Scaling your content efforts begins with strong processes. Processes that can be repeated, time and time again, with decreasing friction each time.
That doesn't mean your content should be formulaic, rigid or stale. Ironically enough, giving yourself a clear structure for how your format and go about creating your content can give you the freedom to experiment on top of solid footing.
So, in that vein, in this post we'll walk through a simple SEO content brief template (in Notion) to help you solidify at least one part of your content creation efforts.
The brief itself covers:
- Type/Style: e.g. 'Listicle', 'Review'
- Word count
- Target keyword
- Semantic related keywords
- Long-tail keywords
- Search intent
- Competing SERPs
- People also ask...
- Internal linking opportunities
With each new content piece, you can generate a fresh copy of this SEO brief in your database, then there are a couple more properties to note about this setup:
- Status: This lets you set the status of each brief, from 'Not started' through to complete;
- Archive: Once a brief is done and dusted, you can send it to your databases archive to clear up space:
- Created: Using Notion's 'Created' property, you'll also auto-populate this field with the date that the brief was created--which can be useful for sorting briefs by date.
If you're ready to go right away, get started with the 'duplicate it' box on this page.
Otherwise, let's go into a little more detail on each section of the SEO content brief template.
What's included in an SEO content brief
Type: The type of style of content is one of the first items to fill. There are some common formats and styles of content in the SEO and online content world, forms like:
- Review posts
- 'How to' posts
- Opinion pieces
- 'Ultimate Guide' posts
This section can help to give your writer a better sense of the type of content and formatting that's expected for this particular post.
Word count: How long should the post be? This is a helpful guideline for writers, and should be informed by the top results that are already ranking for your target keyword.
Target keyword: This is the main keyword that should appear in your URL and H1 tag. It's the centrepiece of your post... so yeah, it's kind of a big deal 🤷♂️
Semantic related keywords: These are other relevant terms and phrases that you want to make sure your post covers. They help to give context to your target keyword, and can also help you capture additional long-tail traffic.
Long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are queries that build on top of your main target keyword--often 3, 4 or 5+ words in length. Because they're more specific, they tend to have lower search volume. But, they can also be easier to rank for since these lower search volume queries typically have lower competition.
You can list any relevant long-tail keywords in this section of the brief, along with any notes about which are essential to include.
Search intent: Search intent is what someone is looking to do when they type in a particular query. There are four main types of search intent:
- Navigational: The searcher wants to go to a specific website or page. e.g. 'Facebook login'
- Informational: The searcher wants to learn something. e.g. 'What is SEO?'
- Transactional: The searcher wants to buy something. e.g. 'Nike running shoes'
- Commercial investigation: The searcher is considering buying something, but isn't quite ready yet. e.g. 'Best coffee maker under $100'
You can read more about search intent here.
Competing SERPs: 'SERP' stands for 'Search Engine Results Page'. When you type in a query and hit enter, the results that show up on the following page are known as the SERP.
Your goal is to get your post to rank on the first page of results for your target keyword. But, in order to do that you need to know what you're up against.
This section of the brief lets you drop in links to the SERPs for your target keyword, so you (and your writer) can see what kind of content is currently ranking, and what you'll need to do to beat it.
People also ask...: The 'People Also Ask' section is a relatively new addition to Google's SERPs. It's populated with queries related to the main SERP, and can be expanded to show even more questions.
This is a great way to come up with ideas for new content, and can help to give your writer a better sense of what searchers are looking for when they type in a particular query.
It can also be a good way to add some additional related keywords to the bottom of your post--in a way that's likely relevant to the reader!
Internal linking opportunities: Internal links are simply links from one post on your website to another. They help search engines like Google understand the relationship between different pieces of content on your site, and can also help improve SEO by improving the flow of link equity around your site.
This section lets you add in links to other related posts on your site, so your writer can include them as they see fit.
How do you create a content brief for SEO?
If the brief described covers all your bases, you can get started generating new content briefs by using the Notion template linked in the 'Duplicate it' box on this page.