SEO driven editorial calendar CXL Institute Review and Summary

Khushi Lunkad
7 min readNov 15, 2020

A four hour course condensed into this blog post for you.

How to brainstorm for SEO keywords using art and science.

  1. Come up with seed topics that have a high search volume and are relevant to your brand. You can use keywords everywhere to find the search volume. (In another course, we are asked to use Google Trends and see whether the interest is going to be continued).
  2. Put the seed topic in BuzzSumo’s Question Analyser. Copy the keywords that are relevant to you from the word cloud that are generated. Go to Moz’s Keyword Explorer. Enter your seed topic and go to keyword suggestions. Display the keyword suggestions list using closely related topics and group keywords with medium logical similarity. Instead of closely related topics, you can also try out broadly related topics and synonyms. Add these to your seed keywords list. Remember, seed topics don’t have a specific intent. Eg: time management | Employee Morale is a bad seed topic, Employee is — if your site is about productivity
  3. Import the search volume for all seed keywords using Semrush/Ahrefs. If you are using SemRush, then use their keyword difficulty tool to get the search volume data.
  4. Measure how saturated the topic is. You can eye-ball it by searching for specific things on google search and see whether the topics are covered from various angles or not. For example, my seed keyword is productivity.. I search for productivity techniques. I see guides, tips, etc. The other option is to use intitle searches.

I want to know how many search results for time management techniques contain time and techniques. I scan the first page and see whether it is saturated or not.

5. Map the business value for each seed term (High, Medium, Low).

6. Map the expertise/knowledge that you have available at your disposal for each seed term. (High, Medium, Low).

A good idea is to filter out the keywords that are mapped with ‘low’ for all. Feel free to make a decision based on your business context.

How to find your content competitors?

  1. Go to Buzzsumo>Content Research tool.
  2. Add in your seed keyword.
  3. Add the filters (remove infographics/videos).
  4. Ignore inc/forbes/qz because they are way too broad.
  5. Find your content competitors. They operate in the same industry as you do and create the same content as you would/are.

If you aren’t finding any good results, try to add a layer of specificity with your seed terms.

  • You can also use the classic google search to find content competitors. Use the Moz Search Bar to get the domain authority.

Map the site quality and content quality onto the spreadsheet that contains the content competitor and their domain authority.

The instructor shared an editorial worksheet template for us to get started. Please don’t request access, I won’t grant it.

80/20 Content prioritization: focusing your content plan

  1. Identify a seed term.
  2. Create secondary topics based on that. If your seed topic is “time management” then your secondary topic could be “time management apps”, “time management skills”, “time management best practices” etc. You can use keywords everywhere or google search predictions. (Use a * before the term to get predictions not after but before your seed topic)

3. Go to google and enter each of these secondary topics into the search box. Use Keywords Everywhere tool to find out the monthly search volume. To speed up this process, you could use SemRush. Paste the selected keywords into the keyword difficulty tool and bulk export with the monthly search volume.

4. Copy the url of the first search result. We want to find out how much traffic it gets. How can you calculate the estimated annual traffic efficiently?

5. Go to SemRush and paste this url in the Domain Analytics > Organic Search Report. Make sure it is set to url.

Identify the amount of search traffic they generate for that keyword phrase (any any other relevant one).

6. Do this for all. You’ll find some keywords that are easy to rank for when none of the search results contain the search phrase in the title tag. For example, this one.

7. Copy the url for the first post and find the traffic volume in Semrush.

8. If SemRush can’t give an estimate, you can use the search volume data for the exact keyword using the “” quotation marks and see the traffic in Keywords Everywhere. Guess the traffic amount based on the search volume or put a ‘?’

9. Fill in the ranking potential for all seed keywords based on the domain authority of the sites that are ranking and whether the intent is being covered.

10. Take a look at the content your content competitors are producing using a tool like Semrush. See if you can build off of that.

Your table should contain:

  1. Business Value.
  2. Estimated Annual traffic.
  3. Ranking Potential.
  4. Monthly Search Volume.
  5. Effort to Create.
  6. The content type for that keyword. (in detail below)
  7. Page type.
  8. Mediums you need to push through that content.(in detail below)

Building out your content calendar: aligning keywords to pages

Types of content, examples, and what should you write for each type:

There are 9 different types of content pieces out there.

Topic/Subject/Content type:

There’s no intent specified for these keywords but it is also not a transactional type of keyword. Users are in the unknown-unknown territory where they don’t know what they don’t know. They are looking at google to guide them through the content. As a content creator, you want to create a basic outline of the topic using heavy research. Backlinko does this very well with their content. They dive deep into the topic and create everything around it.

Photo by CJ Dayrit on Unsplash

Examples of this type of keywords are:

Marketing, Privileged access management, Spot price, Audiogram

Guidelines to structure this type of content:

  1. Start with definition
  2. Commonly searched with “what is” or “definition”
  3. Use google and topic research to determine structure and sections (see behavioral segmentation)
  4. Might be a candidate for multi-page section “hub”

Informational/Concept Lists

  • Digital marketing strategies
  • Facebook ad tips
  • Customer service tools (you have to figure out what “tools” means)
  • …examples
  • …techniques

The plural word is the ‘noun’ — the searcher generally wants information organized in that way. Post should generally be lists and organized by the noun.


  • Silver bars vs coins vs
  • Keto vs paleo
  • Hearing aid vs sound amplifier
  • VPN vs Proxy

Include pros and cons for every item in the list.

Charts and tables (infographics) help

Object/Thing Lists


  • Piano Apps
  • Business Podcasts
  • Marketing Books

How To / Process

Some are clearly very step oriented (how to cook a ___ ). Some are more prose/personal (how to be happy). But they all should focus on the how — and teach.

Yes / No Questions

Follow up/expanding can be thought of as asking “why’ and answering “because”. More follow up can be “here’s what else you need to know”.

Medical Condition

Common sections are: what is, symptoms, causes, treatments,

Drug or Supplement

Talk about: definition, uses, benefits, forms, how to take, cons.

More explicit intent queries

  • History……
  • Timeline……
  • Pros and cons……
  • Facts……
  • Quotes……
  • Recipes……
  • Biography……
  • Job requirements……
  • Review……


Let’s look at


You’ll see images, texts, videos for diagrams, memes..

Last step is to build the editorial calendar :)

One way to check the click worthiness score for your headings are to run variations in paid ads and see which one has the most ctr. (Rotate ads evenly though).

If you want to support this article, please visit CXL’s growth marketing Mini Degree* using my affiliate link. The link remains active for 30 minutes after you click and expires immediately when you close the tab. Thank you.

You can read summaries and reviews for each course on my blog here. If you have any specific questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Linkedin or Email. I respond to 100% of the messages I receive. If it’s education related, I’ll respond super quick :) If it’s growth marketing related and beyond the scope of CXL institute, I’ll be happy to help you get rolling. Just ask?


Khushi Lunkad

Checklist (for my reference only)