Without a doubt, keywords are a prominent factor when it comes to strategizing or planning search engine optimization.

Doing your keyword research correctly is one of the key SEO activities that can ensure long-term success.

Finding and using the right keywords add more value and bring organic traffic to your website.

But there are multiple common mistakes that marketers tend to commit while researching their keywords.

As a result, they don’t achieve their expected goals, like the website appearing in the search results or increasing their traffic and conversion rate.

Therefore, understanding these mistakes can play a key role in your search engine optimization success.

In this post, we’ve accumulated a list of the most common keyword research mistakes marketers tend to make and how to avoid them.

Common mistakes in Keyword Research

Not knowing the Intent behind the target keywords

Understanding a searcher’s intent is a critical aspect that can ultimately make or break your SEO lead generation. It is an aspect that determines whether you’ll generate any leads or sales by ranking for your target keywords.

Because every search has a particular intent behind it, every individual comes to your website from search engines with precise expectations.

They want to see specific content, products, images, or resources on your page.

Most marketers often overlook the need to know the intent behind any target keyword. However, if you don’t understand what searchers expect to see when they search it, you will never know what to offer them.

You can solve this challenge by leveraging keyword analysis and planning tools like Google Keyword Planner, ALPS, or any other tool that lets you analyze user search intent.

Not understanding Buyer Persona and Customer Questions

Because most don’t give enough time to develop buyer personas or do enough persona research, the greatest challenge that companies and marketers face is not being able to understand the needs, challenges, problems, and goals of the prospects- also the questions they’re asking and the keywords they are using to ask their questions.

To solve this problem, one needs to conduct buyer persona research and ask their customers the questions they had while beginning their buyer journey.

We can also solve this problem by asking the customer facing teams (sales) to document the questions they’re getting from the customers or prospects to ensure you are answering the right questions through your posts and using the right keywords to answer those questions.

Not balancing short and long-tail keyword usage

Often, long-tail keywords are the ones with a lower search volume, which usually turns marketers away. 

But what most marketers tend to forget is that creating an ideal keyword strategy isn’t just about determining whether you should use long-tail or short-tail keywords.

The key here to any effective keyword research process is “balance.” In the SEO world, both long and short-tail SEO keywords have their respective roles in the success of an SEO keyword strategy. 

If you want your strategy to work, you need both the explicitness of long-tail phrases and the direction of short-tail keywords.

Also, remember, overly focusing either on short-tail or long-tail keywords can hurt your SEO efforts. Therefore, finding the right blend between both is the key. 

Not considering Competitor Keyword Usage

It is critical to understand whether and how your competitors are answering those same questions you just found out.

Benchmark to find out where your competitors are ranking for keywords and phrases to identify quick-win areas while also figuring out whether a competitor is targeting the exact keywords or phrases critical to your organic success, giving you time to act and prevent that from happening.

Not focusing enough on Trending Keywords

Most often, marketers tend to only focus on the tried and tested evergreen keywords around their topic that have been targeted for years now.

But what they miss here is that these evergreen keywords are also the ones with high-ranking difficulty because people have been doing good work on such keywords for years. Therefore, it can be challenging for someone new to rank for those key terms or phrases.

However, the trending keywords are the ones that are not evergreen but can be in high demand during a particular time due to their relevance.

For instance, before 2019, nobody was aware of the COVID-19 virus that shook the world. 

However, after its breakout, this term became one of the most searched words that everybody searched on the internet. 

This is precisely what trending topics are. 

So, when you start focusing on the trending keywords or topics, there is a good chance that you also get a fair share of the traffic because you’re talking about something highly relevant in the current scenario.

Not focusing on Keyword Difficulty

Measuring keyword difficulty lets you determine the number of competitors trying to drive traffic using that same keyword.

This means the higher the difficulty of a keyword, the harder it is to rank for, the longer it will take to see results, and the greater effort required to get best results.

However, the keywords with high difficulty can be lucrative, but at the same time, it might not always be feasible for instant wins considering the difficulty to rank for that keyword.

Therefore, companies or individuals with limited budgets and bandwidth needs to prioritize their resource investments based on the difficulty to rank for a particular keyword.

They can target the keywords with low difficulty for quick wins and those with high difficulty in the long run. This approach can positively impact their keyword strategy and can maximize ROI.

Not doing enough Topical Research

Google’s E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) principle suggests that today, focusing on a single keyword does not work in gaining authority over a particular topic.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you try to build your authority across the entire topical landscape and not just over a core keyword or topic.

Comprehensive topical research enables you to find the related topics relevant to the primary target keyword.

Also, it allows you to find related key terms or phrases to use in your content that can maximize your authority over the entire topical landscape.

For instance, if you wanted to rank for the keyword credit card, you wouldn’t just write a 4,000-word post about only credit card– you’d like to find out the other related topics users are searching like a best buy credit card, milestone credit card, old navy credit card, etc.

To do your topical research comprehensively, you can leverage the various new age AI-driven tools that can help in your topical research and maximize topical authority.

Not giving enough importance to other Relevant Keywords or Phrases

Today, search engines use AI to scan your content and identify hidden/latent relationships between the words with similar meanings to improve their understanding of the information provided.

Because most companies try to hang on close to the exact keyword they are targeting, they tend not to include the related keywords or phrases that help search engines understand what the content is all about.

To solve this problem, one needs to simply write like a human rather than just focusing on keywords and SEO.

Also, Google can penalize you for excessive keyword stuffing on a page, resulting in your page not ranking for your desired keywords.

Therefore, if it feels right to use specific terms, one must do it even if it means deviating from your keyword plan.

Not giving importance to Keyword Localization

Keyword localization is basically the difference in words or phrases based on location. Not paying enough attention to these can negatively impact your SEO efforts.

Like, submarine sandwiches, hoagie, hero, and grinders refer to long sandwiches but are used in different parts of the country.

Therefore, it is not recommended to assume that users in different countries or even different regions of the same country use the same terms while looking for a product or service.

Therefore, paying attention to the actual SERPs and using modern tools to research your keywords is essential for today’s SEO success.

Not knowing whether to use Singular or Plural keyword versions

Often marketers tend to get confused about whether to use singular or plural versions of keywords. However, various research has found that users tend to search in singular more than plural.

Again, it comes down to the users’ search intent looking for your keyword.

Someone using the singular version of a keyword might be looking for information, while someone using a plural version might want to compare products before buying something.

So, in any of the above cases, whether you should use a singular or a plural keyword solely relies on your target keyword and the user intent, so it is imperative to consider that.

Unsure whether to use Free or Premium tools

Researching your keywords using free SEO tools is great, but when you are serious about reaping SEO benefits, trying out paid or premium tools is worth considering.

However, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to using a free or a paid tool, and it entirely depends on your budget and website’s size.

While paid tools give you an edge with better in-depth keyword analysis and comparison charts, free tools aren’t entirely useless.

You can accomplish exceptional outcomes with keyword research, sometimes even better than paid tools, when targeting less competitive keywords, especially long-tail keywords, and when you’re on a tight budget.

No focus on keyword strategy Upkeep process

Any keyword strategy cannot be the same forever.

To get the optimum performance out of your SEO program, you must revisit your strategy every three to six months, based on the speed at which you can create content and the volume of your website traffic.


When it comes to researching keywords, there’s a lot of misinformation in the market. To be fair, it mostly comes from a place of good intention, but the tactics mentioned are often obsolete or resonate with the old black hat days.

But what if you make some mistakes with your keyword research? Does it matter?

The answer is YES.

The biggest problem that most marketers face today is the “challenge of time.” There’s much to do and very little time to do it.

Though making keyword research mistakes isn’t the end, it will waste your precious time while doing your SEO planning and research, taking longer to get the desired results. As we already know, time is something that marketers do not have enough of.

The absolute truth is: It’s not straightforward to conduct keyword research nowadays.

But the key is to understand your audience’s search intent and set up a strategy that works best for your type of business.

If you’re a marketer and aiming to make the most of the time you have — and get the best results possible, you can leverage one of the modern-day AI-driven keyword research and planning tools.

These tools can save hours of your research time and help find the user intent that can work wonders for your keyword research as well as your overall SEO marketing efforts.

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