Keeping Keyword Phrases Natural in Articles

Laura Ginn

One of the cornerstones of the average SEO strategy is the keyword phrases you want your content to rank highly for. There are plenty of tools and methods out there to help you get this part of your plan worked out, so you know what kind of phrases you want to target and include in your content. When you know your keywords, however, you may find that a lot of them are difficult to work into natural sentences. Whether you are producing your own content or sending your desired keywords to professional writers to include in articles, dealing with unnatural keywords can be hard.

Photo by Linus Bohman
Photo by Linus Bohman

Why Are Some Keyword Phrases Unnatural in Normal Writing?

When we run searches on the internet, we don’t write in proper sentences. While search engines are now very good at handling natural sentence searches, such as ‘Where can I buy a caravan in Manchester?’, they are also designed to cope with more shorthand phrasing that focuses only on the words in a question that relate very specifically to the search, such as, in this example,  buy caravan Manchester’. You may, if you are trying to optimise your content for people who want to know about buying caravans in Manchester, then, have keywords in your list of planned keyword phrases that don’t work in natural sentences, because you would never actually say ‘buy caravan Manchester’ in a sentence, but your target audience may well type that in to Google.

Good Content Prevails Over Keyword Optimisation

In the olden days of internet searches, keywords were king because this was all a search engine could really use to establish whether your content matched a user’s search. Now, however, things are a lot more sophisticated, and Google (along with Bing and other search engines that are still widely used), care far more about whether content is well written, in a place where it is relevant, and whether other people like it than keyword frequency. It is therefore a bigger priority in both SEO and readership terms to make your content sound good than it is to shoehorn in phrases that don’t go but which may be searched upon. This means you can break things up a little.


Often, the hardest keywords to work with are location based ones, because you may be writing about web design for a web design company in Melbourne, but the topic you are writing about and the target blog may not lend themselves to slipping ‘web design in Melbourne’ in and still leaving things sounding natural. In this case, it is better to forgo the location in the keyword and write a meaningful article, but make sure the sites you target are relevant to the location. Or, you write about the location and mention the service as part of your description of the type of businesses that do well there. This is far more natural and logical to read than an article where a seemingly random city is frequently mentioned for no obvious reason.

One final thing to remember is that Google overlooks common words altogether, so ‘buy a caravan in Manchester’, which can easily be used in a sentence that makes sense, is essentially the same to a search engine as ‘buy caravan Manchester’ which cannot. Knowing this can also make it a lot easier to work with strange keyword phrases.