Conducting keyword research is one of the first things you do in order to help boost your SEO and encourage higher rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages). There are many techniques to follow when researching which keywords would be best for you to optimize for. However there are also a few pitfalls to avoid. Before you start your research, make sure to stay away from these three keyword research don’ts.

1. Don’t forget about your competition. Although it’s important to target popular keywords, it’s also important to consider how many other businesses are also competing for that keyword. The more competition, the harder it will be for you to rank for a particular keyword. Use the Google Adwords keyword tool to try to find keywords that are being searched for but aren’t being targeted by a lot of businesses.

2. Don’t target only single-word keywords. Single-word keywords (i.e. restaurant) are extremely competitive and not specific enough. People commonly type in longer keyword phrases (i.e. Mexican restaurant Santa Ana CA) when searching, so instead of going after the highly competitive single-word keywords, try a long-tail keyword to help target your audience more precisely.

3. Don’t forget to track and analyze your results. If you’re not tracking and analyzing the results you’re getting with the current keywords you’re optimizing for, you’ll never know whether they are working. Use Google Analytics to track results and figure out which keywords are sending users to your site so you can continue to optimize for the ones that are working and find new keywords to add to your list.