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Marketing With Articles: Are Keywords Really That Important?
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A quick bit of keyword research prior to writing an article can go a long way!

I received this excellent question recently:

Keywords change with the variables of trends, seasons and subjects. Are they really that important over time? If so, then how much time should one spend on keywords?

Keywords are in fact critically important to article marketing and should form the basis of your whole article marketing campaign. Otherwise your article marketing will at worst be severely under-performing, and at best you’ll certainly be leaving a lot of the benefits you could have otherwise had on the table.

There are really two sets of keywords that should form the basis of your article marketing campaign:

  1. Your main keywords – these are the keyword phrases that you are looking for your site (i.e. your home page) to rank well for on the search engines (SEs), in particular, Google. For many sites, this will tend to have higher traffic potential, along with a higher number of competing websites in the SEs.
  2. Your peripheral keywords – these tend to be longer-tail keyword phrases (eg. 4 or more words per keyword phrase) and generally have lower potential traffic, but also there are fewer competing websites.

Let’s look at each in turn.

Your Main Keywords

Your main keywords are those that you would use to link back to your site in the (HTML) resource box – for example, taking an article at random from our article directory you can see what this author has done in their resource box:

So they’re linking both ‘compounding pharmacy’ and ‘prescription medication’ back to different pages on their website (see the full article: Understanding Hypothyroidism)

This technique – linking specific keyword phrases back to your site – helps Google to know what your site is about. By doing this over time, and varying the text you use to link back, Google gets a well-rounded picture of what your site is about, and this helps inform the ranking of your site in their index. Namely you should start to see ranking improvements (presuming of course your site does actually offer quality content related to the keyword phrase you’re looking to rank for).

This is where you stand to gain the most advantage out of article marketing – there’s a huge difference in traffic between being on page #2 and page #1 of Google’s rankings. There’s a similar huge difference in traffic between being the #1 result and the #2 result on page #1.

And article marketing done correctly can help you shoot for the top spot.

Your Peripheral Keywords

These keyword phrases are generally not important enough – in terms of traffic potential – for you to want to focus on them in terms of your main page ranking, but they are ideal to focus individual articles on.

Because of the lower traffic potential, there is often very low competition too, and the competition that does exist is usually so weak that a well-focused article can easily outrank the other sites that do exist.

What’s more, these longer tail phrases often form ideal article titles.

Why Do Keyword Research?

There’s not space within this post to go into exactly how to do keyword research – we’ll cover that in future posts – but this example should serve as an illustration as to why proper keyword research is so important for article marketing.

Let’s say you were an electrician, looking to do article marketing to help market your website.

Doing a small bit of keyword research on what likely potential customers of an electrician might be searching for online, there is a huge difference in traffic potential between the following two keyword phrases, but the difference between them is a single word!

  • “how much would it cost to rewire a house” – 48,600 competing web pages, but only 28 searches a month
  • “how much does it cost to rewire a house” – 51,500 competing web pages, 480 searches a month

(Info from Google, and Google’s keyword tool, at time of writing)

So the competition level between these phrases is roughly the same, but the second one has far higher traffic potential – you’d be far wiser writing an article on “How Much Does It Cost To Rewire A House” than “How Much Would It Cost To Rewire A House”. One title has 17 times the amount of potential traffic compared to the other.

Think carefully about how to apply the information in this post to your own article marketing. A quick bit of keyword research prior to writing an article can go a long way!

Photo credit:

Search-Engine-Marketing by Danard Vincente

NOTE: Please be aware this content may now be outdated. For the latest quality content on how to build massive publicity for your website, please go to The vWriter Blog - Helping Businesses Grow Traffic, Build Engagement, and "Be Everywhere"

14 Responses to “Marketing With Articles: Are Keywords Really That Important?”

  1. everything starts with proper keyword research. It should be implemented at every step of the way with article marketing. Spinning many titles and mixing up the words used across different versions of the article keeps your content fresh and unique across the web! Those long tail key phrases can be the main platform of your business, dominating those niche long tails with low competition solidifies top ranking with much less ‘optimized’ work.

  2. Very good information. I’ve been coached way to often that I really need to focus more on my keywords in my title, body of the post (anchor text) and what I put into my tags. It does make a difference in your SE rankings.

  3. I like this article, its brief and to the point and also very true. How often do we forget to change the wording of our headlines and articles to create a better response. We so often get carried away with what we think the customer needs instead of researching what words people use to search for online.

  4. Edgar says:

    You might think this is crazy, but I really like the layout/presentation of the articles before. Clean, crisp, looked great when printed. I’m sure the content here is still first class, but I just really don’t like the new look.

  5. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Edgar,

    Thank you for the feedback–glad you like the new design :)

  6. You’ve really brought out well the idea of peripheral keywords. These are often ignored, but are very important especially to the new marketer who’s just launched a website. For your website to rank well using the very competitive keywords, it make take a very long time and as the owner of a new website, you might be disillusioned by not seeing your keywords rank fast enough. Peripheral keywords are therefore great for the more impatient newbie as results appear much more quickly for these keywords

  7. Karen says:

    Thank you for the excellent overview on the importance of both short-tail and long-tail keywords and their role in article marketing. Too often, in our rush to get more articles “out there,” we neglect the very strategies that serves us well in getting our articles published and read more often. As a result, our efforts are often not rewarded as they could be had we simply done a little more keyword research and put that research to work in our articles. Excellent post!

  8. frena says:

    @Steve Shaw:

    hallo Steve, Edgar did NOT like the new design. He preferred the old design

  9. Steve Shaw says:

    Hi Frena,

    Ah, thanks–misread that comment. Actually the design has changed since Edgar left that comment. Thanks though :)

  10. Patricia says:

    I myself have had a very difficult time fully grasping the whole concept — and necessity — of keywords. I think it’s a discipline thing: don’t like being tied down. :D I think this subject deserves a blog post of my own.

  11. Roger Himes says:

    I am brand new at this article stuff… but everything I read tells me how important doing research on KEYWORDS is. I’ve been sold!

    There are so many keywords that pop up — many of them totally irrelevant — but many good choices. Do just choose what you want, or is there a way to know (1) WHAT to use and (2) HOW to use it?

    Do you know of an article or a training that shows STEP BY STEP how to do it effectively, and incorporate them into articles using Google free keywords? Or do I need Wordtracker, Wordze, etc.?

  12. Steve,
    This is great information for me. I was told to use the product. I will now use keyword phrases even though this takes a lot more time. Can you help me as to where to do this kind of keyword research?


  13. Steve Shaw says:

    @Joyce Kaaland: Hi Joyce,

    As a matter of fact, we’re currently covering how to do basic keyword research. Here are a few posts to get you started:

    Keyword Basics: How To Do Keyword Research For Marketing With Articles

    Stay tuned to the blog over the next few days for more posts on how to do keyword research.

    It does take a little extra time (and there is a learning curve at the beginning), but once you get a handle on it, I think you might find it easier to write articles once you have a keyword strategy in place. I know it helps me!


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