Let's talk about two SEO practices that seem to be at odds with each other. The first is what we call newsjacking keywords: It happens when you see a popular keyword phrase appear in your industry, and grab it to use in your next article or post. This helps you tap into the energy that's already present in the online world, so when people look up that popular keyword they have a chance of seeing your content. Nice!
The second practice is picking a keyword phrase that is exact, unique, and purposefully different from everything else. This helps you tap into the long tail and prevents your post from getting lost in the crowd. Also nice!
This may seem like a one-or-the-other situation, but it's actually not. Let's look at both options, what makes them different, and why that's a good thing.
Newsjacking Keywords: Give the People What They Want
There are good reasons why people are tempted to use newsjacking. Searching for keywords and picking the right ones can grow tiring and time consuming: If your industry is already giving a lot of attention to a particular keyword, it makes sense to use it. After all, you are choosing something that's been proven to work, and it's right there waiting for you!
The problem – and this may be especially true in industrial fields – is that when a lot of people start using the same keywords over and over again, SEO quality plummets. If only a few people are newsjacking, it can build momentum. If every publication is borrowing keywords from each other, it dilutes the effect – people won't be able to find what they're looking for, and they'll move onto other keywords instead.
So newsjacking can be very, very powerful (there is evidence) when it comes to getting traffic, but only if you use it very, very carefully. Always do research when you find keywords you want to borrow: See if a built-in audience really exists, and make sure there's not already too much content with those keywords floating around online.
Creating New Keywords: Keep it Fresh and Build Your Brand
Creating your own keyword phrases from scratch can also be very good for SEO, because you can say exactly what you mean. Want to describe a new product accurately for searchers? No problem - use the exact phrase your customer would use. Want to target a particular audience looking for a specific solution? Easy - tap into questions they are asking. Google is also a fan of original keywords, because it shows that you are creating real content and not just copying it from other people.
So fresh keywords will absolutely benefit SEO, and will do so consistently: That doesn't mean they are perfect. We already mentioned that it can take time researching the right keywords to use – it can also make your content confusing. If you are bending over backwards every time to make sure your keywords are different from everyone else, you are going to have a lot of funny-sounding sentences.
The Argument For Both
The great thing about keywords is that you don't need to choose just one! And this is one of the most powerful arguments for choosing more than one type of keyword for a new piece of content. The "borrowed" keyword will help bring in a larger audience, while the fresh keyword will target exactly the users who are looking for that topic/product. An effective approach is to use newsjacking and new keywords alike in your title variations, and then focus on your new keyword in the body of your content for maximum effect.