Keyword research – do you actually take time to do this? This important task is often underestimated, and there are even some affiliates who believe that it’s a complete waste of time. But keyword research is only a waste of time when you don’t do it properly. Here are five mistakes you might be currently making that could be affecting the way you think about this vital part of the affiliate marketing process:

1. You Don’t Examine Exact Match Keywords

It may seem like the bread and butter is in the broad keyword, but don’t forget about the exact match. Both sets can deliver very different results. For instance, a broad match could show that there are millions of people looking for your search term, but a detailed exact match may reveal less than one hundred search queries.  By looking at the keywords this way, you would be able to see that your specific product or service is not in high demand, but the subject is popular. This will ultimately help you choose better selling products to promote.

2. You Don’t Research Plural and Singular Terms

If you pay attention during keyword research, you’ll see that singular terms and plural terms of the same word/word groups have different results. You may think that most of your customers are looking for “weight loss pills”, but thousands are looking for a “weight loss pill”. If you ignore the singular search terms in your content, you could be missing out on a whole plethora of shoppers looking for your goods and services. Don’t make the mistake of only focusing on plural search terms, as this is a sure fire way to cut your business in half.

3. You Use Difficult Search Terms

Most people looking for a product or service take the simple route to describe to Google what they’re looking for. These simple search terms are what you should be researching, not the difficult, unlikely search terms that “you think” customers are using. For example, if a person were looking for your body building products to help them gain weight, they are not likely to search for “weight enhancing dietary supplements for fitness”, they’re going to search for “pills to help weight gain”. Remember, you need to think like the average customer in order to select terms that they would use, and most customers utilize simple, layman’s language.

4. You Set it and Forget It

Keywords are always changing as an industry changes or as technology improves. This means you have to change with it in order to keep your business going. You can’t simply research a few keywords and then plan to utilize them throughout the life of your business. You should research and analyze new terms on a monthly basis and replace any low performing keywords with better ones. In other words, there’s no such thing as set and forget it with keyword research. Be prepared to make this part of your normal digital marketing activities.

5. You Don’t Look At Your Competitors Search Terms

An important part of keyword research is knowing who your competitors are and analyzing their search terms. You can get really great ideas from your rivals, and they may be targeting keywords that you haven’t thought of. Use a free tool like the MozBar to start analyzing competitors and compare their results to your own. When you identify some terms that that apply to your business, add them to your campaign.

Keyword research is very important to the health of your website and marketing campaigns. Avoiding these mistakes can ultimately help you increase your traffic, conversions, and extend your reach online. Just be sure to consistently monitor your keyword activity, and be prepared to make some changes every so often.