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How to select the right keywords for an article

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Selecting the right keywords for articles isn’t as simple as it used to be. With an information overload and more and more tools popping up to simplify great SEO writing, it can be hard to choose the right keywords for articles that will have the SEO impact you desire.

For content writers, it’s becoming increasingly important to be SEO savvy. SEO is, after all, first and foremost content. By selecting the correct keywords for content and doing SEO entity research for content clusters, you tell Google that you are a great knowledge base for a specific topic. 

Relevance’s SEO experts, copywriters, and account managers work in unison to ensure relevant content for our clients that is flawlessly optimised to drive traffic and boost search rankings.

Selecting the right keywords for an article

Before developing any content, it’s always valuable to do a site search before selecting keywords or an article topic. 

Doing a site search first gives you an overview of the content on a website relating to a specific keyword or topic. This is a good way of reviewing older content pieces, seeing if they are still relevant, looking at performance and traffic for those pages and deciding if some of the information could be recycled, reused or revamped. It is also an excellent way to brainstorm some new angles on topics. 

A site search also avoids the common problem of cannibalisation on bigger websites. Web pages that use the same keywords will end up competing with each other instead of competing with other websites. 

General keyword research goes a long way to selecting the right keywords for an article. Doing keyword research on a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner will give you a broad overview of the amount of interest in specific keywords. The other search queries that pop up could serve as semantics to include throughout the content and make great subheadings or H2s. Although the search volume of keywords is great insight, it’s not the be-all and end-all when selecting keywords. 

Understanding search intent 

Google is increasingly becoming user-focused, and one of its main focuses is matching keywords and users’ search intent to content. 

If you have to choose between a keyword for an article with a lot of search volume that doesn’t quite match the content and a keyword with less, or even zero search volume, but that exactly encompasses the piece of content, always opt for the keyword that best matches the content. If anything, a keyword with less search volume means less competition and easier ranking. 

Incorporating some SEO research into your general topic research is a great skill for any writer. It saves time in the long run and makes an article more appealing both for SEO and users. 

If you do an anonymous search for your selected keyword, the top three or four organic results that pop up will be your biggest competition. Doing a bit of competitor research is a good starting point but is also a great way to do a small gap analysis. What do all the ranking articles have in common? What are they missing? Are there any gaps within the content that could be added to your article? 

An anonymous search in Google will also give you an overview of the SERPs landscape. Lots of ads will mean that there is probably stiff competition.

If there are lots of videos and images that pop up on the SERPs, you’ll know that a multi-media approach will be very beneficial. 

Further down on the results page, you’ll find Google’s ‘People also ask’ section. These are common questions that users already searching for your keywords have. 

Answering these questions clearly and concisely in your content is a good way of optimising your article for featured snippets. Snippets are the short pieces of content that Google extracts from different websites to answer FAQs. 

Entity research for articles 

Last but not least, it’s important to include relevant entity research and semantic terms in your content. 

Keyword stuffing is a thing of the past, and Google gives precedence to content that covers a topic thoroughly and correctly. If users search for a keyword and end up on your web page but leave very shortly after (high bounce rate), it could mean that people’s needs and search intent are not being met. 

Google will prioritise pages that give users exactly what they want, whether that is infographics, videos and images or a step by step guide on a topic. 

Entities will be the subtopics you decide to cover as part of the main topic, very often used as subheadings in an article. If your keyword is “When to wear block heels,” some entities or subtopics might include “Where to buy block heels,” “How to wear block heels” or “Block heel outfits”. By putting yourself in the shoes of the user, you are more likely to supply them with an article that covers all the bases of a topic. This by no means implies that keywords are dead, but simply that they can’t stand alone anymore. 

If you need SEO content support, including selecting keywords for articles and entity research, contact Relevance’s team of digital experts.

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