Years ago, SEOs talked about how you should optimize a page for only one keyword. I never subscribed to that, and it’s a good thing. Once Hummingbird rolled out, all those SEOs began changing their tune. It’s not about optimizing for one keyword but optimizing for the topic of the page overall.
That means you can optimize a page for many keywords at a time, provided they are all tightly focused around your topic. But not every keyword turns out to be what you thought. Sure, the search volume looked high and the intent seemed to match, but in the real world, some keywords simply do not convert as you may have hoped.
Keyword research should not be a one-time investment. Once a page is optimized, you should revisit it to check on its performance. Make sure that the searchers using they keywords you’ve optimized it for are finding what they expect. This is usually easy to spot by looking at engagement rates (bounce rates or those that move through the conversion process).
If you determine that the topic of the page is in high alignment with the searcher’s intent but is still not converting, you may have a messaging problem. This could mean you tried to cover too much ground with the content.
As soon as you get page performance data to work with, use that to fix issues, including misfire keywords. If you determine that certain keywords didn’t help you create the content your visitors wanted, rework the content accordingly. Ultimately, it’s better to find a different way (and page) to optimize for those misfire keywords than to try to force them where they don’t belong.
Sometimes it’s all just about how you use keywords that makes the difference. And then, sometimes, what looked like a good keyword really isn’t. Not to worry. Everything is adjustable!