Creating a smart content strategy allows you to produce valuable, engaging assets that naturally attract links and social shares. This in turn boosts your off-page SEO and overall search visibility.
By planning and mapping out content that targets specific audiences and keywords, promotes engagement, and gets widely shared, you can indirectly but significantly elevate your SEO through earned backlinks and authority building.
Follow this comprehensive guide to developing an effective content strategy tailored to improve off-page SEO:
Conduct Keyword Research
Thorough keyword research identifies topics and long-tail variations aligned to your products/services that people are searching for. These keywords should inform content themes.
Use Google Keyword Planner and tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find keyword opportunities. Look for searches with sufficient volume and competitiveness to be worthwhile targets.
Start by researching:
- Broad keywords around your offerings and brand
- Product/service category keywords like “email marketing software”
- Location-based keywords if servicing a geographic area
- Questions and conversational terms like “is X better than Y”
- Diagnostic keywords around pain points or problems
- Comparison keywords involving your brand/competitors
Identify a mix of primary and secondary keywords, segments, and searcher questions to create content around.
Map Out Personas and Buyer’s Journey
Define the key personas and buyer journeys your content should align with. For B2B this may include:
- IT managers
- Marketing professionals
- Small business owners
For B2C this could involve:
- Age ranges
- Income levels
Map out what stage each persona is at in their buyer’s journey:
- Awareness – Learning about solutions
- Consideration – Comparing options
- Decision – Ready to choose a product/service
Tailor content to where they are in the journey.
Perform Competitor Analysis
Analyze what your competitors are doing with their content in terms of topics, formats, promotion and optimization.
This reveals gaps where you can create differentiated content assets that add value vs simply repurposing what exists.
Look at their blog topics, site content organization, and amplification on social media. Install Alexa or SimilarWeb extensions to view their site traffic sources and referral links.
See what off-page promotion tactics are working for competing sites related to yours. Then improve upon them in your own strategy.
Determine Content Types & Topics
Now match your personas, keywords and competitor analysis to determine what types of content you should create:
- Tutorials – How to do X
- Step-by-step guides – 10 steps for X
- FAQs – Answering common questions
- Curated resources – Best tools/sites for X
- Industry roundups – 5 leaders in X space
- Trends/research – Latest forecast on X
- Tips – Actionable advice for X
- Webinars – Panel discussions on key topics
- Demonstration – Showcasing product features
- Testimonials – Customer interviews/success stories
- Behind the scenes – Company culture videos
- Instructional – Video tutorials, how tos
Tools & Calculators
- ROI calculators
- Cost comparison tools
- Assessments – Quizzes for self insight
- Interactive decision trees – Product finders
Presentations & Reports
- Ebooks – Research data consolidated into guide format
- Whitepapers – In-depth analysis of problems and solutions
- Infographics – Visual presentation of key statistics
Podcasts & Audio
- Expert interviews – Discussing insights
- Panel talks – Multiple perspectives
- Case studies – Customer success spotlight
- Podcast series – Themed episodes around topics
Checklists & Templates
- Step-by-step checklist guides
- Editable templates – For presentations, budgets, content calendars
- Cheatsheets – Quick reference list for executing tasks
Structure an Editorial Calendar
Build out an editorial calendar to map what content you will create and when. This ensures you maintain a consistent drumbeat of valuable assets optimized for SEO.
- Schedule blog posts and videos weekly or several times a month
- Plan monthly for tools, ebooks, infographics and other more advanced assets
- Webinars, reports and guides can be quarterly or every few months
Balance evergreen content with timely, event-triggered content like holidays, awareness days, product launches.
Use your calendar to look ahead and create/promote content thematically around topics, campaigns and keywords.
Define Promotion Channels
Determine where and how you will amplify content to maximize reach and links:
- Email – Send to email subscriber lists segmented by interest
- Social media – Share on all relevant company channels
- Paid ads – Promote to custom audiences interested in the topic
- Outreach – Personally pitch relevant media contacts and influencers
- Syndication – Republish on partner/affiliate sites
- Site takeovers – Sponsor content on niche sites
- Live promotion – Discuss and share at events/webinars
- Site messaging – Banners, announcements to onboard visitors
Map promotion channels to match the content types and topics.
Set Realistic KPIs
Define key performance indicators to track how your content strategy is performing:
- Engagement metrics – Social shares, comments, downloads, email click through rate
- Backlinks – Referring domains, total new links, link equity/authority
- Traffic – Sessions, organic users, pageviews, traffic sources
- Conversions – Email signups, free trials, purchases, quote requests
Set realistic goals month to month and ensure your team has access to this data for better decision making.
Execute and Refine the Strategy
With your foundational strategy and calendar set, it’s time to start publishing optimized content built to attract links and shares.
On-Page SEO Optimization
Make sure all content is fully optimized on-page for SEO best practices:
- Include target primary and secondary keywords in title, headers, content
- Format content cleanly with headers, bullets, bolding for skimmability
- Insert relevant internal links to related content
- Include meta descriptions optimized for clicks
- Proper image optimization with alt text
- Ensure site speed remains fast on mobile
This strengthens every piece of content as an asset.
Distribute each asset far and wide via your defined promotion channels.
- Share natively on all social platforms.
- Email segmented lists focused on the content topic.
- Pitch to relevant journalists, influencers and brand ambassadors.
- Run social media ads to get in front of target audiences.
- Syndicate/guest post on niche partner sites.
- Discuss and reference during webinars and live events.
This amplification extends reach and drives natural links.
Link Earning Outreach
Proactively pitch and place high-quality content on sites that may link back:
- Identify blogs, news sites and resources sites to guest post on.
- Curate and pitch evergreen content like tools and research.
- Seek broken link opportunities to request replacing with your content.
- Update and rework old blog posts and place on new sites.
- Promote content offers like guides and templates for links.
Outreach expands URLs, anchor text diversity and referring domains.
Develop relationships with followers, websites and journalists in your space:
- Engage and converse via social media.
- Comment on relevant blogs and sites.
- Start a roundup post or link series within your niche.
- Ask partners about co-marketing opportunities.
- Attend and sponsor events to connect in person.
Relationships drive recurring links, embeds and shares.
Analyze and Refine
Use your metrics to guide ongoing optimizations:
- Monitor analytics to see top content and traffic sources.
- Review search performance to identify new keywords to target.
- Update underperforming content or replace with better assets.
- Assess links/placements driving traffic and focus outreach there.
- Look at conversions by content type and double down on what converts.
Continual refinement ensures your strategy stays effective long-term.
The Impact of Optimized Content on SEO
By taking a thoughtful, structured approach to your content strategy centered around quality and promotion, you’ll notice significant benefits:
- More referral traffic from embedded links, shares and placements
- Increased organic visibility as Google favors your content
- Higher authority metrics like domain rating and trust flow
- Consistent growth in organic keywords and rankings
- Brand lift as you gain traction as an industry thought leader
- Climbing in competitive search terms where you previously struggled
Great content earns its way to visibility rather than buying links or taking shortcuts. You’ll find over months and years, your content engine will substantially boost all aspects of SEO and search performance.
That in turn lifts site traffic, conversions, and revenue. So take the time to build an effective content marketing machine optimized for off-page impact. The long term rewards are well worth the investment.