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How to create SEO content that Google loves

SEO content

SEO is crucial to getting your website ranking in the search engines, and a considerable part of this is creating high-quality SEO content that helps your pages rank. But what on earth is SEO content?

In a nutshell:

SEO content is writing that help pages rank. The traditional approach is to create content around keywords and aim for a keyword density based on importance. However, this basic approach is long dead. The best-performing pages nail keyword structure and search intent – the main goal a user has when using a search engine. This is the art of crafting SEO content that Google loves. And it works a charm.

As a content writing agency we have significant experience crafting SEO content from scratch. We provide more colour below.

Article takeaways:

  • SEO content for articles and blog posts starts with topic ideas. Topics are broader and allow for comprehensive, in-depth content compared to keywords, which are narrower and restrict content scope and quality if put first.
  • Keyword research comes second for articles using tools like Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool – and first for product and transactional pages. Identify primary and secondary keywords that directly relate to your topic and have decent monthly search volume and low difficulty.
  • Google wants to satisfy search intent – you can match your content with the best format by looking at Google’s search results pages. Are the pages there informational, navigational, commercial or transactional? Are they articles? Product listings? What does the top ranking content look like?
  • Once you have a topic and know your keywords and search intent, you can create your SEO content. Steps include creating the page title, meta, headings, body, images, internal links, formatting the article with bolds and italics, and integrating structured data markup if your theme doesn’t automate it.
  • And most importantly of all – know when to pivot and change tack. Even the most optimised content can’t compete with authoritative domains on some highly competitive topics. Rather than fruitlessly attempting to outrank sites with immense domain authority and hundreds of powerful backlinks, shift your efforts to longer tail variations of the keyword with lower competition.

What is SEO Content?

SEO content is writing that improves your web page’s performance in search engines like Google and Bing.

Your goal is to make it easy for search engines like Google to crawl, index, and understand your content so it ranks for relevant searches. 

SEO content includes:

  • Blog posts.
  • Images (the SEO part comes from describing the images correctly using alt text).
  • Landing pages.
  • Product descriptions.
  • FAQ pages.
  • Videos (the SEO part comes from the video title).
  • Plus any other content on your site that you want to rank.

Why SEO Content Matters

High-quality, optimised content helps search engines understand your site and determine if you have authority on your target topics.

Basically, SEO content signals to Google:

  • What your website is about.
  • The expertise and value you provide.
  • Which searches your content is relevant for.

Without SEO content, you will struggle to compete in search, and Google will struggle to crawl, index, and rank your pages. 

Plus, your content is often the first impression you make on potential customers discovering your brand through search. Practical, engaging content encourages users to explore your site, contact your business, and convert into customers.

In short: SEO content is necessary for ranking, traffic growth, brand awareness, and conversions.

What Google Wants

Google wants to see expertise and value that helps searchers.

Google wants to see content that demonstrates expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness and experience (E-E-A-T). So ensure your content is accurate, in-depth, well-researched and offers a unique perspective.

Don’t just summarise or regurgitate what’s already out there. Add your own insights based on hands-on knowledge and expertise. Write with a specific audience and goal in mind, not just to chase search traffic.

Avoid overly optimising for keywords or trying to game the system. Google is smart enough to see through that nowadays. Instead, optimise your content for users first. Make it compelling, useful and engaging.

In short, create fantastic content that happens to rank, not content built only to rank. Build your authority and trust through expertise and experience. And remember, quality trumps quantity. A few excellent, in-depth posts will drive more value than churning out shallow content to appear “fresh”.

So focus on people, not algorithms. That’s the sustainable path to SEO success.

How to create SEO content with 4 pillars

There are four pillars to SEO content:

  1. Topics.
  2. Keywords.
  3. Search intent.
  4. Optimised copy.

Pillar #1: Topics

When writing articles and blog posts, begin your content development process by digging into your audience’s core interests and pain points rather than starting with target keywords.

Conduct thorough research to find themes and topic areas that provide value to your readers. Great places to uncover these reader-focused topics include industry forums, social media groups, influencer blogs, and any online communities where your target audience actively engages.

You can also gain direct insight into topics your audience cares about through surveys, interviews, and conversations with customers and prospects.

Some ways to come up with SEO content ideas include:

  • Quora: Check out popular questions related to your industry on Quora. Look for questions with multiple responses but no definitive answer. These make great content topics.
  • Google’s People Also Ask: Search for keywords related to your business in Google. Scroll down to the “People also ask” section for question ideas.
  • Online Forums: Spend time in online forums and communities where your target audience hangs out. Make note of common questions and discussions.
  • Surveys: Survey your email list or social media followers to get ideas straight from your audience. Ask them what content they want to see more of.
  • Influencers: See what topics industry influencers and thought leaders are discussing. Consider covering those topics from your unique perspective.
  • Site search: If your website has a search feature, dive into the queries people use to find your content.
  • Google Search Console: Review your Queries report to discover the searches people make to find your business in Google (check out our guide to finding content ideas with Search Console for more info).

Learn what types of information your users are hungry for and what problems they regularly face to create content that is genuinely useful.

Pillar #2: Keyword Research

Whether you want your articles or product pages to rank, you need to identify the keywords and phrases that people use to find you in Google.

Keyword research is an immense topic that we won’t dive too deeply into here, but Yoast and Backlinko have excellent guides to get started.

What we will do is share the keyword research tools we like to use:

These tools will give you a list of keyword ideas for your SEO content, but they can’t provide advice on what keywords will give you the best results.

Follow these steps to build a strong keyword strategy:

  • Define goals: Are you trying to drive traffic, generate leads, or increase sales? Clarify your business objectives before developing your keyword list.
  • Brainstorm relevant keywords: Make an extensive list of potential keywords. Include standard keyword terms as well as more specific long-tail keywords. 
  • Analyse intent: Determine whether each keyword has informational, commercial, or transactional intent. This gives insight into user motivations.
  • Prioritise keywords: Focus on keywords that align with your goals and have a high search volume.

By understanding exactly which terms and topics your audience is searching for, you can create content that taps into searcher intent and provides maximum value.

Pro Tip: Regularly update your keyword list and add more long-tail variations as your authority and rankings improve.

Pillar #3: Search Intent

Search intent refers to the motivation behind a user’s search query.

When someone searches on Google, they usually have a specific goal in mind and want to satisfy this goal quickly. Understanding this is crucial for creating content that ranks highly and satisfies users.

The first thing to wrap your head around is there are four main types of search intent: informational, navigational, commercial and transactional.

  • Informational queries indicate the user wants to research a topic, like ‘how to bake a cake’.
  • Navigational queries help users find a specific website or webpage, like ‘Facebook login’.
  • Commercial intent means the user wants to research or find a product or service to potentially buy.
  • Transactional queries indicate the user is ready to purchase right away, such as concert tickets.

Google’s main aim is to satisfy search intent. So pages matching the intent of a query are more likely to rank highly. Look at the current top results for a keyword to deduce the likely intent.

For example, ‘noise cancelling headphones’ results are mainly reviews and comparison articles – so create similar content, not just a product page.

To optimise for search intent:

  • Research intent before creating content. Look at the keyword, related questions and current results.
  • Match your page’s purpose to the intent. E.g. informational keywords need informative content, not product pages.
  • Make the content very user-focused. Use clear headings, images, videos etc to satisfy intent quickly.
  • Look at user signals – high bounce rates or lots of ‘pogo sticking’ between results indicates your content isn’t matching intent well.
  • For transactional or commercial keywords, ensure your page facilitates purchases efficiently with clear calls-to-action.
  • Consider re-optimising old content that should rank but doesn’t. Assess if it matches current search intent.

Don’t just look at broad intent categories. Analyse search results closely to deduce very specific user needs. ‘How to do a burpee’ results are mainly step-by-step guides, for example.

Use ‘People Also Ask’ boxes (or dive deeper with Also Asked and Ask The Public) for insight into questions searchers have around a topic. Answering these in your content can really help satisfy user needs.

Overall, keep search intent at the forefront when creating or updating SEO content. Matching user needs is now one of the most important ranking factors. If your page satisfies intent, rankings and traffic will follow.

Pillar #4: Optimised Copy

The fourth SEO content ingredient puts everything into practice – writing and optimising copy that both search engines and readers love. 

At the very least, your writing should have good grammar (use Grammarly), concise sentences, and minimal repetition. In other words, it should be competent. However, to rank on competitive search results pagse, you need a more nuanced structure:

Optimise Title Tag and Meta Description

These snippets visible on search results influence click-throughs. For the title tag, include your target keyword and compelling messaging in under 60 characters.

In the meta description, feature the keyword again and persuasive value propositions in under 160 characters. Use active voice and urgency.

Use Headers to Structure Content

Proper content structure is crucial for SEO and UX. Construct a logical heading hierarchy starting with the H1 featuring your primary keyword. Use H2s and H3s to break up sections. Highlight key points in bold. Answer questions under the proper headers to make content scannable.

Focus on Readability

Formatting your content for maximum readability also boosts SEO. Break up long paragraphs and sentences for easy scanning. Use bulleted lists for concise information delivery. Some articles benefits from a clickable table of contents to help users navigate.

Incorporate Visual Assets

Visuals like images, infographics, and video help simplify complex topics. Users enjoy them, and they make content more shareable and link-worthy.

Just make sure to optimise media files with alt text and file compression. Visuals also give you more real estate to rank content in image and video search.

Link Internally and Externally

How you structure and link content internally significantly impacts SEO.

A clear, logical site architecture boosts credibility with Google and makes it easier for Google Bots to crawl, index, and categorise your pages.

Follow these SEO best practices for content structure:

  • Use categories and tags to group related content.
  • Designate cornerstone content pages to highlight your best assets.
  • Implement internal links from supporting pages to cornerstone assets. 
  • Create dedicated landing pages optimised for important keywords.
  • Use strategic redirects when needed to avoid dead links.

Properly structuring and linking your content establishes page relevance and authority for search engines. Plus, a user-friendly architecture improves navigation and engagement.

Here are some tips for creating search-friendly content:

  • Focus on providing actionable value, not just targeting keywords.
  • Craft attention-grabbing headlines using keywords.
  • Use keywords naturally in the opening and throughout the copy.
  • Break content into scannable sections with subheads.  
  • Optimise page titles and meta descriptions for each page.
  • Include keyword-rich image file names and ALT text.
  • Highlight important keywords by using them in bold.
  • Create useful, engaging content at least 1,000 words long.
  • Use tools like Yoast to finesse copy in your WordPress backend for maximum SEO impact.

By blending keywords into high-quality copy in an organic way, you give search engines the relevancy signals they need to connect your content with user intent.

Pillar #5 – Know when to pivot

Sometimes, no matter how stellar your content, you simply cannot compete with authoritative sites that have already solidified their rankings for high-volume keywords.

Industry behemoths like Wikipedia, Mayo Clinic, and The Guardian are nearly impossible to outrank for popular queries related to their niche.

If you find yourself repeatedly trying and failing to rank against these dominant domains with millions of backlinks, it may be time to shift gears.

Rather than stubbornly pursuing oversaturated keywords with 99% difficulty scores, pivot to longer-tail variations you have a better shot at ranking for. Or explore related subtopics that are less competitive. Don’t waste endless resources fighting unwinnable battles. Know when to change course and target more attainable keywords that align with your capabilities.


Optimising your website content for search is crucial for improving SEO and driving results. Follow these four keys:

  • Conduct thorough keyword research to inform your content strategy.
  • Deep dive into search intent.
  • Structure your site effectively and link internal pages logically.
  • Craft compelling, keyword-rich copy that also appeals to readers.
  • Know when the game is rigged for competitive keywords. You can tell when search results are dominated by big players and you are a small fish. We recommend targeting low-hanging fruit and building up your authority.

When in doubt, focus on providing value through your content, and search visibility and traffic will follow. Of course, high-quality backlinks, a fast website, and unique, original writing also matter to rankings. SEO content is but one piece of the puzzle.

Jakk Ogden is the founder and CEO of Content Hero.

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