Content Marketing / SEO & Search Marketing

Create an Effective SEO Content Strategy

Author:  Debra Murphy

Updated:  

Reading Time: 9 minutes
Create an Effective SEO Content Strategy

With so much content being published daily, you need to take a strategic approach when it comes to creating content for your business. First you need a strategy for creating and distributing your content. Then you need to optimize your content so people can find it. Your content needs to appeal to your audience. But just as important, it needs to be seen by the major search engines for them to index it properly. This is why you need to plan your SEO as part of your content strategy to ensure your content can be found.

What is a content strategy?

A content strategy is the planning, creation and delivery of content targeted at what your customers want or need. A content strategy helps you determine:

  • What content you will provide
  • Why you want to provide it
  • Where the content will be distributed
  • And to what target market

Content can be created in any media including written, images, video or audio. The strategy also defines what channels you will use to distribute your content so that it becomes visible to your target audience.

Having a defined content strategy helps you create better content faster because you will know what you need to create, when and why.

Remember that a content strategy is different than content marketing strategy.

Importance of integrating SEO into your content strategy

So you might be asking what is the difference between a content strategy and an SEO content strategy. An SEO content strategy ensures your plan includes not only the content you will write, but how you will optimize your website’s content to earn valuable traffic from search engines. It is a cohesive strategy for what you will write about, the keywords you will target and how that content is organized on your website.

Content creation and content optimization must work together for the following reasons.

  • Content is strategic – Pumping out a lot of low quality content isn’t going to help you gain more visibility in the search results. With 6 million new blog posts being published every day, you need to make your content valuable to your desired customer. Tying your content to the needs of your target audience makes you more valuable to them.
  • Optimized content is visible – In order for your content to show up in the search results, it has to be helpful to your reader. If you achieve that first step, then optimizing your content amplifies its visibility and can drive more traffic to your website.

Benefits of writing quality content

Content is the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. If your content attracts the right visitors, you can turn them into leads by offering them something of value. From there, you can nurture those leads and convert them into customers.

But there are additional benefits of providing quality content.

Increases your reputation as an expert

Quality content helps your business stand out from the competition. When you demonstrate your expertise and authority, you will attract your ideal customers and build a trusting relationship with them. You will be seen as an expert and when the challenge is bigger than they can handle on their own, they will turn to you for help.

Makes it easier to get inbound links

People are always looking for content that supports what they are writing. When they provide that inbound link to your content, it helps you and helps their readers with additional quality information.

Enables you to show your personality

Writing in your own voice helps people get to know you and for you to connect with your audience. Write as if you are having a conversation with them to make it easy for your reader to get the message quickly and easily.

Helps you to stay up-to-date within your field

Researching and writing a blog post helps you gain additional knowledge in your area of expertise. Then when you translate that knowledge into content that helps your reader, they will see you as the leader in your field.

Makes you the central source for quality content

If you always provide content that educates your audience and solves a problem, people will come back when they need more help. Sharing your content plus some from other experts on social media keeps you visible and makes you a hub of quality information.

Keeps your website fresh

Stale website content is the kiss of death. People who want to do business with you are looking for the most up-to-date information and whether you have the expertise they need. A WordPress website with an active blog and powerful cornerstone pages is just the recipe for a powerful online presence.

Further reading:

Cornerstone Content: Key to Successful Content Marketing

Defining Your SEO Content Strategy

A content strategy is the planning, creation and delivery of well-optimized content targeted at what your customers want or need. A content strategy helps you determine:

  • What content you will provide
  • Why you want to provide it
  • How it will be organized
  • Where the content will be distributed
  • To what target market
  • At what frequency

Planning your content strategy before you start writing helps you ensure your content is relevant, visible and valuable to your target audience.

Set your outcome goal

Know what you are trying to achieve before you start writing. This will help you focus your efforts and not waste time on content that doesn’t help your business. Do you want to:

  • Increase leads by a certain percentage?
  • Build your email list?
  • Drive traffic to a sales page?

This will help you prioritize the type of content you want to create and what the calls-to-action should be.

Know your audience

One of the reasons I encourage small business owners to develop a simple marketing plan is to understand the wants and needs of your target market. The more you know about the types of challenges your customers face, the more you can focus on producing content that can serve them.

Get to know your audience and find out the primary challenge they have that you can help them with.

  • Who is my audience and what problem are they trying to solve?
  • What types of content do these people want to consume?
  • How do they search for those solutions?

Further reading:

Finding Your Niche through an Effective Target Market Strategy

Now map your value proposition to how you can fulfill your audience’s needs:

  • What is the unique value in your offering that encompasses the entire customer experience?
  • How can your company use this expertise to help your audience?

When you focus on one target market, your messages are clear, your offerings meet their needs and your marketing efforts are more effective, even to those not within your target market.

Further reading:

Is Your Value Proposition Helping or Hurting You?

Do your keyword research

Effective SEO content strategies start by analyzing the keywords relevant to your business. You will need to use tools to help you determine your best keywords. Keep in mind that keywords are no longer just one word or simple phrases. People now search using questions so keep an eye out for those. They can inspire some of your topic ideas.

Use a browser extension like Keyword Surfer to see what phrases people use and the volume. They use Google Autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant long-tail keywords for any topic. These can help you get the data you need to determine which keyword phrases will work for you.

It’s important to know the search volume for a keyword. Although it would be wonderful to rank for a very high volume, highly competitive keyword phrase (short-tail keywords), most small businesses will do better focusing on the lower volume, less competitive keywords (long-tail keywords). By lower volume, I don’t mean zero. If nobody is searching for this topic, it won’t generate any additional traffic to your website. But long-tail keywords are more focused and will help attract those searching for what you offer.

Further reading:

Unlocking SEO Success: A Guide to Effective Keyword Research

Create a content plan

Using your keywords, identify and prioritize the topics that are relevant to your customers. Although there are keywords that you could create content for and increase your organic traffic, not all keywords will help you achieve your goals. If the content doesn’t fit with your target’s needs and your expertise, it isn’t worth your time writing about that topic. If you have content already written, you should do a audit to see what to keep, update or eliminate.

Further reading:

5 Simple Steps to Perform a Comprehensive Website Content Audit

Brainstorm topic areas to focus on for your content development efforts. Then you can create a list of titles that can fall into those categories.

For example, if you are a financial planner, you may have topics such as retirement planning, financial planning, investment advice and insurance. If you are a landscape construction company, you could organize your topics around retaining walls, excavation, drainage, demolition and grading. 

Once you have your categories defined, build out your topic clusters so you can structure the content on your website for easy access. Then add your content to an editorial calendar so you stay on track with producing your content.

Further reading:

Topic Clusters Simplify Your Content Strategy and Improve SEO

Write your content

Now pick your topic based on the keyword phrase you’ve chosen and start writing. Knowing the keyword you want to rank for before you write your content will help you be more focused when you are writing. It needs to be well-written, authoritative and cover the topic in depth. That doesn’t mean length or complexity. The content should directly cover the intent of the search query in simple terms but in a complete and comprehensive manner.

Not everyone is a writer. If creating content isn’t your strength, there are many ways to get it done without you agonizing over it. Consider outsourcing to someone who can produce the content for you.

  • Dictate your thoughts and send them an audio file to use.
  • Have them interview you for your expertise.
  • Provide them an outline of the key points and let them fill the rest in.

Always oversee the process so what is being created aligns with your vision and beliefs. Then edit the content they produce and add your optimization.

Further reading:

How to Write SEO Friendly Content

Optimize your content

Once you’ve written your content, now optimize it for your chosen keyword. Install a quality WordPress plugin for SEO (Yoast or All in One SEO) and use it to guide you.

  • Post title – Include your keyword phrase in your title. Craft a title that attracts the reader.
  • SEO title – This is the title that shows up in your browser tab and as the title in the search results listing. This can be the same as your post title, but there are times when you may want to tweak it a bit.
  • Page URL – Include your keyword phrase in the slug of the URL. Keep the slug clean and short if possible by removing unnecessary words.
  • Content – Use the keyword phrase in your content. It does not need to be exact so you don’t need to sound like a robot. Use the keyword phrases in your headlines if it makes sense.
  • Meta description – Although this meta tag is not used for SEO, it is used as the content that appears in the search engine results. Use the keyword phrase in the description but write it to attract the searcher to your post.

Further reading:

Mastering On-Page SEO for Improved Search Visibility

SEO and content must work together

An effective SEO content strategy balances the needs of your customers with optimization efforts. If you pick only one of the two components, content or SEO, you will either have great content with no traffic or traffic with no one sticking around. But, when content and SEO are unified, your content will more likely appear in the search results, being delivered to potential customers who are searching for this content.

Need help with a planning your SEO content strategy? Sign up for my email list and receive an editorial calendar included with my Masterful Marketing Plan eBook and free marketing campaign template.

1 thought on “Create an Effective SEO Content Strategy”

  1. Combining internal linking with your effective content strategy is quite an easy task. You’d just have to create content that you can connect using internal links. Through internal linking, you can sort of “advertise” your other pages using links or even pictures!

    Remember, your content strategy can be tweaked according to what you think will be effective for your business. You can add other strategies or remove some if you believe they won’t be beneficial. But, one thing’s for sure, you’ll never go wrong when combining internal linking strategies and content marketing strategies.

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