How to Create an SEO Content Strategy That Actually Works

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

seo content strategy

Creating a successful SEO content strategy for your business website can be an overwhelming and daunting task.

But — it’s how you make content marketing work, which is how you grow your business organically and sustainably. 📈

It’s certainly how I grew my businesses.

I have never used paid ads or paid search. I built my first business up to 100k visitors/month with $90-100k revenue months solely with a smart SEO content strategy.

And now, at Content Hacker, we’re growing the same way. In 2022, one year in, we hit five figures in organic traffic.

content hacker organic traffic

It happened because we consistently followed a sustainable SEO content strategy. ♻

It can happen for you, too. You just need to know how to create an SEO strategy that actually works.

With the right knowledge — identifying your target audience, crafting SEO-friendly content optimized for search engines, promoting it strategically across channels, and measuring its performance over time — you will soon see results from your efforts.

If done correctly, this approach to content marketing can help you grow and scale a sustainable business.

So, how do you get started?

In this blog post, we’ll cover each part of creating an effective SEO content strategy so you don’t have to worry about getting lost in the process.

SEO Content Strategy: Table of Contents

What Is an SEO Content Strategy?

An SEO content strategy is a plan that outlines how your business will create website content to rank in search engines.

Ranking highly in Google’s organic (non-paid) results is a particularly good reason to do SEO because it brings in double the revenue of any other channel, including social media.

It’s also the best way to help new customers find you. People discover 88% of B2B sites and 58% of consumer retail sites through unbranded search terms (a.k.a. the general array of questions people ask search engines daily).

The next question is, if you’re going to dive in and create an SEO content strategy, what do you need?

Your SEO content strategy should cover the following key areas:

  • Your content goals.
  • Your target audience.
  • Keyword research and topic areas.
  • SEO content creation processes like writing, optimizing, and editing.
  • How you’ll promote your SEO content.
  • How you’ll track and measure the success of your SEO content.

Let’s break them down into more detail.

SEO Content Strategy Basics: 5 Steps to Success

1. Setting Content Goals

Every strategy needs direction — after all, you need to know what you want your strategy to do, ultimately.

What’s your big pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?

These are your content goals, and they’ll drive your strategy forward. So, ask yourself:

  • What do I want to achieve with my SEO content strategy?
  • What kinds of results am I looking for?
  • How long will it take to see these results, realistically, based on our resources and abilities?

For example, maybe you want to rank #1 for 10 low competition keywords in 6-12 months. You also want to grow your domain authority (DA) by publishing high-quality content that earns backlinks within one year.

See how that works? Setting specific goals will help you reach specific milestones in your quest to grow your online presence.

2. Identifying Your Target Audience

Knowing who your target audience is and what they’re looking for is essential to creating an effective SEO content strategy.

You want the people looking up the specific keywords you’re targeting to see your content on Google, click it, and immediately get the answers they’re seeking in a great format.

To find and understand these people, you’ll need to do some research in a few areas:

  • Current customers — Analyze your current customers and their commonalities. Who tends to buy from you, and what is that person like?
  • Your competitor’s customers — Chances are, your competitor’s audience might look a lot like yours. Research them.
  • Your existing audience on other channels — If you already have an audience on, say, social media, these people can give you a wealth of information on your ideal customer and target audience.
  • Live market research — Think 1:1 interviews with potential ideal customers. If you find people who fit the bill, have a chat with them and pick their brains.

For more on researching and identifying your target audience plus using this information to create personas, check out this post: How to Create an Accurate Business Persona.

business persona example

Analyzing Your Buyer Personas

Analyzing buyer personas can help you understand the needs, interests, and behaviors of your ideal customer. To do this, consider demographics such as age, gender, location, income level, and lifestyle.

You should also look at psychographics such as values, attitudes, and beliefs that may influence their buying decisions.

Consider factors like lifestyle choices or values that may play a role in why someone chooses one brand over another when making a purchase decision.

This type of analysis can provide valuable insights into how best to craft content tailored specifically for each persona so it resonates more deeply with them on an emotional level. This is much more strategic than just writing generic content that fails to connect with anyone.

Researching Your Competitors

For even deeper audience insights, research your competitors.

This will show you how other businesses are positioning themselves in the market, as well as which tactics they employ to attract new customers through digital channels like SEO.

Studying these strategies closely can give you a better understanding of what works best for different types of audiences, allowing you to apply similar techniques when crafting your own SEO content marketing plan.

For example:

  • What keywords are your competitors targeting in their content?
  • What topics are they covering?
  • What is their content quality like?
  • Who are they targeting in their content and how are they doing it?
  • What results are they getting (i.e., are they ranking well in Google)?

By understanding the needs of your buyers, researching competitors, and recognizing the nuances of your niche market, you can create a comprehensive SEO strategy for long-term success.

3. Crafting SEO Content

Once you’ve identified your target audience, it’s time to craft SEO content that will help them find and engage with your business.

Writing for Search Engines and People

Crafting SEO content requires balance. ☯

That means, when creating content, you should consider both the user experience and how it will be indexed by search engine algorithms.

To do this:

  • Write for people first. Aim to be helpful above everything else, and create an engaging narrative that’s easy to read. (Here’s how to write content that works.)
  • After that, make sure to use keywords strategically throughout your text. (I recommend writing first, and checking for keyword usage second.)
  • Include relevant images or videos to break up the text and make it more visually appealing.

Optimizing for Keywords and Phrases

Optimizing your content with relevant keywords is imperative if you want to rank.

There are two ways to approach this:

  • Finding keywords from topics.
  • Finding topics from keywords.

If you’re starting with a topic…

  • Find a content topic that’s relevant to your audience’s interests or problems AND what you sell.
  • Identify key phrases related to your topic that are commonly used by searchers when looking for information on the subject.
  • Look up these phrases in a keyword tool to determine whether they’re possible for your particular brand to rank for them. (Need help with this? Here’s how to do keyword research.)
  • Then incorporate those phrases into titles, headings, subheadings, body copy, meta descriptions, etc., but don’t overdo it – keyword stuffing can actually hurt your rankings instead of helping them.

If you’re starting with a keyword…

Let’s say you’ve done some keyword research and found a great phrase with low competition that your business has the potential to rank for.

  • To find a matching topic for that keyword, enter it in Google and look at the top results.
  • What types of content do you see? What topic is prevalent? This is the topic most users are looking for when they type in this search term. Angle your content piece after this approach.

Lastly, once you come up with a handful of SEO topics and keywords, you’ll want to start recording them in a content calendar, including publish dates. It’s the best way to track your content creation process and publication schedule.

Here’s our calendar at Content Hacker — we use Airtable:

content hacker content calendar

By crafting SEO content that is optimized for keywords and phrases, engaging to readers, and tailored to target audiences, you can lay the groundwork for an effective content strategy.

Want some insider tips on SEO content and keyword usage? Get my FREE SEO Content Writer Cheat Sheet.

seo writing freebie cheat sheet

Now let’s explore how to promote your content strategically to reach a wider audience.

4. Promoting Your Content Strategically

Once you have created quality content, it’s time to promote it strategically to maximize visibility and reach more potential customers.

Leveraging Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms is an effective way promote your SEO content.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Pinterest offer plenty of opportunity for businesses to share their content with a wider audience. By creating engaging posts that link back to your website or blog, you can increase the chances of people clicking through and visiting your site.

Building backlinks is another important part of any SEO strategy.

Backlinks are links from other websites pointing back to yours. These help search engines determine how relevant your website is compared to others on the same topic or niche market.

Backlinks also help improve your overarching online authority. A link to your site means that site trusts you and the information you publish. These “trust markers” add up substantially, as you can imagine.

To build high-quality backlinks organically, consider guest blogging on industry sites or participating in online forums related to your business or product offerings.

You can also use tools like HARO (Help A Reporter Out) which connects journalists with sources who can provide expert insights into stories they are writing about – giving you an opportunity for free publicity while building valuable backlinks at the same time.

By strategically promoting your content through social media and backlinks you can maximize the visibility of your SEO content strategy and increase its effectiveness.

If you imagine the SEO content creation process as a layer cake, promotion is the final layer:

the content cake by julia mccoy and content hacker

Does your content creation process follow a strategy — or are you all over the place? Want to learn from a process that works, including all the stages, tools, and templates you need to get it done? Get my Content Process Blueprint.

content process blueprint

Next, we’ll explore how to measure the performance of this strategy to ensure that it is achieving desired results.

5. Measuring the Performance of Your SEO Content Strategy

Measuring the performance of your SEO content strategy is essential to get the most out of your efforts.

Remember those content goals you set in step #1? We’re now circling back to those.

Setting goals and tracking metrics can help you identify areas for improvement and determine whether or not you’re on track.

But what, exactly, should you measure?

Easy — you can map most goals to related KPIs (key performance indicators), or measurable metrics that tell you how well you’re performing.

For example, if your goal is to rank in the top 10 of Google for specific keywords, then you would track the keyword position for those terms over time.

If you wanted to improve the engagement for your SEO content, you’d regularly track relevant metrics such as page views, time on site, bounce rate, conversions, etc., to measure progress over time.

Analyzing traffic sources and user behavior will give you valuable insights into how people interact with your content. By understanding which channels are driving the most traffic (e.g., organic search vs. social media) and what types of content users engage with (e.g., blog posts vs. videos), you can make informed decisions about where to focus your efforts going forward.

Additionally, analyzing user behavior helps inform decisions around topics for future content pieces based on what performs and thus resonates best.

How to Outsource SEO Content Creation

Outsourcing SEO content creation services can be a great way to increase your website’s visibility and reach.

It allows you to focus on other aspects of running your business while experts create high-quality, optimized content for you.

But before you jump into outsourcing, there are a few things you should consider.

Finding a Reputable Agency or Freelancer

It’s important for any agency or freelancer you hire to have the necessary experience and expertise in creating effective SEO content.

Do some research online and look at reviews from past clients as well as samples of their work. This will help ensure that the person or company is capable of delivering quality results.

For more guidance, learn how to hire and work with a writer for your content.

Establishing Clear Expectations and Guidelines

Once you find someone who meets your requirements, make sure that both parties understand what’s expected from them when it comes to deadlines, topics covered, keyword optimization techniques used, etc.

Establishing clear expectations upfront will help prevent any misunderstandings down the line and ensure everyone is on the same page throughout the process.

After outsourcing SEO content creation services, it is important to keep track of progress by monitoring metrics such as traffic sources and user behavior data collected through analytics tools like Google Analytics.

Additionally, it’s essential to review each piece of content created by your outsourced team regularly to maintain quality control over all published material related to your brand identity and messaging strategy.

Ready to Build an SEO Content Strategy?

A successful SEO content strategy is essential for any business owner or marketer looking to increase their online visibility and reach.

It requires careful planning, research, and execution to be effective.

Identifying your target audience, crafting SEO content that resonates with them, promoting it strategically across multiple channels, measuring the performance of your efforts, and outsourcing services if needed are all key components of an effective SEO content strategy.

With the right approach you can maximize the potential of your website and drive more traffic to it.

Ready to take your SEO content strategy to the next level?

I’ve got everything you need for SEO content marketing success.

In my 12-month mentorship, the Content Transformation System, I’ve distilled everything I’ve learned from 11+ years in the industry: skills, systems, and strategies to grow your business sustainably.

I grew a business from nothing to six and seven figures — all with SEO content marketing and strategy (NO ads).

I’ll teach you to do the same with a 5-phase curriculum, expert coaching, live calls, and a private community.

If you’re ready to get serious about SEO content, let’s do this. 💪

Apply today for your spot in the Content Transformation System.

content transformation system

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