SEO and thought leadership

Thought leadership is the position I always want to achieve within SEO projects. This means that with a website we are the source for questions related to our business. Not just with new potential customers. Even existing customers no longer escape us because of our positions in Google (this provides confirmation). In this article, I show how I achieve the position of thought leadership for my clients.

The importance of thought leadership

Thought leadership is not just a buzzword; it is a crucial element for any company that wants to make an impact. As a thought leader, you are seen as an authority in your field. People listen to you, trust you and – most importantly – they choose your company. In a world where everyone is screaming for attention, thought leadership gives you a megaphone.

The role of SEO in building thought leadership

You may be wondering, what does SEO have to do with this? Well, everything actually. SEO is not just a tool to rank higher in Google; it is a tool to spread your message, increase your audience and establish your authority.

In particular, high positions across the board (not just commercial terms) can lead to this position. When someone enters a number of informative search terms related to your business and keeps landing on your website, you form your position as a thought leader within the market.

What is thought leadership?

Thought leadership is the ability to influence by sharing expertise and insights. It’s not just about having knowledge, but about communicating it effectively in a way that adds value to your audience. The main features? Expertise, authenticity and a clear vision.

Still, to keep thinking from an SEO perspective, thought leadership is the achievement of a position in the marketplace through often years of developing a scalable content strategy. Quality over quantity, with long articles that really go into depth on certain topics.

SEO and thought leadership at a glance

Difference between thought leadership and influence

You may think thought leadership and influence are the same thing, but they are not. Influence is about popularity; thought leadership is about respect and authority. An influencer might convince you to buy a product, but a thought leader changes the way you think, act and do business.

When your target audience is looking for topics related to your product, they should think of your organization first for advice. Then you are in the right place in the head of your ICP.

The synergy between SEO and thought leadership

We talked about what thought leadership is and why it is important. But how do SEO and thought leadership work together? That’s what I call “synergy. They reinforce each other in a way that yields more than the sum of its parts.

When working on SEO as well as achieving thought leadership, we can make twice as much impact with half the time. We now write content not only for the target audience, but also for Google.

A roadmap to achieve this

We need to get started with a quality content strategy that meets a number of requirements.

  • The content strategy includes topics that the target audience is really looking for (possibly even coordinated with other departments such as sales and customer service).
  • The content strategy is scalable in its execution.
URLMain topicTopic #1Topic #2Topic #3Volume
Example: content strategy (a basic version).

The above content strategy can be supplemented by:

  • What is the level of competition by URL/keyword.
  • What are the most important keywords per URL.
  • What is the traffic potential of a page.

From the content strategy, we will write content

Scalable quality content writing. That’s the name of the game. You can write hundreds of articles, but if they’re not valuable, you’re just wasting time. Quality content is informative, well-researched and offers a unique perspective. That’s what you need to be seen as a thought leader.

Types of content that promote thought leadership

Not all content is created equal, especially when it comes to thought leadership. Blogs are great for sharing tips and insights, but sometimes you need something more powerful. White papers can help you share in-depth analysis and research.

Webinars are perfect for directly engaging your audience and sharing your expertise in real time. And don’t forget podcasts, which are great for sharing longer conversations and interviews with other experts in your field.

Content that promotes thought leadership and SEO

From an SEO standpoint, I like to stick mainly to blogs that may be shared a lot on social media and receive a lot of links from other websites. How do we get started scaling up this process?

  1. Make sure all the “boxes” are correct. We need the following resources in this process.
    • Copywriters who know of our tone of voice and are familiar with our product.
    • Website builders who can easily put up content on our website.
    • An SEO specialist who keeps control of the content strategy and gets the on-page SEO right.
    • A marketing manager who does the final check on all content.
  2. When this is all in place we will have a scalable content “machine.” During the process, it is important to continuously monitor possible bottlenecks. Do you notice, for example, that writing takes a long time? Add another copywriter. Do you notice that boosting content is slow? Then make sure you allocate more capacity there.

How do you know if you are the “SEO thought leader”?

You know if you are SEO thought leader when you have at least one of these symptoms.

  • From the key search terms and traffic distribution in Google of these, you are the market leader.
  • When you put a new piece of content on the website, you have so much authority that you are in the top 10 in Google almost immediately.
  • A large portion of website conversions come from the organic channel, or are supported by the organic channel.
  • Existing customers are also well informed by their own website when they search for additional information in Google.


We went on quite a journey, from understanding what thought leadership is to exploring the crucial role SEO plays in building your authority and influence. We talked about the importance of choosing the right keywords, creating quality content and setting up an effective backlink strategy.

The bottom line is that thought leadership and SEO are two sides of the same coin. You can’t really have one without the other. If you want to excel as a thought leader, you must use SEO to spread your message and reach your audience. And if you are serious about SEO, thought leadership can help you build that extra layer of trust and authority that is so important in today’s digital world.

So, are you ready to become the next thought leader in your industry? With the right strategy and a little commitment, there’s no reason why you can’t be. It’s time to use your knowledge and expertise to make a lasting impact. Do you have questions about this? Feel free to contact me via the contact form.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.