Keyword inclusion – before or after writing?

How to please Google…that is the ever-present thought in the mind of a good business marketer ….”how do I please Google AND give the people what they want?” Some days it seems like an impossible ask. You don’t want to sound like a robot or a weirdo, shoving all those juicy keywords into your writing wherever possible, but you DO want your words to be found and rank well in Google so you can share ideas and help more people – and that requires clever keyword inclusion.

I often get asked: “When should I insert keywords into my content? Do I do it as I create the copy or should I go back afterwards and add them in?”

I’m going to be completely unhelpful here and say that in this instance, there is no hard and fast rule. It is a rare case in the SEO space where you can do whatever you please. Meaning, keyword inclusion can happen as you write or you can do it afterwards when you’re editing your piece. Or you can do a little of both.

Either approach will work fine, and has its own advantages:

The advantage of keyword inclusion as you write:

  • It’s the fastest way to do things – no need to go back and rewrite sentences to make the keywords make sense.
  • Less editing required.
  • More likely to sound ‘human’ – if you include keywords when you write they are more likely to sound like part of your natural tone and rhythm.

The advantage of adding keywords in to your content after you’ve written the copy:

  • It’s easier – if you’re new to SEO writing it can be hard to know how much and when to include keywords and keyphrases, so getting your main ideas out first then going back to it can be a more straightforward process.
  • Keyword opportunities will appear in retrospect that weren’t apparent when you wrote the main copy.

How do I do it? I swing both ways, of course.

I’m definitely aware of my keywords as I write, and I include them in headings and in natural turns of phrase when explaining whatever the topic is that I’m discussing, but I also ALWAYS go back and run my keyword-comb through my content when I’m editing. I make sure I didn’t add TOO many keywords but I also look for ways to include more in headings and imagery etc, particularly with the use of synonyms.

Can I do keyword research after the writing of the content?

Short answer? No.

Unfortunately this IS one of those areas where I must insist you follow the rules. Before you start writing, keyword research MUST be done. It helps give your content direction, structure and value. The research phase can also throw up questions you hadn’t thought of and so it will help enormously to guide your approach to the topic. Finally, most web pages these days do not just try to rank for one word or phrase – there are always a multitude of related phrases that should be considered and become part of your  keyword inclusion, and the research process will alert you to these.

So tell me, how do you include your keywords – before or after writing?



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