What Challenges Arise When Aligning Content Strategy With SEO Goals?


    What Challenges Arise When Aligning Content Strategy With SEO Goals?

    In the quest to harmonize content creation with SEO objectives, we've gathered insights from sixteen experts, including Senior Content Strategists and CEOs. They tackle challenges ranging from adapting to algorithm changes to maintaining brand integrity over keyword stuffing, offering a roadmap for successful SEO-content alignment.

    • Adapting to Algorithm Changes
    • Focus on Quality Over Keywords
    • Merging Creativity with SEO
    • Balancing Niche Content with SEO
    • Prioritize User Experience in SEO
    • Content Quality Over Keyword Density
    • Leverage AI for Authentic SEO Content
    • Understanding Customer Search Behavior
    • Invest in In-Depth, Quality Content
    • Set Realistic SEO Timeline Goals
    • SEO Audit for Effective Content Strategy
    • Experience Matters in SEO Writing
    • Balance Keyword Optimization with Value
    • User-Centric Approach to SEO
    • Data-Driven SEO Integration
    • Brand Integrity Over Keyword Stuffing

    Adapting to Algorithm Changes

    There are many challenges that may arise when aligning a content strategy with SEO goals. One that I've faced is staying up to date with the algorithm changes and being able to adapt the strategy for a client in order to maintain rankings. Whenever Google updates its algorithm, rankings change, which can impact traffic and conversions. There is no process to overcome this challenge, but rather ways to work through the difficulties these changes bring. First, understand the algorithm changes and what will be impacted, then create a plan to reclaim any lost rankings. While you are doing this, take note of the new websites ranking above you, and be sure to monitor those in the future to see where you stack up against the competition. Long-term, it's best to stay updated on Google updates, practice SEO best practices, and monitor your competition.

    Jordan Figueredo
    Jordan FigueredoSenior Content Strategist, Online Optimism

    Focus on Quality Over Keywords

    So, we had this client, right? We mapped out this killer content strategy based on some serious keyword research—like over 3,000 keywords. But here's the kicker: When it came to actually writing the content, we realized we were missing the mark. We were so focused on hitting the right keyword difficulty and search volume balance that we struggled to infuse the content with real expertise.

    So, we switched gears. We teamed up with the client and brainstormed the juiciest topics related to their top products. Then, we did our keyword research based on those topics. And you know what? It worked like magic! Within just two months, we helped them go from no rankings to dominating Page 1 with a whopping 64 rankings. Lesson learned: Quality content, backed by strategic keyword research, is the real game-changer.

    Zavier Dinwiddie
    Zavier DinwiddieDirector of Marketing Operations, LeaseMyMarketing

    Merging Creativity with SEO

    Navigating the line between creativity and SEO has been my biggest hurdle. Merging storytelling with keyword research takes a lot of skill. You must be able to manage the brand's voice and gain search engine visibility. It can be done when you can switch your brain from right to left and then back again.

    Marc Apple
    Marc AppleStrategist, Forward Push - Marketing & Advertising

    Balancing Niche Content with SEO

    Our content strategy is centered around thought leadership and sharing our expertise. We're frequently addressing branding issues most people haven't considered, which means no one is searching for that answer. When a potential client reads our content, they often have an 'Oh! I hadn't thought of that! I'm so glad you brought that up' reaction, which we didn't want to lose. To balance that niche content with SEO goals, we alternate what we consider more SEO-friendly educational resources (e.g., 'What makes a good logo?') with the very specific advanced content. This strategy works well because the basic information brings people to our site, and then our more in-depth pieces keep them engaged and position us as thought leaders.

    Liz Kelley
    Liz KelleyContent Marketing Manager, Focus Lab

    Prioritize User Experience in SEO

    One significant challenge SEO experts, marketers, and business owners might face in aligning their content strategy with SEO goals is striking the delicate balance between keyword optimization and creating valuable, engaging content. It's something our SEO agency has had to balance, and we have often discussed it; it's something you must always monitor.

    Often, there's a temptation to prioritize keywords over user experience, potentially resulting in content that feels forced or lacks authenticity. Overcoming this challenge involves conducting thorough keyword research to identify relevant terms while also prioritizing user intent and crafting content that genuinely addresses their needs and interests. This means ensuring that the content provides value, answers questions, and engages the audience, rather than solely focusing on keyword density.

    By maintaining this focus on quality and relevance, we're able to create content that resonates with both users and search engines, ultimately driving organic traffic and achieving our SEO objectives.

    William Hogsett
    William HogsettCEO, Seota Digital Marketing

    Content Quality Over Keyword Density

    Balancing good content with SEO is tricky. At first, I was too focused on fitting in as many keywords as possible, and it made the writing feel less natural. This approach wasn't doing us any favors—it made our content less enjoyable to read and didn't really help with connecting to our audience.

    The game-changer was when I started focusing more on what our readers actually wanted. Instead of making keywords the main goal, I used them as tools to make our content more findable without compromising its quality. By writing in a way that first and foremost answered our audience's questions and concerns, and then carefully adding keywords where they made sense, we managed to create content that was both useful to our readers and performed well in search results. This approach made our content better and more relatable, showing that it's possible to meet SEO goals without losing your content's heart.

    Bhavik Sarkhedi
    Bhavik SarkhediGrowth Head & CMO, Content Whale

    Leverage AI for Authentic SEO Content

    One challenge I've encountered as the owner of an SEO agency, when aligning content strategy with SEO goals, is striking the delicate balance between optimization and authenticity. It's essential to ensure that content not only ranks well in search engine results but also resonates with the target audience on a human level. Overcoming this challenge involves leveraging AI-powered tools to gain deeper insights into user intent and preferences, allowing us to craft content that is both optimized for search engines and genuinely valuable to readers. By embracing a data-driven approach and constantly refining our content strategy based on performance metrics and user feedback, we've been able to navigate this challenge successfully and drive sustainable organic growth for our clients.

    Sean Chaudhary
    Sean ChaudharyCEO, AlchemyLeads

    Understanding Customer Search Behavior

    As the founder of First Pier, an E-commerce Growth Agency, I've grappled with the challenge of ensuring our content strategy aligns with our SEO goals, particularly in the e-commerce sphere. One specific challenge we encountered was increasing the organic visibility of a niche product line without compromising the user experience with overt keyword stuffing. The key to overcoming this challenge was to delve deep into understanding the search behavior and intent of our target customers. For instance, we discovered that customers looking for eco-friendly home products used very specific search queries that were not initially on our radar.

    Leveraging this insight, we crafted content that naturally incorporated these specific terms and queries, focusing on providing value through informative blog posts, how-to guides, and product descriptions that answered potential questions. This approach helped to improve our organic search rankings significantly while enhancing the user experience. By meticulously analyzing the performance of our content using tools like Google Analytics, we were able to fine-tune our strategy. The process included regular updates to our content to retain relevance with changing search trends, demonstrating the importance of agility in content strategy to meet SEO goals. This method resulted in not just increased traffic but also higher engagement and conversions, illustrating the effectiveness of a well-aligned content and SEO strategy.

    Steve Pogson
    Steve PogsonFounder, First Pier

    Invest in In-Depth, Quality Content

    One of the biggest challenges I've faced in aligning content strategy with SEO goals is balancing unique, high-quality content with keyword optimization. It can be tempting to over-optimize for keywords to improve search rankings, but this often leads to thin, repetitive content that doesn't resonate with readers or build brand credibility.

    A few years ago, my team was tasked with improving our SEO rankings for a competitive industry term. Rather than creating multiple superficial pieces of content packed with that keyword, we invested in an in-depth, data-driven resource on the topic. It combined industry insights, original research, and actionable advice. This comprehensive content piece ended up ranking highly for our target term, but more importantly, it established our brand as a thought leader and has driven a high volume of organic traffic and links over time.

    In my experience, the most effective SEO strategies are built on useful, authoritative content. Focus on creating resources that address real questions and provide value to your audience. Optimize for keywords and search intent, but don't sacrifice quality or uniqueness. With the right content, you can achieve both: strong rankings and a loyal readership.

    Gert Kulla
    Gert KullaCEO, RedBat.Agency

    Set Realistic SEO Timeline Goals

    One challenge often encountered when aligning content strategy with SEO goals is the expectation of immediate results. It's easy to put SEO goals in place and want to see a difference overnight, but SEO can take time. Realistically, SEO can take anywhere between three and six months to see the full effect. While you may notice initial jumps in keywords after you upload SEO-optimized copy, you may not see how the SEO work affected the number of qualified leads coming in until a few months later. Knowing this, it's better to set some goals for six months out or more. For example, one goal could be to increase qualified SEO leads by 30% by month six of doing SEO. To make sure you're on pace to hit this, it's beneficial to set smaller, benchmark goals leading up to that six-month mark. For example, these goals could be something like 'upload two pieces of SEO-optimized content per month' or 'rank in the top 10 for x amount of keywords by month three.' These goals are not only more realistic, but they will help you stay on pace with hitting your bigger, more long-term goals.

    Evan Freemon
    Evan FreemonSales and Account Manager, iCONN Systems

    SEO Audit for Effective Content Strategy

    Launching our entirely new website allowed us the opportunity to completely evaluate and assess our existing site's SEO techniques and effectiveness. When managing a number of clients, it can become frustratingly difficult to conduct an SEO audit of your own content—particularly when considering that the changes required may take a considerable amount of time.

    With the template of our new site planned, we took the time to focus on the content that would be placed on each page. Many of our pages are devoted to specific sectors, industries, or services, and this provided us with an opportunity to assess the relevant SEO keywords to feature on each page, as well as the related content being produced moving forward.

    We outlined this by separating the services, sectors, and industries into individual tags on 'Ahrefs', and then analyzing the most efficient keywords to track for each tag. This led to a combination of short-, mid-, and long-tail SEO keywords that we could tailor content around when populating the landing pages.

    Additionally, when moving forward and creating blogs, case studies, and articles, we can use the Ahrefs keyword tracker to highlight viable, relevant keywords to incorporate into the content—this also allows us to tangibly track and review the efficiency of our SEO strategy, and shift our focus onto different content moving forward.

    Jordan Dennison
    Jordan DennisonMarketing Executive, Growth Labs

    Experience Matters in SEO Writing

    One of the biggest challenges we've faced when it comes to aligning our content strategy with our SEO goals is the production of low-quality content. And I think it just comes down to one thing: writer experience.

    Including keywords in your content to help it perform better doesn't seem difficult, and it isn't, but what is difficult is including those keywords while still making the content sound natural. Your audience wants to read content that is written well, not content that's written in a way that makes it perform well. It's all about the experience.

    Seasoned writers know how to incorporate keywords in a way that makes them not noticeable at all, while novice writers tend to insert the keywords in a way that causes them to look forced—and that reduces the quality of the content and limits its potential.

    Lauren Carlstrom
    Lauren CarlstromCOO, Oxygen Plus

    Balance Keyword Optimization with Value

    One challenge I faced when aligning content strategy with SEO goals was striking the right balance between keyword optimization and providing valuable, engaging content for users. It can be tempting to overly focus on keyword inclusion to improve rankings, but this can result in low-quality content that doesn't resonate with the audience.

    To overcome this challenge, I focused on conducting thorough keyword research to identify relevant keywords and phrases that align with the content goals. I then integrated these keywords naturally and strategically within the content, ensuring they fit organically without disrupting the flow or relevance of the information provided.

    I emphasized creating high-quality content that delivers value to the readers. This includes conducting comprehensive research, presenting unique insights, and providing practical solutions to their queries or problems. By prioritizing user satisfaction and addressing their needs, the content becomes more engaging and shareable, ultimately benefiting both SEO rankings and the target audience.

    Alex Lirette
    Alex LiretteCEO, Orbital Seo

    User-Centric Approach to SEO

    When attempting to synchronize our content strategy with SEO objectives, we were confronted with the difficulty of striking a balance between search engine optimization and the production of user-centric, valuable content. In the beginning, we discovered that keyword density and search engine rankings took precedence over delivering content that was meaningful to our audience. To surmount this, we shifted our strategy to place greater emphasis on comprehending the intent and interests of our audience. We performed extensive keyword research in order to identify pertinent topics and seamlessly incorporated them into our content. In addition, we prioritized the development of engaging, high-quality content that catered to the requirements of our audience and offered valuable insights. By simultaneously optimizing for SEO and placing an emphasis on user experience, we achieved a harmonious equilibrium that bolstered our search engine rankings and increased audience engagement.

    Jessica Shee
    Jessica SheeSenior Tech Editor and Marketing Content Manager, iBoysoft

    Data-Driven SEO Integration

    Drawing from my background in engineering and digital marketing, I focused on integrating SEO seamlessly without compromising content quality. This approach involved using data-driven insights to inform content creation, ensuring it not only ranked well but also resonated with our audience. By leveraging marketing automation and CRM tools, I was able to create a feedback loop that continuously refined our strategy, leading to improved engagement and organic growth. This blend of creativity and analytics has been key to achieving our SEO objectives.

    Daniel Lynch
    Daniel LynchPresident & Owner, Empathy First Media

    Brand Integrity Over Keyword Stuffing

    One of our biggest problems is a dominant competitor stuffing keywords into their name on Google. Keyword stuffing in their name gives them a significant rank boost—especially on Google Maps/local pack. We tried the same and saw that we immediately jumped up several spots on Google Maps, even surpassing this competitor, but it detracts from the brand. In the end, we removed the keywords after only a few days and went back to just having our real name in the listing. Having a clean, consistent brand is more important than having the top ranking because the top ranking can be obtained through other methods. Yes, keyword stuffing and other spammy tactics are effective, and no, Google no longer does anything about it, no matter how you report it, but we didn't like how spam waters down our brand. So instead of keyword stuffing, we've just focused on creating more content, optimized for search engines while still being catered toward the reader, and we've upped our backlink game. Backlinks are a useful heuristic for Google. The more sites link to you, the higher you tend to rank.

    Aaron Charlton, Phd
    Aaron Charlton, PhdScience Blogger and Entrepreneur, Away Clinic