Content Strategy Diary

Writing Optimized Articles – 6 Things You Need to Outline SEO Friendly Content

Do you have all these amazing ideas that you want to cover in your articles?


But are you worried that they won’t reach the right audience? That they won’t bring the results you’re hoping to achieve? What about all that overwhelming SEO rules?

No worries. By the end of this article, you’ll be ready to start writing optimized articles.

But first, let’s clarify a few things.

What is SEO content writing?

Producing SEO friendly content is an absolute must if you want to reach your audience via Google. But writing optimized content can be tricky.

Most of the time, when you do SEO optimization post festum, your original content loses that special something. It almost feels like butchering a perfectly decorated cake.

The way to get around this is to write SEO optimized article right away.

Is that even possible?


Remember – SEO is not just about writing alt tags, meta description, naming your images correctly, and avoiding keyword stuffing.

In fact, SEO writing is all about planning, creating and optimizing high-quality content with the primary goal of ranking in search engines.

Immediately SEO optimized article is written both for users and search engines. While post-publish content optimization plays a huge part in keeping your content fresh, the one that you do while writing is what will preserve that human tone of your blog posts and get you the rankings you’re after.

How to write an SEO optimized article?

There is no one right way to please the search engine, and there are multiple approaches to SEO writing.

I too was lost and confused by all of the rules at the beginning. That was until I developed my own system for tackling search engine optimization.

There are exactly six things you need to focus on BEFORE writing the article:

  1. Keyword research
  2. Competition research
  3. Search intent
  4. Question research
  5. Target audience
  6. Interlinking possibilities

Yes, there is a tool where you can do all of this at once. And yes, at the bottom of this article you’ll get free access to my very own content brief where you can store all of the information.

MarketMuse is one of the tools I can’t LIVE without. I use it both for myself and my clients. You can do a question research and content optimization based on competition research. It just makes it so easy to beat the competition!

This is an affiliate link and I may earn a percent should you choose to purchase this tool. However, this does not in any way influence the price you pay in the end.

Step 1 | Keyword research

The primary keyword is extremely important. You will include it in your meta title, meta description, slug, some alt-tags, and a couple of times in the body of the article.

But, don’t get lost in it.

Because your article most likely won’t rank right away for it.

Instead, make sure you incorporate good supporting keywords. And not just that – make sure to avoid keyword stuffing, and really hit that sweet number of repeating that will help you rank on the first page of Google in no time.

So, how do you do it?

Remember how I mentioned that there is a tool for all of the researches you need to do? That’s exactly the one you can use to incorporate the perfect amount of secondary keywords, that complement the primary one.

I’ve been using MarketMuse for almost a year now, and all of the articles I wrote in the meantime started ranking on the first pages of Google. And no – not even one primary keyword got me to the first page.

Step 2 | Competition research

Competition research is basically taking a good look at articles ranking for the selected primary keyword on the first page of Google.

Why do you need to do competition research before you start outlining your blog post?

  • This step will help you get a general idea of the direction you should take.
  • It will help you figure out what opportunities your competitors missed out on.
  • This way you’ll be able to determine the best format for your article. Should it be a listicle, a how-to, guide?
  • Finally, it will allow you to determine search intent. But, let’s discuss this in the next step.

Step 3 | Search intent

What exactly is search intent and why should you take it seriously?

This is actually one of the most significant ranking factors.

Search intent, also known as user intent or query intent, is the goal a searcher wants to achieve by typing in a particular search query.

And you can pinpoint it with a simple SERP analysis – aka competition analysis.

It’s important to note that there are a few user intent types:

  • Informational – when a user wants to learn something about a particular subject. It’s important to note that these users are not looking to buy anything. This is extreme top of the funnel (TOF) content. This is also a great opportunity to offer the new user unique information that will help them solve their “problem”, and of course – offer them some other, related resources.
  • Navigational – these users already know where they want to land. This is why their queries will most likely include the brand’s name, particular website, product or service.
  • Commercial investigation – at this stage, the user is looking for more information about your product or services. Being at the stage of commercial research, people are looking for reviews, comparisons, testimonials, use cases, ‘top/best’ lists.
  • Transactional – we have arrived at the bottom of the funnel (BOF) content. These users are ready to make a purchase. They already know what they want, they just need to find the perfect seller.

Sounds simple enough. But why is it a crucial step?

Well, let’s say you decided to write an informational guide on SEO tools. But, the target keyword you chose leads to service pages. With this simple analysis, you’ll be able to revise your keywords and adjust them to match complementary search intent.

Remember – great content is all about providing users with exactly what they need, and this analysis will help you do just that.

Step 4 | Question research

What questions are users typing into the search engine when searching for your primary keyword? Not only will this help you structure your article in the most optimized way, but it will allow you to provide your readers with the answers they need.

You can look at it this way. It’s the search engine‘s “duty” to show the answer that resonates the most with the query, so wouldn’t it be nice if you would be the one to offer the best possible answer to that question?

This is why it’s important to focus on selecting the questions for which you really feel like you can offer a unique point of view. This is a chance for your expertise to shine!

But how can you find out these questions?

Just run your target keyword in a program like:

  • MarketMuse
  • Ask the Public
  • Ubersuggest 

There are many other programs, but these are the ones I personally use.

Ask the Public and Ubersuggest offer limited free research. So if you’re not ready to invest, you can start with one of these two.

Step 5 | Target audience

Seems obvious, but a lot of people completely forget who they’re writing for.

I was recently tasked with writing an article on the topic “daily social media checklist”. I did all of the previous researches, saw there were many lists out there, and most of the websites ranking on the first page were extremely strong.

Here’s where the target audience helped.

content brief template for writing optimized articles by Tamara Biljman, content strategist
I don't have time to create a lot of newsletters - so when I send you one, it will be something drop-dead-amazing.

All of the articles ranking on the first page of Google for this keyword were aimed at small and medium businesses with in-house social media managers.

Mine was supposed to target marketing agencies. And in-house and marketing agency social media managers face completely different challenges, and their daily schedules represent two parallel universes.

This completely changed the angle of writing this content piece.

So before outlining a blog post, ask yourself who are you writing it for? This will help you pinpoint the problems of your particular audience and address them. Not only will this make it more relatable, but it will give your article a unique angle, tailored to their needs.

Step 6 | Interlinking possibilities

So make sure you use every new content piece to promote the appropriate topic cluster, lead magnet or service (even all of them). Just make sure you don’t overdo it.

Doing this in the outlining stage will help you structure your article in a meaningful way. At the end of the day, great content needs to have a clear purpose. So don’t just use your new articles to attract new users. Use them as guiding points to different, relevant parts of your website.

What are the benefits of outlining and writing optimized articles?

Ranking well on Google is not an easy task. But this system will help you:

  1. Determine the right keyword density.
  2. Structure your article in the best possible way.
  3. Increase the quality of content you create.
  4. Save time by writing in a very clear direction.
  5. Create content that offers solutions tailored to your audience’s needs.
  6. Avoid getting off track and away from achieving strategic goals.
  7. Find opportunities to promote your lead magnets and services in a friendly, non-spammy way.

About Me

I’m an art historian – digital marketer – passionate traveler – addicted writer – dedicated member of a long distance relationship mashup.

I’m a materialist that has an urge to help the world. I have absurdly logical mind that helps me focus my creative hyper-energy.

It’s ok to be a crazy mixture of completely opposite ingredients.

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I am an art historian turned content strategist who spends days exploring what makes people tick on all channels of communication. I love making sense of data, exploring new AI tools and crafting compelling content that raises brand authority. This doesn’t really come as a surprise considering my background – Interwar propaganda art that earned her two MA degrees and articles in international scientific journals.

One Comment

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