Once upon a time, all Google cared about was quantity. Your website could rank higher by stuffing the content with keywords. But the search engine has matured now, and its algorithms that rank content when someone searches for a phrase seek quality and authenticity. Keywords should be a natural part of website content, and their placement may be more potent for your ranking than their density. This is why we wrote this small guide to Keyword Research For Article Writing.
This is an essential change that content creators need to adapt to if they are trying to rank higher for a keyword. But it doesn’t just impact the process of creating content; it also changes your keyword research. If you are writing an article for which you want to rank higher, keywords alone won’t matter. The content reflecting a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness will be more significant since it is used to determine the content’s quality.
But keywords are still an essential part of the puzzle. And focusing on quality instead of density also means using few mid-to-long tail keywords than trying to fit every relevant phrase in the article. That’s why keyword research for article writing needs to be thorough and in-line with a search engine’s ranking methodology.
Keyword Research Tips
Keyword research becomes a bit easier when trying to rank for localized keywords or relatively obscure, niche topics. But it gets difficult as you move towards more universal themes. Whatever the “nature” of your website keywords, some tips can help you with your research.
1. Use Keyword Organization Tools
The first step you need to take towards your keyword research is to use a tool like Google Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, or Ubersuggest. But these are keyword research tools. They will enlighten you about the trend, volume, cost (for paid advertisement), etc., surrounding the particular keyword. But finding the most relevant keywords isn’t enough, especially if you plan to produce several related articles.
Keyword organization tools can help you string your keywords into meaningful chains. The groupings and clusters you get using these tools can help you break your article in a more meaningful and readable pattern. This makes it easier for both the algorithms and your readers. You can also extend the keyword grouping beyond one article and produce a few articles that can all be linked together and make a natural progression.
2. Get Rid of The Noise
Many keyword phrases include branded terms or negative words that you may not want to include in your article. When you perform keyword analysis, you should use a tool that helps you exclude specific terms, words, and whole phrases from your research. This makes the entire process cleaner.
Some tools (like Keyword Sheeter) have an in-built negative filter that excludes any keyword phrases containing a specific word. But the exclusion feature isn’t just about parts of a whole term. It can also help you exclude negative keywords – Phrases you don’t want to add in your article, even though they are closely related to your topic and primary keyword. Excluding negative keywords is an important tip to manage costs in P.P.C. campaigns.
3. Look for Attainable Monthly Search Volume
The average monthly search volume for a keyword is usually overlooked unless you are bidding for Cost-Per-Click. That’s a mistake. The average monthly searches for a specific keyword can have a massive impact on your SEO. You may find it hard to compete against established, well-ranked websites if you go for the keyword with the highest search volume.
It’s a smart idea to choose something a little more attainable. If the keyword phrase is too general, pick the ones that are lower on the monthly search volume ranking. You can also rephrase your keyword, make them a bit more specific to get a reasonable search volume.
4. Create a Network of Articles
You can look for the main keyword that covers a general topic. For example, digital marketing is an umbrella term with several supporting keywords that can be turned into separate articles. All these articles can link back to the main article. This network can help your pieces rank better because the crawlers may see it as one, comprehensive resource for the main keyword.
Pillar content can be considered a variation of this technique. A pillar page is longer, more detailed than typical blog posts, and supporting blog posts are either added in as chapters or linked to the pillar post.
Remember when performing keyword research for article writing, with data-driven blogging, it’s better to target a topic than a keyword.
5. Understand Search Intent
Why would someone search for the keyword you are writing your article on? Answering this question will help you create a more helpful piece that ranks higher. It’s easy to understand user intent for how-to articles. But the intent behind terms like “ski clothing” can be a bit difficult to determine. Maybe the user is trying to search for the latest trends, durable outfits, location for the nearest store, or used ski clothes, etc.
In that case, adding another term to ski clothing will help you look for searches with clearer intent. The keyword you are trying to satisfy in your article might not be the only thing the user was looking for. If you can answer most of the questions a user might have when searching for certain keywords, in just one article (with links to a few related ones), you can rank higher.
6. Learn From Related Search Items
The “Search Related to” section of Google search results can offer you a wealth of information. It can give you better topic ideas, questions that you can answer in your article, related articles you can write and link to your current article, etc. Google’s algorithms are much better at connecting the dots between different keyword searches.
Even if you are an expert on the topic you are targeting as your main keyword, related searches might show you a new perspective. You can use it to make your content richer with information or creating a better network or articles, all linked together as a helpful resource.
7. Evergreen vs. Trending
It’s challenging to write something “classic” that might stay relevant for decades. And it’s not about the ability of the writer, but the rapidly evolving digital and social landscape. Still, some keywords are currently trending, and topics that are here to stay. Understanding which is which can help you prepare your content accordingly.
The evergreen keywords deserve timeless language and periodic optimization to stay relevant. These articles need to cover all bases surrounding the evergreen keyword and give a comprehensive view of the subject. Trending keywords cause short-term spikes in search engine volumes. When you are addressing them in your article, try familiarizing yourself with the content currently available. Try to write something new, or address the terms from a new angle. You can generate more traffic in a short amount of time by adequately addressing a trending keyword.
8. Research Your Competitors
“Know thy enemy” is as relevant in blog keyword research as it is in battles. The goal here isn’t to undermine your competitors or do something completely different, just to distinguish yourself. You have to learn and improve on what your competitors are doing. Look at how they target and address a keyword. What are they doing better, which is driving more traffic towards them?
It can be something as straightforward as content formatting, simple language, or assisting resources (infographics, how-to videos, etc.). Or they may tailor their content to target a specific audience. You can learn these and a hundred more things by researching your competitors. But never lose your competitive edge when trying to emulate your competitors in something they are doing better than you.
9. Learn From The Top Search Results
Just like learning from your competitors, try and learn from the top results when you search for specific keywords. Focus on figuring out what is making them rank higher. Is it just the quality of the content, or how clearly they address the keyword? Are top-ranking results only from authority websites? What kind of internal and external links they’ve chosen? Do they rank higher on that keyword for other sites as well, i.e. YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.?
Answering these questions may be hard at first, but you will take your keyword research game to the next level. It may be hard to build up upon the best resources available for any specific keyword. But you can pick some things up for less competitive variations.
10. Know Your Niche and Know Your Audience
It’s a bit similar to try and nail down the intent behind a keyword search. Understanding your niche and your target audience will help you fine-tune your content, helping with your ranking and traffic. But it also helps with your keyword selection. Instead of going for a wide range of terms and multiple phrases, you will be able to select the most potent few. Fewer keywords will allow you to integrate them more naturally in the content.
Keyword research for article writing takes place before you put pen to paper (or your hands to the keyboard). How thorough and potent your research is will impact the quality of your content and your chances of ranking higher in SERPs.
If you know what you want to write, but don’t know how to rank, a good place to start is going through keyword research tips. They will give you an idea about how you can narrow down the list of keywords, how to frame your content, which questions to answer, and how to write content that’s relevant to your target audience and ranking algorithms.