Thinking of words and phrases you believe will generate the analytic reports you desire when you check rank for a keyword seems easy, right? However, you need to know that the online space is highly competitive, and not all keywords will help you achieve business success. This is why you need to do thorough keyword research using the best tools that the market can provide.

I have been in the online market for quite some time now, and I understand some of the things website owners, bloggers, small business owners, and webmasters go through when doing keyword research. Nevertheless, just like any other aspect of SEO, this undertaking is challenging, but if done correctly, it can result in exciting results whenever you check rank for a keyword.

Sometimes, however, you spend a lot of time (not to mention resources) and do keyword research using every tool at your disposal. However, when you monitor your rankings, you find out that the terms and phrases you used are ranking your pages poorly on Google. What could be the reason behind this?

Well, as an SEO expert, I understand your woes. I know you are devastated, but I have a solution to your problem! I have compiled a list of mistakes you are making, and after you complete reading this post and working on the issues, I will highlight, I am pretty sure I will find your site at the helm of Google search results in no time.

Your keywords are unrealistic

One of the most important things you should know before you do keyword research is the need to aim for realistic keywords.

If you go for unrealistic terms (like what you are probably doing right now), I can assure you that you will always shed tears when you check rank for a keyword.

Before you use a keyword, you need first determine its level of competitiveness and its search volume. If you have just launched your first website, I advise that you focus on long-tail keywords, which are less competitive, easier to rank, and have a high probability of converting.

For example, if your website is in the health niche, it will be almost impossible for you to rank if you use the term ‘health.’ The trick is to find the unique aspects of your site and try as much as possible to rank on the terms you find.  As a newbie in the internet arena, using ‘head’ keywords will not yield much. They might sound realistic to you, but in the end, every phrase will give you metrics that you will consider ‘unrealistic’ whenever you check rank for a keyword. It would, therefore, be more beneficial if you aim to rank for ‘health for lactating mothers’ if that is what you are writing about, rather than simply ‘health.’

You didn’t have an executable plan

rank for a keyword

Figure 1: The search domain curve. (Source: )

Yes, the reason why you are not getting the best results when you check rank for a keyword is that you did not have an executable plan from the word go.

Just like any undertaking in life, your keyword research will not yield much if you do not come up with a plan and put it in writing. Before you begin, ask yourself the following questions;

  • What are my goals and objectives? What do I want to achieve by the end of the exercise?
  • What kind of keywords do I want to rank for?
  • What is my audience looking for, and how will I get the latest words and phrases they are using?
  • What tools should I invest in?
  • How much time will I dedicate for the exercise?

The answer to these questions will help you develop a great plan. An executable strategy is that which driven by the audience, not by the search engine. Don’t rush into doing the research itself, before you take a look at the language of your audience, look at the terms they use to find information similar to yours.

Make it part of your plan to look at the terms they search for, and the words they use to get information similar to yours online. Most importantly, endeavor to keep up with the trends as far as keyword research is concerned, and success will always be part of you when you check rank for a keyword!

If you continue working with a plan which makes the achievement of goals and objectives a near impossibility,  brace yourself for a rough ride in the ever-competitive online bandwagon and rest assured that your competitors always be ahead of you.

You are using irrelevant keywords

rank for a keyword

This is another big keyword mistakes that can cost you the analytic reports you love seeing when you check rank for a keyword.

However, you might ask, isn’t using irrelevant keywords similar to using unrealistic keywords? Isn’t it the same keyword research mistake?

The answer to this question is no.

Irrelevant keywords could be realistic, but they don’t reflect what your target market is looking for. Therefore, you need to make sure that the words you want to rank for are the same ones that your prospect customers use.

For example, let’s say you own an e-commerce store that sells cameras. In your marketing content, you refer to these products as ‘nice cameras,’ but this is not what people look for. Instead, they search for ‘the best cameras.’ This makes the term you used, ‘nice cameras’ irrelevant, and it will undoubtedly hurt your traffic and rankings in general.

The bottom line is if you want to get metrics that show your pages are doing well on google when you check rank for a keyword, go for the keywords that your target audience are actually using!

You are aiming for keywords without traffic

rank for a keyword

Figure 2. Aim for keywords with a high search volume. (Source:

When working on your farm (If you have one), do you aim for plants that will give you a bountiful harvest, or do you plant those that provide you with nothing? The answer to this question is quite obvious, right?

The same case applies when doing keyword research. You need to go for terms that will show you a rising number of traffic when you check rank for a keyword.

Never waste your time looking for words with low search volumes, thinking that they are unique and have high conversion rates. Using long-tail keywords is a good way to kick-start your online journey. Although they might not result in massive traffic, there is a high probability that they will convert visitors to buyers, and attract repeat business.

Most internet users search for specific terms on the internet, which means that using more specific keywords can result in traffic in the long-run.

Nevertheless, even if you target super-specific keywords which will not show high search volumes when you check rank for a keyword, it will be of no help to your SEO plan. Therefore, go for those words and phrases that draw in some traffic.

You are aiming to rank for one keyword in your content

If you have only one keyword that you want to rank for your upcoming blog post, you are making one of the biggest mistakes that will give devastating results when you check rank for a keyword.

For you to attain maximum SEO success, endeavor to find more than one keyword for every post you develop. In fact, it pays more if you have one main keyword and about three secondary keywords for every article you write.

Look, your audiences have different search behavior. What user A will type on the internet is different from what user B will; hence targeting more than one keyword increases the chances of search engines ranking your site, and different users finding it. This ultimately leads to SEO success.

You are engaging in keyword misalignment

When doing keyword research, you might come up with terms that you believe will lead to maximum SEO success. However, when you check your rankings, you find that you are ranked on the 10th page of Google search results, or beyond in worst cases. What could be the issue? Well, it could be that you have engaged in keyword misalignment, which is unintentionally creating competition with unrelated industry.

For example, you might aim to focus on the terms ‘mobile marketing’ since you sell mobile gadgets, but you might find yourself competing with a company that deals with mobile advertising. You are unintentionally using the same terms to rank!

To ensure this mistake doesn’t cost you the results you need when you check rank for a keyword, carefully select the keywords that your target audience use when looking for information in your niche.

You are not paying attention to your competition

Keyword research is never complete without a competitor analysis. One of the mistakes that can hurt your SEO is selecting words and phrases you want to rank on blindly, without considering their competitive landscape in the internet world.

If you want to stay ahead of your competition, you need to learn their keyword tactics and devise innovative ways to counter them. Examine how your rivals use the terms they rank on, and the optimization techniques they use.  Also, look at their backlinks, and compare them with yours. If need be, ‘steal’ their tactics and make them better for your advantage.

However, I recommend that you pick your battles wisely. If you feel it’s almost impossible to pursue a specific keyword and beat your competitor, go back to the drawing board and come up with a stronger ‘counter-phrase.’ Never chew more than you can swallow. Great keyword research tools have great features that can help you win if you use them correctly.


Failing to review your keywords periodically

The fact that you have come up with keywords that have helped you make a kill today does not mean that you should relax. No! As I always say, SEO is a continuous process, and keyword research is a vital part of SEO. Periodically review your list of keywords, and pay attention to those phrases you have ignored, terms that have grown in popularity, and/or new terms that have sprouted.

Also, doing a regular review of your keyword list can help you identify those inappropriate keywords that are hurting your rankings and costing you resources and remove them. Simply put, this exercise will help you refine your initial research strategy.

Avoid these mistakes and win!

rank for a keyword

Figure 3: keyword search traffic. (Source:

A good keyword research strategy requires adequate time, effort, and resources. Don’t be in a hurry to choose the words and phrases you want to rank on since doing this could be the primary catalyst of the mistakes mentioned above. Avoid them at all costs, and you will smile every time you check rank for a keyword.







Last modified: January 13, 2019



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