Content Marketing

How to Write SEO-Driven Content That Customers (And Search Engines) Love

If your SEO-driven content feels as memorable as yesterday’s weather forecast, it’s missing the mark. Search engines — as well as your target customers — breeze past generic SEO content like a billboard on a highway, leaving your traffic in the dust. So much for climbing to the top of high-volume search engine results pages (SERPs).

But the problem (probably) isn’t the writing. It’s that the old-school strategies you’re using for SEO quick wins just don’t work anymore. Search engines now focus their attention on what your target customer has craved all along: deep expertise, genuine value, relevant answers, and a meaningful connection.

Brands that deliver this type of SEO-driven content unlock demand for their business and coveted high ranking on SERPs. It’s a win-win scenario, where both your brand and your audience get what they’re searching for in the digital landscape.

It’s time to bid farewell to the dark ages of keyword stuffing and create a content marketing strategy that feels like a digital treasure chest for your target customer. Here’s how to create SEO-driven content that stands out from the competition.

Creating SEO-Driven Content Customers Care About

As a content professional, I realize you may not have all the resources you would need for great SEO content creation in an ideal world.

If your organization is young with immature marketing processes (or not-so-young with immature marketing — we don’t judge)…

If it doesn’t have a robust voice of the customer or customer advocacy practice…

If you have siloed customer-facing operations…

If you operate in a regulated industry far from your end user…

…then it may be hard for you to get clear about who you are writing for and what they care about. (There are dozens of other reasons why that clarity could be elusive—these are just a few.)

But even in that black hole of customer insights, consider these four pieces of SEO advice to build a stronger foundation for your content.

Get Specific About Your Audience

Who do you think reads your SEO-driven content? And is that person your buyer?

Too often, SEO content creation is part of an elaborate fishing expedition for brands. We write this content to cast a broad net over hundreds or even thousands of people, knowing that only a small fraction of those we lure in are even in the market to buy what we sell.

For enterprise B2B companies, the math gets even worse. The people doing an organic search on the topics we write about are probably not our target buyers but rather someone far down the organizational hierarchy. In other words, we are writing content to capture attention from the wrong eyeballs.

Yes, we may get lucky. And yes, we have different audiences — prospective customers as well as members of the media, influencers, investors, partners, and so on. But the odds of reaching relevant eyeballs are definitely not in our favor when we’re using an SEO content marketing strategy that’s for the masses instead of your target customer.

So, go back to basics. First, define your ideal audience — you should be able to imagine a specific customer, including their lifestyle, values, problems, and passions. Then, base the goals and KPIs for your content and SEO strategy on reaching those unique individuals. Doing so in an honest way will very likely result in your putting much less emphasis on volume (i.e., how many website visitors, for example) and more on quality (i.e., are they the right visitors?). It’ll also make your SEO-driven content more relevant to readers.

Solve Customers’ Problems With Your Content

If you want readers to engage with your content, you’ll need to write about things they actually care about — not about keywords. Knowing the problems your customers need to solve can help you confidently create SEO-driven content that:

  • Focuses on what your audience is hungry to learn about
  • Delivers relevant information in formats that work best
  • Stays specific and on brand, rather than adding to all the online “noise”

Knowing is not easy, however, for the reasons discussed. Modern techniques like customer sentiment analysis can surface these kinds of insights, but they require a budget, which could be hard to get. There is also a wealth of information available from public sources such as industry forums, survey results, and comment threads on social media. Plus, don’t overlook the sources your organization already has on hand but hasn’t yet incorporated into its SEO and content marketing strategy. For example:


If you have a sales department (whether you’re B2C or B2B), make friends with some of the reps and ask what they hear in the field. Are they seeking customers, or do the customers find them (hunting vs. gathering)? What problems are customers looking for your company to solve — and can your organization solve them? What’s causing their biggest pain points?


Seek out internal reports or insights about the most common complaints or issues customers have with your product or service. How does your brand, product, or services make their lives easier? What do they want from it that it’s not providing? What are they happy with? Customer analytics can inspire the SEO content your target audience is looking for online.


Seriously — whether you work for a B2C or a B2B company, you may have friends that fit the profile of your firm’s target customer. Ask to interview them about the opportunities or challenges they face related to your market and what they would like to learn. Incorporating those insights in your SEO content boosts your chances of reaching your target customer and earning a high rank on SERPs.

Infuse Your SEO-Driven Content Strategy With a Point of View

This one is probably the hardest to realize but also the most impactful: You need a point of view. It will be much easier to draw attention to your organization’s SEO-driven content if it has a concrete and distinct perspective on subjects that customers care about. In contrast, if your SEO content espouses undifferentiated ideas, it will never get high enough to produce measurable SEO results.

To help develop a point of view for your brand, seek out subject matter experts in your organization and listen to the way they talk and share ideas. Are there certain words or phrases they use frequently? Do they have strong opinions on issues affecting your target audience? These insights can feed directly into your SEO-driven content.

Work with these experts to build a distinct voice and tone or perspective. This is particularly powerful if the subject-matter expert is in a similar role or position to your target buyer — they will have unique credibility and influence. And this is exactly the material you need to create smart, bold content your audience wants to read.

Write SEO-Driven Content That’s Actually Interesting

All of my SEO advice essentially amounts to a call to action to write interesting stuff — period. That should be the standard to which we hold all business content.

So flip the SEO content creation process and start with subjects that matter, that are deeply interesting, and that you have something important to say about — not with the high-volume keyword your company wants to rank for.

Ask yourself: Is this subject important and timely? Does your target audience care about it (or should they)? Does your company have the expertise to deliver a thoughtful take on the topic? And does your organization have something to say about it that hasn’t been said already by basically everyone else? Start there. A quadruple yes means you go ahead, build your creative brief, and then see how the topic and the frame you set up for it can align with the SEO keywords you’ve prioritized.

That may seem apocryphal. Well, I say businesses shouldn’t write opportunistic SEO-driven content to which they add zero value. It costs too much — both in terms of resources and brand value. And frankly, it’ll reflect poorly with your customers. Create the interesting, relevant content your audience deserves and you’ll score influence, along with the search results to match.

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