know your keywords

Ack! Don’t Make these 5 Keyword Mistakes

Understanding your keywords is the foundation of search engine marketing. Those keywords change over time, so keyword research needs to be an ongoing activity. Avoiding some common mistakes can ensure your list stays valuable.

Winging It

Brainstorming a list of words that you think matter isn’t going to cut it. You are then writing to an audience of one – you. You need to know what your audience wants.Take time to 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?

Casting a Wide Net

You think your business is the tops at what you do and that is great. But online you are competing with national and international brands. Your window covering business is never going to rank for the word “blinds.” That’s too general.

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. Focus on long tail keywords which are easier to rank for and have a higher chance to convert. Think, “installing new window blinds.”

Ignoring Search Intent

You need to have a clear idea of the kind of intent that’s behind your keywords. People could be looking for information (informational intent), a specific website (navigational intent), or they might want to buy something (commercial or transactional intent).

Pick keywords with intent that matches what you offer. If your content doesn’t match  a searcher’s intent, it probably won’t make it to the results pages, no matter how great and well-optimized it is.


Your content may be most relevant to one keyword, but don’t ignore the others. Be sure to use all related terms. Whenever it makes sense, your keywords should be the vocabulary you use in your writing.

Stuck in Time

It’s easy to get comfortable with a list of keywords and forget to redo your research. Searches really do change over time. (How many searches do you think there were for COVID-19 in 2019?) You need to change as your target audience changes. New concerns and new needs are reflected in how people search and should be reflected in your marketing content.

Focus, and Succeed

Search engine marketing isn’t easy. By avoiding mistakes and keeping up with best practices, you set yourself up for success. Know your keywords and use them!