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Doing keyword research is like being a detective: you're always searching for those tiny, but valuable clues that decide the fate and future of a case you are handling. You can never arrive at a conclusion without clues and evidence, so you should master keyword research if you are serious about the words "sales," "profit," and "conversions."

Many webmasters make common keyword research mistakes and are later surprised that their campaigns are not producing results. They have all the technical details, data, scope, and so on, but one small mistake sinks the entire ship.

Before trying your hand at researching a keyword and targeting a few phrases, learn the following four pitfalls you should steer clear of.

1. Targeting Keywords You Think Are the Best match for Your Company

"You know what? I think we should target the phrase 'blue sportswear for men' because our research shows that men are looking for blue sportswear," says one of the data analysts at your company.

But that is a trap! You are prejudging the user, which you should avoid doing at all cost.

Of course, your data analyst has all the data and your company's previous sales records, but when you are marketing a product to a global audience, never prejudge and arrive at a decision from your perspective.

Instead of targeting exact-match keywords, try finding out which keywords users actually type on Google, Yahoo, Ask, and other search engines. Common users are not familiar with all the common product names, so you should start by putting yourself in users' shoes and then begin your keyword research and analysis.

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image of Lior Levin

Lior Levin is marketing adviser at producteev, a provider of task management solutions. He is also adviser at Arizona-based CSS company PSDtoHTMLConversion.com, which offers psd to xhtml conversion.