Here is my guide to creating high-quality SEO content, which will bring traffic, conversions and revenue to your site or blog.
First of all, content is probably the most important part of any SEO strategy. OK, maybe, it is a “tie” with backlinks.
Second, great content has an incredible ROI and is worth every cent and minute invested in the long run.
Third, evergreen SEO content is the key to generating revenue online. For, example if your post goes viral on Facebook – it will bring traffic only for a few days and then disappear forever (it is hard to run business with unpredictable traffic). On the other hand, your top ranking Google content may bring traffic even if it is a few years old.
This is a screenshot from one of my projects, where we crossed 100K+ organic sessions per month by focusing on high-quality content. In fact, on this project, there was ongoing low-quality blogging for two years. Which, as you can see, didn’t work at all.
What is a successful SEO content?
In SEO world it is a content, which brings traffic, as a result of ranking high in Google for specific keywords or keyword phrases.
Therefore, you should adjust your content to specific SEO practices and tactics, to improve its possibility to rank higher.
One secret for successful SEO content
Google has become super advanced and competitive these days. Especially, in main, profitable niches, especially in English. The one secret is that you need to focus on creating incredible quality content. Five hundred word posts, spun many times, which worked in 2005 and doesn’t work anymore…
You can achieve quality in content in many ways:
- original, high quality, engaging copy
- long form (at least 1800 words)
- visuals (infographics, images, graphs, etc)
- rich content (embed images, videos, maps, quizzes, podcasts, etc)
- embed videos.
In general, in SEO today is all about incredible quality – backlinks, content, on-page SEO, internal links, anchors and so on. The moment Google notices some spam element on your site – it is immediately a low-quality sign. Your site won’t disappear from a Search engine, but it will rank lower and never grow.
How to choose a content niche?
I tried to launch multiple niche sites and blogs. Some of them worked, others – failed. What was the reason?
It is a combination of two things.
First one is a good niche and second – if you love your content and you are good at it.
You need to find a perfect delta – between a profitable niche and love to the content you will need to create.
In one case I created content, which I LOVE, in others – I thought, it would be easy to push some low-quality content and it failed. It is especially true if you have limited resources/budget and want to bootstrap your blog.
How to choose blog topics?
After you selected a certain niche, you will need to create landing pages, blog posts. How to choose topics?
1. Keywords research
This should be the most important topics source if you are planning to scale SEO of your blog.
You can start with entering your seed keyword in Google Keyword Planner. Also, I really like analyzing keywords from your competitors – this works like a charm for SEO content.
2. Reddit, Twitter, Quora
On all these networks there can be great and fresh topic ideas, which weren’t covered anywhere else.
Join relevant subreddits, follow Twitter influencers in your niche, follow question threads on Quora – you can get a lot of insight.
3. Look at most shared content
With the help of some tools, e.g. Buzzsumo or Ahrefs, you can easily identify most shared content in every niche.
Also, you can analyze the content of your competitors – which articles get many Facebook shares or Retweets?
By the way, I really, really like competitors research for SEO. Check out my guide.
4. Content personas
It is also important to think not only “keywords and shares”, but “who is the target persona”?
Try to answer, who are you writing this content for?
It is mandatory for every business to identify main personas, for my blog these could be:
- Sam – SEO specialist,
- Ben – blogger,
- Marissa – mommy-blogger, etc.
First, you will be able to much better organize your content, second – you can uncover many additional topics and keywords. E.g. Marissa (mommy blogger) may be interested not only in SEO, but also “how to grow business with kids”, “how to run a blog while working”, etc.
Now, it is the most important part – creating content itself.
There isn’t any simple trick – how to produce content, which will rank on the first page of Google.
In short, your content should give the best answer to the search query. And that can be incredibly complicated to figure out. Sometimes it is a long form, sometimes 100 words are enough, sometimes it is just text, in other cases, you need visual content and so on.
Content strategy varies for different topics and niches. Do your research. Figure out best-ranking articles in your area and create something more awesome.
Focus on creating a comprehensive content, which gives a full answer to a search query.
The best content in Google eyes doesn’t require going to another site for the additional answer.
If your blog can provide that – it will rank higher and higher.
Two important metrics in Google Analytics you should always look at are:
- session time
- bounce rate.
If your site provides high session time and low bounce rate (users close page, without interaction) – are top quality signals for Google.
Instead of creating many blogs e.g. “Top 5 tips for creating SEO content” – write one, ultimate guide.
Long-form content, in general, tends to rank better. Try to reach at least 2000 words.
Which writing style works for SEO?
As usual, there isn’t any secret trick. You should, first of all, focus on creating content, which amazes your readers.
But, let’s look at the first Google positions. In many cases, it is Wikipedia.
Google likes detailed, facts and number based, Wiki-like content, with many authoritative sources.
In my experience, “professional” content, with more official style, a lot of numbers, statistics and facts – attracts much more organic traffic, than just “water”.
Also, it works much better, than “blog content”. For example, “Ultimate SEO content guide” with numbers and facts will attract much more Google traffic, than “5 best tips for SEO content”, with some vague advice.
Include links to your sources, especially those with high authority.
Grammar is an important ranking factor as well. Grammarly works well for me.
Create viral blog titles/headlines
Of course, there are certain blog titles, which will generate a higher CTR (click-through rate) and shares on social. Therefore you will get more clicks and rank higher (and vice versa).
Here is a massive overview from Buzzsumo, which analyzed 100 million headlines.
There are some cool headline tools, which will help you to create better headlines. I like headline analyzer from Co-Schedule.
This tool analyzes power and emotion keywords, which are in your headline.
Optimize content for the user
Before jumping into SEO optimization, it is super important to make your content easy to read and enjoyable for your users.
Here are some tips:
- Write short sentences – people prefer them to long ones.
- Include big margins between sentences, especially in the first part of your blog.
- Rich content – add more visuals, infographics, maps, embed videos, podcasts and so on. Users and Google bots love rich, engaging content.
- Use lots of headings to break up your content into portions. It is especially important for long-form articles. Include a table of contents.
All these tips will improve your session time and lower bounce rate – top Google ranking signals.
If you are using WordPress, I would highly recommend the Yoast plugin. There are two sections – SEO and Readability. Aim for green at SEO and at least orange at Readability.
Here is how it looks like (for Readability).
If you don’t use WordPress, you can still use Yoast Real-time content analysis tool for free!
In short, on-page optimization should help Google to understand your main focus keywords.
First, you need to identify your main keywords or keyword groups. And then optimize your page for them.
Here is a famous “chocolate donuts” on-page SEO guide.
It should be a basis for your on-page optimization.
In short, you should include your focus keyword into:
- first paragraph
- bold text
- alt image tags
- keep keyword density in the copy
- use in anchors from other pages, linking to the target page
- URL, etc.
It can be a lot of tedious, manual work. That’s why I really recommend using Yoast SEO plugin or Yoast real-time content tool.
With Yoast, you can add one or many focus keywords and adjust your content to them. Here is what you can do in a free version.
- Outbound links;
- Internal links;
- Keyphrase in the introduction;
- Keyphrase length;
- Keyphrase density;
- Previously used keyphrase;
- Keyphrase in subheading;
- Image alt attributes;
- Text length;
- Keyphrase in the title;
- Keyphrase in the slug, etc.
Rich, visual content
Google LOVES rich content, not just text.
Visual content can be similar to Youtube videos. You just keep watching it. Without a lot of effort, while increasing session time and lowering bounce rate.
- embed videos
- embed podcasts, etc.
To start with, find a VA on Fiverr or Upwork. There some cheap gigs, which can deliver a high-quality infographic for $5-15. This investment is well worth it for your top blogs.
How often should you write?
How often should you publish your blogs? Obviously, it depends on resources.
But, let me rephrase: how often should you publish incredible quality content? Because this is what matters for Google.
Take a look at most successful publishers, which attract millions of monthly organic visitors. They publish many blogs per day. Therefore, in an ideal world (with a big team and budget), you should do the same.
With a smaller budget and team – you can aim for one blog per day. For example, Neil Patel tries to follow this suit.
But, if you are a lonely blogger, trying to bootstrap your blog – two high-quality blogs per week (or eight-ten per month) could be enough. Or even two-four amazing quality blogs per month.
A bit more about quality. I run a little experiment in Ahrefs. There are sites, which publish a lot of mediocre quality content and others create THREE MINDBLOWING BLOGS per month. In Ahrefs, the later site ranks for much more organic keywords (like thousands more), than mediocre quality. Clearly, this is what Google wants.
Also, it is much easier to maintain and update 20-40 blogs, than 1000. Reminder, in SEO world it is much better to update your old blogs on the same URLs, add more content and reamplify, than creating a fresh new blog on a similar topic.
Main ways to scale content
There are multiple ways to scale the production of your content, with low budget. Especially, if you have a low budget.
1. Write it by yourself
The most obvious way to produce high-quality content – is writing original, detailed content by yourself. In my experience, it works well if you are an expert in your field: e.g. you can write a blog about your experience with PHP refactoring by yourself if you are a senior PHP developer. Also, writing a blog by yourself is easy, when you describe your experience: e.g. travel to Italy, review of Blue Yeti Mic, some personal motivation blog and so on.
But, I would always recommend to check out other similar blogs (from top search results in Google) and take best from them. Especially, if you are not an expert in the field. Of course, you need to mention sources and paraphrase copy or use quotations.
Pros of writing original content by yourself:
great way to produce a high-quality, engaging copy.
Cons with writing content by yourself:
hard to scale;
you can burn out.
2. Paraphrase existing content
If you are not an expert, it can be a good idea to paraphrase the best-performing articles on Google. In fact, it works like a charm.
Because from top articles in Google, you can get an idea, what “Google wants”, which content structure, writing style and design are most relevant for a certain search query.
3. Outsource content
Of course, you can order content. Keep in mind, that good quality content, which has at least some chances to rank will be expensive. Starting from $50-$100 per 1000 words. If you go with $5 for 1500 words Fiverr gigs – it may never rank and can actually damage your SEO.
What works for me? In fact, sometimes I use cheap content from Fiverr or Upwork, but I always go through it, replace big chunks and QA.
4. “Black Hat Content”
There are a lot of people, who just steal content. First, of course, it is plagiarism, and you can get into trouble, second, it won’t work for SEO – plagiarised articles won’t rank.
Also, some people try to spin content – by using tools like Spinrewriter – you enter the original article and get 100 copies with synonym words. It also doesn’t work with Google – as the quality is super low.
Amplification and outreach
Finally, you hit that “Publish” button…
For a lot of bloggers, the job is done. But, for others (and me) – it is only the beginning.
In my view, if you adjust famous 80/20 rule to SEO, it should sound like: “Spend 20% of your time on creating content and 80% on amplifying it”.
In short, at first promote your blog on social media:
- Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube;
- Social media groups;
- Outreach to influencers;
- Niche SoME (Tumblr, Mix.com, etc)
- Answer questions (Quora, Yahoo answers)
- Participate in Reddit discussions.
Second, focus on link building.
- Ask for link exchanges and cross-promotions
- Send emails asking for a blog mentions
- Submit guest posts
- PR campaign
- Submit site to directories, listings, yellow pages, etc.
- Do competitors link research, etc.
Again, I describe 40+ link building techniques in my guide here.
A lot of bloggers are sceptical to link building, “it is spammy”, “can hurt your site”, “don’t waste your time”, etc.
Also, link building doesn’t bring tangible results in the short term (it will bring massive traffic in the long term though).
But, again, without an active link building your SEO content either won’t rank or will massively underperform and never reach its full potential.
You should always learn some lessons from every blog you published. Get a habit to play with data.
Google Analytics, Search Console, Ahrefs, Semrush and other SEO tools – should be your best friends.
First, you should rank track your blog.
I do that with Ahrefs just by adding target focus keywords and monitoring if they are growing.
You can also track keywords in different locations. Here how it looks like in SEO outreach.
Also, track your traffic and its sources in Google Analytics.
Also, take a look at the Search Console (impressions, clicks, CTR).
Content is one of the most important ranking factors for Google;
Only mindblowing quality (not high quality) works these days in SEO;
Organize your content around keywords;
Always combine content with link building and amplification;
It may take months for your SEO to kick in.