What It Is & How to Create It

What Is SEO Content?

SEO content is website content (like blog posts, product pages, and images) that’s optimized to appear prominently in search engines like Google. So it can generate high-quality, unpaid traffic.

In other words, it’s online content that’s:

  • Centered around topics target audiences search for
  • Created with search engine ranking factors in mind

For example, pet furniture company Hepper creates SEO-driven content like this:

And that page gained Google rankings for associated keywords like this:

This page ranks highly in organic search results for the keyword "great dane border collie mix"

SEO content helped Hepper grow organic traffic by roughly 600 times over two years. And increase product sales revenue by 2,964%.

Your company could do something similar.

How to Create SEO Content

Learn how to create SEO content step by step: 

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is the process of finding what people search for in search engines.

It allows you to identify SEO content ideas that are:

  • Relevant to your brand 
  • Popular among searchers
  • Feasible to rank highly for

And that means the resulting content is able to generate valuable traffic.

To get started, enter a topic relevant to your brand into Semrush’s Topic Research tool.

Then, choose your target country and click “Get content ideas.”

search for "dog breed" with Topic Research tool

The tool will collect content ideas related to your topic.

Click “Show more” on any idea to see:

  • Subtopic Volume: The average number of monthly searches for the subtopic keyword. The higher the number, the higher your SEO content’s potential reach.
  • Difficulty: A measure of ranking difficulty expressed as a percentage. The higher the score, the harder it’ll be to earn a prominent ranking that gets lots of clicks.
  • Topic Efficiency: A measure of subtopic volume relative to difficulty. The higher the rating, the better the ranking opportunity.
  • Headlines: The titles of the most linked-to pages on this topic. You can click the arrow icon to visit each page and see what the content is like.
  • Questions: The most-searched questions related to the topic. Answering frequently asked questions can be a good way to attract and engage target audiences.
  • Related searches: Related searches that appear on Google’s search results page. These might spark other SEO content ideas.
Topic card titled "Top 200 Dog Breed" opened to show headlines, questions, and related searches

Here’s a quick intro to some other keyword research methods: 

  • Search a keyword database. Use the Keyword Magic Tool to search our database of over 25 billion keywords. You can filter for question keywords, low-difficulty keywords, etc.
  • Check for keyword gaps. Use the Keyword Gap tool to identify instances when competitors rank higher than you. Or appear for keywords that you don’t.

Once you’ve found a keyword you’re interested in, analyze the search engine results page (SERP). We’ll explain how in the next section.

2. Analyze the SERP

Analyze the SERP for your chosen keyword to see what type of content performs well.

That way, you can:

  • Get a better understanding of search intent (what the user wants to achieve)
  • Confirm whether the keyword opportunity aligns with your goals
  • Review competitors’ content and get inspiration for your own SEO content

To analyze a SERP, don’t just enter your keyword into Google. Your search results are personalized, so they may not reflect what your target audience sees.

Instead, enter your target keyword and location into Keyword Overview.

search for "how to cut dog nails" in Keyword Overview tool

Then, scroll down to the “SERP Analysis” section. 

You’ll see:

  • URLs that appear on Google’s first page—which you can visit by clicking the icons alongside them
  • Any SERP features (non-standard search results) that show—which you can see for yourself by clicking the “View SERP” link
View SERP link and visit URL button highlighted

Use this information to determine what users want to find. Which is what Google wants to rank.

For example, the “how to cut dog nails” SERP indicates that users want:

  • Information on how to safely trim their dog’s nails at home
  • Advice from an expert (e.g., American Kennel Club) or fellow dog owners (e.g., on Reddit)
  • Instructions via video or text and images

If creating this content makes sense for your brand, proceed to the next step.

If not, find a keyword that’s a better match.

3. Create Quality Content

Google wants to rank quality content that offers substantial and unique value to users.

So, you need to decide how to satisfy search intent. And do it better than your competitors.

There are many ways to give your SEO content an edge:

  • Conduct original research, so you have unique insights to share
  • Provide additional resources, such as images, videos, or templates
  • Share personal opinions, stories, and ideas that aren’t available elsewhere
  • Present information in a more effective and user-friendly way
  • Cover the topic more comprehensively

Quality content also demonstrates Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). 

Particularly when it comes to Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics that can affect users’ well-being.

E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google judges pages based on the credibility of the page, author, and website. Y-M-Y-L stands for your money or your life. It refers to pages that could potentially impact a person's future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.

For example, let’s look at the American Kennel Club’s guide to cutting dog nails. Which attracts 12.9K organic visits per month in the U.S., according to Semrush’s Organic Research tool.

Traffic data for the AKC's guide

The page includes reliable information from qualified vets.

And provides it in written, image, and video formats. To cater to users’ various needs and preferences.

Video content, step-by-step tutorial with images, and doctor-backed text highlighted

The guide also covers relevant subtopics, such as how to grind a dog’s nails.

And presents information in a user-friendly way.

section of AKC's article has list of things to keep in mind when grinding your dog's nails as well as a comparison of tools

4. Use Keywords Strategically

Using keywords in your content helps Google understand that your content is relevant to those queries. So, it’s a must when you’re creating content for SEO.

But you must tread carefully. Because Google penalizes sites that engage in keyword spam—i.e., use keywords in a way that’s unnatural and unhelpful to users.

Below, we’ll explain how to use keywords to optimize written content, images, and videos.

Written Content

When you’re writing content for SEO, it’s best practice to include your primary keyword in these locations:

  • Title tag: The page title that can appear in the SERP
  • Meta description: The page summary that can appear in the SERP
  • H1 tag: The main heading that appears on the page
  • URL slug: The unique part of the webpage address
  • The first paragraph of body content (and throughout the written content, where natural)

And include secondary keywords (other search terms people use to find content like yours). They tend to work well within paragraphs and subheadings.

For example, the American Kennel Club uses keywords like “how to trim your dog’s nails,” “dog nail trimming,” etc.

keywords highlighted in AKC's SEO content

You can get help optimizing your content with Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant.

Start a new document and fill out the details in the “Set a new goal” section. Then, click “Get recommendations.”

SEO Writing Assistant tool start

The tool will analyze top-ranking competitors to provide a variety of recommendations.

Start writing your text with these recommendations in mind.

SEO section opened to show target keywords and where to start writing your text

As you write, the tool will highlight any issues. And score your SEO text on four criteria:

  1. Readability
  2. SEO
  3. Originality
  4. Tone of voice
text entered into SEO Writing Assistant and the article's score is 8.3/10

If you need help improving your score, use the AI-powered Smart Writer tools.

Sentence is highlighted to show the tone of voice is a bit too formal. Smart Writer options are also highlighted.

Image Content

To optimize an image for SEO, first give it a descriptive file name.

Then, write descriptive alt text when you upload the image to your site. (This is the image description used for accessibility and SEO purposes.)

You may also be able to write a descriptive title and description. Like so:

Image with options to enter an image title, caption, alt text, and more.

You can then add the image to your webpages as desired.

Video Content

To optimize a video for SEO, it’s generally best to upload the video to YouTube (because Google owns the platform). And incorporate your target keyword into the title and description.

Like this:

Video SEO content shows keywords in the title and description

You can then embed your optimized videos into your webpages.

This can make it easier for users to find them. And for Google to understand their purpose.

5. Apply Schema Markup

Schema markup (or structured data) is code that helps Google identify different aspects of your SEO website content.

It can improve Google’s understanding of your content. And make you eligible for rich results (search results with extra, attention-grabbing features).

For example, the schema behind Inspired Taste’s carrot cake recipe looks like this:

Schema markup for a recipe is drawn out in the page's code

And the recipe appears on some SERPs like this:

Search result for "carrot cake recipe" shows an image, star rating, number of reviews, time to complete, and more as seen in the image above.

You may be able to find a website plugin that makes it easy to implement schema markup.

Otherwise, check out the advice in Google’s help guide. Or seek help from a web developer.

Start Creating SEO Content

Semrush has all the tools you need to find SEO content ideas—and bring them to life effectively.

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