Most people know that, to be successful, they need to be organized and have a plan. What many people don’t realize is that having a plan isn’t just for big things – it’s also for the small things. That’s where an SEO content calendar comes in.
In this article, we will cover:
- What an SEO content calendar is, and why you need one
- What a keyword universe is, and why it’s important
- How to find keywords to target
- How to plan your editorial calendar strategically
- Tips for expanding your keyword universe
- Tips on how to direct traffic from your blog toward conversion points
- SEO content calendar template that will make your life super easy
What is an SEO content calendar, and why do you need one?
An SEO content calendar is a plan that tells you when to create and publish specific pieces of content, taking into account user needs, business priorities, potential ROI, and seasonality. In other words, content calendars let team members figure out the future of their content marketing strategy.
Creating an SEO content calendar is important for a few reasons. First, it can ensure that your website is regularly publishing fresh, new content that will help you rank higher in search engine results in pages (SERPs).
Additionally, having a content calendar can help you track your website’s progress toward your SEO goals, and it can help you identify any gaps in your content marketing strategy.
Lastly, SEO content calendars allow you to fill in any gaps between your content and your competitors so that users will think of you first.
If you are running a product or service business, utilizing a content calendar has many benefits, some of which include the following:
- Planning your content several weeks to months in advance will ensure that you never have to stress about coming up with ideas for blog posts or articles.
- A content calendar is an effective way to make sure your SEO strategy gets executed.
- By using an editorial calendar, you can keep your content strategy in check and avoid any near disasters, like forgetting to post or accidentally publishing duplicates.
- A content plan limits how frequently you have to make new posts so that your site always has fresh content. As a bonus, this also helps improve your search engine rankings.
- By mapping out your content marketing strategy in an editorial calendar, you can more easily identify where improvements need to be made.
- If you manage a team of writers, a content calendar can help you keep track of assignments and deadlines and ensure that each piece progresses smoothly through the editorial process.
What is a keyword universe, and can you expand it?
The keyword universe is the total of all ranks for every keyword across all your pages. So, if you have 10 pages that each rank for 10 keywords between pages 1-10, then your keyword universe would be 100.
Most of your traffic is coming from those keywords — some might be branded, and some non-branded.
The more content you publish, the more keywords you add, and if any of your pages gets near page 1 (where most of the visibility is), the more keywords it gets.
Why is it important to expand that universe?
The main goal of doing SEO is to push as many keywords as possible to page 1 because that is where most of the users go. They will rarely go to page 2 or 3 and are much more likely to search for different keywords.
But traveling to page 1 is a journey.
When you first publish an article, it takes time for it to build enough authority to compete, so it starts with a humble beginning — often at page 10, where the competition is not difficult.
While you build your site authority, and that article starts to gain attention (visits, links, etc.), it will slowly travel to pages 5-8 (the green zone), then into pages 2-3 (the LHF zone) until it is strong enough to compete for the prime spots (the top 10, or what we call, the red zone).
The ideal situation is to push keywords to the red zone while continuously adding keywords to the green/yellow zone — this way, you will have a keyword movement dynamic that is healthy and constantly expanding.
Now you know the value of having a proper content calendar, let’s show you how to plan it the right way.
How to find keywords to target
Before you can create an effective content calendar, you need to have researched and selected the right keywords. If you skip this step, your end result will be a calendar that fails to rank for any keywords and generate traffic.
There are many free tools but, in this example, I will be using SEMrush.
There are various ways to find keywords — the best way is by analyzing your competitors’ keywords.
If your competitors are ranking between pages 1 and 2 for a given keyword, you’re missing out on an opportunity if you’re not there too.
Why pages 1 & 2?
That is where most of the visibility is. Users often find what they are looking for on the first page but rarely do they go to page 2. The most common behavior after not finding a good match on the first page is searching for new keywords.
Let’s use an example here. Ahrefs vs. SEMrush. Both are doing the exact same thing, and they’re competing on every keyword relevant to SEO. And in this example, we’re planning content for SEMrush.
Step 1: Go to SEMrush > Competitive research > Keywords Gap.
Step 2: Add the competitor as a root domain and apply the filters there so that it shows only the keywords that Ahrefs ranks for on the top 20 but not SEMrush.
Step 3: Use the filters (CPC >5, Volume >100, keywords containing “SEO”) and select “Missing”
There are about 41 missing keywords that SEMrush is not ranking for or has no content that can compete. Export that list, and further analyze the ranking pages from the competitors
From that list, you can get more data like the CPC value, keyword intent, ranking page, and search volume.
From there, you can look at that content as a source of inspiration and ask one simple question: Is there anything that is not covered in that article? If yes — and it’s always yes because every business has its own unique perspective— add them to your keywords target list.
How to plan your editorial calendar strategically.
Now we have a list of keywords to target it’s time to plan that out strategically into a calendar.
You can use any tool — the one we like to use is Notion.
Before we get into that, what is strategic planning?
Having a strategic plan is like having a calendar with a purpose, and it looks like this:
- You know the prime keywords you want to win with your content.
- You have a clear goal (e.g., increase traffic from the top of funnel TOFU).
- You know exactly the audience for that content.
- You have a clear strategy for taking customers to conversion points (sales pages, offers, etc.).
Most businesses follow a self-centric calendar that mainly talks about the company news and why they’re the best. Stay away from that!
Instead, go for a customer-centric calendar that answers questions, informs, and educates. More about the Whys than the What. That is what works best for SEO.
Having a well-organized editorial calendar provides many advantages.
- You can reduce the amount of time spent writing and scheduling content for your social media platforms.
- With a comprehensive overview of all aspects of your business, you can quickly adapt to anything thrown your way.
- It will improve the way your marketing team works together and with other people involved in your company.
- It gives you the ability to rewrite or use old content.
- You can easily track and measure your marketing progress against specific objectives to see exactly what’s working.
- It allows you to track your page’s performance over time.
Tips for expanding your keyword universe
Here are some tips that will help guide you through your quest to expand your keyword universe until it becomes vast and deep, filled with good content that ranks for thousands of keywords.
- Always look at your competitors’ top 20 rankings — you will be surprised by what you will find there.
- Divide your keywords into two (primary and secondary) and have them listed in brief. This will help guide the writers on what sub-topics to include.
- Write a detailed brief for the writer that explains everything.
- Always track your keywords right after publishing the content.
- Have an always-on SEO content plan that focuses on adding new content every month. Consistency is the key to success.
- Take advantage of your content by using it as a base for your social media posts.
- Focus on the users and your audience, not Google. If you write just to rank for keywords, you will not get the results you want.
SEO content calendar template that will make your life super easy
Having a well-thought-out template is crucial for success because it ensures all your content works together to achieve your larger goals. Typically, template planning involves mapping out campaigns and events that will happen in the next 12 months, then breaking them down into categories like:
- Tactics and frequency
- Team member or department responsible
- Important collaborators
- Key distribution channels
- Publishing deadlines
- Primary/Secondary keywords
- References from page 1 for inspiration
- Social media relevant posts
- CTA to drive an action
- Offer if any (can be in a pop-up form)
Our content calendar looks like this.
and the brief has many fields that we often fill out before sending it to the writers.
You can download it from here
A content calendar is an essential part of any SEO or marketing strategy. It helps you stay organized and ensures all your content works together to achieve your larger goals. We’ve provided a helpful SEO content calendar template that can be used in Google Sheets, Asana, Notion, or any tool you like. Make sure to download it and use it to plan out your next 12 months of SEO and marketing success!
And if you want to take your content plan to the next level, let us plan it out for you. We offer complete content planning and writing services that take care of everything.