Creating optimized content has become more critical than ever with the rise of search engine algorithms such as BERT and Fred. And it’ll remain a crucial ingredient for establishing your brand online.
So if you want to improve your ranking and gain more traffic on your site, you must know how to properly optimize content.
This blog post will walk you through content optimization – what is it, why is it important, and how to do it. We’ll also introduce some tools that can simplify the process for you!
- What is Content Optimization?
- Content vs. Search Engine Optimization: Why is SEO important?
- How to Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
- 1. Perform a Content Gap Analysis
- 2. Do Competitor Research
- 3. Do Extensive Keyword Research
- 4. Perform On-page SEO
- 5. Monitor Your Progress and Search Engine Rankings
- Website content optimization tools to use
What is Content Optimization?
Content optimization is a process of preparing relevant, compelling, and high-quality content that search engine results pages (SERPs) will love and rank. This isn’t only applicable for new pages on your site but for existing ones.
On average more than 7.5 million blogs are being published daily. That means you’re competing with a lot of content. Besides that, Google uses specific parameters in its ranking algorithm where they only show authoritative results for search queries. So to get to that level and widen your reach, you must include content optimization in your content marketing tactics.
Optimizing content has been proven to improve conversion rates, which increases revenue for businesses. Not only does it widen your reach, but it also helps your business grow.
Content vs. Search Engine Optimization: Why is SEO important?
It’s essential to note the difference between content and optimization. Each of the terms and efforts applies to and appeals to two completely different audiences.
When writing your content, you’re focused on providing something of value to your target readers. But when you do search engine optimization, you focus on making your content visible to the site crawlers.
Content that is well-made but not optimized could go unnoticed by the search engines and thus be invisible to the masses.
But this doesn’t remove the fact that publishing excellent content for your audience is crucial. Meaning, relevant and compelling content should go hand-in-hand with your SEO efforts to get optimal results.
How to Optimize Your Content for Search Engines
Here is a five-step process you can follow:
1. Perform a Content Gap Analysis
Content gap analysis reveals information that needs to be included in your copy to better serve particular search intent.
You can do this by comparing your existing content to your top-ranking competitors’ and filling out the “Gap.” Gaps are related topics or searches your competitors cover, but you don’t. By doing so, you’ll be able to create content better than your competitors and increase your chances of ranking.
Doing content gap analysis can be time-consuming. So, I suggest using Ahrefs or SEMrush in this process.
2. Do Competitor Research
Competitor research is a fundamental marketing strategy in which you scrutinize your competitor to learn which content marketing techniques they are using.
Some of the insights you need to gather are keywords that they are targeting and ranking for, content gaps, internal links, backlinks, domain authority, and search volume.
Make sure that you’re only studying direct competitors. And you shouldn’t be derailed by indirect ones, as they may affect your content strategy negatively.
3. Do Extensive Keyword Research
Keyword research is discovering and analyzing which words are used by your prospective customers to find you. This will help you create content that is relevant to what they want.
One way to come up with keywords and phrases is by brainstorming the main topics in your niche. You may also find ideas at Google’s “People also ask,” related search terms, or through competitor analysis.
Keyword optimization is integral to a successful search marketing campaign, and it should be done regularly. Doing ongoing keyword research will let you discover new ranking opportunities under related keywords. This will ensure steady growth in your site traffic, leads, and sales.
4. Perform On-page SEO
On-page SEO refers to the efforts you make to your website to help Google understand what content should rank higher than others. These include keywords, meta descriptions, page titles, alt tags, images, etc.
Practicing on-page SEO can help you get better organic search results and more traffic on your site.
Target a long-tailed keyword and use it multiple times.
Long-tailed keywords can help you rank faster and optimize content for voice search.
After performing keyword research, you must use your target keyword multiple times on your post or page.
Your keyword should sound natural with your sentence, and be careful not to overuse it. Google penalized sites that practice keyword stuffing. To avoid this, you can use synonyms, relevant terms and topics, and also LSI keywords.
Optimize your title tags, URLs, meta descriptions, and headers.
Title tags are usually displayed at the top of your post and on SERPs. URLs are your unique links. And meta descriptions are a short copy located below your URL.
To optimize them, you must include your long-tailed keyword and ensure that they don’t exceed the suggested character length.
- Title tag > 60 characters
- URL > 75 characters
- Meta description > 160 characters
Using proper headers on your content is also essential. It makes your site easier to read for crawlers and your audience. Follow this guide:
- H1 – Main topic or your page title.
- H2 – Important sub-sections.
- H3 – Sub-sub-heading.
- H4, H5, H6 – Not necessarily needed. But in case you need to break down H3 into more detailed sections, you can use H4 and so on.
Don’t forget to include your long-tailed keyword on your page title and in one of your H2 or H3.
Add alt tags to some images.
Alt tags, a.k.a alt texts, help search engines to crawl and index your images correctly. If there are problems with your photo, it can also help your audience to imagine what picture is shown there.
The perfect way to create an alt tag is to describe a picture in a specific yet straightforward way. According to Hubspot, you should be able to explain your image in 125 characters or less. You don’t need to add alt texts to every single photo as well. You only need to choose some that best represent your article and topic.
Boost internal and external linkage.
The best link-building strategy can make your web pages, and blog posts perform better on search engines. Articles containing authoritative links have a higher rate for top organic search positions.
Why? Because they know that your content can be trusted and you’re offering credible sources to the readers.
While internal linking helps crawlers navigate your web pages better by discovering related links on a particular topic.
5. Monitor Your Progress and Search Engine Rankings
You should NEVER ever skip this step. Monitoring is essential in adjusting your digital marketing approach and identifying issues that arise from your efforts. See which SEO practices worked and apply them when creating content.
The best free tool to use is Google Search Console (GSC). You can track your site’s performance, total clicks, CTR, and your pages’ average position.
GSC can also show you errors in your indexed pages and top queries and pages on your site.
Website content optimization tools to use
Content optimization might feel overwhelming. Luckily, some tools can help you do it faster, better, and more accurately. After all, investing in the right tools is also a crucial part of maintaining a well-optimized site.
Here are some of our recommended tools and their use:
Google Search Console
GSC is a free SEO tool that helps website owners improve search engine rankings of existing content. It provides how users find your site, including keywords used in searches, top pages viewed, and referring sites.
Find the best keywords to target using Mangool’s research tool. It provides valuable data like monthly search volume, related search terms, and keyword difficulty. You may also use KWFinder to perform competitor research.
Surfer SEO is a fantastic tool for content editing and creation. Surfer helps you write optimized content and update existing ones based on your top competitor’s content on search results. By following their comprehensive step-by-step guide and increasing your content score, your search engine ranking can improve.
Ahrefs was initially known as a backlink analysis tool but is now an all-in-one SEO platform. You can use it to explore and audit your site, monitor your ranking, explore keywords and your competitor’s content.
Like Ahrefs, SEMrush is also a powerful SEO tool now, but it was once a keyword research tool. They almost have the same excellent features, but SEMrush has a content marketing platform that works like Surfer.
Grammarly is a great writing assistant tool where you can check your grammar and punctuations to ensure that your content is well-written. It also has a reliable plagiarism checker feature which is accessible once you pay for the Pro Plan.
Don’t let your amazing content remain hidden from your audience just because you didn’t optimize it. Content optimization isn’t as complicated as it sounds, and you can take advantage of great tools to save time.
Before I end this post, let’s do a recap of the content optimization process:
- Perform a content gap analysis.
- Do competitor research.
- Do extensive keyword research.
- Perform on-page SEO.
- Monitor your progress.
- (BONUS) Invest in valuable SEO tools.
You may save this post and come back when you feel lost.
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