The Biggest Mistake Most Businesses Make With Keyword Research

A major contributor to success in the business world means learning from your mistakes. In order to do that, however, you need to be aware you’re making them in the first place. And where search engine optimization is concerned, many businesses don’t, especially with keyword research.

According to the online statistics database Internet Live Stats, Google processes approximately 40,000 searches a second. At the time of writing, the search engine has already completed over five million searches. By the time this piece is written, that number will likely be closer to six. 

The sheer volume of search data processed by Google on a daily basis is overwhelming. And more than anything, it speaks to the importance of effective search engine optimization. Unless you do everything in your power to maximize the visibility of your brand, you’re likely going to end up lost in the noise.

Keyword research is arguably the most important aspect of SEO. It forms the foundation of every piece of content on your website, informs you what your audience is searching for, and helps guide the evolution of your brand. Unfortunately, in spite of its importance, it’s also the thing businesses most frequently get wrong.

The most common mistake we see is that they focus too much on raw numbers, without considering intent. Rather than making the keywords the foundation of their content, they simply try to target whatever keywords they think will bring in the most people. This is a fool’s game.

It doesn’t matter if a particular keyword associated with a page has incredibly high traffic if that keyword isn’t relevant to your audience. Higher volume keywords also tend to be far more competitive, as well, often making it next to impossible for your business to rank effectively. That isn’t to say search volume isn’t still important. 

It’s just not the only factor you should consider. 

The first thing you should do when brainstorming keywords is to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What do they want? Why are they interested in your brand, and why are they seeking you out? 

What language are they using to do so? 

If you’re having a bit of trouble conceptualizing this, you may consider taking a look at your competitors on the SERP and within your wider industry. Use your keyword research tool to examine what phrases generate the most traffic for competing websites. While you may not necessarily want to copy them entirely, this can nevertheless provide you with an effective starting point for your efforts. 

Keyword and topic research should be the foundation of your SEO efforts. Combined with demographic data, they should inform everything you do, from the content you create to the copy you use to describe your products and services. Maybe it was in the past, but today, SEO is not a numbers game.

Rather, it’s a measure of how well you understand your audience, their intent, and their desires. 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.