How Can SEO Best Practices Be Aligned With Content Creativity?

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    Marketer Focus

    How Can SEO Best Practices Be Aligned With Content Creativity?

    Striking the perfect balance between SEO optimization and creative flair is a challenge many digital marketers and content creators face. From understanding search intent to blending keywords with engaging stories, we've compiled the top twelve insights provided by industry professionals, including Digital Marketing Consultants and Founders. Discover how to align your content with SEO best practices without stifling your creativity.

    • Understanding Search Intent
    • SEO Team Provides Content Structure
    • Plan SEO Details, Then Create
    • Integrate SEO After Drafting Content
    • Create Compelling Content First
    • Integrate SEO Seamlessly with Creativity
    • Edit for SEO After Creative Writing
    • Combine Creativity with SEO Knowledge
    • Maintain Writing Style with SEO
    • Balance SEO with Engaging Storytelling
    • Solve Problems with High-Intent Keywords
    • Blend Keywords with Engaging Stories

    Understanding Search Intent

    As a UK-based digital marketing consultant, I've found the key to marrying SEO and creativity lies in understanding search intent.

    A while ago, I helped a local brewery with a unique sustainability project—growing hops on their pub roof.

    Standard SEO pushed keywords like "craft beer" and "London brewery," but intent-driven research revealed users were searching for "sustainable breweries in London" and "eco-friendly beer."

    By crafting content around that specific intent, we weaved in SEO-friendly terms while showcasing the brewery's innovative approach.

    The result?

    A blog post that landed on the first page for relevant searches, attracting eco-conscious beer lovers and driving positive brand recognition—all thanks to SEO that complemented, rather than stifled, their creativity.

    George Papatheodorou
    George PapatheodorouDigital Marketing Consultant, George Papatheodorou

    SEO Team Provides Content Structure

    Before writing a blog post/article, I ask my SEO team to provide the focus/primary and secondary keywords along with a content structure that includes the topic and subheadings/steps they want to include, as well as other points that are compulsory for writing an SEO-optimized article/copy. These points include:

    1. Word Count

    2. Keyword Density

    3. Focus Keyword

    4. Secondary Keywords

    5. FAQs

    By following this procedure, we can easily write fully SEO-optimized content without compromising our creativity and the quality of the content.

    Currently, I'm following/implementing this technique on our client's blog, and we have gained more than 5,000 organic traffic within one month.

    You can check the blog by visiting the following link:

    Website Link: The Education Trail Blazer

    This one is live and the best example of where I'm following this technique.

    Tayyab Akram
    Tayyab AkramWebsite Content Specialist, Zones, LLC

    Plan SEO Details, Then Create

    The best way to keep creativity high when creating SEO-aligned content is to take the time and do all the dry, data-driven work upfront. If you want more visitors to your digital assets and for those visitors to engage with more content, you have to find out what they like and what they don't.

    Use tools like Google Analytics and Keyword Planner to determine which keywords to pursue and what content people respond to. Then, you can plan topics, timing, and other details.

    Once that's out of the way, you can let your creativity shine! Put yourself in the audience's shoes: What questions can you answer? What stories can you tell? What's something funny or a myth that can be busted? Would they like to watch a demo or see photos? How about comparing and contrasting different topics?

    Lastly, after the content is created, there are many on-page and technical SEO elements to get right. A good, old-fashioned checklist is the only way to ensure you've hit every point.

    Nicole Bews
    Nicole BewsStrategic Director, Hometown Design Studio

    Integrate SEO After Drafting Content

    As an SEO specialist, writing a piece of content with SEO best practices in mind is always at the forefront of my marketing. What I like to do in order to balance search engine optimization with creativity is to not let SEO guide my idea generation and writing processes.

    Now, I'm not saying to simply throw SEO out the window. Instead, focus on integrating those best practices into your content AFTER you've said what you want to say.

    Gather topic ideas that you're actually excited to sit down and write about. Say everything that you want to address in that first draft, ensuring that it's detailed and helpful. Write as if you're speaking to a friend or your favorite client, not to the search engine robots. Then, once you're ready to polish up your content for publishing, focus on the technical on-page SEO tasks.

    Christy Hunter
    Christy HunterSEO Coach and Educator for Creative Small Businesses, SEO Coaching for Creatives

    Create Compelling Content First

    Start by focusing on creating compelling, valuable content for readers first. For instance, when targeting a keyword like "innovative gardening tips," I might craft a narrative around a personal gardening project, weaving in keywords naturally and emphasizing unique tips through storytelling. This approach keeps the content engaging and shareable, enhancing its SEO value through user interaction and time spent on the page.

    Andy Hathaway
    Andy HathawayGoogle Ads Specialist, Clarity PPC

    Integrate SEO Seamlessly with Creativity

    The key is to integrate SEO seamlessly into the creative process rather than viewing it as a post-creation adjustment. Here's how this is achieved:

    Start by conducting thorough keyword research before the content creation process begins. Identify not just high-volume keywords, but also long-tail phrases that offer specific insights into user intent. These keywords should be integrated naturally within the creative brainstorming sessions. This helps ensure that the content narrative or concept developed is inherently aligned with the terms your target audience is searching for, without forcing keywords into the content after it's been created.

    Understanding the 'why' behind the search terms (user intent) allows you to craft content that answers questions, solves problems, or entertains, which is what the audience is genuinely seeking. By aligning your content with user intent, you ensure it satisfies SEO needs naturally and resonates more deeply with your audience, enhancing engagement and SEO performance.

    In a campaign for a client promoting sustainable living, we identified a range of keywords associated with sustainable practices at home, like "how to reduce carbon footprint" and "DIY recycling projects." Instead of merely using these keywords as SEO filler, we used them as springboards for content themes. We developed a series of blog posts, videos, and infographics that provided innovative and practical tips on reducing household waste. The content was engaging and imaginative, showcasing unique recycling projects and ways to repurpose everyday items, thereby naturally weaving in the targeted keywords.

    The result was content that not only ranked well in search engines due to its keyword alignment and relevance but also captivated the audience's interest through creative presentation and useful information. The blog posts led to increased organic traffic, higher engagement rates, and significant social shares, illustrating how creativity augmented with SEO insight can lead to successful content outcomes.

    By starting with SEO in mind and using insights gleaned from keyword research and user intent to inspire creative content development, you can create pieces that are both optimized for search engines and compelling for readers.

    Chad DeBolt
    Chad DeBoltFounder, Surchability

    Edit for SEO After Creative Writing

    I've been in SEO for 15+ years and have seen the evolution of SEO content marketing span from keyword-stuffing and article spinning to AI-generated content and creative pieces. As search engines get more sophisticated at detecting bad content (and perhaps evolving now to detect AI content), the road to rewarding more creative, quality content *should* continue.

    When planning content for SEO purposes, we start with very high-level talking points to keep the content related to a central thesis. But these content guides are much simpler and allow for more freedom than most SEO content briefs that I see agencies generate. I think it's important to allow for creativity and a unique voice, so we seek to start with that, and then edit for SEO purposes rather than the other way around.

    This approach has paid dividends as well. Some of our more successful blogs and content pieces, not just from a ranking perspective but also from an engagement perspective (which may or may not be related in search algorithms these days), are from more seasoned writers who injected some personal commentary and storytelling into pretty standard SEO articles.

    Did we make sure the title was written to make search engines happy? That the slug had keywords in it? That headings touched on important keywords and that they were used in some form or another throughout the content? Of course. But the idea is to start with a more creative piece and edit it to maximize its SEO potential, rather than the other way around.

    Mike LaLonde
    Mike LaLondeCo-Founder, PPC Assist

    Combine Creativity with SEO Knowledge

    In my opinion, you do not have to compromise on creativity if you write SEO-worthy texts. In fact, you HAVE to be creative to distinguish yourself from the competition. The most important thing, SEO-wise, is that you understand the content inside and out before you write about it, and then convey this to your audience in a clear way.

    So, SEO and creativity can actually go hand-in-hand. Don't be afraid to be creative! Make jokes in your content. Implement your own infographics that clarify the topic. Offer tools that competitors don't have. Think outside the box. If it offers a unique hook and it helps your reader, creativity should be embraced. Just remember that it should be clear to the reader (and therefore also to Google) what the subject is that you're writing about.

    For example, in our article about streaming services, we have included a nifty tool that calculates how much you spend on streaming services every month. This adds something unique that our competitors don't offer, and it is helpful to our readers as well. (

    Suzanne van Steenbergen
    Suzanne van SteenbergenContent Creator, Prijsvergelijken

    Maintain Writing Style with SEO

    Just because you want to hit all those keywords for SEO doesn't mean you should change your writing style or 'voice.' Make sure what you are writing is coherent and resonates with the reader. We rewrote our previous SEO consultant's content because it didn't make sense and didn't represent our company well. And when we updated our website pages, we took the time to map out all the information while adding in the right number of keywords that would work well for SEO.

    Jessa Farber
    Jessa FarberDirector of Creative Operations, Bristol Associates, Inc.

    Balance SEO with Engaging Storytelling

    At our healthcare marketing & branding agency, we focus on achieving a balance between strong SEO optimization and creative content. We achieve this by prioritizing an understanding of the user's purpose behind their search.

    For instance, if we're creating a blog post on "dismantling common fitness misconceptions" for one of our clients.

    > We'll research relevant keywords, but the key to success lies in utilizing them to construct a captivating story.

    > We might incorporate humor and personal experiences into the piece, all while ensuring those keywords are integrated seamlessly.

    > Consider it analogous to incorporating healthy vegetables into a delightful smoothie – both informative and engaging!

    Shivam Singh
    Shivam SinghFounder, Crawl Math

    Solve Problems with High-Intent Keywords

    When writing new content for your site, one of the best SEO practices to follow is focusing on solving the problem that the search is querying for. An example of this is finding a list of keywords with high intent and traffic and utilizing a site like Reddit to find the right solution for it. Millions of people are seeking one-on-one advice from Reddit because of its town-square-like experience. You can create content based on Reddit comments that help your website users.

    Matt Zothner
    Matt ZothnerFounder, Currents

    Blend Keywords with Engaging Stories

    You can keep your content creative and still make it easy for search engines to find. By integrating both aspects seamlessly, you can achieve higher rankings and increased organic traffic.

    Without SEO, creative content often remains hidden. Effective SEO ensures it shines in front of the right audience.

    It's a myth that SEO limits creativity. In reality, SEO can liberate your creative content by connecting it with those who will appreciate it most.

    For my latest article, '5 Essential Consistency Systems for Solopreneurs,' I used straightforward keywords like 'consistency systems' and 'solopreneur strategies' that fit well with each system described. This made the content useful and interesting, helping solo business owners streamline. The title was clear and inviting, targeting solopreneurs looking for easy-to-implement solutions for daily consistency.

    Here’s my go-to guide:

    For articles that are both fun to read and easy to find, choose keywords that blend naturally into engaging stories. Focus on producing content that’s both enjoyable and informative. Write appealing titles that contain your main keywords to attract more clicks.

    By following these steps, you'll create content that not only performs well in search engine results but also genuinely engages and entertains your audience. This strategy ensures your creativity shines through without sacrificing the SEO benefits that drive traffic to your site.

    Nicholas Robb
    Nicholas RobbLifestyle business expert, Life by Design