel.
3. Don’t fail to check for competitiveness
Research from Optify reveals that sites listed in the first position on page one for their keywords receive 3 times as many click-throughs as those in the number two position, and four times as many click-throughs as those in the number three position.
If you don’t analyze your keywords for competitiveness, you won’t know which ones will vault you to the top of the rankings. How about the terms are your competitors are targeting? If these keywords are not on your list you’re missing out on the potential to rank for them—and guess who your market is going to find instead of you?
4. Don’t avoid local search terms
Local search is big. In fact, according to Google, almost 75% of online activity online is related to local content. If you don’t have local long tail search terms in your list, you are missing out on potentially huge markets. Do you sell goods from a bricks-and-mortar storefront? Do you have a network of local distributors for your products and services? Add geographical areas to your keywords to capture these local markets.
This is known as “geo-targeting”, and it is an effective technique for getting more out of your keywords. Think “Denver Colorado social media marketing service” (Yep. One of our long-tail key words!)
5. Don’t fail to monitor
When it comes to your keywords, there’s no such thing as “set and forget”. Your lists need to be maintained constantly. This involves checking for performance on a regular basis, to determine which terms are effective and which are not. Are the keywords for which you’re ranking actually helping drive traffic, leads and sales?
If not, kick them to the curb!