Top Stories Full Keyword Research Guide

SEO and keyword research are not the same for news. Provide a separate framework for journalism’s five-word research questions.

Let me share with you something I’ve learnt first-hand from dealing with national news publishers before you click out of this post thinking, “not another keyword research guide”: For publishers, keyword research is very different.

Your present methods, procedures, check lists, and tools won’t be as beneficial in this industry.

Forget about employing the conventional keyword research approach to submit your list of keywords to an editorial team. Such terms have already become obsolete.

Also, allow me to spare you the hours it would take to go through the hundreds, if not millions, of terms news sites already rank for.

Both keyword research and SEO for news are different.

Winning Top Stories optimization is the goal. You will receive the majority of daily search traffic for news websites if you do this.

This guide’s objective is to arm you with a short keyword research strategy you can share with your journalists in order to help them get more Top Stories placements.

Why Is Keyword Research Different For News SEO?

Popular Topics

Compared to other types of websites, news websites demand a distinct strategy to keyword research.

They frequently concentrate on recent, breaking news that is frequently only pertinent for a little period of time.

News websites must therefore swiftly recognise and rank for the keywords being typed in at any given time (otherwise known as trending topic optimization).

It is necessary to do keyword research entirely differently when optimising for popular themes.

While news keyword research is mostly centred on hot issues, traditional keyword research often relies on 12 months of collected data (which are topics that have not been searched before).


Most regional and global news outlets offer comprehensive coverage. You may anticipate a publication covering a story if it is of general interest.

For instance, you would anticipate that most news websites will include advice on holiday cuisine or buyer’s recommendations throughout the holiday season.

Also, you would anticipate that these publications would cover hot topics like COVID-19.

And much like national or international events like a pandemic or seasonal occasions like Christmas, these subjects come and go from the general public’s attention.

The difference is in the data; while analysing query information for a news website, seasonality and trend variables must be taken into account. Your traffic may have increased or decreased due to these variables as well.


Google prioritises news pages for this query when a subject is trending or noteworthy. “Query deserves freshness” (QDF) is the term used for this.

Because of this, news websites can constantly enter and exit the search engine results page (SERP) for any inquiries

Comparing two American presidents, one from the past and one from the present, is a simple way to illustrate this.

We can observe QDF in action if we take Joe Biden, the current president, and compare him to George Bush, the 43rd president of the United States.

Both Top Stories are displayed for Joseph Biden at the top of the SERP, and news site themes are displayed below.


The five Ws of journalism—the who, what, when, where, and why—serve as the foundation for keyword patterns for news websites.

These are the basic inquiries every journalist should make while researching a story.

Who is concerned?
What took place?
What time did it occur?
What location was it?
Why did it take place?
A decent foundation is often provided for the journalist by responding to these questions in an article.

Focus on the W’s and less on “keywords” as we know them as SEO professionals to assist journalists in implementing strong on-page SEO with their headlines and subheadings.

Never mind defining terms like keyword difficulty, monthly search volume, cost per click, or even impressions. You will have lost them, and they will resume disregarding SEO, I assure you.

People tend to forget that just because a story appears online, it may also have been in print, and that’s why writers need to write for both online and print audiences.

While reading anything in print, you can see everything that is surrounding the headline, including all the images and subheads. In digital, there might only be a headline and a basic image.

As a digital plan can only have so much room, space is the main problem.

Shorter, more powerful words are essential while writing. And occasionally, that also has to do with how many lines are in the headline.

Yet, this may limit the story’s reach in terms of SEO.

The most important optimization advice you can provide journalists is to make sure the headline has one of the five Ws.

Moreover, don’t be concerned about giving away too much information in the title.

This is a straightforward structure you may use to explain keyword research to a journalist who isn’t familiar with SEO.

Whom Does the Story Concern?
Humans look up things by name, people by name, and places by name.

Use the entire name of the person, place, or object to improve your search results.

Elon Musk has more to say.

What’s the Point of the Story?

We must inform both readers and search engines of the story’s facts in order for them to return our tales when people search for them.

The headline must state that if this is regarding elections.

Every time a search engine visits your site, it’s like they’re a brand-new visitor because they can’t view the featured picture like a person can.

Using SEO, search engines are less likely to display the content in their search results if the headline does not contain the keyword or the topic the reader was looking for.


Advice: Including the precise location where the news occurred or is occurring can help your story rank higher.

Folks may walk by, hear the news quickly on the radio or TV, and

will check what transpired using their iPhones.

To find out the news, individuals may occasionally even just Google the area. Consider “Ukraine.”

How come?
People have questions when something in the news occurs, and many people use search engines to find the answers to their inquiries.

For instance, once Britain decided to leave the EU in 2016, individuals looked for information about how it would affect them. Questions like “Why did Britain choose to leave the EU?,” “What does Brexit mean?” and “What impact will Brexit have on Companies” are examples of such inquiries.

Explaining the news is a great way to increase your SEO and attract new subscribers.

Immediately Relevant Keyword Research
The media business uses the phrase “breaking news” to refer to current happenings or events that have just occurred.

Anything that has just happened in your neighbourhood or is now happening around the globe might be breaking news.

The issue may not have attracted much attention in earlier searches for the most part. So, conventional keyword research methods are less useful in this situation.

The data used by keyword research tools is often based on the average monthly search volume.

For instance, COVID-19 was rarely ever searched before it spread like a global pandemic and was reported by virtually every media outlet.

The story’s who, what, and where elements
When individuals search, they are actively seeking for information on a topic, as opposed to social media, push notifications, and newsletters where they are told of the change. Especially in the case of breaking news.

Often times, people learn about a story via another source, such as the radio, television, or even a coworker. They are provided a story’s essential facts. Nonetheless, there are inquiries.

Many individuals use search engines to find answers when they have queries.

Opening Google Trends and entering the first term that the news item is about is the easiest way to begin researching keywords for breaking news.

Trending on Google

Typhoon Hinnamnor was breaking news at the time this article was being written.

Important Learnings

Thousands, if not millions, of keywords typically have news websites in the top rankings.

Since themes haven’t been searched previously, there is little purpose in conducting standard keyword research for news.

Instead, emphasise the five Ws and instruct journalists in their use so that news websites’ SEO in the Top Stories carousel is maximised.

Advertising Opportunity providing.

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