The Ideal SEO Content Strategy Template in 2024

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At some point in your website's life, you need to review and refresh its current SEO content strategy.

You may be using antiquated tactics that have been recently deprecated. Or your current strategy isn't getting your desired traffic and conversions.

Other reasons could explain your site's current performance, whether good or bad.

That's why you need to know what they are. This way, you can make the necessary changes to help improve your site's current rankings on search engines.

So, to answer the question above, the best time to review your site's content strategy is now.

This post will help guide you through the step-by-step process of analyzing and re-optimizing your site's content.

Please think of this as your SEO strategy template every time you think your site needs a refresher with its campaign.

Let's begin!

Audit Existing Content

Every time you improve or create an SEO strategy from scratch, you must know its current standing first.

You can't develop a strategy without contextualizing the site first. You wouldn't know what to fix and which tactics to use to improve its rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs).

That's why you need to audit your website first. It requires using a tool that will automate the process for you. This way, you can mine the data for insights to help you build your strategy later.

Among the SEO audit tools to use, Ahrefs Webmaster Tools (AWT) is arguably the best and easiest to use. More importantly, it's free!

Sign up for an account and integrate your Google Search Console. From here, you can choose which sites from your GSC account you wish to audit using the tool.

After a few minutes, it will provide you with all the data and metrics you need to build your strategy.

AWT can track your website's ranking positions for which pages and terms. But you'd need a paid Ahrefs account to regularly track your rankings for certain keywords.

For a more affordable and arguably better alternative, use SE Ranking. It lets you track your keyword positions and compare them to weeks or months past. This allows you to monitor your site's SEO progress over time.

Now, if you want a more comprehensive and technical SEO audit of your site, you can't go wrong with Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

It's a paid tool ($209/year) that does what AWT can do and then some. It integrates with the most popular analytics tools and renders JavaScript and HTML, among other premium features.

Regardless of which tool you'll use, keep the SEO metrics below in mind. They will help you determine the kind of SEO content strategy your website needs to improve its rankings in the future.

Keyword Rankings

How high or low your pages appear on SERPs is the most tangible proof of your SEO content strategy's effectiveness.

Your content strategy aims to create posts and pages optimized for users and search engines on top of following the best on-page SEO tactics.

If done correctly, Google should catapult them to the top of search results for their target keywords.

As mentioned, Ahrefs shows you the keywords your site is ranking for and which page. It also reveals the estimated organic traffic you're getting from each keyword to the page.

On the other hand, a rank tracking tool like SE Ranking should help you monitor your keyword positions for your most important site pages.

A newly published page takes time before it sees an upward movement in search engine rankings. But it's also possible that it might not rank at all.

The same goes for your current ranking web pages on organic traffic. They can suddenly jump up SERP positions over time, especially if you optimize them correctly.

At the same time, it's possible that these pages could plummet their SERP rankings if you engaged with black hat SEO.

Backlinks

To help you make sense of the SERP rankings, you must factor in off-page SEO.

In particular, the links you've built through the years play a pivotal role in your site's current ranking position for its keywords.

If you built dofollow links from authoritative, high-traffic websites, expect your site to increase its rankings over time. If not, 

Conversely, engaging in shady link building techniques may result in a temporary increase in organic traffic, followed by a sharp and sudden decline.

Whether your built these links or not, Google will react appropriately based on the data it gathers about your site.

To know for sure, check Ahrefs and see the backlinks you've attracted since the last time you checked

If your site picked up toxic backlinks during this period, there's a good chance that they played a role in decreasing your keyword rankings and traffic.

While backlinks have little to do with your content strategy, this shouldn't stop you from developing a content strategy designed to attract links.

We'll get into that shortly. In the meantime, let's move on to the next and final metrics when auditing your site's content performance.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is tied to your keyword rankings. The higher your rankings, the more traffic your site pages can get.

You can check your site's organic traffic using Google Search Console. Log in to your account and choose your website from the list.

Then go to Performance > Search results to see the total clicks and impressions your site received over time.

To see the exact pages that got clicks from SERPs, scroll down the page and click on the Pages tab. This will show your site's top pages and their respective clicks and impressions.

To see the terms from which the page gets the most clicks, go to the Queries tab after clicking the page you want to check. It will then show the search queries users typed on Google and clicked on your page on organic search results.

As you can see, Google Search Console gives you the average positions of the page for search queries on Google. You can use it as a basic rank tracking tool to help you make sense of your rankings concerning your traffic.

Perform Competitive Analysis

Using the metrics to measure your site's SEO content performance, you should now know your best- and non-performing pages.

The next thing you must research is content topics you haven't discussed on your site yet.

To do this, you need to look at what your direct competitors are ranking on their sites.

Ideally, you'd want to use Ahrefs since you already use its free Audit feature. However, it's one of the more expensive SEO tools in the market.

Not to mention, new users can quickly burn through their monthly subscriptions with the tool's newly instituted credit-based system.

As an alternative, use SE Ranking instead, assuming you're using it to track your rankings. Its Competitive Research feature gives you a good idea of your top competitors.

Just enter your domain URL on the search bar (make sure to change the database to Worldwide if you want to research the global search index). Then view the detailed report of your top competitors to see the complete list.

Click on the missing keywords of each competitor to show you the keywords that each site is ranking for and yours isn't.

From here, you'll be able to gather keywords that you can write and publish on your site as part of your upcoming content strategy.

You can even filter the results to show you keywords with low difficulty. This way, you can focus on easy-to-rank keywords for quick wins on your site.

Keep in mind that you won't be able to use all the unique keywords you'll find from your competitors. So, make sure to choose the best keywords to focus on and see if they're relevant enough for your site to cover.

Identify SEO Goals

Once you have gathered all data about your website and its competitors, it's time to realign all of them into your upcoming SEO content strategy.

The majority of site owners look at search rankings as their main goal with their respective campaigns.

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The most interesting thing about achieving high search rankings is that increased traffic and brand awareness (the next two crucial SEO goals) naturally follow it.

It means that once you start ranking for your keywords, expect to achieve these goals as well. This goes to show how important identifying the right keywords to optimize and rank for in your overall strategy.

The remaining goals listed above (sales revenue, ROI, and market expansion to a lesser extent) aren't part of your SEO strategy's scope.

Here's the thing:

Increased rankings don't result in increased sales and conversions!

However, you can use your SEO content campaign to help round out your sales funnel.

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You can create content that adheres to the needs of your audience respective to the stage they're in your funnel.

Here's an example of content types you can create for each stage:

* Awareness/Interest - Informational pieces, such as guides, how-tos, Q&A, etc. These content types help establish your authority in the industry.

* Consideration - If you're selling a product, service, or software, create content that showcases the benefits of each to prospects. These provide your target audience with information on how they can leverage your products to improve their lives. 

* Decision/Purchase - Optimize your landing pages where people can buy your products. Also, consider creating pages where people can sign up for your webinars to help with purchasing decisions.

The beauty of this approach is you deliberately create content that helps bring your audience down your sales funnel, leading to an eventual sale.

So, strategically creating content that appeals to people in the different stages of your sales funnel is a must.

Determine Content Types to Use

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We've discussed the different content types you can create for your sales funnel.

If you're looking for more variety for your SEO content strategy, below are the most relevant types, with a brief description of each:

* Blog posts/articles - Publish these regularly on your website, each targeting a specific set of keywords that your audience searches. Ensure that the articles provide value to your readers.

* White papers, ebooks, and reports - Create downloadable and informative pieces about your industry that people want to know about. They help increase your authority and display your expertise.

* Videos - Upload these videos to YouTube to rank on search engines. You can repurpose existing blog posts into video format or publish recorded presentations and webinars to increase their reach.

* Infographics - Creating visual content that people can share on social media or use on their blog posts can help your SEO efforts. Regarding the latter, publishers will link to the page on your site where they found the infographic.

* How-to guides - Comprehensive, long-form articles that provide value to your readers about a specific topic.

* Case studies and client profiles - Show the effectiveness of your products and services via client testimonials. These are best included in the decision or purchase stage of your funnel.

At this point, you don't have to assign the content types to your sales funnel and SEO content strategy just yet. We still have to determine which keywords to optimize for your campaign, which we'll get into now.

Prepare Keyword Optimization Strategy

Keyword research is at the heart of every successful SEO campaign.

Targeting the right keywords for the content you'll create will help build the foundation of a high-ranking website.

So, it's important to proceed with keyword research deliberately by following the steps below:

Brainstorm Keyword Ideas

We've already researched for keywords your site is ranking for. We've also mined keywords driving the most traffic to your competitors.

The former helps you determine keywords delivering the most organic traffic to your site. The latter identifies search queries your competitors have optimized for so you can get their share of traffic.

Now, to help you round out your keyword research, you need to get as many keywords about your topic as possible.

Ahrefs is the best SEO tool for the job due to its extensive keyword database. It can provide information such as search volume and keyword difficulty that no other tool provides.

However, if you're looking for a tool that exclusively does keyword research, you can't go wrong with LowFruits.

It's a credit-based tool that provides you with all the information you need to determine the best search terms to optimize for your upcoming strategy.

You can sign up for a free account with limited results for the topic or keyword you'll enter.

On the results page, you can filter the keyword suggestions to show those with the best opportunities. That means the keyword has weak pages appearing at the top of SERPs.

Hovering over the icons under the Weak Spots column for each keyword, you can see the type of site ranking for which position and their respective Domain Authority (DA).

In the screenshot above, you can outrank all the ten results on organic search due to the factors mentioned above. It's just a matter of writing much better content than the ones already published. We'll get into this shortly.

LowFruits also show you the search volume of each keyword. This allows you to narrow down your research to long tail keywords that have relatively high monthly searches and low competition.

From here, you should have a list of keywords you can create content for this campaign.

However, it's possible that you are already optimizing for some of these terms, especially the ones found using LowFruits.

So, search the keywords on your website first to ensure that you don't have pages created for these on your site.

Cluster Similar Terms

Once you've cleaned up your list, it's time to group similar terms accordingly.

In your research, you may have listed down search terms with the same keyword intent separately.

Optimizing different pages for the same keyword may cause keyword cannibalization. In this case, your site won't be able to rank on top of SERPs for this particular term.

It's because Google and other search engines will distribute the keyword rankings across the different pages on your site. 

Ironically, having more pages in your site ranking for the same term lowers your chances of getting the top spot!

Therefore, you want to group the exact keywords from your research. This lets you avoid keyword cannibalization and get Google to rank a single page from your site for that term.

To do this, you may need another tool that clusters keywords.

One of the more popular ones you can use is Keyword Cupid.

Enter the keywords you've researched, and the tool will sort out which keywords belong to each other on the same page.

This allows you to automate keyword clustering and focus on the next steps.

SE Ranking also has a Keyword Grouper feature that lets you do the same.

Before entering your keywords, you must determine the accuracy and method for grouping the keyword.

The greater the accuracy, the fewer the keywords grouped in a cluster.

Regarding methods, there are two choices to pick from. "Soft" groups keywords with similar pages ranking on SERPs. "Hard" is stricter as it only clusters keywords that share the same top ten results on organic search.

Regardless, you're good to go with its default settings, with a keyword grouping accuracy of "3" and "Soft" method.

Map Out Content Silos

After grouping keywords according to their clusters, you want to group the clusters according to silos.

Content silos refer to groups of interlinked pages covering a subtopic on your site.

For example, if your website is about weight loss, potential silo topics include exercises, diet, mindset, and others.

Here's a visual representation of a content silo:

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Each silo has a pillar page (silo 1, silo 2, silo 3) that links to the homepage and vice versa. Each pillar page links to its respective supporting pages (silo 1 links to page 1 and page 2 and vice versa).

One thing you need to know about content silos is that each silo doesn't link to the other. Each is self-contained within its pillar page and supporting articles.

This is because keeping the silos about their respective topics helps grow their topical relevance.

Also, keeping your internal linking strategy organized via content siloing helps search spiders understand what your site is about. This results in better crawling and indexing, as well as potentially higher rankings.

When it comes to internal links, you can plot site pages similar to the one above. Use a tool that lets you create diagrams that visualize your pages and how they'll link to each other.

You can download and activate diagrams.net from Google Workspace to create the silos.

Once you have organized the silos, you can manually create the internal links as you create the pages on the go.

However, if you have hundreds of pages on your own site that you want to create internal links, manually inserting one at a time is not feasible.

Instead, using a WordPress plugin like Link Whisper allows you to simultaneously create internal links to different pages.

Identify first the page you want to create links for. Then click on the "Add Inbound Links" to create the links for them.

On the next page, click the boxes of the pages you want to create links for in the article.

Align Content with Search Intent

Before writing the article with its keyword clusters in mind, you need to know how you should write each one.

To do so, you must determine the search intent of your cluster.

Knowing the intent enables you to create content that answers what searchers want to see from the page.

There are four search intents to focus on:

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As mentioned, the intent determines how you plan on writing the article.

For example, if the keyword is "pancake recipe," you don't write asking them to buy pancakes from you. As the keyword suggests, you need to share with readers how to make pancakes on their own.

Corollary, you don't share the benefits of an iPhone when optimizing for "buy iPhone." Chances are, they already know its benefits and are looking to purchase now.

When identifying the intent of your keywords, you need to do it manually. Check the SERPs and click on the top pages for the keyword. Read its content and see if it's informative or sales-y (commercial or transaction).

Plot Out Upcoming Content

At this point, you're ready to execute your content strategy to rank on top of SERPs.

The sections below cover the planning and writing process of your content, whether you're the one writing it, assigning the task to someone else, or buying content.

Set Editorial Guidelines

The most important aspect of content creation is uniformity.

You want to observe the same rules for your content across your website. This helps you breed consistency in your writing, making it easy for readers to follow.

Now, if you plan on outsourcing the content to writers, you must establish editorial guidelines for them to keep in mind.

Below are factors you must consider to be part of your editorial style guide:

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Here's a breakdown of things you must remember from above:

* Make writers adhere to your brand. To do this, you must share with them your mission statement, brand objectives, and goals. This allows them to understand the kind of voice you want from the content they'll write.

* Establish formatting like capitalization, grammar, subheadings, image usage, and others to reduce ambiguity.

* If they didn't implement your style guide and editorial guidelines to a tee, you must return the work to them so they can revise it. This is the only way for them to learn and make the same mistakes again.

Write your guidelines in a document that you can share with writers.

To help you enforce your guide, you need to hire an editor. This person will also coordinate the content with you before publication.

Use Content Optimization Tools

Now, you or your writers are ready to produce the content now.

The goal of SEO content is to increase the likelihood of the page ranking for its target keyword cluster.

That means each piece of content you publish must be optimized for search engines. For this, you need a tool that will share with you words and phrases that the content must contain.

Among the many content optimization tools you can use, nothing beats Surfer SEO.

Its Content Editor feature lets you optimize for multiple keywords at the same time. Enter your keyword cluster in the text bar to create an Editor for it.

Once on the page, it shows you the keywords you need to include in the content on the right side of the screen.

You can also see the Content Score based on the terms you used, the quality of headings, and the overall structure (volume of words, paragraphs, images, and headings used).

Emphasize Usefulness

On its own, Surfer SEO or any content optimization tool won't help rank your content on top of SERPs.

While it provides you with terms to help increase your content's relevance for a keyword, it won't matter if the content isn't of any use to readers.

If Google's Helpful Content Updates this year is any indication (August and December), you need to make an effort to create the best possible blog post or article to readers.

The problem with this is the difficulty of qualifying whether content is truly helpful to readers.

In this case, you need to establish your site's E-E-A-T.

Originally known as E-A-T (which is an acronym for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness), it was recently updated to include another E at the beginning, which stands for experience.

To observe E-E-A-T, you must do the following, among other things:

* Showcase your credentials, certifications, client testimonials, and others to prove you're an expert in your industry. This allows more of your audience to trust you.

* Get your content fact-checked by another authorized expert in the subject.

* Make viewing your content much easier for everybody, which helps improve user experience. This includes improving your site page speed, writing concisely to eliminate ambiguity, and more.

Again, there's no way to measure "usefulness" aside from reading the content, checking if the information is correct, and ensuring everything's written clearly.

Optimize Existing Content

If you already have an established site and your main focus is to improve your existing content, re-optimizing these pieces is the way to go.

If you're subscribed to Surfer SEO, use the Domain Planner feature. It analyzes which pages have the potential to increase their organic search traffic based on the keywords it ranks for.

Enter your domain URL on the text bar then click on "Create Domain Planner." Give the tool a few minutes to analyze your site pages.

On the next page, you should see a list of pages with their respective Content Score.

What you can do here is to optimize the page and improve their Content Scores by clicking on the write icon.

To find out what terms Surfer SEO will optimize the page, click on the drop-down button on each of the pages.

However, you don't want to re-optimize content that's already ranking on top of SERPs. As the saying goes, if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

From here, what you want is to optimize for pages that are on the second page of Google and beyond.

To filter what these pages are, click on the Low Hanging Fruits tab on show these pages.

You can then work our way with these pages by increasing their Content Scores. Doing so gallows them to jump on the first page of Google search, if not at the top spot!

What to Do Next

Once you've deployed your campaign, it's time to sit back, relax, and give it time before the results settle in.

After a few weeks or months, track its SEO performance using Google Analytics and see how your site is faring.

This free SEO strategy template hopes to give you the blueprint on how to approach your upcoming content campaigns. It's not about creating new pages all the time.

It's also about auditing your existing pages and re-optimizing those that need to rank higher for their target keywords.

At the same time, your content initiative is just one of the many SEO strategies you need to execute for your website.

So, even if you nail your content campaign to a tee, it doesn't guarantee that you'll boost your rankings immediately. There's also link building, on-page optimization, technical audit, and others that you need to worry about.

In this case, you'd probably need to hire SEO freelancers to help you build, develop, and implement these strategies.

This way, you can focus on creating content that has SEO value and is useful to your intended audience. All these results to a winning SEO strategy and more organic traffic.

About the Author

christopherjanb

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I provide COMPREHENSIVE CONTENT EXPERIENCES designed to improve my clients' online visibility by observing the best on-page SEO practices and engaging their audience with well-written and informative content.

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