1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. Content

3 Ways to Balance Creativity & Search Optimization in Content

Here are three tips to avoid losing your muse and ensure that your content will get the right attention from people and search engines.


This is a sponsored post written by SEMrush. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

What is the hardest thing in the process of content writing?

As a writer in the modern world of content marketing, you have to:

  • Take care of text optimization.
  • Make it a perfect fit for your audience’s needs.
  • Somehow stay creative.

Balancing these things might make even the most creative writer feel discouraged.

Here are three ways to avoid losing your muse and ensure that your content will get the right attention from people and search engines.

1. Research Your Audience Pains & Gains

You might have a perfect idea for the topic. You might think it’s an absolutely brilliant thing to write about. But what if no one else thinks so?

The best way to prove it is to ask people around… or Google.

Use the keywords related to your niche to see what people discuss. Good sources can be:

  • Quora.
  • Reddit
  • Other social media networks.

From these channels, you might get not only the idea of what people are interested in but also what language they use when they talk about a particular topic. Don’t hesitate to use it in your content.

The second way is to monitor what external blogs and media are writing about your chosen topic. You can also use Google for this – or get a little help from a content software.

With a Topic Research tool, you might get the complete set of information for choosing the topic with the highest relevance and ranking potential.

All you need is to enter the keyword and you’ll get an overview of:

  • The most trending subtopics based on the number of monthly subtopic mentions, search volume and difficulty.
  • Headlines that most people link to.
  • Questions people ask on the subtopic on forums.


The information you acquired can give you an understanding of whether your perfect idea is actually perfect based on data.

2. Check Competitors’ Performance

A clever man learns from his own mistakes, the wise man learns from the mistakes – and successes – of others.

Luckily, there are plenty of places to learn from, starting with your competitors’ posts. But what should you look at?

There are a couple of things to compare:

  • What subtopics under a particular topic do they cover? Do they have any gaps that are not covered yet and where you can “reserve a seat” for your company expertise? That might be a good hint about what ideas are worth writing (especially if on the previous step you realized that this idea gains interest from people) and what is already “occupied” by your rivals.
  • How well does their content perform? What articles are getting most of the links and social shares? What positions are these articles occupying in the SERPs? If you want to turn the information you gathered into actions, use the SEO Content Template to plan your article based on the analysis of your rivals’ content that appears in Google Top 10.

The tool provides you with clear SEO recommendations for future content, based on your initial topic/subtopic idea:

  • What keywords you should consider adding to your text based on the analysis of how your competitors use these keywords in their content.
  • How difficult the storytelling language should be to keep a reader interested. Check the section in the tool, called Key recommendations, which will give you semantically related keywords to enrich your text with advice on the readability score to stick to, text length, and sites to get backlinks from.


At this stage, you not only have the proven topic idea but structurize the future text according to the SEO requirements and competition on the SERP.

3. Ensure Your Content Compliance with SEO Requirements

Now, when you supported your idea with data and got the whole template form the future content, you can relax! (Well, that’s almost true.)

Writing is such a creative process that even with a clear plan you can step away from following your muse.

There is a solution to ensure your previous efforts realized accordingly – automatically check if the final version of your content complies with SEO-recommendations using SEO Writing Assistant.

Just install the add-on in Google Docs or WordPress, and check in real time how SEO friendly your text is.

There are several features to help you evaluate your new piece:

  • Overall score is a live metric that shows the article quality calculated on the basis of such factors as readability, words, target keywords. The closer the number is to 10, the better optimized your text is for search.
  • Readability evaluates how difficult it is for a reader to understand a text based on recommended Flesch-Kincaid reading-ease score.
  • Words calculates the number of words in your text and sets you a goal according to the average word count of your rivals’ content.
  • Target keywords are the core of your text. Check the recommendations regarding their volume and difficulty.
  • Recommended keywords are words semantically related to your seed keywords. Once you use them in your content, they will be highlighted with green in the doc.
  • Title shows you recommendations for your headline.
  • Plagiarism checks your text for plagiarized content.


These are the most important metrics that show how good your content is optimized and whether it is ready for the battle on Google’s Page 1. And this is the final step where you polish your creative idea.


At first glance it may seem like creativity and search optimization in content writing are not compatible. However, as shown above, there are a couple of tricks that will help you not only balance this two parts of content creation, but also create content easily and effectively.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by SEMrush. Used with permission. 
In-Post Photos: Images by SEMrush. Used with permission

Semrush Semrush

Semrush is a leading online visibility management software-as-a-service platform. With over 50 products, tools and add-ons across online visibility management, ...

3 Ways to Balance Creativity & Search Optimization in Content

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.