Website Content Planning 101: From Zero to SEO Hero

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Planning your website content had you in a creative chokehold? You’re not alone. Unplanned content is like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces – confusing, incomplete, and unlikely to reflect your brand’s full potential. It leaves you vulnerable to competitors and invisible to the very audience that you seek to engage.

With website content planning for SEO, you’re not just building pages. You’re constructing a digital ecosystem where each and every element serves a purpose, aligning with your business objectives, nourishing your audience, and delighting search engines.

In this article, we’ll let you in on the content development secrets that our SEO strategists at Thao & Co. swear by. You’ll learn the best practices for conducting keyword research, organizing information architecture, mapping content to buyer journeys, developing practical calendars, and more. So, let’s get planning!

What Is Website Content Planning?

Planning website content is the strategic process of researching, organizing, and scheduling the creation of website content. This means you need to define your overarching content goals, conduct keyword research, structure your site content into logical topic pillars and clusters, and develop schedules for content production and publication.

Best practices for Website Content Planning from Thao & Co.

In other words, website content planning is like building a strategic roadmap to brand success. Here’s how it can help:

  1. Efficient content creation: With a clear plan, your content writers have clear directions, eliminating redundant and scattered content. No more last-minute scrambles or writer’s block. This also streamlines collaboration and revision.
  2. Targeted audience reach: Ditch the guessing game. Planning helps you identify the exact type of content to match your target buyer interests and search behavior. Planning isn’t just about keywords. It’s about understanding your audience’s needs at every stage. From initial awareness to final purchase, each piece of content guides your customers on their journey toward conversion.
  3. Measurable results: Planning doesn’t end once you hit that publish button. Your well-planned content calendars are your benchmarks to assess performance. Every page view, click, and conversion reveal which content resonates, which keywords drive traffic, and where your audience lingers.

All things considered, website content planning gives structure and purpose for your content creation. It helps your website engage with niche audiences and achieve specific business goals.

Conducting Keyword Research for Website Content Planning

Any SEO expert worth their dime will tell you that keyword research lays the foundation for effective content strategy. In this stage, you figure out which search terms and topic areas hold the most potential value for your goals.

Tools for Keyword Research

Like everything else, you need the right tools for the job. Popular keyword research tools such as Ahref and SEMrush can help you identify relevant keywords, gauge their search volume, and assess competition. Don’t forget about free alternatives like Google Search Console and Google Trends!

Identify Seed Keywords and Related Terms

Wonder how to kick off your research? The best way is to start with a few core keywords related to your niche and audience. These will guide your research and help you uncover additional keyword variations, related terms and ideas within related themes.

Check Search Volume and Optimization

Don’t just look at search volume – it’s not all about the bling. Analyze keyword difficulty, competition, and user intent to assess which keywords are worthwhile targets. A high-volume keyword may be tempting, but if it’s been already claimed by a bunch of major players, you’ll probably be better off focusing on smaller, more attainable keywords.

So, you’ve got the basics. But keyword research does get a lot more complex. If you need more specifics on conducting keyword research for your website, check out our comprehensive step-by-step keyword research guide where you can learn about keyword tools, advanced keyword analysis techniques, and best practices to make the most out of your keyword research.

Organizing Website Content Keywords by Topic Pillars

Your keyword research has yielded dozens or even hundreds of terms. Now what? At Thao & Co., we believe in organization. The best practice to bring order to your keyword chaos is structuring your website into logical content pillars and clusters to group related keywords and themes.

Structure Your Website into Content Pillars & Clusters

What exactly are content pillars? Think of them as your big-picture themes, the overarching concepts that resonate with your target audience and tie together your mountain of keywords. These pillars are comprehensive pages that broadly cover a topic and link to cluster content – more specific articles or pages that delve into particular topics in detail. For example, an e-commerce company can have product-based pillars, while a healthcare website can organize their content by health conditions.

This kind of structure helps your audience navigate your content and understand the relationship between different pieces of content. No more Frankenstein-ing your content! Pillar-based organization creates a natural flow and a smooth user experience. Moreover, it also helps with search engine optimization. By interlinking related pages, you let search engines know the semantic relationship between content, which enhances your website’s authority on the subject and improves search rankings.

Best way to organize Website Content - Thao & Co.

Types of Content Pillars

Content pillars are the cornerstones of your expertise – the broad themes within your niche where you truly shine. There are several types of common content pillars:

  1. Product lines or service categories: If you’re an e-commerce site or an online service provider, it’s logical and intuitive to organize your pillars around your major products or services. This allows you to tailor content to each sub-audience.
  2. Buyer or user personas: You can also structure your content pillars based on your core buyer or user personas. For example: students, educators, administrators. Your content will be coordinated to address the specific use cases of each persona.
  3. Buyer journey stages: Alternatively, pillars can be built to align with the different stages of your buyer’s journey: from awareness to consideration and finally, decision. This means your content will meet your buyer’s informational needs at each stage, guiding them through the journey.

Identify your content pillars

To determine which content pillars will work well for your website, you’ll need a strategic evaluation of your brand’s key offerings, audience needs, and market position. You can start by:

  1. 1. Listing broad themes that represent your brand’s expertise, products, or services.
  2. 2. Evaluating your high-performing content to identify themes that resonate with your audience.
  3. 3. Gathering insights from your customer feedback and queries to pinpoint recurring topics of interest or concern.
  4. 4. Ensuring that the themes support your business goals and marketing strategy.
  5. 5. Analyzing the context of your industry and your position within the market.
  6. 6. Prioritizing pillars based on relevance, audience interest, and strategic importance.

By doing so, you can establish content pillars that are relevant and aligned with your audience’s interests and your business goals.

Mapping Related Subtopics into Clusters

Content pillars are your foundation, but alone they aren’t enough. You need topic clusters to drill down into specific subtopics, allowing very targeted content creation and optimization.

For example, if your business sells Smart Home Devices, you could have an overview Smart Home Devices landing page with your product lineup and categories. This pools all related search traffic into one pillar page. Then, you could have product-specific cluster pages such as Smart Lighting, Smart Speakers and Assistants, and Smart Appliances, etc. These cluster pages offer much more precise content around individual niche topics and related keywords.

Planning Website Content Pillars and Cluster Relationships

Now that you have your content pillars and topic clusters, it’s time to consider how they all fit together. When organizing your website content architecture, how pillars and clusters interconnect is crucial. Being strategic with your content planning enhances intuitive internal linking.

Ensure Logical Flow and Internal Linking

To ensure your users have a seamless experience, the relationship between content pillars and clusters must be meticulously planned with a logical flow and internal linking. Consider your site from a user’s perspective. Each click should feel like a natural progression, leading them deeper into your expertise. Here’s how you can do that:

  1. Group clusters around pillars that share a natural connection. Plan content within each pillar and cluster page to extensively link out to closely related pages. This helps visitors seamlessly navigate between related subtopics.
  2. Place internal links where they are genuinely relevant to guide users from pillar content to cluster content and vice versa. Get your team together to brainstorm potential questions users may have and provide links to cluster content that offer deeper insights, keeping them informed and engaged.
  3. Use descriptive anchor text for internal links to let users and search engines know what type of content the linked page offers. Avoid generic terms like “click here” as it tells your users nothing about why exactly they should do that, and search engines may find it spammy.

By ensuring that each piece of content logically connects to others within its cluster and back to its pillar page, you create a cohesive narrative that enhances the user experience and strengthens your website’s authority in the critical eye of search engines.

Prioritize Content Based on SEO Value & User Intent

It’s nice to have a wide variety of content for your audience to pick and choose. But if you’re building your website from scratch, it’s important that you have priorities. That way, your content team isn’t overwhelmed and you will still have content that attracts traffic and satisfies user needs. At Thao & Co., when deciding which content pillars and topic clusters take the front seat, we consider:

  1. Keyword research and gap analysis: Identify high-value keywords and content gaps that are opportunities for your website to provide unique value and attract organic traffic.
  2. User queries and search intent: Understanding the intent behind user queries is important to create content that effectively addresses their questions and guides them further into your website.
  3. Competitor benchmarking: Analyze your competitors’ content to identify what they rank for and where you can outperform them.
  4. Content performance metrics: Identify what types of content perform best in terms of engagement, conversion, and SEO rankings.

Planning your website content isn’t just about doing everything in your power to get the top ranks on search engines. It’s crucial to balance SEO value with helpful content that truly meets the needs of your audience, resulting in a positive user experience and higher engagement.

Building Content Development Timelines

Why Editorial Content Calendar is necessary for your website? - Thao & Co.

Effective website content planning requires not just figuring out what kind of content to create but also when and how it should be rolled out. With your website content architecture mapped out into pillars, clusters, and pages, the next thing to do is developing realistic production and publishing schedules.

Editorial Calendar with Content Types and Publishing Dates

An editorial calendar is your best friend. It’s a strategic tool that helps you manage your content lifecycle from idea to publication. It ensures that your content creation aligns with your marketing goals, seasonal trends, and industry events. At Thao & Co., when developing an editorial calendar, we take into consideration:

  1. Content variety: Depending on your specific goals, incorporate a mix of content types (blog posts, videos, infographics, etc.) to cater to different user preferences and engagement styles.
  2. Consistency: Both audiences and search engines favor consistency. It’s best to set regular publishing dates to establish consistency.
  3. Strategic timing: This means aligning your content with product launches, seasonal events, or industry trends to achieve maximum relevance and impact.
  4. Flexibility: While consistency is key, your calendar should still have room for timely content that capitalizes on unforeseen events or trending topics.

Plan New Content Page Additions

Your website content isn’t once and done. It needs to be updated constantly and strategically to stay competitive. Here’s how you can plan and schedule new content additions:

  1. SEO content strategy: As you grow your website content, don’t forget to analyze keyword trends and identify gaps in your content plan. Always aim for high-value and low-competition keywords to maximize organic traffic.
  2. Audience demand: Pay attention to all user feedback, social media engagement, and website analytics to understand what topics resonate and what questions need to be answered. Then, create content that addresses those specific needs.
  3. Topic clusters: You can either expand your existing clusters with new subtopics or create entirely new clusters based on emerging trends or audience needs
  4. Seasonal content: Add new content for seasonal events, holidays, or your industry-specific gatherings to take advantage of the increased search volume.

Set Update Schedule For Existing Pages

Like fresh paint, your website content needs the occasional refreshes to maintain its vibrancy and SEO effectiveness. Maintaining and updating available content is just as crucial as creating new content. You can manage updates with:

  1. Regular content audits: Besides your editorial calendar, implement a schedule for auditing content to identify pages that are outdated, underperforming, or simply no longer relevant.
  2. Relevance and accuracy: Website content requires regular updates to reflect industry changes, news, or product updates. This makes your website a reliable source for your audience.
  3. Search trends: Sometimes, instead of writing new articles for the trending keywords, it may be more beneficial to revise existing content to incorporate new, relevant keywords.

Partner with Thao & Co. for Expert SEO Website Content Planning Services

Strategic website content planning is invaluable for your brand rankings on search engines and ultimately, your business growth. However, crafting and managing content plans takes considerable expertise and effort. It can feel especially overwhelming for businesses without a dedicated content team.

Thao & Co. professional Translation and Localization Services

Thao & Co. is here to make SEO content planning smooth and stress-free for you. Our team specializes in:

  1. ● Conducting in-depth keyword research tailored to your niche, assets, and goals.
  2. ● Mapping your website’s architecture into intuitive content pillars and clusters.
  3. ● Producing audience-focused content in any form you need – blog posts, eBooks, and multimedia.
  4. ● Optimizing content for search queries and featured snippets.
  5. ● Developing comprehensive editorial calendars aligned to buying cycles and seasonal trends.
  6. ● Providing continual content audits, competition analyses, and optimization recommendations.

Upon request, we also offer:

  1. ● Content writing aligned to your brand voice and SEO goals
  2. Translation and localization services for global reach
  3. ● Content uploads and publishing assistance

The next stage of your website awaits. Contact us on our Get a Quote page to evaluate your current website and explore how our content solutions can optimize organic growth.

Source: Thao & Company
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