Choosing the right keywords for your content is as much art as science. After all, you’re engaged in a juggling act: wooing Google while wooing people.
Of course, Google actually wants search customers to get great results for their search terms, so each algorithm adjustment is made with the hopes of pushing content that woos humans right to the top of the pile. That does not mean that Google’s strategy does not continue to rely on using keywords wisely.
I do a lot of content marketing for many different types of small business. Many of them have downright ordered me to make some of the following keyword mistakes! Are you making any of these mistakes in your content marketing?
Mistake #1: Overdoing It
Let’s say you’re a Minneapolis Chiropractor trying to rank for that very term. You might be tempted to think that you’ll rank better if you can say “Minneapolis Chiropractor” over and over again in your content.
When you do this, you end up with copy that reads something like this:
If you’re looking for a Minneapolis Chiropractor who can relieve your pain and suffering then you’ve come to the right place. We are a Minneapolis Chiropractor who can help with conditions like back pain, migraines, and injuries. We are the only Minneapolis Chiropractor who stays open till 8 p.m.
Do you see how clunky and unnatural this is? It does absolutely nothing to build your credibility with customers.
Google, in fact, now watches out for keyword overuse like this, so you won’t do yourself any favors by writing this way. Forget counting keywords for 2% density. One relevant, well-placed keyword that reads naturally and is there because it is supposed to be there will get you much farther than this kind of robotic, ignorant sounding repetition.
You also want to avoid attempting to use every possible variation of the keyword known to man. Putting 100 different, related keywords into a 300 word article makes it very clear to human visitors that you’re more focused on gaming the search engines than you are on talking to them.
Mistake #2: Choosing Keywords that Stretch the Use of the English Language
People do not search like they talk. For example, the Google Keyword Research tool might suggest “real estate lawyer Minneapolis,” but that doesn’t make it proper English. It would either need to be Minneapolis real estate lawyer or real estate lawyer in Minneapolis.
Fortunately, Google is able to recognize prepositions now, too, as well as reasonable changes in the order of words, but there are still old school thinkers who believe that the keyword must be repeated exactly in order for the search engines to recognize it.
The result? Copy that sounds like it was written by someone who doesn’t have a basic command of the language, resulting in a website that does nothing to build credibility or trust.
Mistake #3: Fixating on the Most Competitive Keywords
If your competition has deeper pockets than you do then it’s not a good idea to focus on the same keywords they’re using. Instead, you should focus on trying to rank for slightly less popular keywords.
After all, it’s better to get a lot of less traffic because you’re on page 1 for an unpopular keyword than languishing with no traffic because you’re on page 10 for a very popular one.
It’s also a good idea to vary up your keywords. This should happen organically anyway, since many of these words will come up as you discuss a topic. Varying up your keywords will also vary up the competitiveness of those keywords while making all of your content read more naturally.
The Bottom Line
Keywords are useful tools, but you don’t have to go crazy with them. It’s far more important to write content that keeps your audience coming back for more again and again.
Today’s Action Item:
- Go through your existing web content. Rewrite any text where your keywords have been used in an unnatural way.