What is Content Optimization?
A cursory check of the interwebs describes content optimization as the process of writing content in a way that it reaches the largest possible target audience. The process of optimizing content should include targeted keywords, relevant links, and corrected html code if necessary. It’s an extension of SEO Management and an integral piece of Content Marketing.
Content Optimization for SEO Success
There are two major strategic approaches to achieve success in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
The first approach focuses on the technical side of search optimization. As an engineer, I believe in tech and offer data-driven analysis of online presence (site, stores, social media) to design a game plan with key performance indicators to compare future performance against. Some sites will thrive within the technical approach more than others. Sites with thousands of pages that can cause significant errors (resulting in lower search engine placement) benefit from technical optimization and backend cleanup.
The second approach to SEO success is relentless content marketing. Anyone can do it and if you do it well anyone can be enormously successful. It’s also cheap.
Approach 1: Technical SEO
This process focuses on page-level audits and enhancements, which makes it distinctive to what common technical on-site SEO audits look like (which mostly focuses on sitewide changes on the onset). You can audit your site to determine the below items using our free tool here.
1. Audit for html errors and correct.
2. Make a single page rank for multiple search terms.
3. Own rank #0 in semantic search.
4. Increase the likelihood of pages to earn links for informational queries.
This step is important; it’ll identify html errors and give you the foundation to index high on web searches.
After that, it’s time for content optimization, which is where you can influence your ranking significantly with little technical expertise. I’ve broken it down into 4 steps.
Approach 2: Content Optimization
STEP 1: REVIEW YOUR TOP 10 PAGES.
Get data from Google Analytics and Google Search Console to determine your site’s high performing pages.
Note: Prioritize those that are already helping the site generate leads/conversions – and most importantly, pages targeting keywords with medium to high monthly search volume.
STEP 2: ANALYZE WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING RIGHT FOR EACH QUERY/PAGE
Start with those you’re confident you can easily compete with.
STEP 3: UPDATE & RE-OPTIMIZE CONTENT TO COMPETE
A well-planned content relaunch campaign can massively impact your site’s organic traffic.
STEP 4: AFTER YOUR TOP 10 PAGES, MOVE DOWN THE LIST AND OPTIMIZE EXISTING ASSETS.
The goal is to have more pages capable of attracting thousands of highly qualified visitors to your site.
But Moto, you ask, how exactly do I execute these steps? Below are the 10 content optimization tips that should be integrated for content marketing success!
1. ACCURATE & HIGHLY DESCRIPTIVE PAGE TITLES
Title tags still remain as one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s ranking algorithm.
Optimize your page’s titles for click-through rate (CTR)
Use your primary keyword(s) within the title – preferably placed closer at the beginning of the title tag.
Align content (body copy) with titles to match user intent.
Compare titles with your competitors.
2. LSI & SECONDARY KEYWORDS
Strategically place other keyword variants and semantically related terms within titles, descriptions, subheadings, images’ alt tag & content body.
People don’t read on the web. They scan.
The average attention span of humans has been increasingly getting shorter since the mobile revolution. It’s best to optimize your content for different sets of users – those who intend to learn and those who want to get to the answers fast.
Optimize content for skim-readers
Use shorter sentences and break long paragraphs.
Make the more interesting parts of the content look prominent (through appropriate use of h1 tags, subheadings, bold and white spaces).
4. OVER-DELIVER WITH UNEXPECTED HOOKS
Provide unique value in your content by including ideas or other content elements that your readers will rarely find elsewhere.
This is what will make your content more linkable.
5. EDUCATE OR BE USEFUL
Providing freemium content (relevant, useful, free) is one of the best ways to make your content assets a link building machine.
Explore and learn from other industries and if your competitors aren’t engaged in content creation, you can be more competitive by creating and optimizing content.
The same principle can also be applied to product pages – if you are running an ecommerce site, include the following elements:
Quick Buyer Guides
“Did you know” or fun facts section about your products
How the product works (visuals)
Then make detailed information optional and/or scannable
Lastly, it’s imperative to learn how to design content for educators. Study the types of content/pages that top .edu sites link out to in your space.
6. CONTENT DEPTH
Wikipedia has been successful as a website, not just because of the length of their content, but also because of the depth of the information they provide for each of their content.
This is what makes thousands of their pages so powerful (searchable, shareable & linkable). Focus on topic depth, not just length.
Be better than the wiki of your industry’s web space.
Place the summary, conclusion, key takeaways or TL;DR version of your content where visitors can instantly see them – above the fold.
8. GOOGLE ANSWER BOX / FEATURED SNIPPETS
15% of queries globally display featured snippets. There are 3 types of Google Answer Box results: Paragraphs (63% of all displayed featured snippets on Google search results), Lists (19%) and Tables (16% – according to the data gathered by STAT).
I use Google Search Console to manually identify queries that display Google Answer Boxes (based on the top 20 landing pages I choose to work on reoptimizing).
Search Console > Search Analytics > Click on Pages’ Filter > Click a Page > Choose on Queries’ filter
9. STRUCTURED DATA MARKUPS
Structured Data makes it easier for search engines to better understand what your content is about. This is increasingly becoming more important in today’s search optimization (as Mike King mentioned, it’s the future of organic search).
It has become easier to apply these extra markups. Google have made it very simple to webmasters by offering free tools for implementing structured data markups: Structured Data Markup Helper and Rich Snippet Testing Tool.
Useful Guides on implement Structured Data:
10. VISUAL CONTENT / RICH MEDIA
Optimize your content assets for better engagement with branded visuals and rich media content, like:
High quality images
Infographics / data visualizations
Interactive content (HTML5 landing pages)
As these content elements can boost conversions as well – especially on transactional pages (ex: product size charts). And while quality is important, and it’s tempting to default to high quality stock photos, brand building requires personal interaction. Remember, your online community is an extension of your physical one; it should be personal and relevant. If you have a high quality camera you can capture personal images that will serve instead of stock. For important brand components, hire a professional that is familiar with the nuances of business and event photography.
Whew, that was a lot. Check back for more articles and how-tos regarding everything we talked about here. For now, you can google all of these terms and you’ll find useful guides. If it’s a little more than you have time for but you want to take advantage of it now, hit us up.