Head of SEO & Content
Talking about creative SEO seems a contradiction in itself. To do good SEO we need to have data on our side.
In fact, copy and SEO don’t always get along. While a copy seeks to relate a story in a much more creative way, SEO always tries to land that story in the information that the search engine (and the user) needs.
Fortunately, I will say that creative SEO exists and that both aspects can coexist. It is not always easy, especially in certain topics, but it can be the key for a content to really make the customer fall in love with it.
If we make the search engine fall in love but not the public, we will only have done half the work and we will not achieve our goals.
On the other hand, I also want to say that not all content should be SEO. It is possible to make content more related to branding and brand image in which SEO criteria are not met.
In addition, we can de-index them so that it does not affect the overall positioning of the website. They can be shared on social networks, through a newsletter or simply be available to those who browse the different tabs of the website.
These contents do not have to respond to SEO guidelines, so here we can be as creative as we want.
However, that is not what I want to talk about today, but the opposite case: how can we introduce creativity in SEO? How can we provide that extra beyond keywords, the writing and structuring of texts and the more technical aspects?
In short, how can we add just the right amount of spice to a perfectly cooked dish?
Incorporating creativity into SEO copy
Probably the first thing that comes to mind is to add creativity in the way you tell the story. You can use a SEO structure of headings, good use of keywords and semantic fields and still be as creative as you want to be.
The goal of SEO content is to answer the user’s question. The way to do this, following some minimums, can be worked in different ways.
There is no limit on how we can tell. Storytelling can really coexist with SEO and in many occasions it is the best way to incorporate creativity.
In any case, I do think it is important to maintain the identity of the site. It doesn’t make sense for some content to have a very different style, but it is necessary to maintain stylistic coherence.
If we are talking about a blog, you can create a new section and separate it by categories or tags. Even so, everything must be placed within the identity that we have pre-established.
Within that identity there is room for everything, without going crazy and without turning our backs on SEO if we want to index those contents and check their performance.
For example, we can change to first person and speak from our own experience or, if we usually speak in first person, add a story or a tale that communicates what we want to tell.
All this is about text, but as we will discuss later, there are other types of content that we can also use and where creativity will play an even more decisive role.
Titles and meta-descriptions
One of the places where we can play more with creative SEO is in the titles and meta descriptions of our articles. Although the SEO title should take into account the keyword we want to position, we have the option of using a more creative H1 that does not respond directly to the search intent.
The same goes for meta descriptions, which are one of the most important fields in the CTR of our articles. For this reason, we cannot get creative without forgetting the data.
It is important to measure and check if a more creative meta-description offers a higher CTR than a more traditional one, and you can easily check the data with Google Search Console.
If the creative doesn’t work, change the system. Don’t see it as a failure. It is, in fact, another opportunity to apply that creativity you are looking for. And in case you run out of ideas, going back to a meta description or a more descriptive SEO title may be the best option.
But at least you will have tried.
There will be times when you will be surprised. Of course, creativity should not be empty. You must put yourself in the shoes of your customer archetype. Speak to them with their own codes and with your interests in mind.
Don’t make the language seem impostured, especially in content aimed at young people. Otherwise we will become the famous meme of Mr. Burns dressed as a teenager and no brand wants to be THAT brand.
Titles are a good opportunity to bring out the writer in us, but if we don’t have the tools to do a good job, it’s better to go for something much more descriptive.
We can get very creative and metaphorical, but it is important not to forget that the user has to understand what we are referring to, if not with the H1, at least with the H2 or vice versa.
Creative keyword research
Creative SEO can also start much earlier, in our keyword research.
This is for me, really the biggest opportunity to do creative SEO. Of course, it also requires a previous study of your current audience and, more importantly, of the audience you want to reach.
We are not so much talking about what we say in the text but what we say in the text. The choice of topic can allow you to open up possibilities that you would never have imagined and that will allow you to reach much deeper into your audience.
In this sense, it is also important to bear in mind that not all SEO content should be focused on conversion. Through inbound marketing it is also about becoming a reference for the user so that when they reach the decision in their sales funnel, they remember us and keep us in mind.
For example, if we are a brand specialising in a specific food product, such as, for example, chia seeds and derived products, it may be interesting to move away from the standard keywords of “recipes with chia”, “benefits of chia seeds”, “how to eat chia” and jump to more general topics such as “healthy recipes for Christmas” where we can incorporate our product into a broader and more interesting topic.
We can even be more creative and search for “chia seeds: movies and series where they appear” and try to appear on Google Discover in those profiles interested in both chia and series and movies.
In this case, finding the keywords is more complicated because we won’t be able to search in competitors with our tools. However, it is probably also easier to position.
Similarly, in creative SEO we can be more flexible with search volumes. Keep in mind that search volumes are not an exact science.
That is to say, the volumes that the tools give us are estimates taking into account historical data. And, therefore, volumes can change according to circumstances.
That is why, for example, keywords related to Christmas or New Year’s Eve go up every year as the dates approach or, to speak of something unforeseen, keywords related to travel fell during the first COVID-19 confinement.
As Álvaro Vázquez commented in his article on how to recover the tourism sector after the COVID crisis, the moments when keywords are low and nobody is paying attention to them are a good time to focus on them and have a good starting position for when the recovery occurs.
Equally, we can identify keywords that have no searches at all but that we know will have them soon. We can do this with events of the future, with techniques or methodologies that have recently been implemented or with anything that we foresee will be important in the future.
It will be easy for us to put ourselves in first position and we will become the rival to beat. It’s a gamble and it may not get the volumes we expect, but it’s also a creative solution that we can apply in our SEO content strategy.
Images, videos and infographics
Finally, images, videos and infographics are another excellent opportunity for creative SEO. We already mentioned that it could help to improve Dwell Time, but it is also an opportunity to tell things in different formats.
Be careful with the weight and the page experience since after the last Google algorithm update Core Web Vitals are going to be essential in organic positioning.
Video and audio are key, because they allow us to play as much as we want without being crawled by Google. Even so, SEO on YouTube or podcast platforms are also elements we can play with.
As for images, they are also another of the aspects most valued by Google Discover, so it is not only an opportunity to be creative, but also to generate another opportunity for engagement with the user.