Are you not able to rank your web pages on Google? Are you wondering how to create SEO content that will get easily crawled by search engines and drive your organic growth?
Today, content is no longer just good-to-have for companies targeting organic growth. It’s much more than that!
When creating content today, you want search engines to find and showcase your content on top of the SERPs and accompany your target audience throughout their buyer journey.
You would also want to create content that outranks your competition and drive organic growth.
But one of the uphill struggles in SEO content is developing content from the ground.
Writing a copy can often be time-consuming and tiresome, and taking on this task can be daunting. Also, as search engines evolve, so do their NLP algorithms to be able to cut through the noise.
The best way to create excellent content is to use a concise, step-by-step plan that concentrates on targeted strategies.
Using the right topics, keywords, and competitor insights to create a thoughtfully curated plan will make all the difference for your team.
Here’s everything you need to know about SEO content and how you can create a solid outline for your content.
By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to create your content outlines in minutes instead of hours.
What is SEO Content?
The easiest way to define SEO content (or search engine optimized content) is any form of text, photos, or visual content created with the single intention to rank well in search engines (Google, Bing, etc.).
SEO content is beneficial, helpful, and concentrates on answering users’ queries, and it’s designed to be discoverable via search engines.
However, SEO content isn’t something that can be artificial or is just stuffed with keywords and phrases to rank at the top of the SERP.
What are the most popular types of SEO content?
Below are the most popular types of SEO content to get you started. Always remember the type of content you pick should rely on your goals and your audience’s goals.
SEO content is your toolbox, and the different types of content are your tools.
Short-form content is typically any form of written content under 1,500 words.
To use short-form content for SEO, you must include headings, metadata, and optimized images.
E.g., Landing pages, promotional email blasts, product descriptions, and tight, to-the-point blog posts.
Long-form content is typically written longer than 1,500 words. Remember not just to use long-form content to stuff your keywords but try to bring value to your readers.
You must ensure your content is relevant and readable from the audience’s perspective.
E.g., Downloadable eBooks, guides, and in-depth blog posts.
A blog post is your chance to let the audience know about your brand and to answer their queries before your competitor does.
You can use these blogs to post strategic content, prove your authority in your niche to the search engines and rank higher on the SERPs.
Pillar and Evergreen Content
Pillar content is long-form content that targets high-level keywords and is typically backed by short-form content that targets long-tail keywords.
Pillar content is lengthy, comprehensive, informative, and usually optimized for your higher-level keywords.
You can write pillar pages to create topic clusters around different facets of your brand.
Also, pillar content must always be evergreen to stand the test of time and should be updated periodically.
Holistic content is that piece of content your writing team creates so that it works synergistically with all your other pieces of content.
It is a type of content created by aligning the brand goals and SEO strategy. So, each piece of content works to improve the rest.
E.g., a blog post created with a series of related social media posts in mind.
Data-led content can be both short and long-form. It is typically backed by data on your target audience and current trends in search.
With data, you precisely know which keywords to target and when to invest less time optimizing unhelpful content and more time producing content that has a high likelihood of ranking.
Thought leadership content provides the audiences with in-depth insights to get them to return for more.
It grows trust for your brand and helps you interact with your community to improve your SEO efforts eventually.
Thought leadership articles are highly shareable, so more shares mean more traffic and backlinks to your webpage.
Content for Social Channels
Using your higher-level and long-tail keywords in your social media content enables users to find their way to your content.
Though social media does not directly impact your website’s SEO, it allows your content to be more discoverable, leading to your actual links.
What is a Content Outline?
In short, a content outline is an initial framework of how your content will look. It includes headings, subheadings, images, relevant statistics, etc.
With a proper content outline, you can organize your research, structure your content flow, and produce a polished final draft that ensures your content creation process is in the right direction.
In simple words, it is a standard Content Brief with added attention to both search bots and searchers.
Why is SEO Content Outline important?
Helps master search intent
As we know, search is the primary distribution channel for our content.
Therefore, you must ensure that you’re covering your bases for understanding and implementing search intent to your content piece.
It is recommended to address search intent in the outline phase. Because if we don’t, we risk writing an entire draft only to rewrite it when ranking improvements don’t come through as expected.
Presents clear direction
The most critical benefit of an SEO content outline is that it helps provide the writers with proper context and direction.
A content outline works as a way to ensure whether your writers are on track with what you’re looking for.
But not necessarily as a shortcut to complete the piece in a shorter time.
Provides extensive Quality control
For blog outlines, on top of the benefits list is quality control.
If you have been working with a content writer for a long time, one can assume they understand your expectations.
But, if you’re working with freelancers, or primarily if you’re working with multiple freelancers, you need a way that allows you to translate your strategy into tactical decisions on each content piece.
SEO content outlines help you do exactly that.
They offer external and internal content writers a track to produce content with the potential to rank irrespective of their SEO expertise and knowledge.
Helps speed up writing
Content outlines are typically used to speed up the content writing process, whether for in-house writers or new freelance writers to hit your brief.
With SEO-optimized outlines, you can help your writers complete their writings faster as the thoughts will be more precise and more organized.
Helps create cohesive content
With a well-planned SEO content outline, you enable your writers to create more cohesive and organized posts.
The outlines give your writers a solid foundation before writing their articles. It helps create efficient transitions from one topic to the next and gives more attention to the structure and flow of that content.
An outline allows your writers to picture all the information you want to cover on the topic. Also, rearrange sections even before the writing process begins.
How to Create Your Content Outline Easily
Set your content goals
While creating our content outline, you need to keep your content goals in mind.
You must ask yourself, “what are you aiming to accomplish with your content? Are you pushing to drive traffic to a specific page on your website? Are you trying to increase leads? Are you trying to boost brand awareness?”
By answering these questions, you can clearly identify your goals and tailor your outline accordingly to focus on achieving them.
Understand your audience
An excellent SEO content outline starts with understanding who your post is for and what you’re trying to communicate to them.
You can start building the topics and sections you want to cover in the piece from there. Then add the supporting keywords, links, quotes, stats, and other essential information.
Uncover audience search intent
Drafting an SEO-friendly content outline necessitates taking an in-depth look at your reader’s intent.
This is the most critical step in your content outlining process.
Also, if you skip this step, your content won’t be ranking or resonating with your target readers.
In simple words, search intent is the “why” behind a user search query. What is your audience hoping to gain by doing this search?
This can be understood by the keywords they use while searching. With this data, you can find the ideal article structure along with all the related keywords users are searching with.
The easiest way to figure out user search intent is by Googling your target keyword and looking deeply into the SERPs.
So, analyzing search intent will enable you to pick the right angle, and the right angle will enable you to outrank the competition. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to not miss or ignore this step.
Brainstorm your target topic, questions, and themes
Once you’re done identifying your goals and understanding your audience, the next critical step is identifying a topic you would like to write on.
Also, including questions and related themes to your main topic can enable the article to rank higher in the SERPs.
It can be a case study, a sales letter, a blog post, or even a research paper; remember to conceptualize your topic first.
You can even dig deeper using Quora and Reddit to find your target topics, questions, or themes.
ALPS Content Brief tool can also be an excellent tool to discover content ideas that will give you an in-depth understanding of what people are asking about your topic. Similarly, Quora and Reddit can generate several topic ideas relevant to your niche.
Analyze current search results
Today, search engines constantly look for the most relevant answers to every search query put up by a user.
If you can do a better job than the ones currently ranking on the SERPs, there is a high likelihood for you to outrank those articles and gain more traffic.
As the search engines have already ranked several websites, the results can give you a great idea of what people are looking for.
That can save you a lot of time when creating an outline.
Ask yourself the following questions while checking on the results:
- What format did they use?
- What information do they include?
- What’s missing, you could include?
- What are the resources they link to or include?
- What are the additional resources that need to be added?
- What are the questions the article leaves unanswered?”
One best practice that can positively work for you is to look at the related searches and “People Also Ask” sections in the SERPs.
That indicates you’re getting a glance at what your target audience wants to know about the topic.
These can help you create great subheadings for the keyword you’re writing about.
That said, only looking at the search results isn’t enough. Don’t just restrict yourself to researching only on the SERPs, you can also include listening to webinars and podcasts, reading online blogs, and interacting with industry experts.
Create keyword-rich headers
Look at the high-ranking posts for your target keyword and list all the subheads they include.
It is recommended to write the headers of the post first.
Then you can add bulleted information under each subhead to outline what that particular section will include.
This is particularly critical if you are not writing the post yourself.
Think about the structure and the flow of information. You would want to determine the order in which your readers will most want to consume it.
Though we write to rank, it is still critical to consider the audience you would want to read your content piece.
With your headers ready in your content outline, you can implement your on-page SEO techniques by evaluating your competitors. Also, your writers can bring uniqueness and authority into the outline.
Figure out the visuals
Finally, organize all your visual elements. You can plan where you can include rich media like images and videos to enrich your written content.
Crafting a solid SEO content outline saves hours of random research and makes your writing process easier by presenting you with a structure to follow.
It’s simpler to start writing your post from a solid content outline than a blank page.
Following these 7 easy steps above can help make effective content outlines.
However, you must have all the details ready to get started. Even if you’re an excellent writer, your post won’t rank high enough without a good keyword plan presented in a clear content briefing.
This way, you can ensure that your final draft is always clear, to the point, and comprehensive.
ALPS Content Brief tool helps you create content outlines in minutes (instead of hours).
Create better quality SEO content faster!
Signup for a free demo here!