One of the biggest mistakes people make when doing search engine optimization is they let ego get in the way. SEO is not about ego building is about traffic building. Here are the 4 most common ego related marketing mistakes (By the way, the number 4 in Chinese characters sounds like the character for death. If you make these 4 mistakes it can be death to your marketing efforts):
- targeting ego terms
- targeting terms beyond your reach for ego reasons
- fear of mentioning certain keywords because of ego
- content with ranking #1 for an obscure term
Targeting Ego Terms
In the past, I’ve done a lot of web marketing for real estate agents. More often than not they wanted me to target terms like: super agent, top producer, real estate closer, etc. All of the terms catered to their egos. However, real estate clients don’t use any of these terms for searching for agents. Of course, I wouldn’t let them focus their marketing efforts on these terms. I showed them what people searched and what people didn’t search. The point is to focus on the words you users want. As result of using language which catered to the users, the sites ranked better for the keywords that mattered and users were more likely to convert to clients.
Targeting Terms Beyond Your Reach for Ego Reasons
This is possibly the biggest and most destructive mistake people make with SEO. People believe they have to rank #1 for some single keyword in order to make their site successful. I had one client who insisted that he wanted to be ranked #1 for the keyword “computers”. Of course anything is possible with enough time and money put to the task. The question is: Is it worth it? A better approach is to target keywords that are less competitive and more targeted. Targeted keywords have higher conversion rates and if you target many terms rather than focusing all your efforts on one you can probably get just as much traffic if not more traffic as a result.
Fear of Mentioning Certain Keywords Because of Ego
There are many words people use to search that most companies are afraid to use because they also carry a negative connotation. For example one of my clients had a brand new site which was targeting product keywords that were very competitive. I explained to them the word “cheap” was commonly used by searchers. At first they were very apprehensive about using the word because they didn’t want people to think their products were cheap and substandard quality. In order to balance the advantage of targeting the term with possible disadvantages, I put titles as cheap product but explained in the page content how the products were of superior quality only the prices were cheap. As result this brand new site got great rankings and sales within the first few days of launching. Words like discount, cheap, scam, illegal, etc. are usually avoided by copy writers which means for marketers there is a golden opportunity to target those terms. These terms get a lot of searches and often as a result of above fear aren’t very competitive.
Content with Ranking #1 for an Obscure Term
A lot of companies will target their name or slogan as their marketing focus. Generally they will be successful at ranking #1 for these terms. However, unless people know your company people generally won’t search for it. Don’t be content with just ranking for your company name. Generally speaking you will be able to rank well for your name so a better strategy is to put your products or services first. One common mistake is using a title meta tag as: Company name – product names. A better approach would be to have your title meta-tag say: Product names – Company name. Still the company name gets reinforced but the important traffic driver terms get emphasized. Even worse than focusing on company over product, is to focus on an obscure long tail term. Long time ago, I had to cold call to find clients. Often I would speak to people who were proud of the rankings even though they were almost completely unsearchable. I would ask them for what terms they had rankings. Often the response I got was some 6-7 word term that received zero searches. I would explain how ineffective this strategy was for them, but majority of people wouldn’t change their ways and were quite pleased with their ranking. The worst thing was other SEOs pitching how they got their clients ranked on those obscure terms. My approach is to constantly target new terms for my clients and to target terms that people use to search.
When you are considering the keywords to target remember keep your ego out of the picture. Focus on what works and ignore what doesn’t. If others want to play the ego game let them, in fact, encourage them because it only makes your job easier.
Now for some irony…I target the term “SEO guru” which is a pure ego term it only gets about 1000 searches per month. Of course I don’t limit myself to that term, but it shows that even a super top producer SEO guru like me can be a victim to ego 😉
Any questions about content writing or keyword targeting, please feel free to contact me at 905-417-9470 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org