Most of us know at least one business that doesn't exactly have a defined marketing strategy they follow; instead, they deal with it as they go and rely on ad-hoc strategies and marketing tactics to get the job done. Whether those strategies work or not is a matter of luck, which's certainly not how the marketing world works.
On the other hand, a marketing framework shapes your marketing plan and gives it structure. Simply, it's a template with instructions on how your marketing plan will be executed to achieve your business goals.
It specifies which type of content you'll create and its purpose, who it'll be targeted at, through which channels, and at what time – not just randomly posting on social media or publishing a couple of blog posts from time to time.
These components are the logical flow of your upcoming marketing efforts, coming together to make the marketing plan of your company, which is ultimately a vision, into reality. Without the framework, your marketing strategy isn't really actionable – instead, it's just a couple of set goals without supporting actions and pathways.
What Is an SEO Content Marketing Framework?
As we've mentioned, a lot of businesses resort to tactics that lead to quick wins. But those quick wins don't last, and professional marketers would know just that. Instead, practical content marketing strategies accompanied by a solid framework is what can drive both short-term and long-term sustainable impact and revenue for your company.
One of the more effective approaches to content marketing frameworks is the SEO content marketing framework, which uses data-driven content marketing strategies to achieve not only SEO objectives but also meet the needs of the audience and target market.
In an SEO content marketing strategy framework, the idea is all about a streamlined, repetitive content creation process. Today, you can no longer gain higher rankings on search engines by simply reusing content from any website and not questioning whether it's appealing to your audience. Neither Google nor your audience will like it!
Instead, you need to consistently create unique, valuable, and relevant content so that Google acknowledges your domain authority and your target market views you as a credible company. And how is that done? Using data on your customers and potential audience to create the content they're searching for, whether through an automated or manual process.
What Are the SEO Goals of Content Marketing?
If you don't leverage the power of content marketing when it comes to SEO, you're missing out! SEO and content marketing actually go hand-in-hand. Through your content marketing plan, you can increase traffic to your business and platforms and raise more brand awareness, which in most cases, leads to conversions and gaining the trust of your audience.
Okay, what does that have to do with SEO? Simply, when your pages, blog posts, and overall content use the right keywords and cover the right topics, that's called optimization – and guess what? SEO is all about optimization. When you optimize your content, Google ranks you higher on search engine results for those very keywords you integrated into your content.
Accordingly, the idea is to develop custom content that meets the needs of your target audience to ensure that your website ranks high in relevant search results, and that happens by time as you build topical relevance. Basically, topical relevance is how relevant your entire website's content is to a certain topic or keyword.
So, if you're producing a lot of content on PCs and your website covers all-things-PC-related, you're building topical relevance in that area, which takes your rankings higher and wins your target audience over. See how the content marketing goals and SEO goals intertwine? But remember: the content has to be high-quality, relevant, and unique to ensure a successful content marketing strategy.
What Are the Elements of SEO Centered Content Marketing?
Awesome! So, where do we go from here, and how do you get started with using content marketing? What are the elements to be considered if you decide to pursue an SEO-centered content strategy framework, and how do you meet the expectations of the audience in the first place?
The first step and most significant factor to your SEO content marketing strategy's success is keyword research, which is all about finding the relevant keywords to use in your content to make it rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
And put a line under relevant because it's not only about the keywords you're interested in ranking for but mainly the ones you should be ranking for since those are the ones people in your target audience are really searching for, which is what the research will tell you.
One way to go about that is to "dig" for the keywords by analyzing your competitors or even industry leaders and take notes of the competitive keywords they're ranking on as well as the keywords that are commonly used within your industry. That way, you get a sense of what your content should focus on and the keywords you should be using while planning.
If you have no idea what keywords to use, you could also use Google's Search Console to check which keywords your current website is ranking for and which are doing so well to sort of set a baseline of performance and create a list of keywords to check.
Additionally, you'll find a "Searches related to keyword" heading as you're searching for a given keyword, which you could also make use of in your content strategy.
Alternatively, you could also use Google's Keyword Planner, a data-driven keyword analysis tool that analyzes keyword volumes and their competition level (high, medium, and low).
For instance, keywords with low volumes could be used as subsections of a page, while those with high volumes deserve pages or blog posts or an e-book on their own for higher lead generation, depending on your purpose.
Creating Keyword Clusters
Meaning precisely as its name implies, keyword clustering is all about grouping keywords to enable you to target more than one keyword through the same piece of content. Why? Because most websites don't rank for just one keyword but several. So essentially, what you do is that you put together a list of keywords to target in a given blog post instead of a primary one.
Following your keyword research, you start grouping keywords right away and remember that it's acceptable to go for quantity over quality only at this stage. Compile a large set of keywords, and we'll get to eliminating the irrelevant ones later.
How do you group them? Spreadsheets and their functions can come in handy to scan through your keyword list by frequency and count to pinpoint the most used keywords. Then, you scan them again yourself to start creating the groups (which will be easy since you'll find that they're mostly phrases meaning the same term, variations of it, related to it, or even synonyms).
So, as you see, the idea is that since the keywords are more or less similar, it makes them easier for you to integrate into a single blog post than if you were to distribute them over different blog posts, for example, which is certainly time-saving and yields faster results for your site.
Ordering Topics by Relevance
The next step is to order topics by relevance – as you would expect, a single blog post on a topic may not be enough to fulfill the audience's search intent and purpose. In that case, a single topic may be divided into several subtopics, all related to the mother topic, to meet users' intentions.
Picking up on the PCs example we referred to earlier; relevant topics would be "what's the best computer for home use," "what are good specs for a computer for home use," "how do I choose a computer for home use," and more. These are all questions that the audience is likely to want to get answers to, and by satisfying their intent, your chances are much higher with organic traffic!
Plus, by building these topic clusters, you build your domain's topical authority in the process by proving your expertise on the subject. So, pay particular attention to how you're ordering the topics because you'll also need them to link to each other later – that's the magic SEO recipe.
Pro Tip: Don't forget that you need to factor in search intent while doing so – it can be tempting to go off-topic, but that can seriously harm your content marketing plan.
Developing Data-Driven Briefs
Now, you (or your content creators) have everything you need to start creating content! The only part left is to prepare a data-driven brief for your upcoming piece, and this is what'll make or break the user experience.
Why? Because the content needs to be personalized to your target audience, and to do so, you need to make use of all the data you have on your customers or personas and analyze it using tools like Google Analytics.
Through Google Analytics, you'll get insights on your audience's preferred content formats, how they behave on the different digital marketing channels and social media platforms, their peak activity times, who they trust in the industry, and more.
So, using the information you've compiled earlier and the information you already have on your audience, start preparing a documented content brief that includes SEO data that needs to be included as well as details on your target market for the content marketer who'll be writing the content or the content marketers (if they're a team).
On that note, if your content marketer isn't an in-house person, don't forget to specify your brand's voice and tone, content message, the stage of the marketing funnel that the readers are at, and the word count. You could also support that by an accompanying content strategy document if needed to highlight your content goals.
How Do You Create a Content Strategy Plan?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, "a content marketing strategy is a unified, strategic road map focused exclusively on how your business will use content to attract, acquire, and engage its prospects and customers."
Over the years, the Content Marketing Institute found that a documented content market strategy is one of the main factors distinguishing successful content marketers from not-so-successful ones.
When it's time to create your content strategy plan, it's best to follow a set content marketing "program", if you will, following a series of steps to ensure the best results.
So, let's get started?
1.Find a Niche You Want to Expand in
Depending on the nature of your business, you'll probably have an idea of a niche that you want to expand in, or at least the keywords for it. At this stage, it's also best to research what actually works and not just what you're interested in. This will be the main theme of your content topics and clusters.
On this note, we just want to emphasize that the keyword doesn't have to be a keyword per se; it could be a broad keyword, a business category related to your own business, or a blog category.
2. Create Content Planner Using the Main Topic
Next, you'll want to use Surfer's Content Planner, which will provide you with the "plan" for a topic cluster on a gold platter – all you need to prepare is the keyword and, of course, your location (country). By plan, we mean a full-blown list of article ideas as well as the primary and secondary keywords you need to include in the content to rank for it.
To create your content plan, open your Surfer account, and click on the Content Planner feature on the toolbar's top right. Then, type your targeted keywords in the box and select your business location or the location of your market audience.
Then, all you have to do is wait a couple of minutes for the Content Planner to do its work and analysis, and in no time, you'll be presented with a "Content Planner Summary". Just click on it, and you'll immediately see the guidelines for the content cluster you specified.
To simplify the results, each box contains a set of keywords that you can target in one piece of content or blog post, each with a different search intent so that you understand what type of content would be more suitable for a specific cluster purpose.
P.S: You could always unmark some intent types if they're irrelevant to your business goals.
3.Cover as Many Suggested Clusters as Possible
Now, you want to browse the clusters that the Content Planner generated for you and sort them out according to how relevant they are to your business and strategy. Our tip would be to try to cover as many suggested clusters as possible to establish your domain authority and rank your company higher.
After you've chosen your cluster, it's time for content creation! Now, you'll use Surfer's Content Editor to get exact guidelines on how to proceed with creating content for the set of keywords in the given cluster. From the Content Planner's dashboard, choose a cluster, and in the box, click on "Create Content Editor".
By doing its own research, the Content Editor will generate an even more comprehensive list of keywords to use within your content, questions you should answer to fulfill the users' intent, heading suggestions, and more. This is called a multi-keyword analysis, where you receive aggregated guidelines for a full cluster at once to use while planning.
4. Post With Regular Cadence and Redistribute Content
Next, you want to revisit your content strategy document and adjust your planning according to your new content goals and guidelines. As a suggestion, it would be best to post content with a regular cadence. A regular cadence indicates that your content is fresh and updated, and more generally, your site is updated and active.
Moreover, since the Content Planner enables you to track each content cluster's progress and see its score, you could always use that data in addition to Google Analytics to determine which content types were successful and worked with your strategy. When you identify that content, you can always redistribute it for more lead generation and expanded reach.
Plus, you could repurpose it for different channels in the form of social media content, via email marketing to peoples' email inbox, and more.
Also, aim for your content to be evergreen – it doesn't really go out of date and will always remain relevant to readers. Nonetheless, evergreen content has to be updated from time to time. Since SERPs are constantly in motion, search intent can shift, and this is when you'll need to rethink your article.
Why Using a Data-Driven Framework for SEO Content Strategy Is Beneficial
When you use a data-driven content strategy framework, you benefit from a set of advantages that make all the difference in your content strategy and its effectiveness.
First of all, could you stop and think back to how much time you spent before to create a content strategy for your business? Even better, how many times did you create a content strategy only to be disappointed by the results and not know where the underlying issue is? How about the hassle of content planning and brainstorming for content topics for your editorial calendar?
Well, when a data-driven content strategy framework is involved, all of that is eliminated and is instead replaced by a full editorial calendar for months – and it's not just jam-packed with random topics and keywords for the sake of trial and error and content generation! Rather, it's full of relevant content that accurately meets and fulfills user queries.
Developing your content strategy and investing in resources to get the content published comes at a cost, and more often than not, it's quite a high cost. However, using data-driven frameworks for your SEO content strategy puts an end to wasted money. Every penny you pay will generate guaranteed results since the content is ultimately based on relevancy.
And those results include organic traffic and conversion rates since it's not only your audience that wants to see this content but also Google, so forget about exerting a ton of effort and still not ranking among other businesses.
Streamlined, Low-Effort Process
As we've demonstrated, the entire process of creating a data-driven content marketing strategy won't take nearly half the time it previously took you. You know what, it won't even take the time it takes you to conduct keyword research and form clusters manually.
And it's not just about time; it's about effort! To find the right keywords, categorize them by relevancy, divide them into topics and subtopics, and sort them by similarity, that's a lengthy, hectic process. After all, you're doing it by hand!
With such streamlined processes that operate purely on algorithms and data, you spare yourself the effort, and you'll get even better results. And the best part is that the results are based on user intent, so there's no way you can go wrong with it.
So, in a nutshell, the process becomes automated, effortless, streamlined, quick, accurate, and definitely worth it!
Don't Let Your Content Efforts Amount to Little!
When it really comes down to it, a content marketing strategy framework is far from being as complicated as it seems. If anything, it actually makes the content creation process much easier and paves the way for business success if done right.
To cut a long story short, it's all about consistently lavishing your audience with high-quality content that triggers action from their end – be it a conversion, social media share, comment, like, guest article, review, or more, depending on the goal and purpose you've set for your business or website.
To give you and your business the best chance of achieving your content goals, it's critical to use a data-driven content strategy to meet your audience half-way; always keep them on the top of your mind when you're creating your content plan.
By using data-driven approaches to your content strategy and taking your audience's intent as your roadmap, you'll only publish the content and content formats that make sense. When you do so, the rest will follow, including those SEO aspirations and goals you have for your business and much more.
Now that you're aware of what should go into your content strategy plan and what to factor in when it comes to SEO, it's time for the next milestone for your business!
And today, it's easier than ever; with AI-dependent tools like Surfer's Content Planner and Content Editor, you get the most actionable and effective content guidelines on call – in essence, you even get a data-driven draft for blog posts to share with your content marketer to put them on track.
To quick wins with long-lasting impact for your site!