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A guide on how to write SEO content briefs

February 8, 2023

You need a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy if you want your web content to rank on search engines like Google. In this guide, we're going to help you make your web content more search-engine friendly through SEO-optimised keyword content briefs. This way, your website can gain the exposure it deserves, leading to better web traffic and, hopefully, more sales. Let's get started!

What is a content brief?

A content brief is a documented set of instructions and requirements used in content for marketing. It's given to writers as a guide while writing specific types of write-ups, i.e. blogs, articles, case studies, etc. The requirements usually included in these briefs are:

  • Word count
  • Title
  • Rough outline
  • Topic
  • Headings
  • Writing tone
  • Linking requirements
  • Visual elements requirements
  • Info about the target audience
  • Suggested keywords.

Most importantly, this brief provides an idea of the goal of the overall content for the target audience. By having this initial documented reference before writing, writers can stay on the path and avoid rewrites.

Types of content briefs

Several types of content briefs exist for various types of write-ups. Here are the different types of content briefs and where they're used:

  • SEO article brief: Used in creating SEO-friendly web content
  • White paper brief: Long-form document discussing a specific topic along with its problems
  • Creative content brief: Used in the creatives department; contains the summarisation of a certain advertising project
  • Video production brief: Includes information that should be included in the video output
  • Product page brief: A brief given to the product team that contains essential details such as goals, direction and specifications of an upcoming feature or a new product
  • Local SEO optimisation brief: Used to create SEO-friendly content for brands with physical locations. The brand will improve visibility in local Google search results when followed correctly.
  • Existing content optimisation brief: Used to update existing content to make it more optimised for search engines.

What is an SEO content brief?

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From the name itself, an SEO article brief helps writers create blogs and articles that eventually rank well on search engines such as Google once posted on your website. These briefs are provided before the writing process, and everything the content must have to rank. This way, everyone involved in the blog will know what to include in the write-up.

You can also define this type the same as a normal content brief, with the difference being that SEO briefs are targeted towards answering a specific query. This makes sense, considering that Google uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to interpret search queries and find the relevant results to provide to the user. For it to become optimised, a typical SEO article brief should contain details such as the following:

  • Keyword analysis (Primary and secondary)
  • Important questions to answer
  • Headings (H2s, H3s, etc.)
  • Semantic search terms
  • Topics and subtopics
  • Purpose of the writing piece
  • Target audience
  • Tone and voice
  • Entities
  • Target word count.

From there, the creator of the content brief should make a rough outline of what the eventual content would look like while these requirements are met.

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Why create an SEO content brief?

Among the objectives of creating a search engine optimisation brief, ranking high on the search engine results page (SERP) is the most important. That's because achieving high rankings means that your website will have higher visibility, get the most clicks from users and thus, experience more web traffic.

This is because users looking for answers to their questions online tend to view the links on the first page as having topic authority. These pages are instantly regarded as reputable sources, and that's what SEO content briefs help you achieve.

You can think of this brief as your content plan, which contains the guidelines the writer/s must follow to achieve your blog's overall goal. Aside from that, it also contains the content format, making the structure easier for search engines to crawl.

An SEO content brief also includes the keywords that writers need to include in the blog. These keywords are generated through top SEO tools your business needs, such as Ahrefs, which detects your topic's relevant and related terms and phrases.

What are the benefits of using SEO content briefs?

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Creating SEO content briefs before writing content for your website provides various advantages, such as impressive and consistent quality content. Learn more about this and other benefits in this section:

  1. Cheaper content production costs

Without a content brief, your writers may produce an underwhelming output that's not up to your standards. Eventually, you'd likely have to pay additional to have it fixed. Having content briefs remove this tedious back and forth because these serve as guides for the people responsible for the project. 

  1. Consistent quality content

One of the most critical factors online users look for in content is consistency. That's why you want your brand to have a single voice, tone and quality across your content as much as possible. To achieve this, you need to create content briefs. This way, the quality of your content won't depend on the writer, regardless of who will be assigned to complete a certain task since they will be following your brief.

By providing helpful content with topical relevance, you can start establishing your online presence as a site that people could rely on when searching for answers to their queries.

  1. Improve your content’s search rankings

An SEO content brief provides the relevant keywords your content should have. Once Google sees that your page contains these specific words and phrases, it will see it as a prospect and display it high on its results page.

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How to write an SEO brief

To help your writer create the perfect blog that will garner the most clicks for your website, here's a step-by-step guide on how to write an SEO content brief:

  1. Nail down the topics you want to cover

The first step in creating an SEO content brief is nailing down a specific topic or search query that you want to write about. From there, you can list down the subtopics you want your writer to go through in the content. At first glance, it may not be much, but including these crucial points in your SEO content brief can grow your organic search traffic.

  1. Include and define your target market

Knowing and defining your content's target audience is vital as it helps you adjust your writing process to fit their needs. For instance, if your topic is about 'how to write SEO content briefs', your primary target audience may be industry beginners looking to learn this subject. Once you find out your target audience, you can begin creating a rough draft of what your content will look like when it's finished.

  1. Do some competitor analysis

One of the goals of content planning is to outrank other pages that solve the same query as you. That's where competitor analysis comes in. To define your competitors, you must search your keyword or query on Google and look at the top three displayed pages. 

Analyse them and make the necessary adjustments to your content to find out how you can beat their rankings on the results page. For example, if their answers don't directly address the user's question, you can make your page unique by providing a straightforward solution. 

For more thorough research, you can also use SEO tools like Ahrefs to find organic competitors. But to do this efficiently, you'll need the complete guide to competitor link analysis and follow it seamlessly.

  1. Use SEO tools for keyword research

One of the most important things you need to include in your content brief is the set of keywords (KWs) related to your topic. There are two types of keywords that you should include in your brief: short-tail and long-tail. The former pertains to the ones that consist of 1 to 3 words while the latter are those that are longer and more specific. You need short-tail keywords for your casino content because they're the general words or phrases online users search for. They cast a wide net online and attract many users. 

On the other hand, long-tail keywords matter for your casino since they delve into more specific inquiries only a niche target audience searches for. Using these in your web content increases your brand's topic authority and overall online relevance.

To determine these specific terms and phrases, you can use SEO tools such as Semrush, AlsoAsked, Keyword Surfer and more. Once you've identified all your keywords, you can list the semantic keywords, which are also terms and phrases related to your main KW. 

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  1. Identify the search intent

The search intent pertains to why the target audience searches for their queries online in the first place. You can identify the search intent for your specific topic by typing it on Google and checking the SERP. By checking out the pages Google displays on its SERP, you can tell which types of content it tends to display. The 'People also ask' portion on the SERP also gives an insight into what users want to know about the topic. These include at least four related questions that can guide your content brief creation.

  1. Include entities

Over the past couple of years, the method of searching queries on the internet has changed into a much more conversational type. Back then, keywords were strictly used, but now, search engines like Google need to understand the context of the searcher's query. This is where entities come in. Unlike keywords which are specific words and phrases, entities are defined as expressions that search engines can understand.

Some examples of entities include:

  • Name
  • Concept
  • Event
  • Numerical expressions
  • Place
  • Location
  • Object.

You can think of these entities as puzzle pieces that search engines piece together to understand the searcher's intent. For instance, if the searcher types' the cheapest gaming laptops in Malaysia', here's how a search engine may understand it: 

  • Object: Laptop
  • Numerical expressions: Cheapest
  • Location: Malaysia.

SEO content brief template: What it looks like

SEO content briefs are essential as they serve as guides for your content. To help you create your content brief, we've provided a template you can use to base your documents on. 

Here is the basic information a content brief should have:

TopicThe main focus of the articleSuggested anglesPotential title
Word count500 words/1,500 words, 2,000 words, etc.
Competitor analysisLinks to the competitor’s pages
KeywordsPrimary KeywordSecondary Keywords
Target audienceWho are you writing this for?
Topics and subtopicsUse H2s and H3s
GoalWhat are you trying to achieve with the article?
Linking requirementsLinks to other articles that need to be interlinked in the content

This SEO brief template contains all the information you need to create these briefs so you can use them as references whenever you need to. 

SEO Content Brief Example

Here's a sample of a content brief that follows this template. Below is a snippet of a keyword research sheet showing all keywords ranked according to their search volume, difficulty and traffic potential. 

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Below is a sample of an SEO brief outlining the content's body, including the word count, headings and entities:

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What to include in your SEO content brief

To ensure best practice in creating content briefs, make sure to include the following essential details:

  1. Searcher’s intent

Since one of your main goals in posting articles online is to educate your readers, you need to consider your searcher's intent before writing anything. One great way to find the answer is by simply typing the search query on Google and seeing how the search engine interprets it. When people see that their query will be answered on your page, they'll read the entire content. Once you nail down the searcher's intent for their query, you can document it in your content brief so the writer will know the right way to approach the blog.

  1. Format

One of the most important things you need to improve on your content is its crawlability which pertains to how well search engines like Google analyse and read your page. If Google can quickly scan your page, it will rank it high on its results page. Thus, you should follow a nicely-formatted structure that correctly uses headings (H2s, H3s, etc.) to improve your page's crawlability. This way, your readers and search engines can skim your page easily.

  1. Topics to tackle

Of course, you must include the topics you want the writer to tackle throughout your content. These will make up most of the body of your content and should be useful in answering the searcher's queries. That's why these topics aren't random and should be formulated once you figure out your searcher's intent. This ensures that you won't veer away from what the searcher is trying to answer when they initially went to Google for their queries. As previously mentioned, you can arrange all the topics/subtopics you want your writer to go through using headers.

  1. Target audience

You have to establish early on for whom you're writing the content. Once again, intent plays a huge role in this point, as knowing your target audience makes it easier for you to define what they're searching for.

  1. Keywords

Keywords are specific words and phrases that should be included in the content to increase your page's visibility. As with the topics, these aren't random but are formulated through keyword research.

Keyword research is finding out which specific words and phrases are typed by users on the search bar when searching for answers to their queries. Once you've discovered these keywords, you can include them in your content brief so the writer/s will know what to insert into the blog seamlessly. Once Google sees that your content contains these specific words and phrases, it will display your page high on the results page. 

  1. Word count

Your content's word count or overall length matters since Google and other search engines tend to rank long-form content higher on their results page. Though Google confirmed that word count doesn't affect the ranking of a specific page, its algorithm has an easier time identifying what's written in your content if it's longer. It can be determined by many factors, namely your competitor's word count, the performance of your past posts, keyword research, etc. Consider these when making your content brief.

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  1. Content

The content itself should be included in this brief. This will make up the entire blog which is why the writer should be briefed about what should and shouldn't be included in the write-up.

  1. Competitor

One way to get an idea of how to rank high on search engines is by looking at the potential competitors that are out to answer the same query as you. That's why we recommend including your competitors in your content brief for your writers to consider when writing.

To do this step, type your keyword or query on Google and check out the top three results it displays. Click on these pages and analyse their content, as they're the ones you need to beat. You can also go out of your way and research your competitors' content yourself. This way, you can directly add notes to the brief on what they do that you need to do better to rank higher on Google.

  1. Brand

To make all the content consistent within a single client, they must provide a content brief that tackle's the brand's identity. From its tone to its voice and more, all these should be documented in the brief so the writers can shift their writing style accordingly.

  1. Entities

As previously stated, entities should be included in the content brief because they help Google understand your content better.

  1. Links

A great way to improve your content's SEO is by interlinking. That's why it's essential to indicate in the content brief the number of links you want to be included in the blog.

  1. Score

Finally, you need to include a FLESCH score goal for your writers to ensure that the content's readability is good. The higher your FLESCH score is, the easier it will be to read for your readers.

  1. Call to action (CTA)

A great way to cap off your content is by adding a call to action, or CTA for short. These are usually inserted in the conclusion section, and their purpose is to urge your readers to take action related to your content.

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What the SEO content creation process all boils down to

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SEO content briefs optimise your content, so your page can rank well on Google and other search engines. By having these set requirements and recommendations before producing your content, the people involved in the project can stay on track and help achieve your brand's goal. Moreover, this will help lessen frustrating rewrites, and all you have to worry about will be slight tweaks that will improve your content.

That's what you can expect from us here at QWERTYlabs. Trust us to deliver the all-inclusive quality SEO aid you need, from efficient content creation to tested brand protection services. Feel free to contact us and get a quote anytime.

Frequently asked questions on SEO content briefs

Why are content briefs important for marketing?

Content briefs align your web content with users' queries. By using SEO tools and determining target keywords, search intent and other factors to create a content brief, you can ensure that your content has all the relevant information users are looking for. This can rank you higher on SERPs, increase your visibility and generate more clicks and conversions.

What to avoid when writing SEO-focused content briefs?

When writing SEO-focused content briefs, try to avoid the following:

  • Unclear instructions
  • Vague goals and objectives
  • Confusing topics and subtopics arrangements
  • Lack of critical information
  • Not considering the target audience
  • Not including keyword suggestions.
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