Regardless of the industry or niche Common mistakes with keyword research strategyyour business is in, the first step to any great SEO campaign is to conduct quality keyword research. Far too often this set is rushed or hurried through so that you can get started on creating awesome content and sharing it with the world. However, you don’t want to rush to create content and build your site on a set of keywords that aren’t relevant to your business. Below are four common mistakes I see people making with their keyword strategies:

1. Focusing on Head Terms and Ignoring the Long Tail

Let’s be honest with each other- 6,600 monthly visits is more enticing to users than a 500 monthly visits keyword. It’s also more exciting to your boss, especially if his/her goal is to increase the number of users to the site. However, by focusing on the long tail keywords, you’re not ignoring your head key terms. For example, let's say your business sells socks and you want to rank for the terms socks and red socks. Not only are those very competitive keywords, but you have up to 512 px, or about 60 characters, before your title tag is truncated. Don’t be afraid to include more details about your product, even if that long tail keyword receives a bit less traffic.

2. Not Checking the SERPs

Building on the first tip, it’s important to check the SERPs results for the keywords you are trying to rank for. There are going to be times when you run into SERPs results that aren’t relevant to your business. For example, you may sell a product but most of the SERPs results for the keywords you are targeting are informational results. There are also going to be times when sites like eBay or Amazon dominate the first page of the SERPs results, and it’s going to be hard to outrank Amazon.

3. Ignoring Location Specific Search

When you’re using the keyword planner, the default location is the entire United States. If you have a local business, make sure you uncheck the whole US market and only focus on your areas of business. This can help align expectations with the amount of traffic you should expect, but can also help uncover unique ways customers in your location are searching for your business.

4. Not Checking What Your Competitors are Doing

I like saving the best tip for last, and it doesn’t get much easier than this. Before you even begin creating your keyword buckets, take a look at how your competitors are describing your market. It may uncover ideas you didn’t even think of!   Just because you describe your business/product one way doesn’t mean that’s how the rest of the internet is searching for you. Investing in keyword research is the first step to helping you show up when and where your customers are looking for you!