If you have a website or an online store, it's important to have an effective SEO content strategy in place.

Without one, your website is likely to languish in obscurity, while your competitors dominate the search engine results pages (SERPs). So what goes into a good SEO content strategy?

In this article, I'll show you exactly what it takes to build a strategy that helps you hit 98.6K in monthly organic traffic and get a domain rating of 78.

semrush traffic analytics dashboard

My SEO content strategy is also the reason why I rank for 8,721 keywords on the first page of Google and over 80K keywords in total.

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I have got a knack for SEO and I love to help businesses grow, so let me walk you through everything you need to do to get your SEO content strategy right. Read on to learn:

  • The importance of SEO and content strategy
  • How to do keyword research like a pro
  • How to create content that ranks well in Google
  • How to promote your content for maximum reach
  • And more

Let’s get started!

Disclosure: This content may contain a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

What is an SEO Content Strategy?

An SEO content strategy is the process of planning, creating, and optimizing content to rank highly in search engines and attract relevant traffic.

A good SEO content strategy must be data-driven and should take into account the latest Google algorithm updates and trends. It should also be aligned with your business goals so that you can measure your success and ROI.

Creating an effective SEO content strategy isn't easy, but it's worth the effort as it helps you focus your effort on creating the right kind of content that appeals to both search engines and people.

The Importance of Having an SEO Content Strategy in Place

Having an SEO content strategy in place helps you enjoy the benefit of combining the science of SEO with the art of great writing.

When executed well, an SEO content strategy can help you:

  • Get more traffic from Google. After all, websites across industries receive about 53% of their traffic from organic searches. You can't afford to miss out on those potential eyes on your content and products.
  • With a good SEO content strategy, you're likely to create titles and descriptions that are both relevant and eye-catching, which can help improve your click-through rate (CTR).
  • Well-optimized content will help you rank for more keywords and you'll get more traffic from your content over time as it continues to rank for new keywords.
  • Good content that ranks well in Google is also more likely to get more social shares, which can help you build an engaged audience over time.
  • If you consistently create high-quality content that ranks well in Google search results, people will start recognizing you as an expert in your field. This will lead to more traffic and conversions for your business.

In all, having an SEO content strategy in place helps you get more traffic, conversions, and authority score for yourself, which can eventually lead to more success down the road. I'd like to sum it up as follows:

seo and content marketing

Now that we've looked at the importance of having an SEO content strategy, let's look at how you can create one and the different types of SEO content that can help you achieve your business goals.

Types of SEO Content You Can Use for Your Business

There are many different types of SEO content you can create, but not all of them will be right for your business or audience. That's why it's important to understand the different types of SEO content before you start creating anything.

You need to identify the types that are more likely to help you attract relevant traffic and qualified leads to your website.

Some popular types of SEO content include:

  • Blog posts – To attract organic traffic and build authority
  • “What” posts – To explain complex concepts
  • “Why” posts – To build trust and credibility
  • “How-to” posts – To provide step-by-step instructions
  • Listicles or “Top 10” posts – To attract attention, increase engagement, and get more backlinks and social shares
  • Product pages – To rank for relevant keywords and convert visitors into customers
  • Category pages – To help people discover your products or services
  • Landing pages – To capture leads and convert visitors into customers
  • Tutorials – To help people and, in turn, build trust and authority
  • Ebooks – To generate leads and build your email list
  • Infographics – To build links and increase social shares
  • Videos – To rank in Google's rich results and increase engagement

You may also want to check out my other post on the main types of content in general and how you can use each for marketing.

How to Build an Effective SEO Content Strategy for Your Business

SEO is a complex and ever-changing field, but one thing is certain: quality content is still king.

If you want your website to attract more visitors and better-quality leads from organic searches, you need to create a solid SEO content strategy.

Luckily, crafting an effective content strategy isn't as difficult as it may seem. In this section of the post, I'll show you how to build one and share tips to optimize your content for maximum impact at each step.

Read on.

1. Set Your Goals

Always start your campaigns and strategies with the end goal in mind. So ask yourself – what are you ultimately trying to achieve?

Is it:

  • 100K monthly organic traffic to your website?
  • 3X backlinks?
  • 10% more leads that are ready to convert?
  • An increase in your brand recognition and authority?
  • 1500 subscribers to your blog in a month?
  • Or, something else?

No matter what your goal is, make sure it’s SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Once you have a goal in mind, you can start planning your SEO content strategy.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

The group of people that you want to reach with your marketing campaigns is your target audience. So identifying who they are and understanding their needs, behaviors, and preferences is key to success.

To do that, start by creating buyer personas – semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on real data and market research.

You can ask your marketing, sales, customer service, and social media teams for help as they’re likely to have a lot of insights into your target audience. You can also use surveys, interviews, and Google Analytics data.

  • Who are your current customers?
  • What are their pain points?
  • What types of content do they prefer to consume, and through which channels?
  • Who is attracted to your top competitors or interested in their content?
  • What do you have to offer and how can it help your customers?
  • What are their buying journeys like?
  • What type of language do they use?

Answering these questions will give you a good idea of what kind of keyword to target, what type of content to create, and how to reach your target audience.

3. Define Your Area of Expertise

To be successful with your SEO strategy, you need to focus on a specific area of expertise and become an authority in that field. You can’t be everything to everyone – it’s just not possible.

So take some time to brainstorm what exactly it is that you want to be known for. And make sure it’s something that you’re passionate about and have a lot of knowledge in.

For example, if you have a digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO, your focus should be on creating content that’s related to SEO, content optimization, keyword research, link building, etc.

4. Find Audience-Focused Content Topics That Also Align with Your Expertise

Ideally, the topics you choose should be:

  • Relevant to your target audience – something they're interested in and would find helpful
  • Related to your area of expertise – so you can position yourself as an authority on the subject

To come up with content ideas that fit both criteria, start by brainstorming a list of potential topics. Then, use tools such as Semrush’s Topic Research tool to find the most popular topics in your industry and see what people are saying about them on social media and in the comments section of popular blogs.

 semrush’s topic research tool
 semrush’s topic research tool

You can also use Google’s keyword planner to find relevant keywords that get a good amount of monthly searches. Then, create content around those keywords to attract organic traffic from Google.

We’ll talk more about that in the next point: Conducting keyword research.

Coming back to shortlisting topics to cover – another tactic that helps me not just find topics but also identify the best format and angle to approach them is to reverse-engineer my competitor’s most successful blog posts.

You can use a competitor analysis tool such as Semrush’s Organic Research tool to see which keywords they’re targeting and ranking for.

word image 67522 7

Go to the “Positions” tab to see which keywords they’re ranking for and how much traffic they get from those SERP positions.

word image 67522 8

You can also go to your competitors’ blogs and see what content is getting lots of likes, comments, and shares.

When you skim through their content, don’t just look for popular topics, also consider their:

  • Format
  • Writing style
  • Negative space on the page
  • Visuals
  • And other elements that could be making a difference

Other than your competitors, you can also look for questions people ask Google and in forums like Quora about your niche, brand, or the products and services you offer.

quora search for audience-focused topic ideas

Chances are if someone is asking a question, there are others who have the same query but haven’t bothered to ask it publicly.

Creating content that answers such questions not only helps you serve your audience better but also gives you an opportunity to rank in Google’s featured snippets – the box that appears at the top of the search results with a direct answer to the user’s question.

featured snippet ranking

It can also help you rank in the “People Also Ask” questions section, like the result below:

ranking in the “people also ask” questions section

That’s why I’ve been adding one-liners to answer common queries and also including an FAQs section in my blog posts lately. Because that’s the kind of content people find helpful.

5. Conduct Keyword Research

Your SEO strategy needs to be based on keywords – they’re the foundation of any successful campaign. But for your keyword research to be effective, you need to understand how your target audience is searching for the type of content you want to create.

Start by brainstorming a list of relevant seed keywords – broad search terms that are closely related to your business and the topics you want to focus on.

Enter your seed keyword into a keyword research tool like Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool.

word image 67522 12

The tool will list all relevant keyword suggestions based on your seed keyword. As you can see below, it suggested 52,707 keywords for “pet care.”

word image 67522 13

Now, narrow down your list of target keywords based on:

  1. Search volume
  2. Keyword difficulty score
  3. Topical groups and subgroups

I recommend that you should first target keywords that have a good search volume but are comparatively easier to rank for. I’d call it – eating the low-hanging fruit first!

To find such keywords, you can use tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Google Keyword Planner.

word image 67522 14

As you can see above, Semrush rates keywords from 1-100 based on how difficult it will be for your domain to rank on that particular keyword.

Start with keywords with a moderate keyword difficulty score and see your domain authority grow as you rank for more keywords. The higher-difficulty keywords like “VIP pet care” and “pet care” will eventually become achievable down the road.

To find long-tail keywords, just click the “Questions” tab. This section lists keywords that are often easy to rank and can be a great starting point for your SEO content strategy.

word image 67522 15

Finally, you can exclude keywords related to specific groups and subgroups that are unrelated to your business. For example, if you do not run a pet care center, you can directly exclude all keywords related to “center.”

All you need to do is to click on the “eye” icon next to “center.”

word image 67522 16

At the same time, you can (and should) use these topical groups to discover more specific subgroups and their keywords.

For example, if you want to target pet care services for dog owners, you can select “dog” from the list of topical topics and see relevant keywords.

word image 67522 17

What’s next?

6. Host Your Own Content

While posting on Medium or other similar sites can help you get in front of a larger audience, it won’t do much good for you or your business in the long run.

That’s because you don’t own the platform – and if that platform were to disappear, all your content would go away with it.

Not to mention, when you post on someone else’s site, they get to control how your content is presented and distributed, and how long it will stay online.

Just think about the hundreds of Twitter accounts that got suspended right after Elon Musk took over the social app. Many of those accounts had years’ worth of tweets (content + engagement) that vanished in an instant.

The same thing could happen to your content on Medium or any other site – which is why it is always a good idea to host your content on your own site.

That way, you have complete control over what happens to your content and how it’s presented. You can also track how many people are reading your articles, where they’re coming from, and what devices they’re using to read them.

You can always cross-post your content on other sites (including Medium) and social apps with a link back to your site. You’ll be able to drive traffic back to your site while also getting the benefits that come with posting on those sites.

And hosting your own website or blog is easy, especially with platforms like WordPress, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and others.

7. Create an Editorial Calendar with a Consistent Content Schedule

The best way to maintain a consistent content schedule is to have an editorial calendar in place. This will help you keep track of your published and upcoming content, and make it easier for you to plan future pieces.

An editorial calendar also keeps everyone on your team on the same page – from your SEO specialists to your writers, editors, and designers.

There are many different ways to set up an editorial calendar. You can use a simple Google Sheet or a more robust project and content management platform like ClickUp (that's what I currently use for my business).

It helps my team track everything from the upcoming topics to word counts, types of content, the statuses of each task, and the tentative due dates or publishing dates for each piece of content.

my editorial calendar for shanebarker.com

Whichever tool you pick, the key is to find a system that works for you and your team – and then stick to it!

8. Focus on Creating Amazing Content

This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s worth repeating: The best way to get more traffic to your website is to create truly amazing content.

  • The kind of content that people will want to read, share, and link to
  • The kind of content that will make people want to come back for more

Creating great content is not easy – but it is definitely worth the effort.

Here are a few quick content creation tips that can help:

  • Research the topic well. Provide more information and insights than other articles on the topic.
  • Make sure your content is well-written and error-free.
  • Your headlines should be catchy and attention-grabbing, but make sure they are also accurate and reflective of the actual content.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs, and break up the text using images, videos, or infographics to make your article more visually appealing.
  • Make sure your content is easy to read. Don't make your readers work too hard to get the information they’re looking for.
  • Include examples from your personal experiences as well as others’ case studies. People love examples. Perhaps, because examples make learning easier and also show that the solution you’re suggesting, actually works.
  • Don’t stuff your keywords in awkwardly. Use them naturally to ensure that your content flows smoothly.
  • Don't forget to proofread and edit your content before hitting “Publish.”

9. Optimize Your Content

So that your content ranks higher in search results, you need to optimize it for the primary keyword as well as its variations.

Include the primary keyword in your:

  • Title tag and meta description
  • Headings – H1s, H2s, and H3s
  • Introduction
  • Conclusion
  • In every 1000 words of your content

Well-optimized content will help you rank not only on the first page but also in the first position of Google search results. For example, the screenshot below shows my post ranking at #1 for the keyword, “YouTube marketing tools.”

post ranking on #1 in search results

And, that’s not the only post. ShaneBarker.com has been ranking #1 for 209 keywords (as of Nov 2022).

tracking serp positions of your blog on semrush

You can achieve similar results by having an effective SEO content strategy, choosing keywords wisely, and optimizing your content for those keywords.

What’s next?

10. Compress Your Images and Other Media Files

Images, videos, and other types of media files can make your pages slower to load.

No matter how amazing your content is, if your pages take too long to load, people will leave. And we all know what that means for your traffic numbers…

That’s why it’s important to compress your images and media files before uploading them to your website.

There are many tools you can use to do this, including TinyPNG and VideoCompressor.co. In fact, I also host a free online image compression tool that you can use to compress your images in seconds.

free online image compression tool by shanebarker.com

11. Regularly Update Your Old Content

There are several reasons why it’s important to keep your old content fresh and up-to-date, including:

  • Research findings and trends are always changing. To ensure your content is still relevant, you need to constantly update it with the latest facts and figures.
  • The articles you might have linked to may no longer exist after 6 months or a year. The social app you talked about might have introduced new features and discarded an old one.
  • Irrelevant statistics, broken links, and outdated information can all harm your user’s trust and, in turn, tell Google that your content is not the best resource on the topic. This will make your SERP rankings and traffic drop.

Updated content will not only help you rank higher in search results, but it will also keep your readers engaged and coming back for more.

You should also track your content rankings (change in SERP positions) using tools like Semrush. And if you see a drop, look out for the changing search intent and popularity of related keywords.

position tracking for target keywords via semrush

You may feel the need to update your headings and content based on the new/evolved user search intent.

My team works on a whole list of content that we want to revamp, on a monthly basis, and it has helped us re-engage users and win back our search ranking positions, just in time.

my monthly plan for revamping posts

Here’s one example:

I noticed a drop in my rankings for the post “Top Female YouTubers” and updated it.

  • Added the latest information about each female YouTuber on the list.
    • The total number of subscribers they have
    • The types of content they create
    • What makes them unique
  • Removed YouTubers who aren’t sharing content on the platform anymore.
  • Added new rising stars with a greater number of subscribers than those already on the list.

And doing this helped the post rank well again (see the screenshot below).

content update leading to top rankings

Your existing content can be your best asset if you keep it up-to-date and relevant to your audience. So, don’t ignore it.

12. Use the Right Link-Building Tactics to Gain More Traction

Google counts links from other websites to your own as “votes” and the more “votes” you have, the higher you will rank in search results.

Of course, not all links are created equal. A link from a high-authority website such as Forbes or Inc.com will carry more weight than a link from a low-authority website. That’s why it’s important to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to link building.

There are many ways you can build links to your site. You can:

  • Ask customers and partners to link to your site.
  • Submit articles to high-quality guest posting sites (this is one of my favorites).
  • Create informative infographics and share them on social media and other websites.
  • Reach out to bloggers and influencers in your industry and contribute your take on a topic that they’re writing about (the topic should also fall under your area of expertise).

These practices work and they've helped me build over 200K backlinks from 11K+ domains.

my backlink and referring domains report from semrush
referring domains growth tracked via semrush

13. Track and Measure Your SEO and Content Success

You can’t improve your website performance if you don’t track your progress and measure your success.

As far as your SEO content strategy success is concerned, you should track and measure everything from:

  • Your website traffic (overall and from each channel)
  • The number of leads you generate
  • How many conversions you make
  • Your organic search rankings
  • The number of social media shares your content receives
  • And more

You can use Google Analytics to track most of this data. To track your SEO progress, I recommend using Semrush. It’s an all-in-one SEO tool that lets you track your keyword rankings, backlinks, content gaps, and more.

Here’s my quick review of the tool to help you get started:

Get an extended 14-day trial of the Pro plan using my link.

Get an extended 14-day trial of the Pro plan using my link.

Once you have all this data, you need to make sure you track your progress over time. This will help you see what’s working and what’s not so you can make the necessary changes to your SEO strategy.


1. Does content strategy help SEO?

Yes, content strategy can help you improve your SEO results. Creating high-quality, informative, and keyword-rich content can attract more traffic to your website and improve your SERP rankings.

Furthermore, by regularly publishing new content, you can keep your audience engaged, leading to more conversions and higher brand authority.

2. What are the 7 steps in creating a content strategy?

There are seven steps in creating an effective content strategy:
1. Define your goals.
2. Know your audience.
3. Research your competitors.
4. Find your voice and tone.
5. Develop a content calendar.
6. Publish great content and promote it.
7. Measure your success.

3. What is the best content strategy for SEO?

There is no single “best” content strategy for SEO. However, some practices that will help you improve your SEO efforts include:
– Create keyword-rich and informative content.
– Publish new content regularly.
– Promote your content on social media and other websites.
– Track your progress and measure your success.

Outrank Your Competitors in the SERPs with an Effective SEO Content Strategy

If you want to outrank your competitors in the search engine results pages (SERPs), you need an effective SEO content strategy.

In this article, I’ve outlined some of the best practices for creating a successful SEO content strategy. These practices include creating keyword-rich and informative content, publishing new content regularly, and promoting your content on social media and other websites.

I also recommend tracking your progress so you can continually optimize your content and SEO factors for better results.

Have any questions about SEO content strategy? Let me know in the comments.

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