Keyword Research Mistakes You Should Avoid

Are your PPC campaigns falling victim to common keyword research mistakes? Take a look as we detail the simple but costly errors your business could be making.

One of the first steps in any paid advertising strategy is keyword research. It can seem really simple to do at first. You find a keyword tool (like Google Keyword Planner) and you enter in search terms you think your target audience would be using. Like magic, you discover a load of useful statistics like search volume, average cost-per-click (CPC), competition as well as other suggested keywords.

Most people when conducting keyword research tend to be drawn to the search volume (how many times users have conducted a search using the selected keyword) but there are other important factors to consider when conducting keyword research that could completely change your strategy.

To make sure your research is optimised, here are 6 common keyword research mistakes that you should avoid.

1. Looking at Unrealistic Keywords

It’s important advertisers only consider keywords that they can afford to bid on. Some niches are extremely competitive – and ranking in those niches can be extremely hard. Part of effective keyword research is about being honest and selecting keywords that you are likely to see clicks and return on investment from.

For example, if you open a gym, the competition for the keyword ‘gym’ will probably be too high and the traffic you generate might not be too targeted. Perhaps you offer cross fit sessions on the weekends. Bidding on keywords and aiming to rank for ‘weekend cross fit sessions’ could be a good strategy.

There’s nothing wrong with targeting generic keywords – but when a campaign has a limited budget less competitive keywords are an efficient way to utilise ad spend.

2. Ignoring the Competition

No matter how much keyword research you do, there’s always a chance that you miss some relevant keywords with the potential to help you reach targeted traffic.

Exploring your competitors targeted keywords can help you find some fresh ideas. Think about what keywords they’re using in their campaigns and ones you might have missed.

Who Are Your Competitors?

Common Keyword Research Mistakes

Curious to know what your competitors are up to? Different Gravy Digital are equipped with the tools and know-how to conduct your competitive research.

Get a free PPC review and no obligation consultation, contact us:

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3. Only Considering Broad Match Keyword Terms

One of the most common keyword research mistakes is targeting keywords that are so broad that they qualify for search queries unrelated to the business. Broad Match is the default match type that all keywords are assigned to, unless another type is selected.

If you bid on the broad match term, “jewellery”, Google will match your ad to any user searching for anything related to jewellery. In this scenario, your ad could show for rings, bracelets, necklaces, charms and earrings.

This is an important concept for two reasons. Firstly, if you don’t sell bracelets, for example, you obviously don’t want to be paying for clicks on those searches. Secondly, if you do sell bracelets, your campaign performance could suffer if you’re directing all those clicks to the same landing page.

When conducting PPC keyword research, advertisers should remember Google offers a range of match types to suit their needs:

Broad Match: Your ad is eligible to appear whenever a user enters any word in your key phrase, which means your audience is rather broad. Your ad will automatically run on ‘relevant’ variations of your keywords, even if these terms are not featured in your list.

Modified Broad Match: Broad match modifiers will only run your ads in searches that include the words you have marked with a plus sign.

Phrase Match Type: Selecting phrase match type will ensure your ad can only appear when people search for your exact phrase. So, your ad will only run when a user enters your exact key phrase in the order you used them – but there could be words at either end of the phrase.

Exact Match Type: Exact match type will only allow your ads to run for searchers using your exact keyword, or alternatives of your exact keyword.

4. Forgetting About Negative Keywords

No matter how good your keyword list is, it’s possible that some irrelevant search terms will trigger your ads.

One of the biggest issue’s businesses find with PPC advertising is wasting their money on irrelevant traffic. Using negative keywords in Google Ads can save businesses a lot of money, since they’re specifying which keywords and phrases that they do not want their ads appearing on.

To discover more about negative keywords and creating your own list, visit our guide: How to Build a Negative Keyword List

5. Forgetting About the Target Audience

The keywords that you target should be the same terms that your target audience use. Always put yourself in the perspective of your audience – and consider they keywords they would be using and not you.

Identifying the user intent and behaviour is important. But the great part is knowing your audience is not too difficult to understand. To help put yourself in their shoes, you can use our previous blog post, ‘Who is Your Business Avatar?’ to discover who your ideal customer is.

6. Not Utilising Search Trends

Common Keyword Research Mistakes

Typically, search volume numbers for keywords don’t vary much month to month. But you might find some keywords are slowly increasing their search volume and others are gradually decreasing in search volume.

Or, the volume of certain keywords might vary seasonally – possibly being more popular during one season than another.

Its useful businesses keep on top of the latest trends and changes to stay ahead of the game and ensure they’re generating quality traffic.


These are just a few of the common keyword research mistakes that businesses can make when running their Google Ads campaigns. By avoiding these mistakes, your campaign has the potential to be a real money maker. But, only with a smart, well-designed PPC strategy.

If you’re looking for some expert assistant with your PPC campaigns and to avoid common keyword research mistakes, Different Gravy Digital are here to help.

To get in touch to receive a free, no obligation consultation:

Book a meeting:

Telephone: 0161 706 0004