SEO & Content Marketing: Best SEO Tools, Tips, & Best Practices [2024]

SEO should be a key part of your content marketing strategy if your goal is growth and revenue. Here are our best tips & tools to help you create SEO content.

You’ve probably heard the terms “SEO” and “content marketing” get thrown around within a few sentences of each other. That’s because the two are closely related and often work in tandem to create a successful content strategy.

Now, what they don’t tell you is exactly how you can leverage a partnership between the two to ensure you’re getting the most return for your investment. Both search engine optimization and content marketing’s end goal is to bring more traffic to your website, let people know your brand exists, and ultimately increase revenue.

In this article:

What Is the connection between SEO and content marketing?

SEO depends on high-quality content. High-quality content depends on SEO to get search traffic. One hardly functions well without the other. 

In a nutshell, this is the main connection between the two. They each help each other perform their “jobs” well. 

For example, say we’re a social media marketer searching for “Instagram post ideas.” The first Google search result by Sprout Social is a perfect example of content marketing and SEO in action. 

The blog post, which ranks as the first result on Google, gets tons of organic search traffic, some of which will convert into customers of their SaaS product. Notice how the post is well written and uses SEO best practices such as:

  • Including the keyword in its URL
  • Naturally Including the keyword in its title
  • Formatting its content with headings, subheadings, and relevant images
  • Creating a strong title that entices clicks 

Creating great content takes using SEO and content marketing together. However, you can’t skimp on the granular details that make this duo work.

How to develop an SEO content strategy

Now for the hands-on part: How do you develop a content strategy that’ll get you results? The first thing to note is that SEO, as they often say, is a long-term investment.

What you do now might not pay off for another 6-12 months (or more). However, if done well and consistently. The payoffs can be massive. 

1. Define your goal

Much like any other project, creating SEO content starts with a goal. What’s your content “north star?” Are you creating content to:

  • Grow your site traffic 
  • Grow your email list
  • Drive sales and conversions

2. Identify your target audience

Identifying your target audience can be both fun and a challenge. Who your content is created for will determine the type of content you create as well as the format you should create it in. For example, if your target audience lives on YouTube, you’re better off creating video content that reaches them where they’re at. 

Poll your audience, ask for input, identify search queries, look for related keywords to help you identify who your ideal audience is. From there, you can start diving into SEO research to round out each piece of content you’ll create. 

3. Conduct SEO research

As you research, consider additional factors like:

  • Long-tail keywords with lower competition
  • Search volume in the triple digits or above (set a minimum you can work with)
  • Search intent phrases like “best” or “cheapest” or “how to”

With a target audience and some solid SEO research in place, establishing a content calendar becomes an easy process. 

4. Establish a content calendar

When will you publish each piece of content you create? Consistency is a big part of getting your SEO content to rank. The more consistent you are with publishing high-quality content the better your chances of ranking. 

A lot on your content calendar will be determined by how much output you’re able to handle a month without sacrificing quality. According to HubSpot, small blogs should aim to publish anywhere from 3-to 4 posts a month. As your brand gets bigger, opt for multiple times a week if possible. 

However, these aren’t rules set in stone. At the beginning of your content journey, it might take some experimenting to see what works best for your content and your niche. 

5. Create and optimize your content

Now it’s time to create and optimize your content! As you create your content, think about adding the following elements for more effective search optimization: 

  • Including internal links
  • Encouraging link building and social shares
  • Creating meta descriptions with keywords
  • Inserting headings and subheadings
  • Crafting title tags
  • Adding alt text to all images
  • Naturally including your main keywords throughout your content
  • Adding a strong CTA
  • Formatting your content for readability

6. Track your progress and course-correct 

Using tools like Google Analytics to track your progress is a great way to keep a finger on your metrics. Is the content you created six months ago making any progress? Are you getting traffic from social platforms and direct sessions? Jasper Analytics & Insights is another tool to get you the insights you need to evolve your strategies on the fly based on what's working and what isn't.

As you track your SEO progress, it makes it easier to course correct. Once you see something isn’t quite working, change up your strategy and test for better long-term results.

Types of SEO content

Secret: SEO content doesn't just mean "blogs". There are actually lots of different content routes you could take when deciding what to create.

Depending on your strategy, SEO content can take a few different forms. In theory, just about anything you create online can be search-optimized, hence becoming “SEO content.” However, here are some of the most popular content types that help you rank in SERPs when you’re thinking about creating an SEO content strategy:

1. Blogs

Obviously one of the most popular pieces of content you can create to rank in search engines is a blog post. Now, a blog post can take many forms (listicles are very popular). But a traditional long-form blog post that’s informative, written for humans, and optimized for search with some keyword research is a powerful way to drive organic traffic to your site. 

This will increase further when you’ve created a library of high-quality blog posts that are optimized for search terms people are actually looking for. 

2. Landing pages

Depending on how they’re written, landing pages can often rank on the first page of SERPs. Though it might not be as common as with a traditional blog post, it does happen. Landing pages are standalone web pages that are often used to capture email addresses as part of a greater digital marketing strategy. Sometimes landing pages can take the form of product or sales pages. 

3. Interactive tools

In the world of SEO, high-quality content doesn’t just come in the form of writing. Interactive tools are a brilliant way to have your target audience find you through a search query. Once you nail the search intent, it’s possible to use SEO to rank interactive applications. NerdWallet’s Interest Rate Calculator or Zillow’s Rent Affordability Calculator are examples of this in action. 

4. Glossaries

Does your niche use a lot of insider language and terms? Creating a glossary that helps define these terms for beginners is a great way to try ranking in SERPs and score the coveted featured snippet. The more comprehensive your glossary, the better.  

5. In-depth guides

In depth-guides are simply blog posts but longer. They’re designed to cover every part of a subject, often step-by-step, so it becomes a go-to resource for anyone searching for that type of content. In-depth guides are also great ways to get backlinks, which are a key part of ranking for competitive keywords. 

6. Videos

Did you know you can rank videos in search engines? Make a quick Google search on certain topics and some of the first suggestions you’ll see are YouTube videos (which Google owns). Creating and optimizing video content is yet another effective way to rank great content in a format other than blog posts.

Once you decide what content type best fits your goals and strategy, there are a few best practices you'll want to keep in mind as you move into execution mode. SEO best practices can change...often. But let's check out the most current best practices for search optimization.

11 SEO best practices you need to know

1. Write catchy titles

Yes, title tags still matter. Without a compelling title—regardless of the type of content you’re creating—you won’t get much traffic, clicks, or conversions from your content. Improving your titles can not only improve your click-through rates but it’s also a way to help your brand stand out from the competition. 

Here are a few ways to think about improving your titles: 

  1. Try to include your root keyword in your title
  2. Be as specific as possible 
  3. Include numbers in your headlines if relevant
  4. Use power words when possible

If you’re having trouble coming up with a compelling blog title, Google to look for inspiration. Let's say we search for “how to start a blog post.”

Copyblogger does a great job of creating a compelling title that captures the attention of a reader (it also helps that they optimized their content to snag the featured snippet!)

5 Easy Ways to Open Your Blog Post With a Bang has all the elements that make a blog title effective:

  • It includes a number that adds specificity
  • It isn’t so long that Google cuts off the end of the title
  • It uses powerful words like “bang” 

3. Create an internal linking strategy

Much like backlinks, internally linking to related content within your own web pages matters. It helps Google get a better picture of your site’s structure, thus more accurately indexing your content. PageRank, an algorithm used by Google to determine page rank, also considers internal links to determine page authority. 

To create an internal linking strategy, you first need to know the current state of your internal links and the content you’ve published. Once you have a list of all your content, identify your pillar pages. 

Using the HubSpot Topic Cluster Strategy, identifying your pillar pages will make it easier to know which pages to interlink to and from each page. Go down your list of related content and interlink it with your hub pages where it makes sense.

Remember to use relevant anchor text to add your link since they are important as well.

Additionally, with tools like Ahrefs, you can easily crawl your website and check for broken links as an opportunity to create a new link to better internal content. 

Go down your list of web pages and take the time to check for broken links. Redirect them to new, better internal links or eliminate them. 

4. Improve your technical SEO

Technical SEO is the foundation on which your website is built. If your foundation isn’t up to standard, it’s going to diminish the ROI of any other on-page or off-page SEO efforts. 

  • Ensure your website address includes an SSL certificate
  • Eliminate duplicate content
  • Register your website with Google Search Console for additional SEO insights
  • Add structured data markup like FAQ schema to your site
  • Improve your URL structure

If you aren’t technical, don’t overlook the technical needs of your website. Outsource this task if necessary to ensure the best results and secure higher positions on results pages. 

5. Optimize for faster load times

According to Google, a faster webpage load time is one of the over 200 ranking factors it takes into consideration when evaluating your website. This means optimizing your website for the fastest load times possible should be near the top of your to-do list. 

With tools like PageSpeed Insights, you can easily check how your website is performing. If it’s loading slowly, here are a few things you can do to increase your website speed:

  • Use caching plugins
  • Optimize images 
  • Reduce redirects
  • Use a CDN

6. Create quality content

More traffic, more conversions, and higher earnings can only happen when you’ve taken the time to create quality content. Whether you’re a YouTuber or a blogger, creating high-quality content helps you build a library of content pieces you can fall back on as you maintain your growth year over year. 

But what does quality content mean? Pay attention to things like:

  • Incorporating actionable information
  • Ensuring your content is up to date
  • Creating content that’s original 
  • Formatting with plenty of bullet points, headings, and images to break up walls of text
  • Ensuring your sentences are easy to read
  • Use large fonts that are easy to read
  • Keep sidebar distractions and pop-up sign up forms to a minimum
  • Make sure your content fulfills search intent and answers search questions thoroughly

AI-powered writing assistant tools like Jasper can help you cut your production process in half and beat writer’s block when it comes.

Consider using AI to optimize your SEO and content creation workflow. And we promise, it's safe — Google even says AI content is okay as long as it's good!

7. Update your UX

The user experience is an important part of ensuring all your SEO efforts pay off. The last thing you want is for your target audience to land on your website, only to be met with a poor user experience that turns them off from your content before they’ve even had a chance to consume it. 

To update your site’s UX:

Improve your navigation: One of the best ways to improve site navigation is to revise your main menu. Does it have any categories that could be subcategories? Does it include any categories that could be removed? The easier it is to navigate your website, the longer your visitors will stay and browse. The goal is to create a welcoming experience for both new and repeat users. 

Improve site speed: Nobody likes to wait on websites that take forever to load. A slow website increases your bounce rate and lowers your sessions. Take the time to optimize your blog posts for speed and make sure your technical SEO is in good shape. Compress images when possible, use caching plugins, and test your loading speed with free tools like PageSpeed Insights to monitor your progress. 

Watch for broken links: Broken links happen for a variety of reasons. But you don’t want them lingering in your content if you can help it. Consider revisiting older content to check for broken links. While fixing broken links improves the user experience, it’s also something search engines look at as part of their greater ranking algorithm. 

Use better images: When you land on a website that uses dated images it’s easy to question the quality of the rest of its content. By using better images, you increase user trust and ensure your website is appealing and well branded. Using visual examples is also a great way to use images to your advantage. 

8. Consider search intent

Search engine optimization used to be as easy as targeting keywords by creating content that included them and then calling it a day. However, Google’s algorithm has gotten better at determining search intent. 

This means you need to think deeper about your keywords and what their search intent is. For example, someone who searches for “best brand pressure cooker” is signaling they are searching with “purchase” intent. 

They’re trying to find the “best” of something. As such, you’ll see some of the biggest websites in the space walk the user through a list of the best brands. 

Search intent usually falls into four buckets:

Transactional: Transactional keywords are keywords with the intent to make a purchase. For example: users who specifically search for “buy Sony PlayStation 4 slim” are showing buyer intent. Users searching with keywords like buy, where to buy, discount, coupon, deal, or cheap are searching with high buyer intent. 

Commercial: Commercial searches are made when a user is still trying to decide on the purchase of a specific product. They’ll usually search for keywords looking for comparison posts, best-of lists, or reviews.

Navigational: Keywords with navigational intent are searches looking for a specific online destination like a website or a webpage. If someone searches for “Instagram” or “Bing” then it’s considered navigational intent. 

Informational: Searches looking for specific information like “what time is it in India?” or “SEO best practices” are doing so with informational intent. The result is finding more information that answers their question.

9. Optimize your images

Images can sometimes be added to blog content as an afterthought. In some cases, they are critical to the content itself. Either way, it’s important to optimize your images so that your pages load quickly.

There are two ways to optimize your images:

Adjust their file size: The smaller your images can be the better. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to resize your images without losing quality. Free image compression tools like TinyPNG easily compress images. 

Add alt text: Your images need “alt text” which is a way to describe to search engine crawlers what your image is. Ideally, your image is related to the content you’re creating, so describing it accordingly and incorporating your keyword in the process should be easy. 

10. Update your XML sitemap

Has your website gone through a lot of changes lately? Then it’s time to update your XML sitemap. 

A sitemap helps crawlers index your website more efficiently regardless of its size. It’s a way to ensure search engines are discovering all your content. If you already have an XML sitemap, consider submitting your website to be recrawled when you make major changes. 

Here’s an easy way to create a sitemap without having to deal with any code:

  1. Download and activate the Yoast SEO plugin (for WordPress users).
  2. Navigate to SEO, then click on General, and finally tap Features
  3. Toggle on XML Sitemap.
  4. You should see your sitemap created along with the date it was last modified.

Here’s how to submit your sitemap to be crawled by Google:

  1. Navigate to Google Search Console
  2. On the left-hand menu, click on Sitemaps.
  3. Submit your URL.
  4. Wait until your submission is confirmed. 

11. Use keyword research to inform your meta descriptions, title tags, and more 

Gone are the days when keyword stuffing would work to show up higher on search engine results pages. Ranking in SERPs for your target keywords takes incorporating them into your content meaningfully. 

But it doesn’t stop there. Thorough keyword research should also inform your:

  • Subheadings
  • Page titles
  • Long-tail keyword choices

It isn’t enough to find one keyword and call it a day. Find related, supporting keywords and identify their searcher intent. Are they worth incorporating into your content? The more thorough your approach to SEO is, the better positioned you’ll be to gain organic search traffic.


Do more with SEO and content marketing

Without a doubt, SEO and content marketing make a dream duo once you know how to leverage them together to reach your target audience. However, only creating good content doesn’t cut it anymore. Creating content that ranks on search engine results pages takes working hand in hand with quality and strategy. 

Admittedly, content creation is a time-consuming piece of the puzzle. There are many content marketing platforms and even various Chrome extensions for digital marketing in general that can make it easier.

The good thing is, AI-powered marketing tools like Jasper are especially helpful for speeding up the content creation process.

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