Content optimization allows you to best package your content in a way that’ll draw in the most eyeballs. And for the people doing it well, that’s a lot of eyeballs!
Let’s put it in perspective. You follow thought leaders within your industry niche. You look at yourself as mostly a follower.
But you dutifully create one piece of content per day, and what does it do? It ends up leading to 2.5 percent annualized growth.
Now let’s look at the people you’re following across the same time period. Would you believe that they have 19.7 percent growth? That’s 7.8 times the success you’re having!
These are numbers taken from an actual case study, and they highlight the importance of content optimization. In the following article, we’ll be discussing this at length along with contributing factors such as SEO and how it works in the process of optimization. Let’s begin!
Why SEO Matters
No talk of optimization can be had without first addressing SEO. Search engine optimization is a term that’s been around since before the Internet caused a revolution in the way we live.
A hard birthday for it is difficult to track down. But many of the experts feel they’ve got it traced to around 1991.
Nice to know, but what does it do? There are three key areas where SEO helps.
It Helps You Connect with an Audience
People use the Internet to find things they are looking for. They use words, and increasingly, voice, to find those nuggets. Gearing up your content for their search helps you find the right audience.
It Establishes You As an Authority
One of the great gifts of SEO is how it helps you become an authority in a very specific niche. In the early days of the Internet, search engines were not as sophisticated.
Today, they can lock on to related phrases and questions from a single search and deliver more relevant listings based on two or three words. User intent is playing a more and more active role, in other words.
What does that have to do with you and your content optimization efforts? Everything! It allows you to latch on to these more specific searches and create content that caters exactly to that audience. This establishes you as an expert in their eyes.
It Can Even the Playing Field
Thanks to the strong intuition of search engines and their ability to coax more out of search engine optimization, you can use this strategy to overcome many challenges. Perhaps the biggest is the budget.
While a large marketing budget may still help you buy your way onto page one of Google, consumers are getting savvier. They tend to go for the organic listings, and paid ads are distinguished as paid ads. That means they often get overlooked when a user is doing a deep dive for relevant content.
The content creator who stays focused and on-track with his content will benefit from this. By drilling down to the specifics, you establish a connection that can then be grown through your other content and offerings.
Now that we’ve established why SEO matters, let’s move to a related question. What types of objectives should your optimized content fulfill?
Purpose of Search Engine Optimization Content
Search engine optimization content tends to have two primary motivations. And these are true whether you’re writing about how to fix your plumbing or how to build a website. They are:
It Tells the Audience What Your Content Is About
SEO content cannot be pigeon-holed into a specific niche. That’s because it fits every niche. Here are only some of the diverse topics that you can use SEO principles with:
- Entertainment: movies, books, animation, board games, video games, comics, music, to name a few.
- How-to: fix your plumbing, build a fence, code from scratch, etc.
- Fact sheet: compiling relevant statistics and data from within your industry.
- Interviews: yes, these can still be “SEO’d” based on the topics you cover with your subject.
- Visuals: videos, images, infographics. Use keyword identifiers to discuss the topic each one covers.
You get the point. Each area provides you an opportunity to connect with readers based on what they already are searching, not what you hope they’re searching!
It Tells the Search Engine What Your Content Is About
Search engines have their work cut out for them. They have to index billions of pages from millions of websites. And they have to do it in an efficient, relevant manner every time someone runs an inquiry.
Few search engine results are alike because users can look for content in different forms. SEO content helps alleviate headaches for these remarkable bits of artificial intelligence.
How do they do that? They structure information in a way that makes it easy for the bots to collect and classify information. That is, the keywords and headings you use in your content denote whether the content itself is the most relevant for the user’s inquiry.
Content that hits close to the mark will get ranked highly on platforms like Google. And results have demonstrated 91.7 percent of all customers use the top ten search results, with around 62 percent going to the top three results. That means thousands of websites not in the top ten have to fight over 8.3 percent of customers who go beyond the first page of results.
It pays to rank well! In the next section, we’ll show you how you can do that by optimizing your SEO content.
How You Optimize SEO Content
Website optimization is both complicated and simple. No, we’re not speaking out both sides of our mouth. We’re saying the technical end could be hard to explain to the average user, but getting your content where it needs to be from an SEO perspective is not.
First, on the technical side: search engines like Google are understandably hush-hush about their ranking factors, or the way they index website pages. After all, having the most relevant results are the lifeblood of the company!
Google uses dozens of factors when it comes to determining its results. We’ve noticed that no matter what changes come along, there are five basic things you can do to get strong results. They are:
1. Keyword Research
Keywords are important, though not in the same way they once were. When companies were first figuring out how to monetize, they tried a number of tactics — some of them not so “white-hat” — to get Google and other engines to notice them.
This often led to keyword “stuffing,” where a savvy black-hat marketer might hide keywords throughout the page that had nothing to do with the content itself. Another tactic would be to fit results into the body of the content as many times as possible, no matter how awkward or irrelevant it sounded.
Google grew wise to that game, much to the benefit of the average Internet user. Today, Google doesn’t just only keywords. They also use related keywords and topics and a combination of search inquiries to deliver as much relevancy as possible.
It’s no longer about keyword frequency. It’s about how well the content addresses the user’s search. Today, when doing your keyword search, you should break it down along these three lines.
How many people are searching for the topic? What are the most frequently asked questions? What are some of the more specific questions those lead to?
For content optimization to work well, you need to immerse yourself in the topic. You need to approach content development by going beyond that initial search inquiry. Go down the rabbit hole and find as many related inquiries that the user is likely to search next.
These usually flow along two streams: topic and geography. The topic part was covered pretty well under “Search Volume,” so we’ll refer you back to that with any questions. Geography, on the other hand, requires a bit more explanation.
We’re talking about the importance of local search. Did you know that 78 percent — more than three-in-four customers who do local searches on Google end up buying something offline? That’s a powerful metric, and it’s one that your business needs to keep in mind if you’re doing Keyword Research based on topic only.
It’s important to define your competition and to see where they’re ranking. If you’re going topic-only, you will want to rank for as many long-tail keywords as possible. These are more specific searches.
Example: “buying a car online” is pretty generic. But “Buy 2015 Ford truck in the Dallas area” is long-tail, and there won’t be as many competitors vying for it.
2. Engine Readiness
We know No. 1 was a big one, but it had to be because it represents everything your content will cover. This entry on our SEO optimization tips checklist is shorter but still important.
It covers basic housekeeping. Factors like:
- URL structure: is what appears in the address relevant to the content of the article? Is it keyword-dense?
- Meta description: how succinct, accurate, and descriptive can you be on what the post is about?
- Title: does it use the keyword or phrase and is it short enough to not get cut off before revealing what the article will cover?
- Content structure: are things easy to follow and find in the body of the article itself?
Another point to consider when asking what does optimizing mean?
3. Content Density
Density in the context of content means is it well-researched, does it answer questions or provide analysis and authority? Content with research that refers to other secondary sources won’t do as well as content that links to primary sources, relevant case studies, and expert opinions.
Dense content also will be easy for a human reader to follow, and it will be relevant to the current state of affairs in a given niche. Take SEO as an example.
If you’re writing an article that still tells users to structure their SEO the same as in 2008, that’s not going to rank very well. Why? Because it will be irrelevant to the user.
Furthermore, some of the terminologies that exist today won’t be in an article from a few years ago. While the article could have been gangbusters in 2008, today it’s only a waste of bandwidth. You need to repurpose your blog content to make it relevant to 2019.
4. Outside Relevancy
Content should not exist in a vacuum. If you’re producing it for a website, then it was meant for consumption!
That means your content should prove relevant to the outside world. How do we determine that? Through shareability!
What is shareability? In simple terms, it means you’ve written or created a piece of content that needs little marketing. When people see it, read it, or hear it, they’re going to have to pass it on.
A lot of times you can tell if the content will resonate with the masses based on the thoughtfulness and intensity people have for the topic, or your take on the topic.
If you notice your circle is sharing it a lot, there’s a good chance it will play similarly to a wider audience. Take note of these occasions and consider “boosting” content that triggers that effect through paid campaigns on Google, Facebook, and other mass communications platforms.
5. Technical Proficiency
Finally, your technical side will be something you need to address for the best content optimization results. Whether that means learning how to do it yourself or paying someone else to handle it for you, it can make all the difference.
Pay particularly close attention to how fast your page loads, whether you’ve used relevant internal and external links, and whether the XML sitemap accounts for every page.
Another big factor is the mobile friendliness. Your page needs to look and function well on mobile with no limitations — or as few as possible — from the desktop format. If you’re not mobile-friendly, Google and other search engines will penalize you.
Content Optimization Makes You Relevant
Content optimization ensures you have a fair chance at success in the 21st Century business paradigm. Following the tips presented above will ensure your content stays where it needs to be no matter what changes may lie ahead.
If you’d like to consider hiring an SEO consulting firm for your small business, check out the services we provide here.