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Essential Content Tools for SEO: The Editorial Calendar

18 Feb 2014 Elizabeth Choi

in Google, SEO, Strategy


essential seo tools for your content marketing photo by  indiamos on Flickr


Looking for a more effective way to utilize content in order to drive traffic to your site? An editorial calendar can not only help you keep track of the planning and execution of your content ideas, it can also be used to coordinate the publishing of your content to when your audience will most likely be searching for the keywords you want your site to rank for.

In this article, I will provide you with a framework based on seasonal events that can be used to plan out a lot of your content for the year, as well as a basic template for an SEO content calendar.

Map Out Your Keywords By Month

This first step is especially important to any business that experiences seasonality with its products and services. It will also help you to visualize what months you should be focusing on creating content for a particular keyword or keyword theme.

List out the months January through December on a spreadsheet, and then map out your keywords for your main products and services under those months when you would like to drive the most traffic to the site from those keywords, starting with the month before the peak season.

(Note: Your content should be already created and ready to be published about one month before you would like to see peak traffic to your site. You can also re-broadcast your content out to your social network during your peak seasons.)

For example, if the peak buying season for patio furniture is May through July, you will want to start publishing your content pieces in April. You can post these content pieces to Facebook and Twitter in April and again in May through July.

You will later use these keywords to fill the "Target Keyword" field of your content calendar.

Calendar Brainstorming 

If you’re in need of inspiration for content ideas, a good place to start is your humble wall calendar. From popular to quirky, there are many ways to riff on the idea of holiday and event. As always your content ideas should be relevant to your brand and be about a topic your target audience would be interested in reading.

Federal Holidays

  • New Year’s Day
  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • President’s Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Columbus Day
  • Veterans Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Other Holidays

  • Groundhog Day
  • Chinese New Year
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mardi Gras
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • April Fools’ Day
  • Earth Day
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Halloween
  • Election Day
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa

Annual Events

  • Tax Day
  • Black Friday
  • Cyber Monday
  • Daylight Saving
  • Back to School
  • Spring Equinox
  • Summer Solstice
  • Fall Equinox
  • Winter Solstice


Commemorative Days and Months

Trade Fairs, Industry Events, Awards

Trade fairs, industry events, and awards can be great topics, as long as your audience cares to read about them. A bookseller may be interested in hearing about major announcements from this year’s Book Expo. However, a person in the market for a plumber would probably not be interested in hearing about what happened at the annual pipe fitters convention.

Cultural and Sports Events

  • Oscars
  • Super Bowl
  • Game of Thrones premiere
  • World Series
  • World Cup
  • Kentucky Derby
  • Olympics
  • Release of this year’s blockbuster movie or book

Natural Events and Phenomena

New Products and Services

  • Own products and services
  • Products and services related to your industry (ex. announcement of the new iPhone)

New Store Locations or Expansion of Service Area

Announcements for new locations or an expansion of service areas are an excellent way to optimize for geo-modified terms.

Create Your Editorial Calendar

The last step is to create your SEO content calendar, which should have the following fields.

  • Draft date
  • Publish date
  • Author
  • Category
  • Tags
  • Article title
  • Target keyword
  • Meta title
  • Meta Description
  • URL
  • Call to action
  • Publish to social

seo content calendar template

Here's a basic template that you can use:  Editorial Calendar

I highly recommend using a product like Google Docs where multiple people can access and collaborate on one document at the same time. Just remember to keep a back up of your calendar elsewhere.

If you have a more ambitious content program that includes publishing short- and long-form blog posts, emails, videos, visual works, and white papers, you can add fields for content type, word count, audience segments, and creative production.

Hopefully this should give you a good foundation for your content planning and development. If you have any other creative ideas on how to fill out a content calendar, I’d love to hear from you. Happy content marketing!

Google SEO Strategy