Create SEO-Friendly Content

How to Create SEO-Friendly Content That Ranks

Last Updated on 17th Apr, 2024

Creating content that ranks high in search engine results pages (SERPs) is a crucial goal for most businesses today. As more people use search engines like Google to find products, services, and information, having your content appear near the top of results can drive significant traffic to your website. However, more than simply producing more content is required. To really improve search engine optimization (SEO) and rankings, you need to focus on creating high-quality, SEO-friendly content. This type of content targets relevant keyword phrases, answers searchers’ questions and provides value for readers.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore key strategies and best practices for creating SEO-friendly content that can improve your rankings and visibility in search engines.

Why SEO-Friendly Content Matters

Table of Contents

In the early days of the Internet, businesses could rank highly in search engines by simply having a website. Pages with the right keywords would get indexed and start appearing for related searches.

However, with search engines getting more advanced and competitive, the bar has been raised significantly. According to recent statistics:

  • There are over 1.7 billion websites online today.
  • Google handles over 63,000 searches every second.
  • 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

In this crowded digital landscape, creating SEO-friendly content is essential for driving relevant organic traffic to your website through search engines.

Quality content tailored for SEO demonstrates to search engines that your pages offer value to users for specific keyword queries. As search algorithms have evolved to favor pages that actually satisfy search intent, SEO content has become vital for rankings.

Without SEO content, your website is likely to be buried among the hundreds of millions of competing web pages. By making content optimization a core part of your strategy, you can significantly boost your website’s visibility and traffic from Google and other search engines.

Key Elements of SEO-Friendly Content

So, what exactly constitutes SEO-friendly content? While search engine algorithms are complex and constantly evolving, here are some key elements to focus on:

Target-Specific Keyword Phrases

At the core of SEO content is properly targeting relevant keyword phrases that prospects search for in engines like Google. These might include:

  • Broad terms like “email marketing software.”
  • More specific long tail keywords such as “email marketing analytics integration.”
  • Branded keywords around your products or brand name
  • Question-based phrases like “how to write good SEO content.”

Thorough keyword research should be done initially using Google’s Keyword Planner and other tools to find high-value phrases to target. For the best SEO potential, look for keywords with substantial search volume but low competition.

Once you’ve selected target keywords, they need to be strategically incorporated into content without over-optimization. Keyword density matters, but creating natural content for readers is still vital.

Optimize Content around Keywords

Each piece of content should be optimized around a primary keyword or phrase, as well as a few secondary keywords. You want to work these naturally into content to indicate relevancy for search engines. Key areas to include keywords:

  • Page titles: The primary keyword should appear close to the beginning of the title tag and be separated by a dash or pipe character.
  • Headings: Use keywords in H1 and H2 headings in content when they fit naturally. Break Content into sections using headings.
  • Body copy: To drive relevance, include keywords and phrases naturally throughout the content. Use related long-tail variations as well.
  • Image file names and ALT text: Use hyphens to separate words in file names and ALT text for image SEO.
  • URL slugs: Include primary keywords in URL slugs and file paths.
  • Meta descriptions: Craft compelling meta descriptions using primary keywords and phrases to boost click-through rates.

Create Useful, Informative Content

The goal should always be to create high-quality content that offers real value to human readers (not just search bots). The top priority should be providing helpful information to answer searchers’ questions.

Clearly, educationally explain your topic. Include statistics, examples, expert insights, how-to guidance, and other details readers would find beneficial. Well-researched, in-depth content performs very well for SEO.

Structured content, such as lists, steps, and bullet points, makes it easier for readers to digest. Break up long blocks of text with headers, images, videos, and quotes for better readability.

Optimize for Mobile Users

With more people searching on smartphones, it’s crucial to optimize content for mobile users. Use short paragraphs, large font sizes, bold headers, and plenty of negative space. Also, check that pages load quickly over mobile connections.

Using mobile-friendly, responsive design and minimal navigation menus improves the mobile search experience. Mobile-first indexing is becoming more common, so content needs to translate well on small screens.

Interlink Within Your Website

Adding internal links between relevant pages on your site strengthens the interconnections for search engines. This allows them to crawl better and index your content while conveying authority across your site.

Linking to related product pages, category archives, recent blog posts, and other content keeps readers engaged. Developing a robust internal linking structure should be part of an ongoing SEO strategy.

Promote and Earn Backlinks

While creating excellent content is an essential first step, you also need to promote it widely to earn high-quality backlinks. These external links signal to Google that other relevant sites value your content.

Distribute content across social media, submit it to online publications, reach out to influencers, and look for link insertion opportunities. Link earning and relationship building take effort but pay dividends for SEO.

Analyze and Refine Over Time

It truly takes months of consistent analysis and refinement to improve any website’s SEO and content strategy. To track rankings, traffic, and engagement, use tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Moz’s Domain Analysis.

Identify which pieces of content are performing best and double down on those approaches. Expand on high-potential topics by continually creating new, complementary content that links internally. SEO content is never “one and done”—iteration based on data is key.

Following these best practices can help you develop an effective content strategy tailored for search engine optimization. Commit to continually producing high-quality, valuable content targeted at relevant keywords. Over time, you will see your website pages rank higher and attract more organic search traffic.

Conducting Keyword Research

Choosing the right keywords and phrases to target is one of the most important components of SEO content success. A solid keyword research process will get your content in front of the right searchers.

Follow this step-by-step guide for conducting effective keyword research and analysis:

Brainstorm Broad Topic Ideas

Start by coming up with a list of broad topics related to your business, products, and target customer needs. These will serve as starting points for keyword discovery.

Use Google Keyword Planner

This free tool provides search volume data and suggests additional related keywords. Input broad topics and scoop up keyword recommendations within each theme.

Check Google Suggest Results

Type your potential keywords and phrases into Google and see what the autocomplete suggestions are. These reveal directly what people are searching for.

Run Competitor Keyword Analysis

Using paid tools like SEMrush, input competitor domains to uncover the top keywords for which they are already ranking. Cross-reference with your brainstormed list.

Organize Keywords into Buckets

Group keywords into categories or buckets around specific subtopics and themes that make sense for your website content structure.

Evaluate Search Intent for Each Keyword

For each phrase, consider whether the searcher’s intent is informational, transactional, or commercial. Then, create content that matches the intent.

Identify Secondary Long Tail Keywords

For each primary keyword, find 2-3 secondary long tail keywords that are more specific and have lower competition. Try to include these as well.

Check Search Volume and Competition

Using Keyword Planner’s metrics, identify keywords with sufficient search volume and comparatively low competition. These offer the best opportunity to rank well.

Select Final Target Keywords

Choose 10-20 top keywords across different topics and content types to focus your SEO content strategy around. Revisit this every 3-6 months to expand.

Performing Competitor Content Analysis

Understanding what your competitors are doing with their content strategies and SEO can provide valuable insights to help shape your approach.

Conducting recurring competitor content analysis should be built into your processes. Follow these tips for extracting helpful intelligence:

  • Find top competitors: Identify other brands in your space that are creating content similar to yours. Choose both direct competitors and indirect ones.
  • Analyze competitor content: Review their blog posts, guides, and other content formats. Make a note of topics covered, content length, formats, promotion tactics, etc.
  • Evaluate backlinks: Use tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to uncover where competitors are getting links. Then, emulate link-building tactics.
  • Assess strengths/weaknesses: Determine areas where competitors are creating high-performing content and gaps where they lag.
  • Apply lessons: Use what you learn about competitor successes to influence and optimize your SEO content, but avoid copying directly.
  • Identify content gaps: Find underserved topics in your industry that competitors haven’t covered thoroughly. Create content for these niches.
  • Set goals for differentiation: Map out how your SEO content strategy and promotion will differentiate you from competitors. Play to your content strengths.

Regular competitive analysis ensures your content stays differentiated and inspires new ideas. Always aim to build on your competitors’ efforts while providing your unique take optimized for organic search.

Creating Different Types of SEO Content

A diversified content marketing strategy with different formats and content types is essential for SEO success. This strategy provides more ways to engage your audience while targeting a wider range of keywords.

Here are some of the most common types of content to include as part of your SEO approach:

Blog Posts

Well-researched blog posts are a foundational pillar of content marketing. Aim for at least four long-form posts per month covering keywords with high search volume.

Optimize these for organic search with metadata, internal linking, and promotion. To boost engagement, include images, stats, and multimedia elements.

Ebooks and Whitepapers

B2B buyers value in-depth ebooks, guides, and whitepapers during the research process. To collect leads, gate these behind an email form. Promote your downloadable assets through guest posts and partnerships.

Infographics

Infographics simplify complex topics through visuals. They are highly shareable on social media and attract excellent links. To provide more context, create an accompanying blog post.

Videos

Engaging videos help content stand out while improving time-on-site metrics. Short brand videos, testimonials, webinar replays, and educational videos perform well. Optimize titles, descriptions, and metadata.

Tools and Calculators

Interactive tools like cost calculators, assessments, and configurators attract and engage visitors while providing value. Promote your tools through visual content and guest posts.

FAQs and How-To Guides

Create dedicated help center content that answers common customer questions with text and videos. Include focused questions as H2s to drive traffic through organic search.

Optimizing and promoting each type of content for keywords is critical to an effective search strategy. Analyze which content resonates best with your audience and double down on those formats.

🚀 Skyrocket Your Online Sales with XtremeUX! 📈

Discover the power of cutting-edge ecommerce marketing strategies tailored to your business. Our expert digital marketing team at XtremeUX is ready to take your online store to new heights.

Crafting Compelling SEO Content Headlines

Your headline is often the first impression readers will get of your content. An eye-catching, clickable headline adapted for SEO is crucial for driving traffic from search engines.

Here are tips for optimizing content headlines for organic search and engagement:

Include Primary Keyword near Beginning

Work your primary keyword naturally into the title near the start for greater weighting and click-throughs.

Keep Titles Concise and Scannable

Shorter titles of 50-60 characters perform best on mobile. Use clear, scannable language.

Create Urgency or Intrigue

Triggers like “Best,” “Why,” “How,” and “Top 10” help pique readers interest and encourage them to click through the search.

Focus on Providing Value

Communicate the core benefit readers will get from your content.

Use Numbers and Lists Judiciously

“10” or “5 Ways,” etc., can work for some topics, but avoid using generic numbers.

Include Brand Name For Branded Terms

Brand visibility helps when targeting branded keywords—but keep the focus on value for readers.

Avoid Excess Capitalization

Capitalizing every word hurts readability. Use title case or sentence case.

Consider Emotional Triggers

Words like “Guaranteed,” “Proven,” and “Ultimate” can inspire action but avoid being hyperbolic.

Ask Questions When Relevant

Question-based headlines tap into search intent for popular “how to” queries.

Test Different Versions

Try out multiple headline options and use analytics to determine which resonates best with your audience.

When brainstorming headlines, keep these tips in mind. Always go beyond optimization by creating titles that generate authentic engagement.

Formatting Content for Maximum Scannability

With people’s limited attention spans online, formatting content for maximum scannability is essential for on-page SEO. The easier it is to digest your content, the more search engines and visitors will consume it.

Here are essential formatting tips for boosting Content readability:

Use Short Paragraphs

Keep paragraphs to 2-4 sentences max. Verbose blocks of text are hard to digest, so break it up.

Include Subheadings Throughout

Subheads make content skimmable for users and provide semantic signals for search bots.

Highlight Key Points Visually

Use numbered or bulleted lists for critical takeaways. Break out vital stats into pull quotes.

Use Bold Text Strategically

Use bold sparingly to emphasize critical keywords, phrases, and action steps for scannability.

Include Relevant Images

Reinforce content with infographics, photos, and screenshots. Optimize alt text and use descriptive file names.

Break Up Long Lists

For lengthy lists, break them into multiple shorter bulleted lists with subheads rather than one huge list.

Cut Unnecessary Words

Streamline sentences and trim out redundant adverbs, adjectives, and phrases for more transparent communication.

Format for Mobile-First

Short sentences and paragraphs translate better on mobile. Check the content on all device sizes.

Add Multimedia Elements

Embed relevant charts, videos, tweets, or other media for more engaging and scannable content.

Formatting content strategically minimizes barriers to consumption. Constantly evaluate readability and opportunities to improve flow and comprehension.

Promoting New Content for Maximum Impact

Just publishing new content is not enough—you need a comprehensive promotion strategy to boost visibility. Here are powerful tactics for amplifying content:

Email Marketing

Email subscribers are a captive audience. Promote all new content through dedicated email marketing strategies including newsletter.

Paid Social Ads

Run paid ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter targeting relevant audiences to build buzz and links quickly.

Influencer Outreach

Identify relevant influencers and send personalized pitches to encourage shares with their audience.

Quora Answers

Publish snippets of content and link back to your full articles when answering related questions.

SlideShare

Upload related presentations to SlideShare and link back to your blog content in the description.

LinkedIn Publishing

Repurpose long-form posts on LinkedIn’s publishing platform, then promote through your profile and groups.

Contributor Bylines

Publish guest articles on industry websites and build links in the bio back to your site.

Social Media Engagement

Share content extras like facts, stats, and related links on social media to keep audiences engaged.

Live Video

Go live on Instagram, LinkedIn, or YouTube to provide value and promote your content in real-time to your followers.

Retargeting Ads

Remarket content to previous visitors through Google/Facebook ads to generate return visits.

Amplifying Content across multiple channels is critical to extending reach. Analyze which promotion tactics deliver the best results and double down on those areas.

Developing Link-Worthy Content

Attracting external links remains one of the most important ranking factors. Developing indeed link-worthy assets should be a priority.

Create Comprehensive Guides

Extensive guides on popular topics attract lots of links from industry sites. Include actionable takeaways.

Curate Data-Backed Lists

Compiling authoritative lists with supporting data encourages other sites to source and link for their content.

Develop Tools and Calculators

Helpful SEO tools that solve problems for your audience often go viral based on usefulness alone.

Visualize Data in Infographics

Infographics that cleverly illustrate insightful data or research can spread widely when highly relevant.

Write the Definitive Guide

For core topics, invest the time needed to craft truly definitive guides that stand out from competing content.

Offer Checklists and Cheat Sheets

Simplifying complex processes into cheatsheets makes content more shareable.

Create Interactive Content

Quizzes, assessments, and interactive content formats attract more links due to their novelty and engagement.

Interview Experts

Thought leader interviews on industry topics allow you to tap into the follower base of experts to build credibility.

Analyze Fresh Data

New surveys, studies, and fresh data analysis can provide unique angles others want to reference.

Give Awards/Recognize Others

Content like “Top 50 Blogs” or “Best of Awards” encourages recognition links when the criteria are clear.

Launch Contests

Contests, giveaways, and sweepstakes drive sharing, links, engagement, and brand awareness from participants.

Publish Case Studies

In-depth customer case studies and success stories build trust while being link-worthy assets.

The goal should be to create “10x content” that offers extreme value. Brainstorm angles and avoid derivatives of what already exists. The more useful your content is, the more authority you build.

Optimizing Content for Local SEO

Optimizing Content for local SEO is critical for businesses operating in specific regions. This helps you rank for searches containing city names, zip codes, “near me” terms, and other local intent keywords.

Here are key ways to optimize content for local search:

Include Your City and Region

Work your city, metro area, and state names into on-page content naturally where they fit.

Target Local Keywords

Research popular local search queries related to your business and incorporate them into posts.

Get Listed on Directory Sites

Moz Local, Yelp, and other directories factor into local pack rankings. Optimize all listings consistently.

Embed Location Info

Include your complete address, phone number, and map embedded in a site footer or contact page.

Link to Landing Pages

Link important pages and geo-targeted landing pages internally to provide crawler signals.

Profile Schema Markup

Add schema markup to highlight essential business info like address, hours, menus, and contacts.

Get Local Links

Build links from neighborhood blogs, business partners, sponsors of local events, and other area sites.

Sponsor Local Events

Sponsor relevant local events, conferences, and meetups to build community awareness and links.

Optimizing for local SEO establishes you as a prominent player in your area. To boost local visibility, consistently execute these strategies.

Scaling SEO Content Production

As your business grows, scaling SEO content production is key to sustaining rankings across a growing site. Here are processes that help take content to the next level:

Develop Content Themes and Clusters

Group content around themes and complementary keywords more easily.

Maintain Organized Editorial Calendars

Use editorial calendars to plan content across themes and map to buyer’s journeys.

Establish Content Workflows

Document processes for research, writing, editing, image creation, and promotion to maintain consistency.

Tap Internal SMEs

Identify internal subject matter experts who can share unique insights as guest contributors.

Recruit Freelance Writers

Maintain a roster of trusted freelance writers who understand your voice and SEO goals.

Repurpose Content across Formats

Repurpose existing blog posts into new formats like videos, podcasts, and visual assets.

Use AI Writing Tools

AI tools like Grammarly and Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator can aid writers in providing initial drafts upon which to build.

Monitor Trends

Stay on top of trending topics and news jacking opportunities across your industry for timely content ideas.

As the volume increases, creating scalable systems to streamline and manage content development is critical. The proper workflows and resources allow quality and velocity to coexist.

Tracking Content Performance and Results

Analyzing content performance should inform your ongoing optimization efforts. Key metrics to track for each piece of content include:

Search Rankings

Monitor rankings in Google for your target keywords to evaluate how content is performing.

Organic Traffic

Compare traffic from search engines over time as content matures and rankings improve.

Engagement Metrics

Pageviews, time on page, and bounce rates indicate how engaging content is for visitors.

Social Shares and Links

Track social shares as well as qualitative evaluations of links to each post.

Conversions

Understand how niche content contributes to desired conversions like email signups, downloads, and sales.

Reader Feedback

Comments, shares, and emails can provide direct input on what resonates most with your audience.

Regularly compiling and reviewing these metrics across new and existing content provides insights into what is working. You can identify high-performing topics to develop further and low-performing areas to refine or reallocate resources from.

Ongoing optimization is crucial for continually improving results. Consistent tracking provides the data needed to iterate smartly.

Tips for Optimizing Existing Content

Driving results from SEO content requires more than just creating new posts. To maximize impact, existing content must be continually revisited and optimized.

Refresh Old Content

To keep the content relevant, update outdated stats, facts, examples, and references. Add new supporting images and media.

Improve Page Speed

Fast page speed boosts rankings and user experience. To achieve this, compress images, reduce server response time, minify code, and optimize caching.

Expand thin content

To make thinly researched posts more substantive, add more multimedia, data, links, and related resources.

Rename With Keywords

Update slugs and file names with keywords if original naming conventions were sub-optimal.

Enhance Visuals

Improve charts, graphics, and feature images using newer visual technologies and design capabilities.

Promote Again

Breathe new life into evergreen, under-promoted content through social media, email, and syndication.

Link Internally

Interlink related content and embed relevant media across your site to reinforce internal authority.

Convert to Video/Podcast

Adapt the most resonating posts into new video and audio formats.

Continuous optimization activities ensure you get the most mileage from high-performing legacy content while improving anything underperforming.

Avoiding Content Cannibalization

Content cannibalization refers to a situation where two or more of your own pages are competing for the exact keywords and search traffic. This can undermine SEO efforts by splitting authority.

Here are tips to avoid self-sabotage through content cannibalization:

Perform Keyword Research

Research target keywords thoroughly to understand searcher intent and avoid targeting the same terms with multiple pages.

Consolidate Similar Posts

Instead of publishing multiple posts around the same topic, absorb information into one comprehensive post.

Differentiate Content Angles

If you want to cover the same topic more than once, each piece should offer a distinct angle and value.

Update Meta Data

Adjust page titles, descriptions, and H1s across similar posts to target different keywords.

Vary Media Use

Leverage different images, videos, charts, etc., to differentiate the user experience on each page.

Link Internally

Link between posts covering connected topics rather than competing with each other.

301 Redirect Old Content

If URLs are now splitting authority, 301 redirects deprecated pages to your strongest version.

Disavow Toxic Links

Check for site-wide links from bad neighbourhood’s impacting related posts and disavow them.

Proper planning and research around seed keywords and user intent prevent duplication. Ongoing audits help strengthen content synergy.

Optimizing B2B Content for Buyer Personas

Understanding your target B2B buyer personas is key to creating content tailored to where they are in the purchasing process. Map out your personas and aim to produce relevant content for each stage:

Awareness Stage

Blog posts, ebooks, and guides covering industry education and best practices to establish thought leadership.

Consideration Stage

Product pages, customer testimonials, and ROI calculators highlight benefits and validate the solution.

Decision Stage

Free trials, product demos, and deep-dive comparisons demonstrate value and superiority.

Customer Stage

Use cases, troubleshooting guides, ROI calculations, and renewals focused on adoption and retention.

Optimizing content for each persona’s journey enables you to attract, nurture, and convert leads more effectively. Expand niche topics to fill content gaps at every phase. Curate different thought leadership and industry expertise based on motive.

Understanding search intent and customer mindset together allows you to develop more powerful SEO content that resonates. Create specialized landing pages, gated offers, and calls to action tailored to each persona and buying stage.

Maintaining Consistent SEO Standards

As your content library expands, maintaining consistent SEO standards across all newly created assets is essential. Some key ways to ensure quality and optimization include:

Document Editorial Guidelines

Create an internal SEO content style guide detailing essential standards and best practices all writers should adhere to.

Conduct Writer Training

Educate content creators on core principles of optimization and company voice through hands-on workshops.

Utilize Centralized Templates

Store header, footer, metadata, and article templates in a shared drive for easy access and consistency.

Perform SEO Audits

Regularly audit new posts to evaluate if standards for keywords, links, and formatting are being met.

Provide Optimization Checklists

Provide writers with SEO keyword and optimization checklists to work through for each draft.

Review Analytics Consistently

Monitor the latest content analytics to identify optimization opportunities and coaching areas.

Update Guidelines Periodically

As algorithms change, keep guidelines current by reiterating important optimization practices.

Reward Strong Optimization

Highlight examples of excellent optimization publicly and through internal recognition.

Consistency compounds result over time. Setting clear expectations and processes while incentivizing quality allows your team to execute seamlessly.

Conclusion on Creating SEO-Friendly Content

Creating high-quality, SEO-friendly content should be a top priority for driving qualified organic traffic. Focusing on providing value for readers rather than shallow optimization tactics can help you gain trust and authority.

Targeting relevant keywords using thorough research lays the foundation for an effective strategy. However, the content experience itself needs to be engaging, well-formatted, and designed for conversion.

Promoting content widely, analyzing performance, and iteratively improving based on data are critical to lasting search engine success.

With suitable systems and expertise in place, your brand can build domain authority and recognition through content over the long term. Consistent optimization ultimately wins.

The strategies and best practices covered in this guide should provide a roadmap for planning, creating, and amplifying remarkable SEO content.

Table of Contents

Index