It’s all about the news. That’s the way most hyperlocal publishers and online magazine publishers operate as they develop their editorial strategies. But keyword research still has its place in the news publisher’s playbook.
Keyword research involves researching popular search terms that people type into Google and Bing, and then strategically placing those terms into a website’s content. Publishers who have been investing in search engine optimization (SEO) have been conducting keyword research for years. However, the evolving nature of SEO now has some publishers wondering whether keyword research is still necessary.
Certainly, the popularity of a keyword should not in itself drive editorial coverage. Local news publishers are doing their audiences a disservice when they publish content or choose which topics to cover based exclusively on the popularity of certain phrases in search. But keyword research still has an important part to play in the news publisher’s SEO strategy.
Keywords communicate to search engines what a specific webpage is about. Without doing the legwork before putting together their keyword and SEO strategies, publishers may find that articles they have dedicated significant resources to are not driving the traffic they expect from Google or Bing.
Thankfully, we’re seeing that more publishers are finding creative ways to incorporate keywords into their websites for peak optimization, both informing their on-page and off-page SEO efforts.
For starters, keyword research can help publishers determine which topics their readers are and aren’t interested in learning more about. Without conducting keyword search, publishers could inadvertently be covering topics that their audience is not interested in. Even something as small as using the wrong keyword, or using a keyword out of context when describing an otherwise popular topic, can result in missed search opportunities.
As a general rule of thumb, publishers should consider that poorly-chosen keywords are those keywords that have low search volume and/or incorrect usage. Keywords with low search volume are not being entered into Google or Bing very frequently, and content that includes these keywords is not likely to receive a large number of page views based on search traffic.
Keyword research can also help publishers discover which questions they could potentially answer through comprehensive, well-research articles. Tools like Answer The Public can offer guidance to publishers who are conducting content research. Users can enter any keywords to discover what related questions people are asking about online. For example, enter the keyword “hockey” into Answer The Public and you’ll see that people are asking questions like:
- When does hockey season start?
- Can hockey be played left-handed?
- How is hockey played?
- Which hockey stick should I buy?
Any one of these questions could be turned into a researched article, complete with affiliate links if that is a revenue strategy that your publication employs.
Hyperlocal news websites don’t typically have to put as much effort into keyword research as general interest magazines because relevant keywords are inherently a part of most local news stories. However, it’s still a good idea to look at which terms your audience is using to find your website on Google, since this could impact the long-term projects that you choose to produce.
One of the latest trends in SEO involves keyword clustering. Keyword clustering helps publishers optimize specific pages on their websites for multiple keywords or keyphrases. It involves conducting keyword research and looking for themes within the selected keywords to develop a core topic. That core topic can then be turned into evergreen content or a longform journalism piece. Once the article is published, keyword clustering can boost its ranking potential on Google.
- Keyword research is absolutely necessary for local news publishers and online magazines.
- The goal is to gain more insight into your audience and how they search online.
- The popularity of a keyword alone should not dictate a publication’s editorial coverage.
- Research can help publishers learn which topics resonate with their readers.
To learn more about the top SEO strategies being used by local news publishers, click here.