Creating SEO-Focused Blogs

Creating SEO-Focused Blogs

Blogs are like fish in the sea. Stars in the sky. Leaves on trees in a forest.

There are billions of them, they’re all unique, and many are never seen by a human.

Why do we spend so much time writing and publishing them? Who are they for?

  • Are they written for existing website visitors or customers?
  • Are they used to send to your newsletter list?
  • Are they there to attract new visitors?
  • Do your salespeople use them to send to prospective customers?

These are all valid reasons to write articles!

Oftentimes, blogs are written in the hope of improving the SEO of a website, or better, ranking on page one of Google for specific keywords.

But creating content that can achieve traffic like that is a challenge.

Naturally, there are some tricks of the trade that can help boost your piece to Google’s coveted front page.

The first things you need to get clear on are the intent and context of the piece.

Who are you writing for? Why are they reading it? What they should gain from reading it, and what the next steps are afterward?

Your blog’s audience

We’re writing for readers. Real people.

And, at the same time, you want people to actually be able to find your content.

Therefore, your written content must be designed with two groups in mind: readers and search engines.

Blog writers walk a fine line between SEO value and Human value. This tug of war is at the heart of modern blog writing, and over-tuning one way or the other can ruin your publishing efforts.

For your work to see the front page, it’s not enough to just write off the cuff.

Planning out your work can help you to cover all topics while appealing to readers and covering any gaps. This will also help to establish a workflow process.

Your Content Development Strategy

It makes sense to look at the big picture before diving into how to create any individual piece.

A content development strategy will provide structure and alignment, and set a standard of quality across every asset.

Funnel stages, customer personas, and product messaging are just a few parts of your content strategy.

Understanding your prospect’s funnel stage will inform you on what content to create and present.

Repeatable success with blogs is most easily achieved when you’ve got the right steps in place in your process. Some are a bit too broad for this piece, but we’ve got additional material for you to check out:

  1. Understand ICP/personas
  2. Develop Messaging template
  3. Do a sales content audit
  4. Keyword research and selection
  5. Ideate content based on keyword clusters
  6. Build a prioritized SEO content calendar
  7. Write content briefs
  8. …Then you can write a blog

If you want to go deeper, read our post on how to develop a sales content strategy.

Content Audit

Content Camel’s content audit template for Google Sheets

Before you get started writing new content, it’s vital to know what you’ve already produced and how it is performing.

A content audit provides insights into what you need to improve, change, or avoid entirely, based on past performance.

Keyword research and selection

A keyword masterlist is generated by gathering together all your keyword research, and then breaking it down into keyword and topic clusters to determine relevance, volume, and priority.

Keyword masterlists can be categorized and sorted for easy lookup based on topic, volume, difficulty, and more.

Keyword universes need to be highly organized to minimize search times, as they’ll be used frequently in content development.

Topic Development

Based on keyword research and your own priorities, we find that organizing keywords by topic are helpful to group keywords into a small set of core topics that your content will cover.

Topics can range from different major features of a product, product lines or different audience groups being targeted by the content, such as industries or roles.

Keyword clustering

Keyword clusters are much like topics, but much tighter. This is where the rubber hits the road in targeting keywords for a specific piece.

Clusters will drastically reduce the time you spend searching for the right keywords

You’ll want to gather highly related keywords, often variations, which you can use in a single piece so that you may be able to rank in Google for many variations in a single piece.

These can help to provide alternative keywords and phrases, which is especially important for longer blogs.

Balance volume and intent

Analyzing your keywords based on why and how often people search for them will allow you to hone in on their intent. With that, you can create content specifically designed to match the information they are looking for AND the terms they use to search for it.

Your ideal keywords will strike the ideal balance between volume (how often that keyword gets searched) and intent (why someone would search for that).

Example: You want to write a blog about your warehouse management software aimed at SMBs with a title like “inventory management in a small warehouse”.

Keyword Search Volume Intent
Warehouse management 3,600 Informational. Very broad intent, the searcher could be looking for anything on the topic.
Small warehouse management software 480 Commercial. Likely someone is evaluating solutions
good inventory management for small fulfillment warehouse 0 Commercial. Easy to rank for, but far too specific because it’s rarely if ever searched for

Many make the mistake of going after the highest volume searches. Your chances of ranking for these keywords and getting traffic are very low without a sophisticated SEO strategy. Even if you did get traffic, it might not convert.

A better approach is to do comprehensive keyword research and select a handful to a dozen very similar keywords with reasonable volume and high intent to target your post towards.

These will be easier to rank for and more likely to convert into customers because of the high intent to purchase.

Come up with content ideas based on clusters

With keywords in hand, you can come up with groups of words that you can cover with a single post. Then, you can start planning to write blogs that cover concepts that matter to you and what people search for.

Developing a content calendar

With your keyword research and content audit finished, it’s time to move into the production planning stage of your workflow.

A content calendar can help to itemize each blog post, categorizing them based on qualities like the assigned writer, subject matter, keyword cluster, and date of publication.

Courtesy: Meisha Bochicchio, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Goldcast

This way, you can monitor production on your content from each stage and writer to the next, while ensuring the quality remains high, and the original goal of the content is still achieved.

Your content calendar can also answer some very important questions about your development process; are you publishing blogs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? What’s the average length of your blogs? How long do they take to produce?

Once your content calendar provides you with an idea of what you already have, and what you plan to create, you’ll be able to plan long-term and create content that supports itself through an infrastructure of high-value, relevant internal links.

Researching and planning your final blog content

Researching your blog

Research is a natural first step for blogs; how else can you speak with authority if you don’t have the best information?

Even if you’re a subject matter expert, it never hurts to double-check and be sure that everything you’re writing is accurate and relevant. The damage to your reputation from bad or outdated information can be devastating, and grueling to recover from.

So, what exactly are you researching?

For SEO blog posts, there are some usual suspects that should always be part of your preliminary research, such as:

Subject matter research and E-A-T

Information is the name of the game in blog writing, so you need to become an expert in your field and present what you know with authority.

There are many ways to convey trustworthiness and expertise to the reader, such as statistics, expert quotes, and unique but relevant insights.

This will contribute to the E-A-T of your blog; the Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. Having high-value E-A-T content will rank better with Google, as you are recognized as a reliable source of information.

Competitive research

Search for your keywords and see what comes up! Is your piece better than what is already showing in google? What ideas can this help generate? Have you covered all the angles?

Content Briefs

Blog writing is one area that often suffers from “too many cooks in the kitchen”.

Editors, writers, reviewers, and other stakeholders may all have something to say, but listening to them all will severely bottleneck your content development process.

Further, it’s not uncommon for a post to start with one intent and then splinter off into different ideas or end up taking an entirely different direction to the one originally envisioned

Content briefs provide tremendous value relative to the time and effort it takes to make them. This is achieved by aligning the different contributors on the context and goals of the piece.

Content briefs address the core considerations for high-ranking content, such as:

  • Target audience
  • Goal of the piece
  • Product/service/internal information to include
  • What to avoid
  • Examples of similar work
  • Top keywords
  • High-value links
  • Competitive pages

Well-structured briefs will provide critical context and intent for the piece.

Briefs can be produced quickly, they’re seldom longer than a single page, and are written in plain language and are able to present a lot of important information in a quick and digestible manner for easy sharing

This creates clarity for writers and editors, enabling faster creation, review and revision of content and reduces rework which is often a massive roadblock to content production.

Blog Writing, Publishing, and Optimization

Blogs aren’t novels, and for good reason.


As great as your content may be, no one is reading it for leisure. They came to your page for specific information, to resolve a problem, or to learn more about your business.

So, how do you do this without boring your reader?

Stay focused on providing the knowledge they seek, and they will start to see you as a reputable and trusted source.

You’ll want to stick as closely to the search intent of your user as possible.

The trick is to keep your reader engaged throughout your piece:

  • Use original information
  • Provide simple facts and statistics
  • Vary cadence for easier reading
  • Clearly label sections for easy navigation
  • Add images and graphics
  • Provide lots of jumping off points to go to other sections of your site for more detail.

Readability is crucial for your blogs, so don’t forget to get a second opinion and make sure that you’re only publishing the highest quality content.

Publishing your blog content

Once your piece has been edited and approved, it’s time to launch!

The final steps before your SEO-focused blog goes live are:

  1. ensuring that you’re using the targeted keywords in the title and H1, H2 tags
  2. your links go to the intended places
  3. include supporting assets (images, graphics, charts, etc.) and caption appropriately
  4. save your images with SEO-friendly names (descriptive keywords in the file name)
  5. SEO-friendly alt text for the images
  6. your CTAs (Calls to Action) are contextually relevant to your subject matter
  7. you have a compelling and descriptive meta description
  8. decide the appropriate blog category and/or tags

These can all have significant effects on your ranking, so make sure to optimize these as much as you can.

Managing your content library

It makes sense to keep a living repository for all of your content so that it’s categorized and sorted for easy retrieval later. This could be in your content calendar, but for far more mileage, it would be in a sales content management tool your whole organization can use.

Knowing how much content you have for certain subjects will also improve your content scheduling efforts by avoiding redundancy and strengthening areas with little to no content.

This also allows for the management of publishing dates, and retroactive optimization actions. It also creates a reliable record of work produced.

Optimizing and republishing

Once your blog is live, it doesn’t mean you’re done with it forever.

Blogs can be changed, repurposed, and re-released, breathing new life into old content and giving a new chance to rank on competitive topics.

Blog optimization may be used for:

  • Reinforcing a top performer to do even better
  • Strengthening a low performer to improve rankings
  • Overhauling a low performer to better coincide with the topic
  • Adding links from older posts to newer posts to strengthen their internal linking

It can be helpful to create a checklist of optimization goals, so you know what to look for and what to change as you edit, while also providing a record of your work as you check off each box.

Checklists provide clear goals for optimization, and a record of your work

Optimizing old blogs is much less work than creating entirely new assets, so the production rate is also faster. Google even has a preference for websites that update their content to be more user-friendly and informative.

Key takeaways on writing successful SEO blogs

  1. Understand your audience
  2. Audit your existing content to identify gaps
  3. Develop a content strategy
  4. Do good keyword research
  5. Develop a content calendar
  6. Use Content briefs
  7. Remember to go back and optimize!