How to Balance SEO Strategy & Creative Content Writing

Person writing in a notebook
Christine Germeroth
Christine Germeroth

Search engine optimization has changed significantly in recent years. In the past, you could perform some basic keyword research and include as many keywords as you wanted, or you could repeat the same one multiple times in a single paragraph. The end result sounded like a malfunctioning robot and wasn’t user-friendly. 

Keyword stuffing example

Do you happen to know where I could find a company that provides software development and consulting services? 

Search engines have wised up to shady tactics like these. Keyword stuffing will only hurt your site now. The same goes for creating pages for every keyword variation or relying on link directories to earn backlinks to your site. There’s a laundry list of outdated strategies that you really should not use on your website. 

Even though SEO tactics have changed, there are still certain boxes you should make sure you’re checking when you publish content on your website. So how do you make sure your content is creative and appealing to readers, but still optimized for search engines? Focus on the overall user experience

Choose topics that your audience cares about

Content that is original, interesting, and relevant to your target personas will perform better in search engine results. The reasoning here is obvious; people are more likely to click on something that appeals to them, and search engines want the most helpful results to rank higher. 

Focus on fine-tuning your content topics based on what your audience wants to know. What are your users already asking and searching for? 

If you have Google Search Console set up on your website, check to see what queries current drive organic traffic. You should also look at the most popular content on your site and consider producing more in-depth content on those topics. 

If you regularly share content on your social media accounts, use engagement metrics to determine what your followers enjoy the most. You can also consider running a survey to ask current readers what types of content they want to see more of. 

If you consistently produce content that your audience finds interesting and relevant, your website’s SEO will continue to improve. 

Write with a well-defined brand voice

Your brand is more than a logo and color scheme. It should have a personality that comes through in all of the content that you produce. If you haven’t taken the time to describe and document your brand voice, use this guide to do so now. Your brand voice should stay consistent, regardless of who’s writing, so make sure every writer in your company understands how to communicate in the correct voice. 

Always write your content as if you’re speaking directly to a single member of your audience. This will sound more natural, approachable, and memorable. 

A unique personality and voice will make your content stand out from competitors and will speak more clearly to your specific audience, which is all beneficial when it comes to SEO. 

Cover topics in depth

When it comes to SEO, there’s no magic word count number that you should try to hit for every piece of content. Different studies have drawn different conclusions. Longer content that’s over 1000 words does tend to perform better, but shorter content also does well if it’s well written and contains a good amount of information.  

Instead of trying to hit a specific length, focus on thoroughly covering every topic. Make sure you answer all the questions your audience might have about the subject matter. Link to other pages on your site when it’s appropriate to provide additional information. Use headers to break up sections and make it more skimmable. Ultimately, you want to provide as much value as possible to readers.

Weave in keywords and long-tail phrases naturally

Including keywords in your writing doesn’t mean you have to sound like a robot. Rather than performing keyword research before you write and then trying to incorporate a long list as you go, write your post in its entirety and weave them in after the fact. Look for opportunities to include longer tail keywords as well. This will help ensure that your post sounds natural while still benefiting from popular search phrases and terms. 

Your SEO strategy shouldn’t just be a to-do list that you check off every time you write a piece of content. If you focus on the overall user experience of your content and prioritize providing value to your readers, the SEO benefits will follow.

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