Lots of companies invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to obtain more organic clicks and higher rankings in search engine results pages (SERPs). Not all businesses, however, find their SEO efforts working. Why? There are many different reasons, but in most instances, the most common SEO-killing mistakes have to do with incorrect use of keywords.

Not Using the Right Keywords

While there is really no magic trick to figuring out the right keywords you should use for your SEO campaign, generally speaking, you want keywords that are not too general or too specific. You want to pick keywords that are specific to your products, services and company, but not overly specific that users will not use it when searching for something.

For example, let’s say you offer SEO marketing services in Utah, instead of just using “SEO” or “search engine optimization,” you should go with “SEO marketing Utah” or “SEO marketing services Utah.”

Using Only Short-Tail Keywords

It is challenging to rank well for short-tail keywords, those with only one word, since they are too competitive and general. For instance, a searcher looking for “swing” may likewise be looking for information on swing sets and not the dance.

Instead, you should create a keyword list containing long-tail keywords, or those that have multiple words and specific context. For example, “swing set” or “swing dance.” Each extra word you use must focus on the intent of the user because this will appeal more to your target audience.

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Not Using Local Keywords

Basically, if you have a regional or local business, ensure that traffic from your keywords is coming from your locale. On the other hand, if you can only offer your products and services in select geographical locations, target keywords that users commonly search for in that area.

Using Overly Competitive Keywords

When you want to rank for a particular keyword, you are essentially looking to beat competitors or other people who are using the same keyword. And to beat the competition, you need to know who your competitors are. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your money and time.

To check whom your competitors are, search for your target keyword and check which sites are on top. Then, figure out if you stand a chance of beating them with your target keyword because if their rank is too high, it might be better if you pick other keywords instead. Unless you have the necessary budget to beat your competitors, which are most likely big companies with huge SEO budgets.

If you are investing your money and time to craft a great SEO strategy but find that you are not getting the results you need, there is a huge chance that your chosen keywords are wreaking havoc on your campaign. Yes, choosing the right ones could be tricky, but not impossible. Targeting relevant and appropriate keywords will lead to increased traffic, and in turn, conversions. Picking the wrong ones, on the other hand, could spell doom for you. So choose your keywords wisely.