Mastering the Art of SEO Content Strategy: A Roadmap to Online Success
- 1 8 Steps to Build an SEO Content Marketing Strategy
- 2 Final Thoughts
SEO content strategy is simple. It involves researching, developing, and crafting high-quality content that people enjoy reading but also appeals to the search engines so it ranks and gets traffic.
You want to make sure to understand your target audience and know what kind of content they want to read, what provides value to them, and what their issues are that may bring them onto your site.
In this guide, I’m going to break down the elements of SEO content strategies and in my opinion, these are the eight essential steps to follow.
8 Steps to Build an SEO Content Marketing Strategy
Let’s get right into it.
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the foundation of every SEO content strategy. It’s the process of identifying specific words and phrases that your target audience is searching in Google. Once you understand what these phrases are, you can begin to craft content around those subjects so the content is not only interesting to them but ranks for the phrases they’re searching.
Start by clearly defining your niche or industry and understanding your target audience. What problems do they have? What solutions are they looking for? This foundational knowledge will guide your keyword research.
For example, if you have a landscaping website, a pain point in your niche might be dead grass.
Using Ahrefs, we can see that the keyword “how to get green grass” gets 500 searches per month. This might be a keyword or topic you’ll want to go after.
Speaking of Ahrefs, you’ll want to get a high-quality keyword research tool like this or SEMrush as well. These tools provide you with invaluable keyword data and competitor information so you can see what your top competitors are ranking for and use those keywords in your content.
2. Audience and Intent Analysis
The goal of any SEO content marketing strategy is to create content that resonates with your audience. This is why I think search intent is a highly underrated topic in the world of SEO.
Search intent is figuring out why your audience is searching for something and crafting content based on that intent.
For example, some topics are transactional:
If someone is searching for “Nike shoes,” it’s pretty clear that they’re looking to buy Nike shoes.
But, if someone searches for “best Nike competitors” the top result is a little different. Now it’s an informational guide explaining some of the best Nike alternatives and their history.
Now this search is a bit different than the previous two. “How to repair Nike shoes” is informational but it’s a how-to search query. Someone searching this isn’t just looking for information, they want you to show them how to fix Nike shoes.
While all of these phrases are about the same thing, they’re different in their intent. You need to make sure to understand how to craft content to appeal to these different search intents so you can rank and provide your audience with what they want.
3. Topical Development
With a solid foundation in keyword research and a deep understanding of your audience and their search intent, it’s time to dive into the art of topical development for your SEO content strategy.
This step involves transforming your research and insights into engaging, informative, and valuable content that not only attracts but also retains your target audience.
Start by identifying a unique angle or perspective for your content. What sets your content apart from what’s already available online? A fresh viewpoint can make your content more appealing to readers and search engines.
There’s a lot of information out there about “copycat content” and the world of SEO has become full of it. Google is paying more attention to the websites that are doing something different and providing value rather than just regurgitating everything else available on the internet.
I think that a piece of content should be the dead end for a query. If you’re going to write an article about something, the visitor should get everything they need to know about that topic on your page without having to go anywhere else.
Keep in mind that now is not the time to write the content but simply plan, outline, and get all the information you’ll use to write onto the page. This makes the writing process much simpler.
Brief creation is a skill in itself and if you learn how to create great briefs, you can even have other writers write the content for you if writing isn’t your thing.
4. Content Calendar Planning
Creating an effective content calendar is the pivotal fourth step in mastering the art of SEO content strategy. A content calendar is more than just a schedule; it’s a strategic tool that helps you plan and execute your content with precision.
It ensures that your content aligns with your business goals, caters to your audience’s needs, and is optimized for search engines. By organizing your content in a structured manner, you not only maintain consistency but also improve your chances of success in the highly competitive online landscape.
Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be anything overly complicated. If you look at the example above, this was created in Google Sheets. There’s nothing fancy about it but it works.
Start by defining how much content you’re trying to publish and set a timeline on that. Decide what types of content you want to publish and how you intend to attack the audience.
Include as much information in your calendar as possible with publish dates, titles, keywords, competition, and so on. Make sure to set the bar accordingly and stick to your schedule!
5. Content Creation and Writing
The time has come to actually write the content. Whether you’re writing everything yourself or you have a team or writers, all the steps you’ve taken up to this point will impact the quality of your content.
You should have everything outlined so now you can take all the information and fill in the blanks.
When it comes to writing, focus on delivering value to your readers. Address their pain points, answer their questions, and provide solutions to their problems.
Incorporate your keywords naturally and ensure that they enhance the overall quality of the content. Avoid keyword stuffing, which can harm both user experience and search engine rankings.
Maintain a conversational and engaging tone throughout your content. Speak directly to your audience, and use storytelling techniques where relevant to connect on a personal level. Utilize visuals, such as images, infographics, and videos, to enhance the content’s appeal and make complex concepts more digestible.
6. On-Page Optimization
Now you have a completed piece of content, packed with value, and ready to bring qualified leads or purchases to your business. This is where you want to go the extra mile and fine tune your SEO content strategy.
Begin by revisiting your target keywords. Ensure that they are strategically placed throughout your content, including in headings, subheadings, and the body of the text.
However, maintain a natural and reader-friendly flow. Keyword stuffing should be avoided, as it can harm your rankings and user experience.
This is where meta data like title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt text come into play as well. You’ll want to make sure you’re including your most important keyword in your metadata.
Lastly, internal linking is an essential part of connecting your website and the content on it. Link to other relevant pages on your website to provide additional information and display topical authority.
Of course, if this is your first blog post you might not have other content but Link Whisper can help you identify internal linking opportunities on your site quickly and easily.
7. Promoting Your Content
While content promotion isn’t exactly a part of SEO content strategy, it’s just another tool in your belt. Use social media to share your content, engage with your audience, and spread your wings a little further.
Email marketing works great with content because it allows you to leverage your traffic and continue to market to them well after they leave your website.
Guest posts are another great way to spread the word about your content while also getting backlinks and traffic back to your site.
8. Monitoring Your Performance and Tweaking
Google Search Console and Analytics are two more important tools in your toolbelt. Once you’ve published a few pieces of content, you’ll want to start tracking the results.
Keep in mind that SEO is a low and slow game and it can take months to see any results on content you’ve published. Look for trends and patterns in traffic to identify what’s working and what needs adjustment.
Measure the effectiveness of your content in achieving your defined goals, whether it’s generating leads, sales, or other desired actions. Set up conversion tracking to monitor these key metrics and determine which content pieces are driving the most conversions.
Conversion optimization is a great way to capitalize when you don’t have a ton of traffic.
Lastly, don’t be married to your first draft. Sometimes you’ll publish a piece of content and it doesn’t hit. It never gets traffic, never picks up any keywords, so it just sits there.
In my opinion, the best SEOs know how to refresh their content when it’s not performing. Expect to do plenty of this as Google issues core updates and trends change over time.
Remember that the cream always rises to the top and in this case, it’s the value. If you plan on using this SEO content strategy, it all starts with great content.
You can research the best keywords and have great SEO knowledge but that doesn’t mean anything if your content lacks value and substance. Do the work upfront and it’ll pay off on the back end.