Planning and Writing Optimized Content

This process will guide you to create optimized page and post content for a collection of keyword phrases.

At this point, it is assumed that you have already created a list of keyword phrases for which you have determined that you need content. Following this process will result in creating the optimized on-page SEO component that will rival your competitors' existing content. You will likely need to send backlinks with specific ratios of anchor text to that content in order to actually achieve your ranking goals.

  1. Choose your best keyword phrase
    1. From your keyword research, group related keyword phrases together, making sure to keep track of their respective volume and competition metrics.
    2. Choose one of the keyword phrases to be your primary phrase for this particular piece of content. The phrase that has the most monthly search volume and also the lowest competition metrics is usually the best choice.
    3. All the remaining phrases will become alternate phrases for this content.
  2. Identify the web pages that we need to beat
    1. Bring up an incognito browser window.
    2. Use Google to search the exact keyword phrase.
    3. Create a list of URLs from the first page of search results (the first 10 entries).
    4. As you are looking at the search results, ignore anything that is an ad.
    5. Also ignore anything that is a nationally-branded website like AngiesList, Thumbtack, AVVO and all directories. We can safely ignore these search results since they are usually ranking because of their domain authority rather than because of their content.
    6. Once you filter out the ads and nationally-branded websites/directories, you may only end up with 4 to 6 competitive pages. That is to be expected.
  3. Determine how many words to write
    1. For the list of URLs collected in the last step, go to this webpage:, paste in the URLs of the competing pages and record the word count.
    2. Take the average of all the wordcounts of your competitor pages. That will be your targeted word count for this piece of content.
  4. Determine what to write about
    1. Read the content of each competing page.
    2. Make a list of their headings and sub-headings. Those would make a good outline.
    3. Pay attention to what questions they answer and what problems they solve. You will also want to be sure to cover those.
    4. Once you have your outline and topics in mind, you can now write the content, using your own words.
    5. Avoid cliches and any unique phrasing that the competitors have used unless it's industry-required lingo without which the content would seem less informed.
  5. Add an FAQ section to the bottom of your content
    1. Use Google's "People Also Ask" feature to create a list of 3 or 4 questions to ask and answer within the content.
    2. The Google search will look like this: "people also ask exact-keyword-phrase" where you replace "exact-keyword-phrase with the primary phrase you choose in the first step.
    3. The resultant list of questions are a good place to get ideas for your own questions and answers.
  6. Once your content is written, follow the On-Page SEO Recommendations process to launch the page or post.