Savoring content, bit by bit, drop by drop.
In a land far from brand marketing tussles, a content marketer sits pretty under the sun, lost in the world of words.
You'd notice the constant clacks of keyboard keys, the chain of thoughts, and the dilemma of their minds on what to write next.
It is normal for them to drink their coffee cold. They wear multiple hats and strive to ease the challenges the brand is reeling with.
The competition in the content optimization world is gaining momentum. It has turned into something more vicarious than a keyword or SEO battle. If you have the ability to be the next Bukowiski for your brand, pick up the laptop, dust off the soot, and start.
Just as a doctor understands the patient's condition before medication, you must resonate with your target audience and their needs. An SEO software breaks down user intent, and spot competitor trends and traffic to better your audience targeting and SERP rank. Learning about the rising concerns of your audience will give you the ground to answer them.
What is content optimization?
Content optimization is the refurbishment of your website content as per the target audience's needs. It involves revisiting and auditing old pieces of content, checking for tone and style, updating obsolete information, and writing for a larger audience. You can check for content and keyword loopholes, personalize headers and educate readers.
Quality content is not only more visible but also more credible. In the long run, your repeat visitor base will keep growing and lead you to word-of-mouth marketing. It may feel like a dream, but content optimization can turn them into reality.
You have the framework in place. A diligent writer has done all the handwork already. Now all you need to do is look at the already-prepped content piece from a reader's point of view. For a while, don't think about your brand's benefit. Feel the varied set of emotions your reader must go through. Are they looking for urgent information? Do they need a service? Your website should be a go-to for every question they exhaust the web for.
As an organization, your prime goal should be not only to convert website visitors but also to educate and enlighten them. You might be running a diverse content marketing strategy, which numerous writers, designers, and editors are a part of. However, as a company and its products evolve, the intent of web searches also does.
Why is content optimization important?
Content optimization is a way to personalize your website as per the existing order of search queries that you support. By including new and trending content, you increase your brand relevancy. Matching the intent of your reader can organically bump your page ranks and land you in top searches (even a featured snippet!). Gaining the web spotlight can make you a center of attraction for consumers. Further, updating the tone, wording, and grammar rectifies existing mistakes to increase the readability quotient.
Every user has a sole motto of surfing the web. They might seek software solutions, best practices, or general information on a particular topic. What approach you choose to frontload content depends on you. Some companies target personalized communication (forums, discussion boxes, and so on) to gain an edge. In contrast, others upload whitepapers, downloadable assets, infographics, and links. The newness leads to increased click-through rates (CTRs), new sessions, followers, average time on the page, and conversion rate optimization.
A reader can get finicky while reading content. They might skip sentences, scan for visual elements or use navigational links to the exact section. Content optimization provides a way to shift and restructure existing content so that you prioritize certain keywords (with high average monthly search volumes) over another. It would promote your content in social media space, thereby gaining social shares, and backwater traffic, which makes you the talk of the town.
Check out these 7 effective ways to optimize online content better.
7 effective ways of content optimization
Sometimes, content marketers hit a hedge when asked to optimize websites. They spend uncountable hours surfing the web, eyeing what other competitors are up to, what product features they can highlight, and so on. Their minds completely go off the hook. To clear the air on how you can leverage content optimization, here are some useful steps:
1. Content Audit
Having a content audit strategy in place keeps your content in line with the user's current intent. Maintaining a central repository for published content (descriptions, product pages, articles, blogs, forums, and so on) gives you insight into what your users are currently looking at. A complete evaluation framework can help improve the present performance of your pages, visitor count, and traffic rate. You can revisit older bits of content and replace them with newer components to level your page visits.
Content auditing may be an exhaustive activity that would require additional team bandwidth and knowledge of content marketing tools like Semrush or Ahrefs. Use the following criteria to judge the best action plan for your content.
Criteria for auditing old content :
- Buyer journey: Modify old content as per the stage the buyer is currently in. Step into the buyer's shoes to give a new angle to your content.
- Content format: Imbibe ways to bring new content formats. If an article is text-heavy, include interactive elements like videos, infographics, or tables.
- Content type: Create diverse audit strategies. If you are auditing a blog, look for information add-ons. If it is a product page, add features, a user manual, or FAQs.
- Keyword optimization: Avoid less-volume, long-tail primary keywords and optimize your articles for a new keyword that fits the user intent.
- Broken URLs and Images: Prune or replace broken URLs or images with newer ones. Create a complete navigational path, so your user isn't lost in the grid.
- Keyword cannibalization: Merge two or more articles targeting a similar keyword. Identify the most engaging way to upkeep the core information.
- Deletion: Some branding initiatives might not resonate with the cause anymore. If you encounter an off-centered topic or keyword with less volume, delete it.
- Word length: Use content optimization tools like Clearscope to fit in with the required word length for a certain topic.
- Date and time of publication: Update the date and time of publication for older pieces of content.
- Timestamps: Enlist timestamps while editing videos or other multimedia. Users jump to the exact section of the video they are looking for instead of killing time.
- Author information: The block containing author information should be clear and defined. It should contain the author's expertise, experience, and qualifications.
- Metadata: Edit your meta description and title according to current search behavior. Of course, you can add a dash of creativity to them.
Keywords are what increase your website’s visibility in the first place. It is no wonder, then, that they have been in the spotlight. Both keyword types help Google identify your website. The better the keywords, the more hits your page will make.
There are two types of keywords: primary and secondary. Primary keywords are the most prominent, while secondary keywords are there to help your page rank better.
In order to be successful, a primary keyword must be included in the title, the first and last paragraphs, and in the body text (your choice). Both primary and secondary keywords are used for linking, both internally and externally.
Internal, inbound, and navigational links should be monitored so as to enhance your website’s performance further. Finally, image keywords should also be optimized. This includes file names and image alt attributes.
2. Headers and subheaders
A header (H1) announces the content to follow and provides context to the piece. It should immediately inform the reader what the text is all about and feature the main keyword. There should always be only one H1.
Don’t overdo keywords. The piece should be readable and flow well, so make those headers and subheaders worth it. An ongoing debate has it that the header tag is best optimized for a long-tail search keyword with the answer following immediately.
3. Images and Videos
As mentioned above, image names and attributes should feature keywords (think about image search). But that’s not the end of image optimization. A good image should be small and high-quality so that the page will load faster.
Mostly a design attribute, images, and videos are seldom put under the content criteria. Although they depict essential characteristics of a particular topic, it doesn't take much of the writer's bandwidth. If you own images that abide by older design guidelines and have crunched logos or pixelated taglines, contact your design team. Resize the image, make the in-text content clear and readable, and use signature brand colors to represent your say.
Here are 10 crucial steps for image optimization that you should always keep in mind:
- Name your images descriptively and in plain language.
- Optimize your alt attributes carefully.
- Choose your image dimensions and product angles wisely.
- Reduce the file size of your images.
- Choose the right file type.
- Optimize your thumbnails.
- Use image sitemaps.
- Beware of decorative images.
- Use caution when using content delivery networks (CDNs).
- Test your images
- Use image alt tag to attribute correct names to images
To do this quickly, adhere to your image database or make a template for the images, changing the keyword accordingly. You can use image tools like Figma, Canva, or Adobe photo illustrator to edit your images. For video rendering, invest in good video editing software. The software would edit, modify and encode videos in a way that doesn't compromise the overall load time of your page.
4. Meta tags
Meta descriptions may be tricky at first, but once you learn what to pay attention to, you will do it routinely. Meta descriptions generate click-through rates (CTRs) through search engines and are extremely important. Meta information is the first bridge of interaction between the user and the website, so it needs to be cut and dry.
A good meta description should feature up to 155-160 characters. Keep in mind that Google changes the rules of the game regularly, so always keep informed about the latest developments. Meta titles, which are also H1s of your content piece, can be 55-60 characters long. The intent of a meta title should be strictly aligned with user prompt.
The truth is that there is no general advice as to optimum length; it depends on the message you are trying to get across. Shortly put, a good meta description should be concise, but don’t make it less informative for brevity.
Meta descriptions are similar to call-to-action buttons. They should be compelling and written in an active voice to attract customers to your website.
Because they can make or break a business, meta descriptions must contain a primary keyword and match the content at the same time. Since the target keyword is also present in the title and H1, the task will be easier to perform. Your meta description should be content-unique. Don’t use generic text and templates or re-use meta descriptions for other pages.
Associative internal or external links keep visitors browsing additional content on your website and partner sites. Both internal and external links are important, as they help the visitors find exactly what they need.
If satisfied, they’ll keep coming to your website for resources. On top of that, internal links improve SEO in terms of visibility.
There is a trick to making your links appear more attractive. The first is to shorten them without shortener tools, as the latter features random numbers and letters. Rather, make your URLs shorter at all times.
Why? Visitors want to know where the link will take them to rule out spam. Longer URLs get cut short, which often results in a bounce-off.
Review existing links to churn out maximum value. More than focusing on external domains, check for resources and assets within your current domain. Staying within your current domain doesn't deflate your domain score. It also helps the user navigate from one informational blog to another, which affirms their purchase decision. You can also build individual backlinks by promoting your content to your prospects via emails.
By promoting your media in the online marketplace, you earn media assets for your website. Being a website promoter includes multiple steps, from searching for a good and trusted source to creating an outreach email marketing campaign. Result? You earn genuine backlinks from trusted domains that give you a boost of organic traffic and keywords.
Tip: To build links, you can also use the Skyscraper technique, where you find top-performing content with tons of backlinks and referring domains. You can capitalize on its weaknesses and develop much better content.
Unique content is the most important part of a successful website, so it is important to pay attention to small details to prevent it from going to waste. Namely, on top of the image, header, title, header, and link optimization, there are also a couple of other factors to keep in mind.
First, if you want your keywords to attract attention, type them in larger font sizes. This implies titles, headers, and subheaders. Secondly, avoid bolds or italics for secondary keywords, as they are normally shunned (clickbait, spam, and similar practices are to blame).
If you tend to publish software-related content, defy the stereotypes by giving it a thought leadership angle. Software buyers are looking for a holistic buying experience where every arm of the selling domain would be willing to assist them. Do not sabotage your content against your peers, even if they are doing it. Keep your work original and fresh, even if you aren't an experienced writer. Dive deep into research, serve content that top-performing domains are writing on, get inspired, and optimize content. If you are half-fed on what the topic is, the reader's experience will be ostracised.
Finally, maintain a consistent tone of voice for your brand. This makes your content more recognizable and trustworthy. An inconsistent tone is not only unprofessional but is also confusing to both your readers and search engines.
Tip: Read our 12 hacks for content repurposing to make sure you're doing everything in your power to polish and perfect all site content!
While creating and updating content, do not stray too far from your SEO-related goals. Analyze the technical and on-page visual elements of your website so that nothing interferes with the oncoming search traffic. Declare "robots.txt" in your page source, which holds all your "no-follow" links so that Google crawler doesn't access them and degrade your domain authority.
Another great SEO practice is to look for cumulative shifts of content within your article in accordance with the eye movements of the user. If you feel certain headers are out of place and unappealing, remove them and place them elsewhere. If your images take longer to load, compress them or use a different file name.
Also, do not digress from the main user intent. Dissect the correct incentive for users to search for a particular topic. Whether it is navigational, commercial, or promotional, lean into your end customer and then write content. Understand whether your customer only wants basic information or something extra. Dissect search queries, and add modifiers like "Know," "What," "Why," and "Know-how" to give UX signals. Following the lead of your user would, over time, build your credibility and improve visitor engagement and traffic goals.
How does Google's helpful content update improve content optimization?
What your audience seeks, so they shall find. With the new Google's helpful content update, search results would be extremely to the point of what the search prompts are. Google aims to enhance user experience and user knowledge through content that shows up on its search engine. From browser behavior to individual advertisements, everything is personalized as per the custom search patterns of the user.
Whatever changes you make to supplement existing content need to abide by the taxonomy Google has set in stone. By answering the following questions through your newfound content, you can always stay one step ahead of your competitors.
- Is my content people-focused or search-engine focused?
- Do I have a target group that my brand is focused on? Will they find my content useful if they directly navigate to me?
- Does the content re-instate subject matter expertise and informational perspicacity (For example, review content that comes from people who deployed the product firsthand)
- Do I have a primary focus or unique selling proposition?
- After reading my content, would the person want to know more about my product or check other alternatives?
- Will I equip a user with a feeling of wholesomeness after they read my content?
- Am I keeping in mind Google's search quality rater guidelines?
Content is the key to your success
Everything considered, optimizing content is, more or less, all about keywords, links, and meta descriptions. As many have noted, content is nowadays intended for Google rather than the readers, but we’d beg to differ.
High-quality content rules supreme, and quality sites will always rank better than lower-quality ones. Therefore, don't push your customers far while you are neck-deep into optimizing content.
B2C experiences heavily impact the expectations of B2B customers. They look for a similar form of guidance and empowerment from their vendors. Learn how customer marketing can shapeshift your business and create tremendous winning opportunities.
This article was originally published in 2019. The content has been updated with new information.