The KISS Guide To Writing Keyword Rich Articles

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Freelance writers are often asked to write keyword rich web content articles. If you don’t know where to begin, here’s the ‘keep it simple’ guide to get you started.

Finding Keywords

In most cases, clients supply the keywords you need for an article. If they don’t, then your first step is to research some appropriate keywords for their topic. There are several tools you can use to do this. Some of my favorites are:

the SEOBook Keyword Tool

Google Adwords search tool

These free tools allow you to search for a term and see related keywords. For each term, the sites indicate the search volume. This tells you which keywords are popular and gives you a list of phrases and alternative phrases to use when writing articles.

Keyword Density

Once you have the keywords, then it’s time to start writing. Sometimes clients ask for a specific keyword density, such as 3%. Although this is not the best way to write keyword articles, if that’s what the client asks for, that’s what you have to provide. Two tools which work well for checking keyword density are Textalyser and Live Keyword Analysis. in both cases, you paste your text into a box, hit a button and find out your keyword density. (Alternatively, you can work out how many times you need to mention the keyword phrase to achieve your target density and find and count them manually in your word processing program.)

Seeding The Keywords

It’s much rarer now for writing clients to request a high keyword density. Using keywords 10-15 times in a short article can make it virtually unreadable, so most go for using keywords around five times. Whichever method you use, key positions for keyword placement are at the start (first words, first sentence or first paragraph) and end  (last words, last sentence or last paragraph) of the article. Then the other keywords are sprinkled around in the middle.

Breaking It Up

One issue that writers sometimes face is having unwieldy keywords that don’t fit well within a sentence. Some clients are sticklers for using keywords as written, which can result in strange sentence constructions that lack the appropriate punctuation. (Example: When buying mortgages UK consumers need to be aware of interest rates.) However, others realise that search engines take little account of punctuation and stop words (short words such as ‘the’, ‘a’ and so on) and that it’s ok to use these to make a phrase more reader friendly. With this kind of client, it’s easy to produce engaging and informative articles that still meet the client’s brief.

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14 thoughts on “The KISS Guide To Writing Keyword Rich Articles”

  1. It wasn’t an argument, after all the client is always right….but boy it is frustrating when they don’t get that putting “a” and “the” isn’t going to change the result.

    I had one client who wanted “apple pie” and “an apple pie” used at 3%, separately….the client is always right, the client is always right….

  2. I feel your pain, Eve. Some clients remember that they are buying my expertise and listen to my advice; others don’t.It’s the luck of the draw

  3. Sharon, This is a great article. A lot of people have no idea about the white noise or stop words and it can make a huge difference to the readability of the article.

    Content is definitely king and what some fail to consider is that regardless of how well you do in the search engine results, you want the copy your target audience reads to do more than get people to your site. You want the copy they read to convert them from a visitor to a client!

  4. Exactly, Dana – and giving them a readable and informative article is the best approach.

  5. If your content/article is half decent in the first place, most of the SEO stuff should take care of itself anyway. Focus on decent writing and you’re already most of the way there.

  6. It’s true that if you’re writing about a topic, you will probably use the keywords anyway, CB, though not necessarily in the places where clients want them.

  7. I always feel, rightly or wrongly, that writing a good, informative article and not specifically targeting keywords helps you get a decent article in place.
    Sometimes you can edit some keywords in or move things around to affect density and seeding but I would still advise writing the article on the subject matter without keywording first. I just think the result is better.

  8. That’s the approach I take with my own stuff, cmdweb, but rightly or wrongly, clients who are buying writing skills often have these requirements.

  9. Hi Sharon,

    Great post!

    Before I sit down to write an article, I think of how the keyword fits in naturally. Then I seed the article with the keyword at the beginning, throughout the article every 80 to 100 words, and in the last paragraph. Usually, the keyword works well with the topic and related words.

    Yes, it is frustrating when a client wants to stuff one keyword into a 300 word article 10 times or require five keywords. Hint-keyword, not keywords. Of course, the customer is always right, right?

    Thanks again for the timely post.

  10. I am not a big fan of keyword density and requiring certain percentages in articles. To me that has always been a “gray hat” area of SEO. Just because something works doesn’t really make it best for the reader.

    Luckily Google has come around in their formula recently and continues to rank more for the searcher.

    If I have an article about ‘trout fishing’ , I do all the proper on page optimization, and only mention ‘trout fishing’ 1-2 times, I can still be ranked very highly.

    It’s not about density, it’s about value….if people like your stuff and google can tell you are writing about ‘trout fishing’, nothing more is needed.

    Lesson for me: Write naturally, optimize on page, get shared 🙂

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