Too good to be true: Vetting keyword data to avoid rabbit holes





Blog Date

May 27, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Too good to be true: Vetting keyword data to avoid rabbit holes

The Allure of Shiny Keyword Data

As an SEO professional, I’m sure you know the feeling all too well. You’re sifting through endless keyword research, hunting for that golden goose – the keywords that will drive droves of qualified traffic to your client’s website. The data looks promising, the search volumes are impressive, and the competition seems manageable. “This is it!” you think, “The key to unlocking our client’s online success.”

But before you get too excited, let me share a cautionary tale. I once had a client who came to me with a seemingly bulletproof keyword strategy, backed by data from one of the industry’s leading tools. The keywords were high-volume, low-competition, and perfectly aligned with their products and services. It was, by all accounts, a SEO specialist’s dream.

The Rabbit Hole Begins

Eager to deliver results, I dove headfirst into optimizing the website for these “perfect” keywords. I crafted detailed content, tweaked the site architecture, and even built some strategic backlinks. And for a while, everything seemed to be going according to plan. The client was thrilled, and we were making steady progress in the search rankings.

But then, the cracks started to show. As one Redditor so eloquently put it, “the search engine is an absolute joke.” The organic traffic we were seeing didn’t seem to be converting as well as we’d hoped, and the client started to question the value of our efforts.

The Importance of Vetting Keyword Data

It was at this point that I realized the importance of thoroughly vetting the keyword data we were relying on. As the CEO of GrowthAssistant said, “Landing them was the easy part.” The real challenge was ensuring that the data we were basing our strategy on was accurate, relevant, and truly reflective of our target audience’s search behavior.

I started digging deeper, cross-referencing the data from multiple sources and speaking directly with the client to get a better understanding of their customers. It didn’t take long to uncover some glaring discrepancies between the keyword data and the actual user intent.

Uncovering the Truth

Turns out, the “high-volume” keywords we were targeting were actually being dominated by irrelevant or low-intent searchers. As one Hacker News commenter noted, “Turns out, landing them was the easy part.” The competition, while seemingly low on paper, was actually fierce, with well-established players dominating the search results.

Even more troubling, the client’s target audience wasn’t even using these keywords to find the products and services they were offering. As one Redditor put it, “I was beyond thrilled when we landed them.” We had fallen victim to the allure of “vanity metrics,” chasing after high-volume keywords that ultimately did nothing to drive conversions or sales.

Lessons Learned

It was a humbling experience, to say the least. But it taught me an invaluable lesson: never take keyword data at face value. As Huyen Chip noted, “obsessing over them helped build GrowthAssistant and our systems into what it is today.”

From that point on, I made it a point to thoroughly vet every keyword we considered, cross-referencing multiple data sources, analyzing user intent, and even conducting customer interviews to ensure we were targeting the right keywords. It was a more time-consuming process, but the results spoke for themselves.

The Importance of Vetting Keyword Data

By taking the time to carefully vet our keyword data, we were able to avoid the rabbit hole of chasing after “too good to be true” keywords. Instead, we focused on identifying the keywords that truly resonated with our client’s target audience, driving qualified traffic and, more importantly, conversions.

The lesson here is simple: don’t be blinded by the allure of shiny keyword data. Take the time to dig deeper, understand your audience, and ensure that the keywords you’re targeting are a genuine reflection of their search behavior and intent. It may take more effort upfront, but trust me, it’s a rabbit hole you’ll want to steer clear of.

And remember, the team at MCR SEO is always here to help you navigate the complexities of keyword research and SEO strategy. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve sustainable, long-term success online, and we’re not afraid to challenge the status quo to get there.

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