Before you click out of this article thinking, “not another keyword research guide,” let me tell you something I’ve learned first-hand from working with national news publishers: Keyword research for publishers is entirely different.
The skills, processes, checklists, and tools you currently use won’t be as helpful in this niche.
Forget about presenting your list of keywords to an editorial team using the traditional keyword research method. Those keywords are already outdated!
Also, let me save you hours of time trawling through the thousands, if not millions, of keywords news sites naturally rank for.
SEO for news is different – and so is keyword research.
It’s about winning Top Stories optimization. This will get you the lion’s share of the daily search traffic for a news site.
The purpose of this guide is to equip you with a quick keyword research framework to teach to your journalists so they can win more of those Top Stories spots.
Why Is Keyword Research For News SEO Different?
News websites require a different approach to keyword research than other types of websites.
They typically focus on timely, breaking stories that are often only relevant for a short period.
As a result, news sites need to quickly identify and rank for the keywords being searched for at any given moment (otherwise known as trending topic optimization).
Optimizing for trending topics requires a completely different approach to keyword research.
Traditional keyword research is generally based on 12 months of aggregated data, whereas news keyword research is predominately based on trending topics (which are topics that have not been searched before).
Most local and national news sites cover multiple topics. If a story is of public interest, you can expect a publisher to cover it.
For example, around Christmas, you would expect most news sites to provide tips on festive cooking or buyer guides.
You would also expect these publishers to cover stories that capture the public interest, such as COVID-19.
And just like seasonal events such as Christmas, or worldwide events such as a pandemic, these topics go in and out of the mainstream public interest.
The difference is data; When you are looking at query data for a news site, you have seasonality and trend factors to consider. These factors may also be the reason why your traffic is either up or down.
But there is another factor.
When a topic is trending or newsworthy, Google gives news sites preference for this query. This is known as “query deserves freshness” (QDF);
“THE QDF solution revolves around determining whether a topic is “hot.” If news sites or blog posts are actively writing about a topic, the model figures that it is one for which users are more likely to want current information.”
For this reason, news sites can jump in and out of the search engine results page (SERP) for any query.
An easy example to explain this is to compare two U.S. presidents, one past