Creating a perfect content strategy isn’t easy. It involves arduous procedures such as competitor analysis, keyword research, topic organization, content creation and optimization. In this article, we’ll share a few tricks that the MiroMind team uses when creating articles for our own site as well as client sites. Enjoy!
Why is SEO content strategy important?
Many bloggers have a chaotic approach to their content creation. They might create blog posts on a whim based on the topics they wish to cover or subjects temporarily getting traction in the search engines.
Unfortunately, unless you’re a major blog with thousands of daily visitors, each blog post you create needs to be strategically planned and written. Betting on random organic traffic is a fool’s errand, so you need to optimize the process for maximum search engine visibility. Specifically, here are a few benefits of a meticulous SEO content strategy:
- Better scheduling and organization
- Easy team coordination and collaboration
- Placing articles into logical groups
- Setting the basis for interlinking
- Avoiding duplicate content and other common mistakes
- Improving overall user experience
- Simplifying and streamlining outreach efforts
The only exception to this rule are websites that can drive traffic from external platforms, such as social media. Even then, by implementing the best SEO practices, you can rest assured your post last much longer in Google searches and provide better brand and conversion benefits.
6 Steps to perfect SEO content strategy
The only issue with the content marketing strategy is that it’s often hard to pull off. This is especially true for new websites that don’t have a dedicated SEO team. Still, even if you’re a newbie, you can gain experience some major benefits by simply having a structured content creation process:
Here’s a step-by-step guide that will guide you to a perfect SEO content marketing strategy!
Analyze target audience
Most bloggers talk about topics that are close to their hearts. Many of them interact with other influencers and industry websites before starting their own business. That being said, they usually have a good understanding of what the audience is looking for in these articles.
Still, going blind is a bad way to create SEO content. In the end, you have limited knowledge about organic traffic for particular long-tail keywords, commonly asked questions and commercial intent. This is why your first step is researching your audience. Here are a few tricks for gathering more info about users and their needs:
- Use tools such as “Answer the Public” to learn about the commonly-asked questions pertaining to your niche
- Visit social media groups and create posts that would probe into users’ burning issues
- If you’re getting enough website traffic, you can use Google Analytics to gather insights into user behavior and demographic data
- Visit Quora and similar forums to learn what people are most interested in
- Read online reviews to see how consumers interact with products, services, and brands in your industry. This will tell you a lot about commercial needs and pain points
- Perform mass-scale surveys to ask about different things
- Ask your customer service team to track their conversations with users
- Of course, you can also use Google Search Console and Google Ads to learn about the most popular subjects in the industry
The biggest issue with search intent analysis is that it often hinges on your website data. In other words, if you’re not getting any clicks, it might be hard to determine how people interact with industry content.
Because of that, we suggest that you subscribe to tools like SimilarWeb that specialize in competitive analysis. That way, you can gain fantastic customer insights for your SEO strategy without depending on your site data.
Perform keyword research
If you wish to get the most out of search engine result pages, you need to focus on lucrative phrases. Thorough keyword research is a staple of any successful SEO content strategy, helping you discover the right subjects for your marketing campaign.
When conducting keyword research, you need to focus on the four following keyword factors:
- Search volume
- Keyword difficulty
- Search intent
Before you start to create content, you need to make sure that you’re getting relevant traffic. That being said, relevancy is the first thing you need to consider during this process.
Always focus on keywords that would drive quality leads and can potentially increase your sales. You can easily figure out where these phrases are relevant to your business by taking a simple glimpse at them. If you’re uncertain, you can check Google search results and go through the top-ranking pages and brands one by one.
Search volume is another phrase for total monthly organic traffic. It’s a metric showing how many times a specific phrase was searched for in the Google search engine.
Ideally, you should only pursue keywords that have high volume. However, given that these phrases usually come with high competition, you’ll have to find the balance between the two metrics. In other words, your target keyword should provide enough traffic to justify the effort and be easy enough to rank in search engines.
Most SEO tools measure keyword difficulty by counting the total number of indexed pages for a particular keyword. However, this usually doesn’t give you good enough information on whether you can rank a specific article.
When assessing keyword difficulty, you should once again take a look at the top 10 results. Search queries that are populated with top-tier industry sites are hard to penetrate. The same goes if you’re going against brand names. Besides checking content and authority for the top 10 competitors, you should also check the number of acquired links.
To have a better understanding of a keyword’s true value, some SEO platforms have score metrics. By checking the score, you can quickly tell if a phrase is easy or hard to rank for. Still, you should take these metrics with a grain of salt and perform checkups as suggested in the previous two sections.
Last but not least is the intent. Keywords also vary in terms of the information they provide. Some of them have high commercial intent, while others are of informational character.
The general rule is that commercial phrases are much harder to optimize but also provide greater value. This is why new blogs often focus on informational keywords as a part of an effective SEO content strategy.
Avoid keyword traps
During search engine optimization, avoiding pitfalls is every bit as important as doing the right things.
Although creating content strategy seems like a well-formulated, meticulous approach, there are several cases where you can make false presumptions and moves. This is best noticed when going for seemingly lucrative “low-hanging fruits” or keywords with great potential.
As it often turns out, there’s probably a good reason why a particular phrase has low competition and great organic traffic. In most cases, these phrases have inherent flaws that would render them useless for your business. That being said, there are common keyword traps you might encounter when creating an SEO strategy:
- Seasonal and temporary keywords (keywords that aren’t relevant any longer)
- The keyword might not be related to your industry despite the phrase seeming relevant. For example, this phrase might be used more frequently in some other business
- Keyword related to a specific brand. Even if you manage to go against the brand and rank in the top results, people are probably aren’t looking for your content
- The keyword might drive lots of traffic from a location irrelevant to your company and sales. Similarly, the demographic data might indicate that the target audience isn’t the best fit
- Obsolete products, services, and concepts
- Search queries littered with ads and featured snippets
Keyword traps are another crucial reason you always need to check the first page of Google. Even then, there’s a chance you might create a piece that can’t provide any tangible value for your business. A common rule to follow is that if the phrase seems too good to be true, there’s probably some underlying issue with it.
Once you have a list of relevant keywords, it’s time to create web pages. But before you can do so, you need to organize them into a logical hierarchy. Here are a few tricks that will help you along the way:
- First, list all keywords according to priority. This doesn’t necessarily have to be traffic. Instead, you can put the easier keywords for ranking on top
- Add other relevant metrics to your sheets. The MiroMind team commonly tracks volume, difficulty, scores from a few different SEO tools, the average number of links to rank, and top competitors
- Organize phrases into clusters (we will explain this a bit more below)
- Create a linking structure. For example, you can create a second tab in your Excel sheet that will outline different topical categories and how these pieces should be interconnected
- Add deadliness
There are several ways to outline your SEO content creation and organize relevant phrases. Most companies have their own styles and might prioritize different things and metrics in their sheets. In fact, if this is your first time creating an SEO strategy, there’s a good chance you’ll change your layout several times over based on current needs.
As mentioned, the most popular way to track your progress is with different types of sheets (Google Docs, Microsoft Excel). Being able to create several tabs is vital for streamlining the process, as you won’t have to access different files.
Clusters are a critical part of just about any winning SEO content strategy. These are basically groups of related articles interconnected with internal links. Aside from making it easier for users to find specific SEO content, clusters can boost the placement of one or more articles in search engine rankings.
Here’s how the process would look like in practice:
- Select one article to serve as your main “pillar page.” This piece should have a high volume and be highly relevant to your business. The keyword should cover a broader topic or idea
- Create lots of satellite pages. These are smaller posts that mainly serve to boost the pillar page. Each article should break down a specific section of the pillar page and explain it in depth
- Use internal links to point from satellite pages to the pillar page. This shows priority between articles and will help point search engines in the right direction
- Start promoting the pillar page on various external sites. Keep in mind that despite your best content efforts, you won’t be able to rank this comprehensive article without a proper link-building strategy
Clusters are complex, but they allow you to rank articles and keywords that you wouldn’t be able to rank otherwise. Given their complexity, the cluster structure should be outlined in separate Excel tabs.
Among others, we can use sheets to create a content calendar. You can create deadlines for different articles and tab authors for each piece.
While some companies think that planning and scheduling aren’t that important, it’s still vital for complex content marketing strategies. Having a posting plan is crucial for a large site with numerous authors that cover closely related subjects. As you can presume, content scheduling is vital when creating content for news outlets.
Create SEO content
So far, we’ve only gone through the planning phases of our SEO content strategy. Now, it’s finally time to explain the content creation process.
For the most part, the posts’ format, length, and structure will be affected by your goals. For example, using “How To” and “Ultimate Guide” articles is common for pillar pages. On the other hand, product descriptions usually have a much shorter form focusing on quality product information and CTAs.
The best way to tell what kind of SEO content format you need is by visiting the first page of Google. Following the same content strategy as other blogs is usually a good solution. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean you can’t use case studies and white papers for that target keyword.
The use of AI tools has become common for just about any modern SEO content strategy. These platforms can provide a breakdown of how a perfect article should look, giving you insights into the required word count, optimal headings, image and link count, and necessary keywords.
You shouldn’t be too stiff when creating an article structure. Your main task is giving users what they want according to their intent. So, copy-pasting the same headings might not be the best idea. Instead, we suggest that you give the web pages your own spin and focus on readability.
Focus on quality
Almost any marketing expert will tell you that quality is vital for any SEO content strategy. But what does “quality” means in this particular case? How can a user tell if an article provides quality, relevant information if they know little about the topic?
The best way to ensure that a piece is good enough is by quoting a lot of top-tier sources and studies. Relying on facts will make the piece look more authoritative, keeping your target audience glued to their screens. Additionally, don’t be afraid to link out to these sources and provide relevant statics when applicable.
When you create content, ask yourself whether a specific sentence provides value. Each word you write down should engage users and increase time spent on the site. If you wish to learn what people think of a specific piece, you can use Google Analytics.
Many web posts fail not because they have bad information or are poorly written. Instead, they don’t achieve the desired results because data was showcased in a bad way.
It’s vital to add lots of bullets and number lists to your pieces. Investing money in charts and other visual solutions is the way to go, as it can improve user experience and, thus, rankings in search engines. Additionally, you shouldn’t create long sections or use long sentences.
Optimize the post
As previously mentioned, AI tools have become a vital component for just about any effective SEO strategy. We use platforms like SurferSEO and Frase to learn how a perfectly optimized piece should look like.
During post-creation optimization, you need to add various LSI keywords to your piece. This will help search engines understand what the pieces are all about and might potentially rank them higher. Pay attention to the optimization scores in the tool, and boost them as much as possible.
Although link-building is categorized as off-page SEO and isn’t necessarily a part of on-page SEO efforts, it’s still vital for our SEO content strategy.
Backlinks should be considered the last ingredient for perfect optimization. They help separate good articles from great ones, telling Google that your piece should be slightly above others in the rankings.
During outreach, you should get as many links from quality blogs as possible. Ideally, these websites should be, in one way or another, related to your industry. Like other parts of the process, this procedure needs to be well-organized and outlined.