A search engine optimization (SEO) content brief is a set of instructions for creating content that is specifically optimized for search engines like Google.

Content briefs provide clear directions from SEO professionals to writers, so they know exactly what to write and how to write it for each type of content they are assigned. Writers who don’t adhere to a brief might have to rewrite elements of their content after a company reviews it.

SEO-optimized content can increase brand awareness and drive traffic to website pages, so an SEO content brief guides writers in creating content that will rank as high as possible on search engines. An SEO brief might be a few sentences long or include a template that details how a writer should create content. These templates might tell the content creator what headlines, subheadlines, and other elements to include in their writing.

What Are the Benefits of an SEO Content Brief?

Google and other search engines crawl content when determining its position on results pages. Including specific elements in a piece of writing, such as internal links and keywords, can increase the chances of that content appearing higher on result pages, causing more search users to see and click on it. A good SEO content brief clarifies which of these elements should be included.

An SEO brief can also be beneficial for writers. It helps them structure their content so they can fulfill the needs of their clients and provides direction on what to write about. Without an SEO brief, a writer won’t know their client’s requirements and preferences for content creation.

What Does an SEO Content Brief Contain?

Each search engine optimization brief is different. However, many companies include the following in these documents:

Keyword requirements

Perhaps the most important aspect of an SEO brief is the keywords a writer should include in their content. A brief, at the very least, will contain a primary keyword that a content creator must use in their writing. More detailed content briefs will have primary keywords, secondary keywords, and details for where to include them. For example, an SEO brief for an agency might have instructions that require a writer to include a keyword five times — once in the main headline, once in a subheadline, and three times in the main body of the writing.

Link requirements

A content brief might specify that a writer must include a certain number of internal links — links that direct to somewhere else on the website of the company the content creator is writing for. It also might give instructions about the number of external links a writer should include — links that direct to other websites on the internet, usually authoritative and trustworthy sources that improve SEO. Some content briefs might be more specific and tell a writer not to include links to certain internal pages or external websites that might belong to competitors or damage search rankings.

Other SEO factors

SEO content briefs sometimes ask writers to create meta descriptions, image alt texts, link slugs, and other elements that help a piece of content rank higher on search engines. Google, for example, favors content with title tags, which are snippets of HTML code in the header of a website page. Title tags help the search engine understand a content piece better, making it easier to determine its position on a results page. So if ranking high on Google is a goal for the content, the content brief may include title tags to use, or instructions on writing them.


An SEO content brief could also tell a writer about the preferred tone and style to use in a piece of content. For instance, a company might ask a writer to use a formal tone that matches their previously-written content. A brief might also include instructions about how a content piece should reflect a company’s brand values.

Target audience

SEO content briefs typically have information about the audience that will read the content. Say a company or agency wants to create a blog post for 18-24-year-olds in North America. In this scenario, a content creator must write a piece that will resonate with this audience, so the content brief will not only include that instruction, but will likely also include specific instructions on how to do so—for instance, phrasing to use or avoid, brands or trends to mention, keywords commonly searched by that audience, etc..

Word count

An SEO content brief will almost always specify the number of words a content creator must write. For example, an SEO brief for an agency might stipulate that a blog post be 500 words long. It may also specify a range, say 1000-1200 words.


A content brief might require writers to include a certain number of images in their content and tell writers where they should source these images.

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Tips and Strategies for Creating an SEO Content Brief

Creating a well-structured and comprehensive SEO content brief is an important part of ensuring that your content is optimized for search engines.
Here are some tips and strategies to help you create an effective SEO content brief:

Understand your target audience

An effective SEO content brief begins with a clear understanding of your target audience. Spend time researching their needs, interests, and online behaviors. This informs the type of content that will resonate with them and the keywords they may use when searching for information related to your business.

Carry out keyword research

Keywords are crucial in SEO. Use keyword research tools to identify high-volume, low-competition keywords that align with your content. Once this is done, focus on long-tail keywords that have reasonable search volume and lower competition and incorporate these keywords naturally throughout the content.

Consider search intent

Understanding the intent behind users’ search queries is vital for creating content that satisfies their needs. You should include in your brief the type of content (informational, transactional, navigational, or commercial) that aligns with the target keywords’ search intent.

Focus on topic clusters

To enhance SEO, it’s beneficial to create content around topic clusters. This involves identifying a broad topic and creating several related pieces of content that cover that topic in detail. This strategy can improve your site’s authority on the subject and boost your SEO efforts.

Incorporate on-page SEO elements

It’s important to optimize your content for on-page SEO elements. This includes incorporating the target keywords naturally throughout the content, writing compelling meta titles and descriptions, using descriptive URLs, and adding relevant alt tags to images.

Specify desired content format and length

Depending on your goals, audience, and the nature of the topic, the ideal content format and length can vary. Your brief should specify whether the content should be a blog post, long-form guide, video, infographic, etc., and an approximate length.

Include a CTA

Remember to include a clear call-to-action (CTA) in your brief. This will guide your content creators to drive readers toward a specific action, such as signing up for a newsletter or purchasing a product.

How to Work with an SEO Content Brief

After creating your SEO content brief, you need to understand how to work with it to produce the best results. Here are some tips you can follow:

Follow the brief closely

An SEO content brief is there to guide you and ensure the resulting content meets the desired objectives. Straying too far from the brief can result in content that fails to deliver the desired impact.

Be flexible

SEO trends and keyword rankings can change rapidly. It’s important to be flexible and open to updating your content brief to maintain relevance.

Monitor and evaluate

After publishing, you should track your content’s performance using SEO metrics such as organic traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rates. This can provide valuable insights for future SEO content briefs and content creation efforts.

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