Although your keywords shouldn’t dominate your content writing, they are an important part of the entire writing process especially when you are targeting search engines.
For me, keywords keep your writing focused. When you know what words to use, you know what to write and you don’t deviate from that.
Focus is very important when you are writing content to attract targeted traffic from search engines. Keywords keep you focused.
Sometimes clients send me a long list of keywords to be included in a single document. Although, with little bit of creativity, scores of keywords can be incorporated into a single document – provided you have a big document of more than 3000 words – normally I don’t recommend this.
Focus on a single phrase – most of the searches these days are based on phrases rather than keywords – and in that one single phrase, try to include the main things that you’re going to cover in the current blog post or web page.
Also keep in mind that an increasing number of searches are voice searches – people use devices they can talk to, to look for information, for example Google Assistant or Amazon Echo.
Nonetheless, it is important that you do keyword research before writing content.
Why keyword research is important before content writing?
The concept of keyword has changed over the years. In terms of SEO, it doesn’t mean a single word, though, people get confused and assume that they should focus on single words rather than complete phrases.
For SEO and content writing, when you talk of keywords, you can safely assume that they mean even complete sentences.
Back to why keyword research is important…
It tells you what language people use when they are trying to find your service or your product or even when they’re talking to each other on various online forums and social media platforms while talking about your service or product.
Search engine algorithms are becoming intelligent by the day. They are fast moving towards a state of being when even if you don’t use your keywords, provided you stick to the topic, they will be able to make out what you are saying and then accordingly, rank your content.
In fact, this is already happening. When SEO experts and content marketing professionals talk about “searcher’s intent” this is what they are basically saying – your keywords don’t matter much, what matters is, whether you’re solving people’s problems or not, especially problems for which they are searching for solutions.
Nonetheless, keywords matter, and they will go on mattering simply because the words that people use to find you on Google, can be distinct for distinct requirements.
For example, if you’re looking for a content writer for your business, you will not be looking for “content writing” or “how to write content”.
Although, these two phrases do have something to do with content writing, for your particular need, you may look for “content writing for my boutique business” or “content writing service for SEO”.
If you’re looking for a writer to write your product descriptions, you’re not going to search for “professional copywriter”. You may search for “writer for writing product descriptions” or “looking for someone to write product descriptions for me”.
These may seem very obvious observations, especially when you are reading this blog post, but when you need to target scores of keywords because your business depends on traffic originating from those keywords, you need to do comprehensive research.
Again, the purpose of keyword research is not to prepare a long list of keywords and then use these keywords to write content (unless you’re using Google AdWords), the purpose is to use these keywords as a guiding force.
You enjoy better search engine rankings if you write in the language that your prospective customers and clients use.
Why before content writing?
As I have written above, the purpose is not to stuff keywords into your writing, the purpose is to use your keywords as a direction towards creating highly purposeful content in a language that people use, especially people who can be your prospective customers and clients.
When you write content, you should ask yourself, “Why am I writing this blog post?”, or “Why am I writing this webpage?”
Of course, you don’t just want to generate search engine traffic from your content writing because search engine traffic by itself means nothing. If your content can draw people from Google and other search engines but people simply leave your website without doing anything, it is an exercise in futility. This happens when you solely focus on SEO.
The primary purpose of your content must always be to provide information people are looking for so that they can decide whether they want to do business with you.
Take for instance this current blog post. Here I’m explaining to you why it is important to do keyword research before writing content. You may say that by merely reading this blog post how am I conveying that I’m a professional content writer and you should hire me?
Through a search engine or through another website or through Facebook or Twitter, when you come to this blog post and you read, you will know that I understand a few things about keywords and writing content based on those keywords.
The layout of my website/blog is such that you easily know that I provide professional content writing services and if you’re looking for a content writer who can focus on your keywords and despite that, also write high-conversion content, you may like to contact me.
If you don’t get such a feeling (despite requiring a competent content writer) then I’m not doing a good job.
Similarly, the ultimate aim of your content writing is to convince people that you are open for business and doing business with you is a good decision.
Hence, when you’re writing content, your aim must be converting people.
Now, this is where it becomes difficult for content writers who are not experienced. They can either focus on keywords to improve your SEO (which is not a big deal) or write conversion-centric content which, though, does not attract traffic, but if people land on that webpage or blog post, they are convinced.
So, how does one balance between keywords and conversion-oriented content writing?
Use your keywords (phrases, sentences, search expressions) to steer your language so that both search engine algorithms and visitors know what you’re talking about. Don’t simply use them to improve your SEO because that is counter-productive.
Again, take for example this blog post. It talks about why it is important to research keywords before content writing. At the time of writing this, I’m not sure whether people will be able to find this link for the right keywords or search terms, but this is what my intention is – if someone searches with a combination of keywords and content writing and maybe also SEO, he or she should be able to find this link.
But once he or she is on this blog post, only good content writing matters, not what or how the keywords have been used.