Generating SEO Content Ideas that Improve Topical Authority
Until the days of a universal topic generator comes, what can you do as a brand to always have content writing ideas at the ready—ideas that will engage consumers? Part of that is having a good SEO content tool (for example, a platform that gives you search behavior insights), but even that will only get you so far. For true success, you also need a strategy, some creativity, and a little luck.
Internet content can feel like a tug-of-war between the algorithm and your audience. After all, good content for people is one idea, where content that’s SEO-friendly is another entirely. But the good news is while these are separate ideas, they are not mutually exclusive; their needs have overlap, and it’s possible to feed both birds with one scone. But what kind of content is best for SEO, and how do you balance appeasing the algorithm with creating something people actually like? It starts with knowing the best of both worlds, how they intersect, and then having ways to consistently produce creative content ideas.
DemandJump is the next best thing to an idea generator. We use Pillar-Based Marketing, our Consumer Insights platform, and a team of expert creators to place our customers at the top of search engines. And with this article, we’d like to give you a sample of what makes our customers so successful. We’ll discuss SEO content writing and some ways to always pull inspiration from your target audience.
What Is SEO Content Writing?
SEO content writing is creating content with the goal of ranking high in search engines. Well-written SEO content must have the ingredients, principles, and execution to appeal to search engines—in addition to being something people want.
In theory, SEO content is something that every brand would want to make—and many do try—but few are successful at it. This is because most SEO content fails to strike a balance between “SEO” and “content.” Some fixate too hard on SEO and get lost chasing red herrings, like keyword stuffing. Others neglect important SEO details entirely, only to get frustrated when their quality content doesn’t rank.
As a brand, you don’t want to go too hard in one direction or the other when creating content. You need to make something that both humans and search engine crawlers want to read. And to do that, you first need to understand the actual goal of SEO, and how to accomplish said goal with what you publish online.
What Is the Objective of SEO?
Ultimately, SEO aims to make websites easier to find, navigate, and reference. Search engines use clues—such as keywords, metadata, and search traffic—to deduce which websites are most helpful to web users. The better you are at handing out these SEO clues, the more likely you are to rank higher in search engines. This goal is simple in theory, but very much complex in practice. In fact, there are four different types of SEO you have to achieve, which we’ll discuss later.
Before that, though, let’s answer this question: why exactly is SEO complex? In short, SEO is a game where the rules, players, and targets are always changing. What worked yesterday may not work now, and the strategies of today aren’t guaranteed to perform tomorrow. You have to stay on top of SEO trends and periodically update your content plan; sometimes, you even need to update existing content that was once successful. Also, making sure you always have something fresh for your audience will keep them coming back to see what’s new!
What Are the 4 Primary Areas of SEO?
SEO tactics generally fall into four categories of focus:
- On-Page | All that goes on the actual webpage, such as keywords and meta descriptions
- Off-Page | Content that lives off-site and references you or guides readers to your brand
- Technical | Page loading time, navigation, or anything that makes reading content easier
- Local | Regional elements like location-based content, contact information, or customer reviews
Of course, all of these are much easier said than done. Each of the four types of SEO is so complex that there are specialists who focus on just one type. That said, almost all of these can serve as inspiration for content ideas, with the exception being technical SEO (unless you’re really creative). You may decide to collaborate with another brand to improve off-page SEO, or seek out client success stories to up your local SEO game.
Platforms like DemandJump make SEO strategizing easier through detailed keyword research. For example, if you want to improve local SEO and your business has a physical location, you can use filters to pull out state-focused keywords specifically. By doing this, your content will come tailored to your goals—and pre-tailored to your target audience.
What Is SEO-Friendly Content?
Content that’s SEO-friendly uses techniques, formatting, and practices that make it easier for search engine crawlers to read. If crawlers can understand your content and see all the signs of helpful content, they’re far more likely to decide “this content is something people need to see” and recommend your website to internet users. Unfortunately, it is possible to write content that search engines can’t read, but that people would still enjoy. Brands may be sitting on a goldmine of work that no one’s seeing, unaware they just need a few tweaks to better fit the algorithm. These usually aren’t complex fixes, but it certainly helps to have outside expertise—people who can make the right changes and leave the rest.
For SEO, your site content should have elements that address all four types of SEO (on-page, off-page, technical, and local SEO). In most cases, having professional input makes this a lot easier. The best content marketing companies, like DemandJump, handle SEO as the multi-headed hydra it is: with a multi-pronged approach. By using keyword research, strategic internal linking, and other Pillar-Based Marketing techniques, we ensure our customers’ content is SEO-friendly.
How Do I Get Content Ideas for SEO?
Any SEO strategy for digital marketing requires a way to make consistent, quality content that checks all the boxes for SEO. But what if you don’t know what to write about? Or maybe you do have a topic but aren’t sure where to begin? Here are just four concepts you can use to jumpstart your SEO-centric creativity:
- Topic Research
- Thought Leadership
- Brand Awareness
- Be the Answer
Let’s look at each of these, along with some ways they all can bring your content to life.
Topic research is learning more about how your subject of choice intersects with both your brand and your target readers. How you create content for a topic should be determined by data. You need to know what people are searching for, and ways your content can fill that need—all while being SEO-friendly. And while what you want to write about is a good start, it’s not even half of the battle. In fact, the fight has just begun… and your topic is the battleground.
How To Do Topic Research for SEO
There are generally two paths for topic research: the easy way, and the hard way. The hard way would be doing it all on your own, learning absolutely everything there is to know about a topic so that you’re a bonafide expert. The easy way would be using a keyword research tool to guide you. Platforms like DemandJump let you type in a topic, then see all the keywords that are connected to it—keywords that people are typing in right now, at this very moment.
Through research tools like ours, you can better understand what your content should be answering, addressing, and referencing to appeal to readers. And because these are all keywords, you know the content will also help your SEO efforts.
On top of all that, by observing every keyword connected to a topic, you can see the many smaller, more specific “battlegrounds” that can be won in a topic—through narrowly-focused keywords. Many brands make the mistake of only going after broad keywords like “SEO strategy,” which literally thousands of brands are fighting over. In many cases, it’s smarter to go after dozens of smaller keywords that few are competing over. After all, wars aren’t decided in a single battle, and multiple small victories can stack up very quickly.
While it may be tempting to go for the “biggest fish in the pond” right away, smaller fish are easier to catch—and oftentimes, they serve as bait for the big fish anyway. Of course, you could always take the hard route of guesswork and painstaking research that may get you nowhere…but wouldn’t you rather know right away what your customers want?
How To Generate Content Ideas With Topic Research
If you use a platform like DemandJump, one click will yield hundreds of relevant keywords that people are actively searching for. This will include a variety of phrases, questions, and intents that users want solutions for—and your brand can be that solution!
For example, if you’re a digital marketing company that does topic research on “SEO content writing,” you may find your audience searches for things like “how to write SEO-friendly content” or “content generation ideas.” Both of those sound like great titles for an article!
The term “thought leadership” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s more than a bland corporate platitude. True thought leadership—being an authoritative source for a particular topic—is a powerful label that many companies vie for in their industries. Similar to how news channels seek topical authority to validate them as a source of truth, you can do the same for your subject of choice.
What are some things you can do as a brand to become a thought leader? Here are some suggestions:
- Discuss hot-button issues that are trending in your industry (for example, a digital marketing company might write about the impact of AI on content).
- Provide authentic, unique perspectives on topics; don’t just copy what everyone else does!
- Do your research, and cite your sources—particularly if you’re using numbers.
- Make a habit out of answering questions for your audience (which we cover in “Be the Answer”).
Sometimes, the goal for content creation is as simple as getting your name in front of people. Everyone knows marketing is valuable, but on the internet, it’s doubly important because you have access to a very wide audience—many of whom are perfect clients for you. Digital marketing, then, becomes not just a game of convincing people you’re awesome, but finding those who will already think that.
Many web surfers may already be searching for exactly what you provide, but simply don’t know you exist. Think of SEO less as a requirement you have to fill, and more of a tool you can wield—especially when it comes to finding those consumers. Take keywords as an example; keywords say a lot about what web users want, but they can also tell you where searchers are in their buyer journey. These are called “intent targeting keywords,” and there are four different types of them:
- Informational | People seeking knowledge on a topic (usually don’t want to be sold something)
- LOOK FOR: Questions, “could,” “should,” and “do,” etc.
- Commercial | Shopping around to see what’s available and compare competitors
- LOOK FOR: “types of,” “the best,” “customer reviews,” etc.
- Transactional | Specifically searching for something to purchase
- LOOK FOR: “Near me,” “where to find,” “cost,” etc.
- Navigational | Searching for a specific business, brand, product, or service
- LOOK FOR: Names of products or services, “near me,” “cost of,” etc.
As you can see, there is a lot of overlap between types; “near me,” for instance, can be both navigational and transactional. The more your content web can address each leg of the buyer journey, the more people you’ll pull into your brand world.
Be the Answer
Sometimes, the best sales tactic is not trying to sell at all. While that may sound counterintuitive, it’s especially important to keep in mind for SEO content. Many people go online in search of answers—not products. But if your brand becomes the “answer” to your target audience’s questions, you’re already a step ahead of the competition when people do want to buy something.
The data is clear: consumers are far more likely to buy from brands they trust. In fact, Harvard Business Review estimates that 80% of consumers see trust as an important factor when making purchases. But you don’t develop trust by aggressively pushing products onto people. You do it by:
- Consistently providing something they want
- Answering FAQs about topics, even if they don’t fully relate to your brand
- Speaking in a language that they understand and relate to
- Meeting people where they are in their buyer journey
Keyword research sets you up to do all of these things perfectly. Remember, keywords are clues to what people want, where they are in their journey, and are literally in the language they speak. By using keywords as your starting point for SEO content, you’re set up to speak much louder than all the noise out there. And answering questions from your readers—even those that aren’t fully related to what you do—is a huge benefit to your brand image.
If you’re still not convinced that answering tangential questions helps, think about this: Forbes reported that Americans see somewhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads every single day. We are constantly being sold things online, so much so that we develop a factory setting to tune out most of what gets thrown at us. You’re fighting a pretty big uphill battle if all you do is ask people to buy your product. Being a source of truth is an alternative, typically better way to engage your audience—one that’s relationship-based, and far more sustainable in the long run.
So, to summarize each of these four ideas:
- Topic research gives you a variety of consumer needs to pursue, including questions they have.
- Thought leadership is a way to position yourself as a topical authority that consumers trust.
- Brand awareness through SEO makes it easier for people who will love you to find you.
- Be the answer consumers seek, and you’ll soon be the product consumers purchase.
DemandJump: Content Ideas On-Demand!
Coming up with fresh, SEO-friendly content isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. At DemandJump, we have the tools and expertise to supercharge your content in a way that appeals to both search engines and consumers. Gone are the days where you have to wonder “where can I generate content ideas?” When you work with us, you’ll have an ever-flowing stream of content inspiration, thanks to our keyword research tool and Pillar-Based Marketing tactics.
What does an SEO strategy look like with DemandJump? Find out today by getting started below.