How to Create an SEO Content Calendar (With Template)

SEO Content Calendar

When you’re rolling out a content strategy, a lot of pieces need to be put into place. You’ve got writers to manage, graphics to create, and deadlines to meet. You also need to produce optimized content that sends strong leads to your site. An SEO content calendar helps you to do just that.

A content calendar is essential to organizing production. In this article, we’ll show you how a calendar helps manage your content and enrich your SEO processes.  We’ll also help you create an SEO content calendar by providing a template and tips on filling it with SEO content.

What Is an SEO Content Calendar?

A content calendar, also called an editorial calendar or a content plan, is a schedule that lays out when and where you’ll publish articles, blog posts, and other digital content. If social media is part of your marketing strategy (and it should be), you can also use a content calendar to plan your social posts for the next few months.

The calendar is a tool you can use to keep key details of your content strategy in one place. Need a reminder of what’s in the pipeline? Wondering who’s been assigned to the fintech piece? Pull up your content calendar. It should be accessible to and updated by your whole team so everyone can work in sync.

On a strategic level, an SEO content calendar breaks down the steps you’re taking to make an impact in the SERPs. The calendar also sets out the requirements of the page: audience, keywords, search intent, and goal. Each piece should have a purpose before it’s placed in the schedule.  

A content calendar has many benefits for product-based and service-based businesses:

  • Having your content planned several weeks or months ahead of time makes it easier to come up with ideas for an article or blog post.
  • Developing a content calendar streamlines your SEO strategy.
  • An editorial calendar can help you stay organized, eliminating the problem of publishing duplicate posts on the same site or forgetting an important publication deadline.
  • Content plans increase consistency, ensuring your site has a steady supply of new content to attract new visitors and improve your search engine rankings.
  • Creating an editorial calendar makes it easier to see gaps in your content marketing strategy.
  • If you work with multiple writers, a content calendar makes it easier to assign work and track each piece through every step of the editorial process.

What Should a Content Calendar Include?

Content calendars provide a snapshot of upcoming content — usually on a weekly or monthly basis — including the project title and due date. When you view individual entries, you can see key details such as:

  • Content title
  • Assigned roles (writer, editor)
  • Publication date
  • Status
  • URL slug
  • Graphic requirements
  • Links to project briefs
  • Notes

Some marketing teams expand this information to include search volume, target audience, meta title and description, funnel stage, and social media distribution. You may want to consider keeping these details in a content brief linked from the calendar to conserve space. 

The bottom line: Your calendar should be designed to incorporate the information that’s most useful to you as you oversee your content production.  

Tools for Creating Your Editorial Calendar 

For many businesses, a spreadsheet such as Google Sheets offers enough functionality to organize a content strategy. You can share the document, customize fields, use color coding, and create dropdown menus for changing the status of projects. 

If you require more capabilities, a specialized platform such as, Asana, Jira, or Trello can help you visualize workflow. Some of these tools enable team members to change view layouts and highlight their personal tasks. You can also drag and drop items as they’re assigned or moved through writing, editing, and QA.

You may need to explore these platforms to discover the right one for your needs before investing in a software right away. Ultimately, your content calendar should make work easier and more enjoyable, so take some time to find the right one. 

Download our SEO content calendar template

Our SEO content calendar template works efficiently as a hub for content marketing teams. It has a user-friendly interface, allowing you to view scheduled content at a glance and access details quickly.

Get the Template Now

Incorporating a Calendar Into Your Content Process

Before entering content ideas into your calendar, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure that your content performs well in the SERPs. To perform well with Google’s helpful content system, it’s important to deliver valuable content to your readers rather than publishing content with lots of keywords and  little to no benefit.

1. Conduct keyword research

SEO content begins with keywords — words and phrases customers are searching for. When you nail your keywords, you can tap into the right audience for your products and services. 

  • Primary keywords are the main terms in your SEO strategy. Ranking well for these keywords can drive thousands of new visitors to your site, increasing revenue and helping you build a stronger brand.
  • Secondary keywords can target a more specific audience. They often relate to a user’s search intent or reason for conducting an online search. For example, a recipe website might use “chicken recipes” as a primary keyword and “30-minute chicken recipes,” “chicken recipes with cheese,” or “slow cooker chicken recipes” as secondary keywords.

If you’re new to keyword research, here are a few ways to uncover search terms relevant to your website and readers:

  • Use SEO tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Moz, Semrush, and Ahrefs to get ideas. When you enter seed keywords, these platforms return a list of related keywords you can incorporate into your content.
  • Visit competitor websites to see what keywords other companies in your industry are using.
  • Consult with subject matter experts to find out which topics are most important to the people in your target audience.
  • See what long-tail keywords (three to five words) Google suggests when you start typing in search terms related to your product, service, or industry. For example, entering “all-terrain bike” brings up “all-terrain bike vs. mountain bike,” suggesting readers are interested in a comparison of the two types.
  • Survey customers to find out what information they’re interested in.
  • Run a content gap analysis to see what topics your competitors are ranking for but your website is missing.

2. Sort your keywords

Once you have a long list of keywords, sort them according to search volume and competition to determine which ones you want to target first. Your top priority should be keywords that have high search volumes and low levels of competition, as it’s easier to rank for these keywords than to rank for terms that have high search volumes and high levels of competition.

As you sift through the keywords, move terms with low search volumes to the bottom of the list. You shouldn’t ignore them entirely, but you don’t want to put a lot of effort into targeting a keyword that gets only 10 or 20 searches per month.

3. Develop content titles

Page titles are extremely important, as they tell readers what your content is about and give them a reason to keep reading. Titles also help search engines understand the focus of your website and determine if the content is relevant for specific keyword searches.

Although a good title should include your primary keyword, craft it with your readers in mind. If a title isn’t dynamic enough to draw them in, few people will take the time to read the entire page.

To make your titles as appealing as possible, follow these tips:

  • Explain exactly what the reader will take away from the article.
  • Promise to solve the reader’s most pressing problem.
  • Use numbers to help readers understand what to expect.
  • Share news you know your audience will care about.
  • Ask a question.
  • Incorporate adjectives to help your titles appeal to the reader’s emotions.

4. Schedule your content

When creating a content calendar, it is important to put each piece of content on the schedule. The calendar should follow a consistent publication schedule, whether that’s once a day or once a week.

For SEO purposes, it’s best to publish as often as possible, but frequency is less important than quality. Publishing two great posts weekly is a lot better than publishing low-quality content daily, especially when it comes to building your reputation and establishing your website authority.

For each title, write down a target publication date and where you plan to publish the content. When you’re done, you’ll have a schedule you can follow for several months or even a year. If you want to scale, consider outsourcing content, ordering several pieces of content at a time.

5. Write exceptional content

Once you have an angle in mind, determine what type of content you want to create. Articles and blog posts are some of the most popular types of content, but you have plenty of options: 

  • Listicles
  • Infographics
  • Case studies
  • Buying guides
  • Industry reports
  • White papers
  • Customer profiles
  • Q&As
  • Press releases
  • How-to guides
  • Checklists
  • Tip sheets
  • Fact sheets

Consider the search intent of your audience and the best format for addressing their needs and helping them accomplish their goals. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a little too. Diversifying your content can make your site more inviting to explore.

As your calendar fills up, assign roles to your in-house team or content agency and make sure they’re clear on deadlines so content is published on time. Use your editorial calendar as a road map for managing workflow, giving writers as much lead time as possible. They’ll need to research each topic thoroughly and consult industry experts when necessary. 

And here’s a pro tip: Provide writers with detailed content briefs that emphasize the importance of creating high-quality SEO content and following E-E-A-T principles.

** maybe an Insights from the Crowd quote here: “Think of your editorial calendar as the engine that keeps your content production humming. Each piece gets you closer to your ultimate destination — search visibility, organic traffic, and conversions.”

Integrating SEO Into Your Editorial Calendar

Search engines consider hundreds of factors when determining how to rank pages for specific search terms. When you create and implement a well-designed content calendar, you can send positive signals to Google and improve your positioning in the SERPs. 

Freshness factor

One factor Google considers is query deserves freshness, which applies to topics that change frequently. The QDF factor is the reason news sites tend to rank well for search terms related to current events — the more often they publish, the more accurate and up to date the content is likely to be. Use your SEO content calendar to set a consistent schedule, and stick to it to increase your freshness factor.

Content length

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the length of a blog post, research shows that the average Google first page result is around 1,400 words.  Using an SEO content calendar can help you to schedule plenty of lead time for writing and editing longer pieces of content. Make sure your team hasYour team should have time to thoroughly investigate a topic, find unique angles, and provide well-written, comprehensive insights.

 Semantic keywords

Semantic keywords are words that are closely related to your primary keywords. They typically provide more context, making it easier for both readers and search engines to understand what your pages are about. Google considers the use of semantic keywords when determining if a page is relevant for a specific keyword search. 

If you sell sneakers, for example, you might use “running shoes,” “athletic shoes,” “athletic trainers,” or “walking shoes” as semantic keywords. You can list semantic keywords in your content calendar for each page title to ensure that your writer knows what phrases to include.

Duplicate content

In some cases, a site may be penalized for having multiple pages with identical content. Even if you make a few edits to each page, the search engines can tell these pages are nearly identical, resulting in lower search engine rankings and fewer visitors to your website.

Without a content plan, it’s easy to publish multiple pages on the same topic without realizing it. Creating an SEO content calendar keeps you organized, ensuring you have just one page on each topic and helping you avoid duplicate content penalties.

Page quality

Search engines consider many factors when assessing the quality of a page, including grammar, spelling, reading level, and the availability of supplementary content. If you don’t have a content calendar, it’s difficult to stay organized, making it more likely that you’ll publish content with typos, grammar errors, or inaccuracies that could hurt your rankings.

Keyword usage

Your search visibility hinges on smart keyword usage. You have to identify the right search terms and use them in several places on a page, including the H1 tag, URL slug, title tag, description tag, and H2 and H3 tags. 

Keyword research ensures your website aligns with what your target audience is searching for and helps search engines determine page relevance. Set keyword requirements for each piece of content in your plan so your team knows at a glance which ones to use.  

Get Expert Help With Content Development

Need a partner to help plan your editorial calendar and create content that appeals to your audience? Crowd Content takes the guesswork out of writing articles, blog posts, white papers, case studies, and other digital content. Find out how our content creation services can support your team’s workflow, help scale production, and increase the flow of organic traffic to your site.

Rick Leach

Article by

Rick Leach, the Vice President of Content Operations at Crowd Content, is a seasoned professional in orchestrating large-scale content initiatives. At the helm of a dynamic team of content managers, QA specialists, and production assistants, he oversees the team’s production of high-quality content for businesses around the globe. Rick's expertise extends beyond operations management to providing strategic insights on scaling and producing outstanding content, making him a respected voice in the content creation industry.

Rick's journey in the content industry is preceded by more than five years as an Advertising Sales Manager at The Tampa Tribune, where he refined his skills in media sales and advertising. And his entrepreneurial spirit is evident in his successful 17-year venture as the proprietor of an e-commerce business.

On a personal front, Rick's life is as fulfilling as his professional endeavors. A proud U.S. Navy veteran, he enjoys a blissful family life, married with four children and a grandchild. Originally from New England but now residing on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Rick is an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots.

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