Every website on the internet is producing content for one common reason – driving more organic traffic to their site.
But, 50% of marketers believe their content strategy has a marginal success rate.
Do you know why?
Because they do not have a search-driven content strategy in place. Or maybe they are implementing an old plan that needs an update.
In simple words, they are expecting their content to rank without optimizing it for search engines.
If you are also struggling with your organic search performance, it’s time you rework your content strategy for the smart search engines.
Don’t worry if it’s news to you. Here’s how to create one for your website in this post.
How To Create A Search-Driven Content Strategy?
You can easily create a search-driven content strategy by following these steps:
1. Chalk Out A Set Of Keywords
Keywords help ensure that you are targeting and reaching the right audience.
While you might be ranking for some already, it is best to prepare a list of keywords you want to rank for.
Where do we begin?
Find out your competitors’ top ranking keywords. Since you share the same niche and audience, these will be the most profitable keywords for you.
If you can’t find many keywords or don’t want to take that route,
you can simply pick your most valuable keywords to get started.
Next, follow these steps:
- Get suggestions using a the free keyword research tool from RankWatch, Keyword Planner from Google, or other.
- Filter them based on search volume and difficulty.
- Add them to your target set.
Here’s an example to show you how it works:
Suppose you have a skincare brand with the following top-ranking keywords:
- natural skin products
- natural skin care products
- best skin care products
- best natural skin care products
- best natural skin products
By entering the first keyword in the tool, you get over 500 keywords suggestions. Along with that, their respective search volumes, CPC, and difficulty.
From here, you can select the keywords you want to optimize for and add them to your target set.
Next, repeat the same process for the other top-ranking keywords.
Once done, you’ll have a good number of keywords to build your search-driven content strategy on.
Generally, SEO experts suggest targeting high search volume and low competition keywords. The reason – they are easy to rank.
But, you can have your priorities and make a choice based on your business needs.
That leads us to the next point.
2. Classify Them Based On Search Intent
Search intent or user intent defines the aim of an online search.
It helps you learn what users are looking for while performing a specific search.
Are they looking for:
- An answer to a question?
- A website to visit?
- A product to buy?
- A solution to a problem?
You can easily make out the search intent by looking at the search query or the keyword.
If the user types ‘what is the price of iphone X‘ or ‘iphone X price‘ in the search box, the intent is to buy.
The content targeting these keywords must offer detailed information about iPhone X and an option to purchase it.
If you write an informative post using these keywords, there’s a very rare chance for it to rank in the SERPs.
Now, there are 4 main types of search intent:
- Informational: To get data or information.
Examples: Who is Bill Gates?, Tesla, Cricket score, Tomato soup recipe, how to tie shoelaces, etc.
- Navigational: To visit a specific website.
Examples: Facebook login, Elon Musk Twitter handle, guide to Local SEO rankwatch, Pinterest, etc.
- Transactional: To make a purchase.
Examples: Samsung washing machine, buy women’s t shirt, zomato coupon, earphones low price, etc.
- Commercial Investigation: To compare and review options.
Examples: best shoes for kids, ahrefs vs semrush, top restaurant in New York, oneplus 6T review, etc.
Take one keyword at a time from your target keyword set, identify their search intent, and classify them into these 4 types.
It will help you create a more tailored and search-oriented content strategy. Plus, make it easy to select the content format.
3. Select The Right Content Formats
Content performance is directly proportional to user goals. And user goals hint towards the content format that would work best.
Depending upon the intent of the target keyword, you can decide how your content would appear.
- Users want to know: List posts, How-to guides, Videos
- Users want to get an answer: Featured snippets
- Users want to buy: Product demos, Product reviews
No matter how lengthy and useful your content is, it’s less likely to rank if it is not in the right content format.
Why? Because users have become habitual to these content formats, and Google knows about it.
For example, Google always displays video tutorials and list posts for a how-to query on the top of SERPs.
Let’s search for how to iron a shirt and look at the results.
It displays a featured video on the top that aligns with the user’s goal of learning how to iron a shirt.
So, you must invest time in researching the right content format before you get into writing.
How do we do that?
Just enter your target keyword in Google’s search box. Analyze the top search results and note down their formats.
Let’s work it out for the keyword: best pet dog toys.
- The first result is a list post with 10 entities.
- The second result is again a list post with 16 entities.
- The third one is a category page from Amazon.
- Fourth to seventh results are again list posts.
- Eighth is a category page from Flipkart.
- Number nine and ten again happen to be list posts.
8 out of 10 search results are list posts, which means it is the right content format if you wish to target the keyword in the search box.
Similarly, you can pick one keyword at a time from your target set and find out the right content format for each.
With that, you’ll be ready to make the most out of your search-driven content strategy.
Now, it’s time to start writing content.
4. Use Related Cocepts/Terms In Your Content
There’s an ongoing debate on Google using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) in the SEO community. And as we know from Google’s own statements:
There's no such thing as LSI keywords — anyone who's telling you otherwise is mistaken, sorry.— 🧀 John 🧀 (@JohnMu) July 30, 2019
But, it’s foolish to ignore that the search giant is getting smarter day by day.
That said, Google can identify indicators in your content and determine the main idea.
For example, if you are talking about houses it seems natural that terms like building, architecture, walls, doors, windows, etc. would appear on the page.
Here’s another example to help you understand them better:
They help Google understand the main topic of your content and rank your content for appropriate search queries.
So, it’s no longer about stuffing target keywords in your content.
You need to use semantically related keywords in your content to make it more search-friendly.
If you have expert knowledge about a topic, you will be using indicators in your content naturally.
But, if you are working on a new topic, you need to list your relevant concepts and use them in your content.
You can find potentially related words, phrases, and terms in the following ways:
1. Take Help From Autocomplete Results:
You can get a lot of hints about related terms from autocomplete results.
For example, we see ‘beaches in florida with clear water’, ‘beaches in florida without red tide’, and ‘beaches in florida that allow dogs’ as autocomplete results for ‘beaches in florida’.
In this case, related terms/entities will be names of beaches like Panama City Beach, Key West, Manasota, Englewood Beach, etc.
2. Look at Related Searches
Get more clues to figure out related terms using the related searches at the end of search results.
Here, ‘unique beaches in florida’ refer to Vilano Beach, Lover’s Key State Park, Longboat Key, etc., offering an exceptional natural experience.
3. Use A Tool
The internet has a lot of LSI generators (sorry, had to use the term there). Using them, you can get clues for related terms and identify the ones you wish to use.
When your link is ready, it’s time to finish your content piece.
- Use your target keyword and related terms/concepts throughout the content.
- Stick to the most popular content format you found in the SERPs, or a blend.
- Ensure your content matches the search intent of the target keyword.
In this way, you can create tons of content that attract search traffic and help you grow your site.
Did I miss anything in this post? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
About The Author
This post was written by Sahil Kakkar, CEO of RankWatch. Sahil is a researcher and a passionate hacker who loves technology to the core, Be it SEO or PHP anything related to Social, he can spend endless nights researching and implementing.