It’s easy to get lost in the sea of SEO content. 

Some are paddling, some are jet-skiing, while most are falling deeper into the depths of genericism. 

And when I say “most”, I’m talking about the pieces of content out there that’s doing one or more of the following mistakes:

  • Generating content purely with AI
  • Overoptimizing for SEO
  • Rehashing competitors
  • Sharing no fresh insights

It’s nothing new, which is both fortunate and unfortunate. 

Fortunate for the creator because it means you have room to stand out. But unfortunate for the user because it affects the search experience. 

Despite the algorithm putting more emphasis on the searcher’s needs, the problem still remains.

What it Means to Create SEO Content

SEO content is written for the purpose of ranking higher in search engines. The goal is to get your piece of content to rank on the first page so that it brings traffic to your website.

Even though the algorithm is complex, we can categorise it into two key areas: 

  1. On-page SEO
  2. Off-page SEO

On-page SEO refers to the internal changes you make to your website or blog content to improve your rankings. For example, including the primary keyword in your title tag. 

Whereas, off-page SEO refers to the external changes you make outside of your website or blog content to improve your rankings. For example, promoting your blog posts on social media and building backlinks using an outreach strategy.

Let’s Dissect a Few General Examples of SEO Content

Example 1: Similar Title Tags

I bet that for more than half of the things you search up on Google, you’ll find title tags that are very similar to one another. 

Allow me to give you an example. 

Here’s what showed up after I searched for “copywriting vs content writing”.

You’ll find that the title tags of most blog posts ranking on the SERP for the given keyword are close to being identical.

Here’s another example below – this is the result for the keywords “content marketing benefits.”

It’s true that the top organic results get the most clicks and attention. But there are ways to drive visitors who click on your website to take action. This is what matters the most in terms of business growth. 


None of the blog posts shown in the screenshots above are bad. What I’m pointing out is how difficult it is to make an impression on the SERP unless you’re ranking on the first page. In other words, SEO is most rewarding for those who rank as the first organic result.

Example 2: Similar Content

Another example is when the content within the blog posts are similar to one another.

What typically happens is that everyone follows the skyscraper technique which often results in content that’s very similar to one another.

The common approach is this:

  • Review the first page of search engines to see what people are writing about
  • Write about the same things everyone’s writing about but include more information they’re missing out on
  • Publish

And this approach is what tends to lead to the sea of generic SEO content.

The Problem With Most SEO Content

Even if you do rank on the first page of Google, it needs to be for the right keyword. Otherwise, the efforts will be for naught since you’re not reaching the right audience. Hence, it won’t bring new leads or customers into your business. 

Besides that, the problem is that it’s easy to lose focus on the true purpose behind your strategy. 

The bigger picture behind an SEO content strategy is to grow your business. Meaning, what matters most is whether or not it leads to actual growth in business revenue. It’s easy to lose sight of this when you’re too focused on creating content to rank higher on Google. 

And yes, it’s one of the things you should be doing.

You need to rank page 1 to reach more of your potential customers. But it gets complicated when you start to prioritise the algorithms for the sake of ranking higher rather than providing value and giving a good user experience to acquire more leads. 

Some people compete for the top positions by aiming to create “better” content. 

In the context of prioritising the algorithms, that line of thinking typically goes to including more keywords and covering things in more detail than the others. This is where some marketers and business owners become prone to relying on AI to create content for them, further resulting in a sea of generic blog posts.

Jon Gillham, the Founder of Originality AI, sums up how you can prevent generic SEO content:

“The best way to prevent writing generic content while still focusing on SEO is to provide a unique stance or opinion on the topics you’re writing about. And the easiest way to do this is to write about something you’re familiar with, have experience in, or have expertise in. Search engines will always rank content that is valuable to the reader – so if you’re able to provide a unique stance on a topic, or offer real-world examples that are useful to readers, your content will stand out.”

Jon Gillham

Unless you’re providing something of value, it hinders the process of moving website visitors along the sales funnel, which can prevent them from becoming paying customers.

The Importance of Meeting the Search Intent

Meeting the search intent is one of the most important ranking factors.

No matter how good the SEO content tool you’re using is, it’s not going to save you from writing bad content.

If you’re capable of meeting the search intent in a way that genuinely interests your audience, then it leads to positive results naturally. For example, getting other websites to link to your article and people sharing your blog post to their network.

All of these factors are taken into account by the algorithms, and it’s how your website earns a higher position in the SERP.

How to Avoid a Generic SEO Content Strategy That Doesn’t Lead to Business Growth

The first thing to do to counter the generic SEO content approach is to not forget the reason why your strategy exists in the first place.

That purpose is to get more new and loyal customers. 

With this in mind, volume SEO shouldn’t come first, especially as a startup or small business. This is data used for optimising your strategy which includes things such as:

  • Search volume
  • Pageviews
  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Keyword usage 

Instead, focus on the following for developing your strategy:

  • Buyer conversion rates
  • Click-through rates
  • Keyword relevance
  • User signup rates

Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to keep on top of search volume and rankings. There’s no issue with this as long as you’re not putting it first over your customer and product values. Once this has been covered, only then should you start to prioritise the volume metrics.

That being said, SEO with business value comes from uncovering the search intent of your ideal buyers. This can be found through two types of SEO:

  • Pain-point SEO
  • Product-led SEO

After implementing this, you’ll start to attract the right audiences rather than the general population. 

Though the search volume tends to be lower, the intent is stronger. It’s the same approach I used to drive a 500% increase in payments for one of my clients.

1. Pain-point SEO

Pain-point SEO centres around keywords based on the problems your audience face.

This makes for a more personalised strategy because you’re focused on creating content where the intent to take action is strong. Hence, there’s a motivation behind what they’re searching for to reach a goal. 

It’s not the amount of website traffic you get that matters. It’s whether or not that website traffic is converting and helping you get more customers. 

In essence, you’re getting in front of your potential buyers.

For example, let’s say you’re working for a recruitment software company. 

One of your clientele’s pain points could be that they don’t know how to effectively automate their time-consuming tasks. This leads to work carrying over the next day, meeting deadlines last second, or increased stress. 

Therefore, you could find keyword opportunities using this information, e.g. “automated candidate sourcing”.

Despite the search volume being low, look at the cost per click. It suggests that people are paying for this keyword, so it’s one sign it’s converting searchers. 

However, don’t limit your SEO content strategy to keywords with search volume and CPC. It’s worth creating a thought-leadership blog post based on a common pain point and audience interest because it reinforces your authority in your particular niche, which helps build trust. 


Please don’t treat this example as gospel. It’s all for the sake of explaining the concept of pain-point SEO. The downfall of the keyword I chose is that despite attracting the right traffic, the websites ranking for this don’t actually get many visitors from search engines. This is another crucial factor to consider before pursuing a keyword! 

2. Product-Led SEO

Product-led SEO centres around keywords based on your product’s unique selling points. It’s quite a broad term, so let’s break it down into 3 questions:

  • How do people benefit from using your product or service?
  • What emotional benefits do they stand to gain?
  • Are there any differences it brings to your everyday life?

To put it another way, your product values and unique selling points are about how your solution meets the needs of your audience and what makes you different from everyone else. This helps you target keywords where your audience is searching for things that are related to the problem your product solves and how you solve that problem. 

Let’s go back to the recruitment software example. 

One of your product values could be that you reduce the admin workload. Therefore, you could find keyword opportunities related to this aspect, e.g. “recruiter productivity metrics”.


Please don’t treat this example as gospel. It’s all for the sake of explaining the concept of product-led SEO. This time, the problem with the keyword I chose is not only the number of website visitors it generates. But the domain authority and backlinks of the websites on the SERP make it a difficult keyword to compete for!

Use the Previous Steps as the Foundation for Your Keyword Research

Once you’ve unveiled your customer pain points and product values, you can now conduct keyword research focusing on the volume.

Bernard Huang, Co-founder of Clearscope suggests:

“Like Goldilocks from the beloved fairy tale, you want to pick keywords that strike the right balance between monthly search volume and clear search intent.”

Bernard Huang

At this point, it’s all about finding the exact terms that your audience is entering on their keyboards.

Before finalising the keywords you’re going to target, ask yourself:

  • Is there enough demand for this topic?
  • Is it realistic to rank for?
  • Is this relevant to your customer and product values?

The 3 key metrics to answer these questions are the following:

  1. Search volume – how many times is this being searched?
  2. Keyword difficulty – is there an opening for you to rank on the first page?
  3. Cost per click – does the keyword generate revenue?

My personal favourite keyword research tools for finding this information include:

To manage all of your blog content ideas, upload them onto a spreadsheet (e.g. Google Sheets) or use a project management tool like Trello

10 Steps to Do Non-Generic SEO Content Writing to Get More Leads and Customers

Following those previous steps enables you to put together an SEO content strategy for reaching your potential customers. On top of that, you’re not resorting to copycat content, which isn’t as impactful because it becomes a contest of quantity as opposed to quality and creativity. 

1. Meet the Search Intent From Your Point of View

The search intent refers to the person’s motivations when entering a query on Google. These searchers are looking to do one of the following: 

  • Solve a problem
  • Achieve a goal

You can’t satisfy your users without pinpointing their needs. So, you’ll need to understand their underlying motive.

Let’s take a look at this guide as an example. 

I know that most of you have probably clicked on this blog post because you wanted to know what makes most SEO content generic and how to not fall into the same pit hole.  

Some of you may have also wanted to know the following:

  • How to go about SEO content writing to get more users and customers
  • What to focus on to make your content strategy drive growth
  • The process of creating SEO content

Did I manage to read your mind? 

Or perhaps you’ve only just realised that you actually wanted answers to some of those points above.

Another key factor in creating good content is educating your readers on things that they weren’t initially aware of. 

Once the search intent is clear, the next step is to meet their needs by giving them the answers in a way that’s easy to digest. 

There are ways to go about doing this. You don’t have to head in the same direction as everyone else.

In other words, offer a different content angle.

And it isn’t going to be bad just because you’re taking a different approach. If anything, it makes it more interesting since you’re providing information from a fresh point of view. Google’s mission statement also seems to reinforce this:

For more complex topics, Search is a tool to explore many angles so that you can form your own understanding


2. Craft an Enticing Headline

I understand one of your content goals is to rank page 1 on the SERP. It makes sense to want to include the primary keyword in your title. But try to avoid imitating the exact same headlines as your competitors. You won’t stand out since you’re almost identical to everyone else.

Stick to the basics by using the 4 U’s formula. After that, think about where it’s most natural to include the keyword you’re targeting.

  • Unique – what’s new or different about your perspective on the topic?
  • Useful – how does the user benefit from reading your blog post?
  • Ultra-specific – are there any interesting points that would make readers curious?
  • Urgent – does the reader have anything to gain/lose by being early/late?

Here are 2 resources I highly recommend for checking how effective your headlines are:

3. Optimise Your Meta Descriptions

People read the meta description to get a glimpse of what the page is about. 

According to Backlinko, those with meta descriptions get nearly 6% more clicks compared to the others who have none. 

Your title tag is the main driving factor for getting your searcher’s attention. Then, the meta description is there to get them interested and curious enough to want to click your website to read the rest. 

Don’t just optimise both your title tag and meta description by including your main keywords. Do it by personalising the content based on the search intent. 

4. Write an Engaging Introduction

An engaging introduction is one that sparks an emotion from your reader such as:

  • Curiosity
  • Frustration 
  • Sympathy

People want answers, and they want them fast. They also want to feel understood. 

Don’t make it difficult for readers to find what they need. Give them the straight answers they’re looking for as soon as you can. The moment they have to decipher the point you’re trying to get at, they’ll leave your site and find the information elsewhere.

Let’s slightly rephrase the 2 most popular copywriting formulas for your next blog post introduction.

PAS Formula

  • Problem: make the surface-level query and underlying pain point of the user clear.
  • Agitate: use emotive language to empathise with the reader’s problem to build a connection. 
  • Solve: state how your piece of content has what they’re looking for.

AIDA Formula

  • Attention: directly address your reader via a pain point or goal (extra tip: use second-person pronouns). 
  • Interest: make them feel understood by relating to their situation to retain their interest.  
  • Desire: state how you’re going to help them get to the light at the end of the tunnel. 
  • Action: call your reader to action.

5. Mention How Your Product or Service Fits Into the Bigger Picture

One key term to take note of is product-led storytelling. This is a technique where you put together a narrative that mentions how your product benefits a user. 

There’s nothing wrong with weaving this into your blog post as long as it naturally fits into the text. 

However, you’re not directly selling or pitching the product. 

You’re telling a story with the primary intention of educating your reader on how to solve their problem using your solution. The intention is not to make a sale. 

Acquiring user signups happens naturally by informing them on how their problem can be solved. When they see how easy it works, it motivates them to take action since there’s a clearer vision to achieve their goal. 

If you have something to help them get past an obstacle, why hide this information from them? 

Check out how mentioned their product in an article from the screenshot below.

6. End Your Blog Post With a Conclusion

I’ve seen many marketers skip this step, leaving readers in the middle of the action. 

You’ve written your narrative about a topic and showcased your point of view. Where does the reader go from there? 

Without a conclusion, you miss the opportunity to:

  • Reinforce your perspective on the topic 
  • Emphasise the importance of your message
  • Direct your readers to complete a desired action

It’s like getting no insight to the aftermath of a hard-fought battle. Imagine if The Lord of the Rings ended the way it did but without seeing what happens after the Ring is destroyed.

Conclusions summarise your piece of content and gives you the final say.

And in some cases, people may read your content from the bottom up. They’ll start from the conclusion to get the gist of what you’re covering.

7. Project Your Brand Voice to Build an Emotional Connection

A brand tone of voice brings your business to life by reflecting your personality. 

How you communicate to your audience has an influence on how they see you. It’s the words and lingo you use which represent your brand in a certain way. 

This is also one of the main things that build the KLT factors. 

  • KNOW: How will your audience know it’s you? This is what builds your brand reputation and online visibility by being known for something specific.
  • LIKE: Does your audience like you? This is what builds your relationship by speaking in a way they resonate with.
  • TRUST: Can your audience trust you? This is one reason why you should be speaking facts. 

You’re writing a piece of content. Not a dissertation or college essay. 

No one ever talks so stiff to people they’re comfortable with. If you are, it only puts a barrier in the relationship between yourself and your audience.

People don’t connect with products. People connect with people. 

An emotional connection is developed through humanising your brand. That’s achieved by showing you’re someone relatable. Someone who understands what they’re going through and shares the same values or interests.

8. Don’t Be Afraid of Criticism

This is probably the biggest tip I want you to take away from this guide. 

Not everyone is going to align with your vision. And, that’s okay. It just means they aren’t the ideal clients to work with. 

If you’re writing for everyone, you’re writing for no one. 

At the end of the day, the best customers are those who are a good fit. For smaller businesses and startups especially, it’s more effective to start by catering to one audience rather than the general population. 

When you’re focused on writing for a specific type of person, you’re more likely to build a relationship with them from behind the screen. 

You’ll have other competitors too who offer a solution to the same problem you solve. People will choose the one that hits home more for them. This means the brand that feels the most authentic and tailored to their needs. 

There’s no problem with agreeing to the general industry norms. But playing it too safe prevents you from standing out and reaching a more targeted audience.

9. Get Real Subject-Matter Expertise

Here’s a piece of advice from Kaloyan Dimitrov, the SEO & Content Marketer of Enhancv.

“Everyone has an opinion – your clients will, too. Set up an easy environment in which you can resort to their knowledge about a particular topic, and transfer that in your content”

Kaloyan Dimitrov

It’s the stakeholders of a business who have subject expertise. They have more knowledge about the industry than a standard freelancer. 

If you’re relying on a freelance writer who doesn’t specialise in your niche to control the content focus, they may end up resorting to their own knowledge. That’s where it’s easy to become prone to generic content, which is one of the reasons why my writing process includes internal research.

So, make time to interview a real subject-matter expert. Have your questions prepared and let them share their input on the topic. Then, include it in the content brief or outline. 

It’s not the writer’s responsibility to be the expert in your niche (although industry expertise is desirable). It’s communicating the input of industry experts and the values of your business to your audience in writing that builds trust and sells.

10. Do It For Your Audience

Ranking high on Google happens because of a positive user experience.

When a reader enjoys a piece of content you’ve published, it leads to organic results such as link building and social shares. This doesn’t just happen from doing outreach or by doing some secret strategy behind the scenes.

The heart of it all is in the needs of your audience.

When they’re genuinely getting value out of your content, the key metrics will only continue to improve. As a natural consequence, your position in the SERP will also improve.

Every niche is different. While you should have goals to set the direction, be adaptable along the way based on your audience’s best interests.

The Risk of Doing Your SEO Content Writing Wrong

Make sure you’re following the algorithm guidelines and maintaining an ethical approach to content creation. Otherwise, there’s the risk of getting penalized, which makes it even more difficult to rank on the search engines. 

Here are a few examples of bad content practices: 

  • Keyword stuffing: overusing keywords to manipulate the algorithm.
  • Duplicate content: copying another website’s content. 
  • Not sourcing data: give credit where it’s due to the rightful owners.

The user experience is one of the most important SEO factors. 

What’s crucial is not whether you’re ranking on the first page of Google (although it’s nice to see yourself there). It’s if you’re actually getting more leads and customers as a result of your efforts. This is what makes a successful SEO content strategy. 

And it’s the same reason why I’m trusted by my clients to create content that leads to sustainable business growth. 

A Final Piece of Advice

Follow the tips in this guide and you’ll be on your way to creating quality SEO content that grows your business.

My final piece of advice is to understand your ideal customers in full transparency. It’s your trump card to find the topics to cover that’ll get you to get in front of the right audience and to write in a way that they can resonate with.