content team in meeting creating a content calendar on a whiteboard

Whether you are an SEO novice or an SEO expert, you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King,” and for good reason. Developing fresh, new content regularly is a vital part of any SEO strategy. This is because fresh content drives new users to your website using up-to-date information which boosts your website authority, in turn, ranking you higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). 

Figuring out what to write about and organizing it into a schedule that benefits your SEO efforts is the most important foundation to an effective content marketing strategy, however, it is often an overlooked process. If you’re searching for the most effective way to create an SEO content calendar that will ensure your content marketing success, continue reading below.

Step 1: Perform Extensive Keyword Research 

Every marketing strategy first needs a solid foundation, and content marketing is no exception to that rule. Keyword research is a critical first step when creating a content calendar because it provides you with the foundation you need to create user-driven content. Performing extensive keyword research helps you with understanding what users are searching for in order to create content that is relevant to your audience. 

Without performing keyword research, it can be difficult to know where to begin. And, blindly writing topics without performing keyword research can put you in a situation where you have content but it’s not content people are interested in or it’s not discoverable content because you aren’t using the right keyword phrases. 

Keyword Research Considerations 

When performing keyword research, there are several things to consider: 

  • Keyword Relevance: When you are conducting keyword research, it’s important to analyze how relevant the keyword is to your audience. You want to choose keywords that are specific to your topic and not so vague that you are drawing users to your site that won’t get the answers they are looking for from your website.  
  • Keyword difficulty: Think about keyword difficulty in terms of competition. You don’t want to choose keywords that are too difficult to rank for unless you are a very well known company. You want to make sure to choose keywords that are achievable and realistic. As your website builds trust, authority, and visibility, you can then begin to target more difficult keywords. 
  • Keyword intent: Make sure your keywords match your user’s intent. Try to choose keywords that align with users at any point in the marketing funnel. 
  • Keyword volume: Although it can be tempting to choose keywords with 100,000 monthly searches, this isn’t typically the best strategy. Think about it in terms of quality over quantity. A long-tailed, lower search volume keyword drives a more targeted audience to your website that has a higher chance to convert. In short, having 20 qualified leads is better than having thousands of random website visitors. 

Learn more about keyword research here. 

Step 2: Determine User Intent

Once you’ve performed keyword research, the next step is to determine user intent. With so many different topics to write about, it’s vital that you cover a wide range of subjects. Be purposeful and discover your niche while also considering the sales funnel. 

Create Blog Categories 

Once you’ve organized your user intent, you can then create blog categories to help funnel users and make your content easily discoverable. For example, if you are a beauty products website, you may have blog categories like the following: 

  • Product Reviews
  • Skin Care 
  • Make-Up 
  • Hair 
  • Nails
  • Tips & Tutorials 

Develop User-Driven Topics

Once you’ve created your categories and defined your user intent, you can then take your keywords and research knowledge to create blog topics that drive high-converting users to your website. 

Step 3: Analyze Competitor Content

Another very important and often overlooked step is analyzing competitor content. Everyone’s goal is to land that number one spot on Google, however, that is very difficult to do without knowing the content you are competing against. You don’t want to copy your competitor’s content, but you do want to be aware of their content so that you can create content that is more effective and will put you in a spot where you are outranking your competitors. 

However, this can be a very time-consuming process. But, our Content Insights Tool makes it easy for you! Plug your content into our tool and it will automatically show you relevant, competitor content so that you can easily figure out how to create content that competes effectively! 

Below, you will see an example of how our content insights tool pulls in competitor data for the topic, “Keyword Research Best Practices.” 

content insights tool competitor screenshot

As you can see from the image above, there is an extensive list of relevant content along with an SEO grade, readability level, and word count level. You can also click on each of the competitor topics and it will take you directly to the content for comparison. 

Step 4: Create an Editorial Calendar Template 

The next step is to create an Editorial Calendar Template. How you create your template is up to you, however, you want to make sure it outlines items such as the topic, when the topic should be completed, who the topic should be completed by, corresponding keywords, and links to the content brief or instructions. 

Step 5: Plan Content Schedule Based on both Evergreen Content and Seasonal Content

Once you have created your editorial calendar, you can then organize your topics into a schedule that considers both Evergreen and Seasonal Content. 

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content put simply, is content that is always relevant. The content will never (or rarely) be outdated and can continue to drive traffic to your website for years. For example, if you are a pet supplies website, Evergreen Content for you might be something like “What Every New Pet Owner Needs to Know Before Taking Home a Puppy.” This is very informative content that is unlikely to change. 

Seasonal Content

Seasonal content is content that is relevant to the current time. For example, If you are a running shoe store, seasonal content for you might be something like “Top Half Marathons in 2020.” In 2021, this content will no longer be relevant. 

RankScience’s Content Insights Tool 

Need help creating your content calendar? Try out our Content Insights Tool for free and discover how our platform can help you analyze you and your competitors’ content to create an effective content calendar that drives users to your website and boosts your SEO efforts.

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