What Is SEO Content? A Guide to Creating Content for SEO

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If you’re relatively new to the world of search marketing, you may have heard the term “SEO content” being thrown around in marketing meetings.

The beginner's guide to creating content for SEO

This beginner’s guide is designed to answer three questions:

  1. What is “SEO content”?
  2. What types of SEO content are there?
  3. What is my SEO content strategy?

If you have any questions about strategies for SEO content creation that I don’t answer here, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer them here or in a future blog post.

Let’s get started!

What Is SEO Content?

To understand what marketers mean by SEO content, it’s helpful to break down the phrase into its component parts:

  • “SEO” refers to search engine optimization, or the process of optimizing a website so that people can easily find it via search engines like Google.
  • By “content,” we mean any information that lives on the web and can be consumed on the web (more on the various types of content below).

So, putting these two concepts together: SEO content is any content created with the goal of attracting search engine traffic.

I’m not going to tell you everything you need to know about optimizing your content for search engines here; that’s a whole ‘nother guide. But here’s a super-quick refresher on what you’ll need to do in order to SEO your web content:

  • Keyword Research: If you want to generate traffic through search, it’s best to do keyword research before you start writing. This way, you can focus on keywords for which a certain amount of search volume already exists – in other words, write toward topics that people are already searching for information about.
  • Keyword Optimization: Know where and how to use keywords in your content for maximum searchability. (SEOMoz offers a great guide to on-page optimization.)
  • Content Organization: The content on your site should be organized in a logical way. This is not only good for SEO, it also helps visitors on your site find other related content easily. (The longer they stay on your site, the better.)
  • Content Promotion: Increase visibility to new content you create by sharing it on social networks and building links to your content (both internally and from external sites).

SEO Keyword Tool

A keyword research tool like the Keyword Niche Finder will help you identify specific topics to target in your SEO content.

A Quick Word on Intentions

It’s important to keep in mind that if search engine traffic is your only goal, your results will probably suffer. In order to please both the search engines (who will reward you with high rankings over time) and potential customers and return visitors, you need to offer value above and beyond search engine optimization. In other words, don’t produce “thin” content that ranks and get clicks, but doesn’t provide any additional value to the search engine user. Sites that promote “thin,” low-value content run the risk of being penalized by Google; they also tend to have high bounce rates and low conversion rates.

Types of SEO Content

SEO content can include any of the following:

  • Product Pages – These are the bread and butter of any retail e-commerce site. A good product page can serve as both SEO content and a PPC landing page.
  • Blog Posts – A blog is one of the easiest ways to create a regular stream of SEO content. In general, blog posts are more engaging and more likely to attract links than product pages, so they can be a great way to build some authority for your site. (Keep in mind that blogs are very flexible, and you can use them to host any of the below types of content in this list.)
  • Articles – Think news article, interview, or feature piece. This is the main kind of content you’ll find on most newspaper- or magazine-style websites.
  • Lists – A list is really just a kind of article, but framing it as a list (such as “10 Ways to Lower Your Energy Bill” or “101 Things I Hate About Google”) makes it easier to scan. These types of titles also seem to be more clickable when found in search results or in social media feeds.
  • Guides – A guide is a longer piece of content that explains in detail how to do something. (Guides are often broken up onto multiple web pages, though it’s a best practice to allow users to view long content as a single page if they wish.) You can post a full guide on your website, or you can post a summary or excerpt, requiring visitors to fill out a registration form to read the full guide. This can be a good way to generate leads, but keep in mind that putting up a registration wall will likely reduce the amount of SEO traffic you can drive to that guide.
  • Videos – In general there are fewer videos on the web than pages of text; consequently, it can be easier to rank on the first page for a competitive keyword by creating a video instead of an article. Depending on what type of site or business you run, videos can be a great way to attract and reach an audience. Consider creating video tutorials of how to use your products. Or illustrate a process that is related to your business – for example, a plumber could make a video showing how to unclog a sink. (A note on SEO: You might consider including a text transcript of your video. Here are some additional tips for optimizing videos.)
  • InfographicsInfographics, or large-format images that contain a lot of data (often in the form of graphs or charts) on a single subject, can rack up a lot of page views and links. However, because so much of the content is embedded in the image and therefore not readable as text by search engines, it’s important to carefully optimize the rest of the page. You can use one of these five free infographic templates to get started.
  • Slideshows – A slideshow is a way to display a series of related images. Sometimes pictures are more important than text – say you’re trying to show what all the stars wore to the Oscars. Here again, SEO of your title, captions, image file names and so on is important because there is less for the search engines to “read.”
  • Glossaries – I swear more people use Google to look up terms than they use a dictionary. (Do you even know where your dictionary is?) If you work in a specialized industry, a well built-out glossary can be a good way to capture some search traffic. Think cooking terms, medical terms, fashion terms, architectural terms …
  • Directories – A directory is a useful taxonomy of links to sites or resources around a given topic. For example, a perfume blog might create a directory of places to buy perfume, from major department stores to independent shops around the country.

These are just some of the basic types of SEO content, but don’t let this list limit you – the possibilities are virtually endless.

How to Develop an SEO Content Strategy

If you’ve been producing content in a haphazard manner, hoping and praying that some of it eventually ranks, it’s time to buckle down and commit to a more methodical SEO content strategy for the web.

Here are four steps to defining and refining your SEO content strategy:

Define your goals

First, determine your goals as a website or business. Are you looking to drive sales through your website? Do you monetize your site via ads and therefore just want to increase traffic and return readership? Your goals will determine what types of content you should focus on.

Slick, glossy online product page for razors

A great example of a minimal, yet sleek and elegant, product page

If you’re primarily trying to drive product sales, your primary focus should be attractive, informative product pages that are optimized for both search and conversions. Your secondary focus could be helpful blog content that illustrates when and how to use your products, linking to those pages where relevant (it’s best if your blog is not entirely self-promotional, though).

If your site operates on an advertising model and the goal is to attract new readers through search, you’ll want to focus on rich content (such as long-form articles or video resources that are informative, entertaining or both) with “stickiness” (“sticky” content keeps visitors on your site longer or encourages them to return).

Consider your audience

Know your audience – surveys and your analytics software can help you get a better picture of your typical visitor or client. Consider developing marketing personas, or characters that represent your ideal site visitors and customers. Then think about what kinds of content those personas would be looking for.

Buyer personas concept

For example, if you operate a B2B website that targets C-level executives, you might want to create high-level white papers that can be downloaded and saved to read later.

If your business targets teens and tweens, you might want to focus on frequent updates with less text and more images and video. You’ll also want to be sure your site is optimized for mobile usage.

Create an editorial calendar

Once you have an idea of who you are targeting and why, you can start to build out an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is a schedule that dictates when you will publish new content and what type of content it will be. This will help you stick to a regular schedule (it’s especially important to create new content on a regular basis if you have a blog), as well as prevent you from scrambling to come up with a topic for new content at the last minute.

A few tips for creating and adhering to an editorial calendar:

  • Use Outlook (or Google Calendar) – Share the editorial calendar with your whole marketing team. Set up reminders for authors so they get a notification when a deadline is coming up.
  • Consider creating ongoing features – For example, a food blog might do a meatless recipe every Monday. Many blogs do link roundups once per week (including this one). Create a category page for each ongoing feature, so visitors can find all of your Meatless Monday recipes or link roundups in one place.
  • Give yourself plenty of lead time when producing more complicated types of content, such as videos and infographics. These often need multiple rounds of edits to perfect and can be more complicated to optimize for search.
  • Don’t plan too far out in advance – Calendars often get derailed after a month or two, due to changes in marketing goals, budgets, or staff, so don’t try to plan out a schedule for the next year and risk wasting a lot of time and effort.

Analyze and re-assess

Finally, stay on top of your site’s analytics. Regularly analyze your SEO content to see what’s working and what isn’t. Good measures of success and engagement include page views, links, comments (on blog posts and some other types of content), social shares (Facebook likes, tweets, etc.), and conversion rates. Your analysis should have two goals:

  • Study your successes so you can repeat those strategies – Look for patterns. Does your audience love videos? Then make more videos! Adjust your editorial calendar going forward so you can focus more time and effort on the content types that really resonate.
  • Carve out time for updating and improving older SEO content – If you tried to optimize an article for a certain keyword, but it’s getting more traffic for a different variation of that keyword, then go back in and re-optimize it for the new keyword. You might be able to significantly increase traffic by putting that keyword in the title, for example.

There you have it – SEO Content 101. As mentioned above, please let me know in the comments if you have other questions about creating and optimizing content for SEO.

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Comments

Richard
Aug 19, 2015

Great post thank you for sharing

Anand
Oct 01, 2015

Nice article shared. I think nowadays the most important thing to consider in seo is to be natural and organic. Whatever seo tactics we are applying in your site should be organic and natural. You have shared really wonderful post and that has helped me to know about the seo subject.

Mohammad Abdullah
Oct 19, 2015

Well explained and good knowledge of the topic..easier to understand with good content (Y)

ashelly
Dec 02, 2015

I know about SEO, but I fail to create appropriate content for improving my rank. I am using keywords effectively, even made a blog; still things are on the same track. Now it’s time to analyse my existing content and reassess the same. Thanks though!

anjali@digital marketing training
Dec 08, 2015

Hello Elisa, This is phenomenal! Individuals don't concentrate enough on the estimation of their substance these days.It's the main motivation behind why individuals visit your site. Substance ought to be everyones priority.Cheers!

Brianna
Dec 30, 2015

As someone looking to get into Content writing as a career, this was a great place for me to start my knowledge of SEO. Thanks so much for the great article!

Martina Cruz
Feb 05, 2016

Sch a gr8 post.. really finally someone tell us that "What Is SEO Content? A Beginner's Guide to Creating Content for SEO". i found your blog quite helpful for those who are looking to upgrade their career in Content writing or in SEO. Good job Done.. !!

jessicaray4
Feb 21, 2016

Hi Elisa, This is sensational! People don't focus enough on the estimation of their substance these days.It's the principle inspiration driving why people visit your site. Substance should be everyones priority.Cheers!

Jerry Desuza
Feb 26, 2016

Thank You for your very informative an Unique article. Content is Always the King.

varniit
Mar 28, 2016

Elisa, good morning and a great thanks for bringing up such an article that makes me reconsider the aspects that i have and had for seo content writing because your article a beginners guide representing info with simplicity and credibility, i would like you answer my most pestering question of all the time related to seo:
' do great articles or blog posts need to optimized as per seo terms in order to rank great and be on top of the virtual world forever or write anything from shit to crap and ditto of something in order to be the first guy in the queue of seo content writing and seo optimization?'

Do let me know through my mail.

Zahirul Islam
May 01, 2016

Awesome article. Doing the SEO means raking the website in the top search engine page. I love to improve in SEO all the time especially when I see changes in my site´s rank. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most important thing to learn for best blogging experience. Thanks sharing this article.


Khan Ghalib
May 21, 2016

Very helpful. Thanks.

Rupinder Singh
May 25, 2016

Just want to know how many words should we write in content area?? Is that 300 to 400 words or 300-400 characters???

Rest everything is clear to me , thanks for giving us knowledge.

Amber
May 29, 2016

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most sort after service on the internet, to many, it is a rocket science that can't be learned. To some, it's as easy as cake. But the truth is, with little determination and knowing what exactly to work on, SEO becomes relatively easy.

Thanks for a wonderful write up. I've learnt a thing or two.
Regards, Amber.

JoeJack
Jun 25, 2016

Hello Elisa..
Thanks for this useful information. And finally someone tell us about "What Is SEO Content?" it's a great article..!!!

Quangle
Jul 19, 2016

You wrote this post in 2012, But now 2016, your post still exist as the number 1 on the first page.
I dont read your tip fully, because it is very long. However, i believe that You are right.

Thank for your post.

Terrence Jennings
Sep 07, 2016

Great article! It was very interesting and I learned a lot from it, thanks!

Petrish Smith
Sep 07, 2016

Thanks for sharing up–to-date on this subject! I find it is very informative and very well written one! Keep up on this quality!

Gemma Valdi
Sep 09, 2016

I'm new and still learn about blogging and seo, this article help me so much, thank you

Daniel Pereira
Sep 17, 2016

content is king but distrubution is queen. when it come to SEO and the Google Search engine, at all comes down to relevancy. So the more relevant backlinks you get linking to your website the better it is for you. thanks for the article

SEO Services in Ahmedabad
Oct 15, 2016

Great article. Good job making it simple for everyone.

Kelly Bamson
Oct 27, 2016

Really nice post.Thank you for sharing.

shalini
Nov 08, 2016

I read your blog, but you need to update the content regularly then only i can get your awesome information. Thus SEO is an updating world so we have to be updated.

Erica belinda
Nov 14, 2016

This article very useful once for me , thank you

zahir ahmed
Nov 14, 2016

Good article.I need more details about keyword research and thereafter how to optimize the keyword in content.

palashtd
Nov 15, 2016

Hi,
I have been blogger over 6 months. I have realized many SEO content writing tips. But here I have found some exception guide for improving my SEO content writing process.
Thanks for sharing this tips with us.

Sathya
Nov 18, 2016

This idea is mind blowing. I think everyone should know such information like you have described on this post. Thank you for sharing this explanation.Your final conclusion was good. We are sowing seeds and need to patiently wait till it blossoms.

Dhaval
Nov 21, 2016

Thanks for this useful information, this will help me a lot.

Ankit kumar
Dec 02, 2016

Good post. I am beginner in SEO but get a huge amount of SEO working process with your post. Thanks.

seoallin
Dec 08, 2016

Although the article is from 2012 it is still accurate. Content (and backlinks ;)) is the King! Btw. this content is very well written you can use it as a blueprint.

maheshranjit
Dec 12, 2016

Sometimes people skip long content as per my point of view write enough and interesting content usually people don’t like to read more they just want to see the answer of their search query

Simon Yin
Dec 20, 2016

A great insight into the very complex world of Google and SEO in general. Very interesting facts and things to consider for website rank building strategies.

Thanks

mata
Dec 21, 2016

This content very powerfull.. congrat. I glad to write these all. Perfect..

Puri Orchard
Jan 05, 2017

Nice article....

Justin Mally
Jan 18, 2017

I found this very informative. Thanks for the post.

Writology
Feb 03, 2017

Thanks for a comprehensive article! Interesting approach to explaining seo content

Derek Slabosz
Feb 19, 2017

I was wondering how critical it is to set a target keyword. On my website I have noticed that google search console often indexes me for keywords that I did not set, how exactly does that work? I find that my target keyword isn't performing as well as the random oddball ones.

acil seo
Feb 22, 2017

Thanks for the important and great seo information.

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