Blog Growth

10 Tips for Creating a Top-Performing SEO Editorial Calendar

June 23, 2023

An SEO editorial calendar is an essential tool for any content marketer wanting to increase a website’s organic visibility. It can help your content marketing team stay on track with your SEO strategy and produce more rank-worthy content.

Putting together a top-performing SEO editorial calendar requires a strong understanding of your target audience and how they use search engines.

This article will cover the purpose and benefits of an editorial calendar for SEO. It’ll also suggest several tips for how to put this document together.

Your SEO calendar will be an amazing organizational tool with the right strategic approach. And will have all the necessary information your writers need to create content that ranks.

Still copying content into WordPress?

You’re doing it wrong… say goodbye forever to:

  • ❌ Cleaning HTML, removing span tags, line breaks, etc.
  • ❌ Creating your Table of Contents anchor ID links for all headers by hand,
  • ❌ Resizing & compressing images one-by-one before uploading back into your content,
  • ❌ Optimizing images with descriptive file names & alt text attributes,
  • ❌ Manually pasting target=“_blank” and/or “nofollow” attributes to every single link
Get 5 free exports

Publish Google Docs to your blog in 1-click 👇

  • ✅ Export in seconds (not hours)
  • ✅ Less VAs, interns, employees
  • ✅ Save 6-100+ hours/week
Check out Wordable now →

What is an SEO editorial calendar?

The primary function of an SEO editorial calendar is to plan out everything you need for your SEO content. That includes target keywords, titles, content briefs, topics, publication deadlines, and more.

Sample Editorial Calendar from HubSpot

(Image Source)

The primary goal of the calendar is to help the content you create work together toward your SEO strategy. More content can improve your reputation as an industry authority and thought leader in the SERPs.

Why do I need an editorial calendar for SEO?

Like your social media or email marketing calendar, editorial calendars help you stay organized in your SEO efforts.

They also help you keep larger goals in mind throughout the content creation process.

Lastly, they give your content creators all the information they need to create content with more ranking potential.

What makes an SEO calendar top-performing?

So what exactly do I mean when I say top-performing?

I mean, an editorial calendar that helps you achieve the following things:

  • More Keyword Rankings: The more keywords your web pages rank for, the more chances you have to get in front of new audiences
  • Higher Ranking Positions: The higher quality of your content, the more likely you are to rank on page one for valuable keyword searches
  • More Organic Traffic: Together, more keywords and higher positions mean more organic traffic to your web pages
  • Higher Domain Authority: With more high-quality content on your website, more people will likely consider linking to it. More backlinks will increase your Domain Authority and your reputation in the eyes of search engine crawlers

And bonus: The content you add to your SEO editorial calendar also has ancillary benefits to other areas of your digital marketing.

You can also use SEO content in social media, email marketing campaigns, or even during the sales process.  

10 tips for creating a top-performing SEO content calendar

The content strategy process may involve SEO strategists, content managers, writers, and others.

But regardless of the size of your team, the tips below will help you create content calendars that provide a roadmap to success.

1. Include 2–3 keywords per piece of content

The keywords you want to target with each piece of content are the most important information on your SEO editorial calendar.

You can use a keyword research tool to find the essential keyword metrics to choose keywords for SEO.

Keyword Research Tool from SearchAtlas

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Target keywords should meet the following criteria:

  • Relevant to your products or services and represent users that are somewhere in the marketing funnel
  • Have a significant amount of search volume
  • They should be a realistic goal, meaning a Keyword Difficulty score that’s attainable for your website

The total number of keywords that you optimize an individual piece of content for will depend on the number of similar or relevant keywords. Optimizing for a keyword cluster, about 2–5 keywords, can increase the total number of keywords your content ranks for.

Keywords in a cluster should share semantic relevance. Ideally, they’ll also have keywords with high search volume and cost-per-click metrics. Utilizing LSI keyword generators can aid in identifying semantically related terms, ensuring your content aligns with user intent and performs well in search engine results.

A Sample Keyword Cluster from a Content Planner Tool

 (Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

2. Use search intent to determine the content type

It’s also important to consider the search intent of your keywords, as it’ll inform the type of content that’s most likely to rank.

Keywords with Search Intent Metrics

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Google wants to show users the search results most relevant to their search intent. Here’s a general guideline for how that relates to content type.

  • Transactional: The user wants to make a purchase, so Google is more likely to rank product or service pages
  • Navigational: The user is looking for a specific website, so Google is more likely to rank homepages, About pages, or Contact pages
  • Informational: The user is looking for a specific piece of information, so Google wants to provide an answer. Informational keywords often return featured snippets from blog posts or long-form articles
  • Commercial: The user intends to make a purchase in the future but is still researching. As a result, Google often ranks listicles or long-form blog posts that compare multiple types of products or services

Remember, the above is general guidance, and you’ll want to look at the SERPs for your keywords and see what type of content is already ranking.

For example, take the below commercial keyword search, “best walking treadmill.” Google knows the user wants to compare treadmills and shows listicle-style articles in top positions.

Google search results for “best walking treadmill”

(Image Source)

If I wanted to create content that could rank for this keyword, I’d want my editorial calendar to note that the content should be in listicle form.

3. Generate optimized page titles

In addition to keywords and search intent, your editorial calendar should provide an engaging content title. Make sure the title includes the target keyword or variations of that keyword.

The page title will form the blue, clickable link of the SERP result and can significantly impact whether a user clicks. For example, blog posts with “Guide” in the title get three times more organic traffic, while blog posts including “How To” and “Guide” get even more.

You can leverage AI content generation tools, like text generators, to help you generate engaging page titles.

AI-Generated Blog Titles

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Your editorial calendar must list your article title so that some of the work of content optimization is complete before handing off content to a writer.

4. Provide a detailed content brief

Providing writers with a detailed content brief can help your content ideas move from the calendar to the creative process with a clear roadmap.

Example Content Brief Generated by AI

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Content briefs generally include the following information:

  • Suggested Page Title and Meta Description
  • H2 Headers
  • Target Word Count
  • Tone of Voice
  • Reading level or difficulty

Consider linking to a content brief from your calendar. Or, include some of the above details somewhere on your calendar so writers have the guidelines to create high-quality content.

5. Consider the author’s authority

When assigning articles, consider your writers’ areas of expertise and how Google will perceive them.

Google is now paying closer attention to who our content writers are and their areas of expertise.

For example, Google knows that I have author authority in SEO. If I were to write a piece of content about heart disease, it’s unlikely to rank against an article authored by an experienced medical professional.

So be strategic when assigning a byline to a piece of content. Also, make sure your creators’ bios communicate experience and expertise in the topic area of the content.

Author byline

(Image Source)

6. Organize your content by topics

Instead of focusing solely on the keywords you want to rank for, you should also be thinking about the larger “topic areas” of your website.

For example, my company/SEO agency LinkGraph has expertise in three primary areas: link building, technical SEO, and content creation. As a result, the content we create and publish on our website always falls under one of these three primary categories.

Content calendar with topic area highlighted

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Why is this “topic approach,” important?

Because experience and expertise are important to Google, Google wants to rank content created by industry experts. The more topical authority you build in specific areas, the more likely Google will rank content from your website for keywords related to that topic.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to include the “topic area” in your content calendar that each piece of content falls under. Doing this can also help you build content in each area of expertise.

7. Include suggested internal links

One crucial step content managers sometimes miss is thinking strategically about internal linking.

Internal links help search engine crawlers discover new pages on our website. Also, they are a key part of building topical authority in our topic areas.

So suggest internal links in the content brief or on your editorial calendar. Strategic internal linking is very beneficial to reaching your SEO goals. For example, if you are writing a blog post about grant writing tips, you could include internal links to other blog posts on your website about grant proposal templates, grant funding sources, and case studies of successful grant applications.

8. Set deadlines and stick to them

Besides a content strategy tool, you can also think of your editorial calendar as an SEO project management tool.

Your calendar can also include deadlines or a place to assign articles to specific writers.

Whether you manage your calendar on spreadsheets or a software platform, you can easily keep track of the status of content. Use labels such as “Assigned,” “In-Progress,” “Needs Review,” or “Complete.”

9. Leverage software in your content production workflow

Many software tools can help your content marketing teams optimize your content production. They can also speed up the execution of your SEO editorial calendar.

Finding a software platform will likely require some test runs until you find the right fit for your team. But they can be all the difference in speeding up your content strategy.

For example, tools like Wordable allow you to publish to your website directly from Google Docs. This integration can speed up the process of publication.

Also, content optimization tools like SearchAtlas, Semrush, or Clearscope can help you create fully-optimized content with better ranking potential.

An example of an SEO Content Platform

(Image Source: Screenshot by the author)

Many content marketing platforms and tools offer free trials so you can test out their features. In general, software speeds up the process of content production, and using it in your editorial process is a way to stay ahead of the competition.

10. Keep your editorial calendar populated

Consistency and commitment are key when it comes to content strategy.

Make sure to keep your content calendar populated with new content assignments. It’s the best way to ensure you’re always moving forward with growing your organic presence.

Users search for products or services like yours on Google in thousands of ways. The more content you create, the more opportunities you have to grow your revenue and make money with content.

Wrapping up

So there you have it. The information you need to create a top-performing editorial calendar for SEO.

A content calendar can be a strong roadmap and collaboration tool for your team, so be strategic and careful in developing it.

Focus on following your SEO editorial calendar, and you’ll likely see huge success in organic traffic.

Manick Bhan
Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning SEO and digital marketing agency. He is also the creator of the enterprise SEO software platform, SearchAtlas. SEO is his greatest passion and his life’s work. Follow him on Twitter at @madmanick for more SEO insights.
Manick Bhan
Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning SEO and digital marketing agency. He is also the creator of the enterprise SEO software platform, SearchAtlas. SEO is his greatest passion and his life’s work. Follow him on Twitter at @madmanick for more SEO insights.