Where should keywords sit in the editorial process?

News articles need to have keywords that are broad enough to capture any reader but specific enough so they aren’t bombarded with advertisements. Publishers weigh various factors when deciding where a keyword should be placed, including the search intent and how it is likely to help garner readership. Expert opinions vary on whether or not placement of keywords should be random or based primarily on their relevance regardless of searchers in mind.

Let’s start with a joke from the past. A SEO comes into a bar, a bar, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub, a pub

So on and so on. This little joke may have been going around for a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less applicable today. Sure, old-school keyword stuffing is on the decline, but emerging challenges like semantic search and content cannibalism mean that the words you use in your writing still matter a lot in terms of SEO.

This article, however, will not go through the finer points of keyword placement, such as how to pick the best phrases, how many times to use them, or which variants to employ. That has been covered several times and in considerable detail. Instead, we’ll look at who, and why, should be in charge of adding your keywords to the page.

Developing Content Groups

As everyone knows, the world of SEO has become a lot more sophisticated over time. Many teams are now emulating conventional editing divisions as the industry has grown more content-focused. Copywriters, editors, and production editors, as well as delivery managers, are all available. Depending on the scope of the project, there may also be fact-checkers, researchers, and editing or SEO assistants (those who assist with administrative tasks like as uploading and picture sourcing).

 Here’s how Ad-team Rank’s would be set up on a typical medium-sized content-driven project. It’s worth mentioning that, depending on the workload, the content strategist and SEO executive roles may be merged. 


Naturally, each of these professionals has its own set of skills and limitations, such as an SEO’s keyword research ability or an editor’s meticulous attention to detail. However, we’ve seen that even the best writers struggle with keywords from time to time. Even if you offer them a sentence to incorporate, it can come out as forced. Consider the following example from a previous project:

 “The greatest time to visit Florida is from November to May, since this is the dry season, but the site will still be crowded during the peak summer months, when temperatures may reach 32 degrees.”

This isn’t that horrible in the great scheme of things. It’s light years ahead of the keyword-stuffed copy of the past. Nonetheless, the presence of “Florida vacations” is jarring — it is not entirely natural language, which is our aim.

Training is, of course, one approach to address this. We’ve had multiple training for new hires on keyword insertion, going through various situations, and practicing copy smoothing. Overall, the outcomes have been positive, thanks to our authors’ skill and openness. Another option is to deal with this at a different stage of the process entirely.

 Changing Keyword Integration Plans and Publication Schedules

 Previously, our keyword insertion activity looked like this:

  • SEO/content strategists define keywords.
  • The content delivery expert incorporates this into the production schedule.
  • The authors construct the material, which includes keywords.
  • This is then double-edited and delivered to the customer for approval.
  • If necessary, the pages are added to the CMS.
  • Publication!

This is a very normal procedure, and I believe that many of you reading this blog are acquainted with it. However, we started experimenting with a new way last year.

Instead, we assigned our editors the responsibility of inserting keywords after the text had been generated, following the steps below:

  • SEO/content strategists define keywords.
  • The content delivery expert incorporates this into the production schedule.
  • The authors develop the text without any keyword advice.
  • The pages have been modified twice.
  • The editing staff is in charge of inserting keywords.
  • The content is sent out for review.
  • If necessary, the pages are added to the CMS.
  • Publication!

Although this may seem uncommon, we have observed a variety of advantages, including more natural text, fewer back and forth between editors and authors, and quicker delivery. This is due to a number of factors.

The Causes and Effects

First, by taking the burden of integrating keywords from the authors, we’ve eliminated what many perceived as a stumbling obstacle. This provides a feeling of independence that may not have existed before, resulting in an increase in productivity. Of course, this may be seen as merely transferring one assignment from one list to another.

Editors, on the other hand, have a much larger perspective of a project, since they may read numerous pages at once and have the advantage of being a step away from the content. This separation also contributes to efficiency: once the procedures are in place, it is significantly more efficient to insert keywords throughout pages in rapid succession than than waiting for inspiration to strike, as a writer must do.

The fact that the sites in question are precisely linked to the relevant keywords is maybe the most significant point to note here. Using our previous example, adding “Florida holidays” and its variants to a page named “Florida holiday guide” will be considerably simpler than adding “trips to Disneyland” to a page titled “Florida holiday guide.” Planning is essential, as it always is.

Our Methodology vs. Your Methodology

Finally, we’d like to point you that the aforementioned procedure isn’t without flaws. Each team is unique, with a diverse range of expertise in various areas. Even if the emphasis is on how it fits into your workflow rather than the terms themselves, there may be a lot to learn from examining your keyword approach. 

Resources for Keyword Research