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How to Do Content Optimization for SEO

With near-monthly updates, Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving.

Diana Bajraktari

Senior Content Strategist

How to Do Content Optimization for SEO

With near-monthly updates, Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving. Best practices change from year to year. But one ranking factor has remained constant – content quality. 

 

One of the most effective ways to achieve long-term, sustainable SEO results is to optimize your content for SEO. In this guide, we will go over the different ways you can optimize your content to improve performance.

What Is Content Optimization for SEO?

Content optimization is the practice of making sure that your content has the best chance of achieving its intended goal. Whether that goal is to rank in a search engine or convert leads into conversions.

 

To accomplish these goals, you can use a variety of methods, but it’s not just about performing technical tasks and checking boxes. Notable marketing and editorial aspects of web content optimization need to be addressed. 

Tips for SEO Content Optimization

In most cases, the main goal of digital content optimization is to increase visibility in search engines. Here are some fundamental steps you can take to improve your visibility and digital presence.

1

Understand the user’s search intent

Understanding a user’s search intent should be the starting point for any new SEO content you create. The goal of Google’s automated ranking systems is to provide trustworthy, useful information that is primarily produced for the benefit of people. 

 

Ultimately, you can’t help people unless you know what they’re searching for in the first place. In other words, you need to understand their search intent.

 

In general, there are four types of search intent:

 

  • Navigational: Their goal is to get to a specific website page.
  • Informational: Their goal is to learn more about a particular topic.
  • Transactional: They want to get something done.
  • Commercial: Their goal is to research for a purpose.

 

Using the current top-ranking results as a proxy is the simplest way to understand search intent. You can specifically examine them for the three Cs of search intent:

 

  • Content type – The type of content displayed in the SERPs (blog post, product page, landing page, category page). If the top ten results for your keyword are blog posts, stick with blog posts.
  • Content format – The format of the search results content (how-to, step-by-step guide, listicle, review). The top-ranking posts will indicate what the searcher is most interested in. If listicles appear on the first page of Google stick to that. If it shows guides, go with a guide.
  • Content angle – The unique selling point of competing content on the SERPs, such as discounts, low-cost strategies, or free shipping. While it is important to differentiate yourself from the competition, you should also consider the similarities between top-ranking posts.

 

Narrowing down your search intent during the keyword research phase is particularly beneficial because it allows you to find related topics, write in-depth content, and choose the best content structure.

2

Strategic keyword targeting and placement

The topic and target keyword are the key components of every piece of your content. It’s important to identify those before planning and writing your piece.

 

Begin with a larger topic on which you want to focus. Now, instead of focusing on a single keyword, Google is more interested in how you are covering the topic.

 

Remember that keywords are separate search queries that people use, whereas topics connect those keywords semantically.

 

Using your primary and related keywords in your content helps Google in aligning your domain with the appropriate search queries. However, stuffing your posts with keywords can have a negative impact on the reader’s experience.

 

When it comes to keyword placement and usage, you should always prioritize the user experience over catering to an algorithm.

 

You should still use the keywords you discovered during your research, but only where they make sense and sound natural.

 

It is still useful to use your target keyword when writing SEO content, strategically placing it in the:

 

  • Meta description
  • Alt tags for images
  • Subheadings
  • Title tags

 

There’s far more to keyword research than trying to identify phrases that are relevant to your product or business, though.

 

You should also consider whether the keyword is achievable and whether it matches the search intent of your target audience, depending on the size and authority of your brand.

 

By doing this, you can make your content visible in relevant search results and make it easier for search engine crawlers to understand what your page is about.

 

Remember that this best practice is subject to change as the algorithm evolves. But, using exact match keywords in specific signal areas can’t hurt (as long as they still make sense for a human reader).

3

Create in-depth content

To find out how you line up, perform a content gap analysis. Here, the goal is to identify any potential gaps in the information that users are looking for and come up with improvements.

 

This can be done quickly by looking at the top three posts that are most similar to your own.

 

The goal of Google’s search engine is to provide users with reliable information that is both of substantial value when compared to other pages and provides interesting information beyond the obvious.

 

To stand out from the competition, you should try to cover topics thoroughly and offer complete responses to reader questions.

4

Make your content easy to read

Most people don’t read entire websites from start to finish. Instead, they skim the main points and pick out words that instantly grab their attention. Make your content more enticing and easy to skim by doing the following:

 

  • Make your content unique – Make sure you have a thorough understanding of your target audience before writing anything. Talk to them in their language, write for them, and focus on issues that matter to them.

 

  • Avoid fluff – Clichés, low-impact adverbs, and hard-to-read sentences repel users. You should try to catch these before publishing your piece.

 

  • Add visuals – Readers are overwhelmed by long walls of text. Make your post more reader-friendly by using short paragraphs and bullet points, emphasizing key points in bold, and including relevant images.

 

  • In long posts, add a table of contents (ToC)- The table of contents provides simple navigation and lists the topics covered.

 

  • Prioritize critical information – A well-optimized post provides valuable information. Avoid making readers search through them. Place your best suggestions at the top. Put the nice-to-know details at the bottom.

 

  • Be consistent in your tone – Setting your brand’s tone of voice and using it consistently throughout all your copy will enhance the perception that your audience has of your company. 78% of articles with high performance have a consistent tone of voice.

 

  • Adapt sentence lengths – 43% of low-scoring articles have sentences that are too long. A string of short sentences, on the other hand, can feel jarring and choppy. Change up the length of your sentences and read your writing aloud to check if it flows naturally.

5

Establish the article’s structure

Once you have a topic and a list of keywords, create a structure for your article and a logical flow. 

 

Creating a map of the page’s H tag structure. Advanced headings (H2 + H3 + H4) are found in 47% of the top-performing organic content. 

 

Creating subtopics within your main topic improves readability. Visitors to your page will find it easier to navigate and identify the scope of coverage you offer. 

 

By dividing your article into sections with code that they can crawl, an advanced heading structure makes it much simpler for search engines to understand what is important in your article.

 

Your article’s content structure informs readers of what to expect and provides hints about where to look for specific information.

 

Well-established structures include the following examples:

 

  • Contrast and compare
  • Problem and solution
  • Cause and effect
  • Description
  • Process
  • Chronological

 

Make sure your title is clear whenever you use a particular content structure to establish expectations right away.

6

A Compelling title tag and meta description

The title tag and meta description are the first things searchers see on the SERPs. Ideally, they should sum up your content in a single sentence. It’s a plus if they differentiate your post from others.

 

Here are some tips when writing them:

 

  • Match search intent – It should be clear from your title tag and meta description that your page matches what the searcher is looking for.
  • Keep them brief – Google shortens title tags and meta descriptions after a certain length. This varies, but it is usually around 70 characters for title tags and 120 characters for meta descriptions.
  • Include your keyword – This allows searchers to see right away that your page is a relevant match for what they’re looking for.

7

Image optimization

For SEO purposes, the term “content” refers to more than just the words on the page. It includes all aspects of the user experience, including images and media. Adding graphics and images is a great way to improve the user experience. 

 

Adding videos for example  – either those created by your company or by other creators in the industry can boost your ranking. Articles with at least one video receive 83% more traffic, and articles with three or more videos receive 55% more backlinks.

 

Adding images strategically can help you:

 

  • Break up long blocks of text visually.
  • Recapture the reader’s attention.
  • Illustrate a difficult process
  • Adapt to various learning styles
  • Summarize the main points.

 

Adding images strategically means putting them where they make sense and are useful. Articles with seven images or more get 116% more organic traffic than those without.

 

Place images near the relevant text to ensure that you’re improving content quality rather than adding elements that could distract. If you’re mentioning a specific software feature, you can include a screenshot image of the tool in action.

 

Using custom graphics rather than stock photos can improve the uniqueness of your piece and help you stand out from the competition. Custom graphics can include the following:

 

  • Charts for data visualization.
  • Annotated screenshots.
  • Illustrations of the process.
  • Infographics.

 

These types of unique images not only improve the user experience of your post but also allow you to build brand visibility on Google Images. 

 

You can include keywords in the image description and alt text to help provide more context for search engines. Make sure your alt text is also useful for accessibility features such as screen readers.

8

Navigate efficiently around your website

One of the most important SEO practices is internal linking. It makes it easier for search bots to find and rank your pages and passes authority from your “power” pages. It also allows human users to navigate your website more efficiently, increasing engagement and user experience. 

 

Internal links in your content are hyperlinks that take readers to another page on your domain. Some of the  key benefits of internal links include:

 

  • Allowing users to navigate through your website easily.
  • Readers are shown content and products they were unaware of.
  • Establishing credibility by showing the scope of your knowledge and content.
  • Moves people through the sales funnel by facilitating the next step, like learning more, subscribing, or making a purchase.

 

Create a list of related content that you already have for each new article, which can help you support your ideas or allow your readers to explore further.

 

Including internal links also benefits search engines by providing information about your website’s hierarchy and making it easier for search engines to discover your content depth.

 

Rather than overwhelming readers with too many internal links, provide them with the most valuable information that suits their needs.

 

In other words, stuffing your content with internal links will make it look spammy. The user’s experience is always the most important factor.

9

External linking

Building trust with readers and search engine algorithms is essential for SEO success. Linking your domain to other authoritative web pages is one way to establish trust.

 

In other words, you prove your credibility by collecting data and citing your sources. The more trustworthy your sources, the better.

 

Linking to other websites is an excellent way to provide additional value to your users. Users can learn more about you and your sources by clicking on the links.

10

Leverage the technical aspects of SEO

Don’t overlook an important aspect of the optimization process: the technical aspects of SEO. Your content could be well written, but if your page takes too long to load or is structured in a complicated way, you will meet challenges when trying to accomplish your goals.

 

Some of the most important aspects of technical SEO are:

 

  • UX and page speed are two on-page elements to consider 
  • Meta tag organization
  • No broken links
  • Alt tags that are properly placed

11

Regularly update your content

Finally, don’t ignore your existing content once it’s been published. To maintain your rankings, you must review and update your most important pieces regularly. 

 

This is especially true if your article is about a fast-moving topic where trends change frequently. Change your titles to reflect that your content is the latest and most relevant. 

 

One of the most effective ways to improve your SEO is to leverage existing content through auditing and pruning. 61% of successful content marketers do a content audit twice a year, and doing it even more often may generate even better results.

Content Optimization Benefits

Content optimization is essential because it helps search engines and new clients find your website and develop a relationship with your brand. A well-executed content optimization strategy can increase brand awareness, traffic to your website, and lead generation.

 

If you’re investing time and money in content marketing, you want to make sure you’re doing everything possible to make your content discoverable.

 

Although search engines can be a great source of traffic to your website, there is a lot of competition.

 

Content optimization will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and increase your return on investment (ROI). 

 

According to SEO ROI statistics, taking a thought leadership approach to SEO content generates an average ROI of 748%. While the average SEO content strategy yields only a 16% ROI.

 

The thought leadership approach involves showcasing your brand’s expertise and offering new readers value by conducting extensive keyword research centered on the target audience’s pain points and user intent to produce high-quality content in comparison to the competition.

 

In contrast, the classic keyword research strategy only looks at surface-level data such as search volume and difficulty.

 

Without content optimization, your article might get lost in the Google vortex. You might have written the best article, full of unique insights and useful advice. But, if search engines can’t find it, or it’s targeted at the wrong audience, it’s unlikely to help you achieve your content marketing goals.

 

This could happen for a variety of reasons, including:

 

  • Your chosen keywords have little to no search volume.
  • You haven’t gone into much detail about the subject or used a consistent heading structure, so Google’s bots have struggled to understand your article.
  • Your title tag does not accurately reflect the content of the article.

Final Thoughts

One of the most effective ways to improve your website’s visibility, drive more organic traffic, and generate viable leads for your business is to optimize your content for search engines. Implementing these content tips into your SEO marketing strategy will help you differentiate yourself from the competition on Google and increase conversions to your website.

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