Creative SEO: Finding Creativity In a Data-Driven Industry

How to be creative in a data driven industry

For someone who considers himself or herself a “creative” as I do, it may seem unusual to find them employed in the world of search engine marketing. The SEO industry is driven by loads of data found in the form of Excel spreadsheets and pivot tables, which don’t tend to be the right brain’s best friend.

Many people believe you have to have an affection for crunching numbers to love search marketing, I’m here to tell you that creative SEO is possible and this industry offers many outlets to satisfy the creative side in all of us.

Creative Nerd
Yes, even this guy…










Think Creatively: Give Semantic Meaning to Research

Always look at your work in a semantic way. Consider all the possibilities of a search term. What is the Searcher really looking for, what are they trying to find, why are they using that particular search term, at what stage are they in the conversion funnel? Taking in to account all of these questions will improve the success of your keyword consideration set. Don’t take anything for what it is, only the possibility of what might mean.

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk in Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the ‘tweets’ of SERPs as you have 150 characters to describe the page content, attract the searchers attention, and establish relevancy. This is the first point of contact the Searcher has with the page so make it count. Meta descriptions should carry the brand voice and speak to the Searcher. If you’re developing descriptions for a juniors clothing store it should carry that tone. Ask your 15-year-old daughter, find a teenage neighbor or browse a teen fashion blog. What words are they using to describe and what are the buzz-terms of that generation?

Here are a few examples from one of our clients in which we “talked the talk”.









Visually Illustrate Data

Not a graphic designer or handy in Adobe Suite? No worries my friend. Use SmartArt graphics illustrate your data in a fresh new way. Even something as simple as the following, spices up normally bland information:

Easy SmartArt Graphic












If you do happen to be proficient with Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign then the time and energy is well worth the links and shares you’ll get by creating an awesome infographic. Keep in mind, a good infographic doesn’t have to be overly complicated or super-time consuming. Something like this is fairly simple artistically, but still relays informative data.

Once you feel you have something worth sharing, create a short blog post around it and share via social networks. Don’t forget to post to Pinterest using relevant hashtags as Pinners love this kind of visual information, and will no doubt share and repin.

Conduct Monthly Brainstorming Sessions

Like many SEM/SEO consulting agencies, the first few weeks of the month mean reporting, reporting, reporting. Once the initial madness dies down, get some co-workers together and brainstorm some unconventional (avoided using “out-of-the-box”) ideas for your clients. What are some interesting ways they can leverage social media? How can they be more efficient in engaging with their customers? What are some fun and unique content or promotional ideas? If their product offering is seasonal, what kind of things can they be doing to keep awareness up in the off-season? I’m betting your clients will be surprised by the creative ideas a bunch of Analysts and Number Crunchers can come up with!

Get Inspired with Social SEO

It’s no secret that search engines are now including social signals as a ranking factor. If you’re a creative individual in the SEO industry this fact should be exciting as it gives a number of outlets to allow for creative thinking. Much like how PR should be incorporated into your communication strategy, social media should be incorporated into your SEO strategy. Provide your clients with a list of creative and engaging post ideas for various social platforms. Yes, Facebook and Twitter are the Goliath’s here but how can they leverage Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram?


If you have competency with digital imaging or design programs, offer to create banner ads or display ads for your clients PPC campaigns. Offering these services are especially beneficial for those smaller clients who may not have the resources for a creative agency. Social backgrounds are an additional area which you can offer creative thinking and design for your clients. Check out these brands with inspiring social backgrounds.

Creative Twitter Backgrounds
Roxy & Skittles brands do a great job jazzing up their Facebook page
Creative Twitter Beckgrounds
Target & RedBull have eye-catching Twitter Backgrounds


















By making your creative talent known to your clients and your co-workers you are making yourself a more valuable partner and employee.


Your crafty thinking, artistic abilities, and creative competency are valuable traits that can save your company and your clients time and money. In todays SEO world, there is such an emphasis on the creation of unique and sharable content. That being said, creativity is more valuable now in search than ever before.

Ashley Stuart

Ashley Stuart - Search Analyst

Ashley is part of the SEO team and loves helping companies increase their visibility in organic search. Along with her affection for SEO, she also has passion for social analytics and analysis and utilizes her knowledge in SEO to implement strategic and tactical social strategies. Appalachian State alum, rock climber, micro business owner, and IPA lover.

26 Responses to “Creative SEO: Finding Creativity In a Data-Driven Industry”

  1. Jason Nelson

    Nice work on this post Ashley. Some definite creative food for thought :)

  2. Adam Q

    I can attest to the scheduled brainstorming being a goldmine for creativity. Each week, on a Friday, we have a loosely guided discussion about something that’s going on in our world. Each week usually reach some sort of thought that could be very useful for us or our clients. Opening up the team for discussion really makes a big difference. You just have to be creative about being creative ;).

    • Ashley Stuart

      Your quote, “You just have to be creative about being creative”, is especially true in an industry where creativity is more of an afterthought. Thanks for the comment, Adam!

  3. Search Engine Weekly Round-up #4 - Wow Internet Blog

    […] Creative SEO – Finding Creativity in a Data-Driven Industry Ashley Stuart | SwellPath Follow @FancyPants10// […]

  4. Gisele Navarro Mendez

    You got me at “Meta descriptions are the tweets of SERPs”. Excellent article!

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