Content Marketing Research Checklist for SEO

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Content marketing research must cover multiple fronts to generate SEO results. If you’re missing one, your SEO strategy may fall short. Make sure your research covers:

  • Site structure
  • Competitive analysis
  • Resource optimization
  • Site optimization

Here’s a checklist along with some tips to help you make sure your SEO strategy isn’t missing any essentials.

Site Structure

Your website architecture forms a foundation for effective SEO and should be included in your content marketing research. A well-structured website should include two key elements:

  • An organized navigational hierarchy which makes it easy for human visitors to find relevant content
  • An optimized technical infrastructure which makes it easy for search engine robots to crawl, index and rank pages on your site

These two elements are both essential, and they mutually support each other to help search engines guide human visitors to relevant pages on your site.

Organized Navigational Hierarchy

Google’s SEO optimization guide recommends that websites should use a naturally flowing hierarchy which makes it as easy as possible for visitors to go from general content to the specific content relevant to them. This strategy is known as using a “flat” website architecture. A flat architecture minimizes the number of clicks a visitor needs to get from the home page of your site to any other page. You can achieve a flat architecture by carefully organizing site navigational features such as menus, categories and internal links. Think in terms of “theme pyramids” which progress from general keywords to narrower long-tailed keyword phrases.

Optimized Technical Infrastructure

A good site architecture should also make it easy for search engines to navigate your site. Give each page a unique, short URL. Use canonical tags and the noindex attribute to avoid indexing duplicate URLs from categories and archives. Organize pages into content hierarchies through navigational menus and categories. Use robots.txt and sitemap files to guide search engines. Avoid barriers to search engines such as typos, broken links and JavaScript menus.

Competitive Analysis

To outrank rival sites on your target marketing keywords, your content marketing research will need to include a competitive analysis, covering:

  • Content types
  • Content themes
  • Content performance
  • Content cadence
  • Social performance

Identify what your competitors are doing on each of these fronts so that you can match and exceed their performance.

Content Types

What types of content are your competitors using? For example, are they posting blogs, e-books, videos or memes? How much content of each type are they posting? What is their content mix?

Content Themes

What themes do competing sites cover? Consider general topics expressed in natural language as well as long-tailed keywords used to develop these topics.

Content Performance

How are competing pages performing on target keywords? How are they ranking? How many backlinks are they getting, and from where?

Content Cadence

How often do your competitors post content? Do they post it at a certain time of the day?

Social Performance

How many likes does your competitors’ content get on social media? What kind of emoji reactions? How many shares? How many followers are they attracting?

Resource Optimization

Optimizing the content resources you place on your site forms another pillar of a winning content marketing strategy. Resource optimization should encompass:

  • Categorization
  • Keyword optimization
  • Content length
  • Content implementation
  • Historical optimization

Optimizing each of these items will help you get maximum SEO results out of the content you post.


When developing content, carefully consider which category it will get indexed under on your site. Make sure that when the content is posted, it gets categorized correctly.

Keyword Optimization

Choosing the best keywords and placing them correctly is vital for effective on-page SEO. Select keywords that represent a balance of high search volume and low competition. Place them in strategic spots in your posts, such as title tags, meta descriptions and headings.

Content Length

When developing content, consider how long your post should be. Different lengths are suitable for different types of content. According to the latest HubSpot data, the posts with the shortest average length are those which answer questions by providing definitions, which currently average between 1,300 and 1,700 words, but are shorter than 1,000 words about a third of the time. The next longest posts are those providing how-to information, which average 1,700 to 2,100 words. Listicles average 2,300 to 2,600 words, while comprehensive guides designed to serve as pillar posts may be 4,000 words or longer. These lengths represent averages, and shorter content can also get good results. Study what your competitors are doing to get a sense of what length to target.

Content Implementation

Content development must be followed up by careful deployment. Develop standard procedures for curating images to accompany posts, scheduling publication and following up with monitoring of comments and backlinking.

Historical Optimization

You can multiply the traffic you get from your content by periodically updating it, a strategy known as historical optimization. In many cases, you’ll find that the majority of your traffic comes from a limited number of posts. Information in these posts may become outdated over time. Periodically updating your posts can help keep your content fresh so that it keeps attracting traffic and engaging audiences.

Site Optimization

Optimizing your site forms a final pillar of effective content marketing research. Site optimization includes:

  • User experience (UX) design
  • Site flow
  • Main page keyword optimization

Managing these items will help ensure that after visitors land on your site, they will take actions that promote opt-ins and sales conversions.

UX Design

UX design aims to improve the experience of visitors who land on your site. It includes considerations such as making your site easy to see and navigate on mobile devices, providing tools to help visitors find content and making it easy for users to take desired actions.

Site Flow

Site flow maps the way users can click from one part of your site to another. Planning this out can help you develop calls to action which promote desired actions, such as opting into email subscriber lists or visiting sales pages.

Main Page Keyword Optimization

Your home page and each page of your site should be optimized for a single keyword phrase. This will help keep multiple pages on your site from competing for rankings on the same keyword.

Cover All Your Content Marketing Research Bases for Better SEO Results

A complete SEO strategy must encompass site structure, competitive analysis, resource optimization and site optimization. If you’re not experienced with SEO, it’s easy to miss one of these essentials. SimpleTiger has a decade of experience helping B2B SaaS clients achieve winning SEO results. If you want to ensure your SEO strategy drives traffic and generates conversions, schedule a discovery call to get in touch with our team of experts today.

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