The best plan of action to build an SEO-friendly website is to create content that is already rich in keywords that your target audience is searching for, while also remaining authentic to your brand. This means that you are writing content that is true and valuable first and foremost. After you’ve generated content that reflects your brand, you can then do a few things to optimize what you’ve created to help your target audience find you online.
I believe creating a content strategy (and an SEO strategy) is always a wise move. I also feel that in order to create a cohesive content strategy that accurately represents your brand, it is SEO-rich keywords into your copy in a natural way. (Rather than trying to force-fit as many keywords as possible, which will diminish the authenticity of your content, and your brand). In my opinion, content drives the design. Whether you’re trying to design a layout or develop a strategy for your content, it needs to be driven by your brand voice, not the other way around.
If you already know the keywords that you’d like to be found for, you can use a tool like Wordtracker or Keyword Tool to find related words. Alongside your written content, these words can be added to your page title, description, and/or image alt tags to improve your potential search rankings (hint: they are typically related to your product or service in some way, shape, or form).
If you’re looking to add additional content that is trending (and similar to your current content), Google and Pinterest have excellent tools for sharing what people are currently searching worldwide. These can be useful if you want to see how searchable content fluctuates throughout the year. Both Google Trends Worldwide and Pinterest Trends are fascinating and useful tools for this purpose.
There are also resources available online that search your current site for keyword density—such as this Keyword Density Check. This can be a great tool for finding opportunities to add synonyms to words that are used frequently. Or generally, see which words currently rank higher for each page.
Algorithms are constantly changing and new tools are available frequently. When in doubt, search specifically for the SEO advice you need, and look for logic that aligns with you and your core values. There is a plethora of information available to us at all times. Integrate what works for you right now and keep a reference file for future goals.