These are the keyword rules that every digital publisher should know.
Targeting the right keywords can lift your content in Google search results, but most publishers still have questions about how often they should use certain keywords and how much value targeted keywords actually deliver for search engine rankings.
Is targeting keywords in meta tags or on-page content still relevant, given all the recent changes in Google’s search algorithm? The answer is unequivocally, yes.
Despite frequent changes in Google’s algorithm, using relevant keywords within article content and meta tags is still incredibly important for news and magazine publishers.
To help establish the groundwork for a successful SEO strategy, we’ve put together this guide with the most important keyword rules that news and magazine publishers should know.
The Most Important Keyword Rules for Publishers
Rule #1: Stop tracking keyword ratios.
Hard and fast rules requiring writers to use targeted keywords a certain number of times on each page, or in each article, are quickly becoming outdated. Given the recent advances in semantic search, Google seems to be placing less emphasis on strict keyword ratios and more emphasis on natural language.
Articles are more likely to rank well in Google search results when the target keywords are placed naturally within the content and H1 tags. While keyword ratios are still a legitimate SEO tactic, news and magazine publishers should focus less on counting how many times a keyword or phrase is mentioned and more on the overall quality of the article or website content.
Rule #2: Don’t over-focus on target keywords.
One of the biggest keyword rules for digital publishers is to be cautious about over-focusing on target keywords. Finding the right balance when using keywords is just as much an art as it is a science. While publishers shouldn’t over-focus on using exact keyword combinations, they shouldn’t disregard the practice entirely, either. We’ll dig deeper into what that means later in this article.
Rule #3: Work on your site structure.
Most people know that website architecture plays a role in SEO strategy, but they don’t understand how it is connected to target keywords. The ideal website design helps search engine crawlers easily find content and index all of the pages on a website. Website architecture sends link authority around the website, so the highest-priority pages should have the greatest link authority. Internal links should naturally have keyword-rich anchor text. Avoid stuffing keywords into the anchor text of your internal links, as this is considered a bad practice and it can result in your website being downgraded in search results.
Rule #4: Use plain language.
Online publishers in certain niches have the tendency to write in a way that’s more like literature than straightforward news. That’s fine from a stylistic perspective, but it can hurt Google search rankings.
In order to rank well in search results, publishers should be using keywords that describe what their website or their content is about. Plain language is key here, especially on “About Us” pages. The words you use should match the topic you’re trying to rank for. Skip the synonyms, skip the linguistic flourishes, and stick to the basics if you want to see the best possible results from an SEO perspective.
Rule #5: Don’t worry about singular vs. plural keywords.
Writers and editors who’ve gotten overzealous about using target keywords tend to overthink the writing process, and that can lead to stressing out over the different ways of writing certain keywords. One of the keyword rules to keep in mind is that you don’t need to worry about whether you’re writing keywords as singular or plural, or both. Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to pick up on the differences, and you probably won’t get dinged for using different versions of individual keywords within a single article.
To learn even more about keywords and search engine optimization for local news publishers, click here.