The goal of content optimization is to make your website’s content engaging and valuable for both your target audience and search engines. Website visitors should be guided by the content to a desired outcome—placing an order, downloading an ebook, subscribing to a newsletter, etc.—and search engines should be offered text as relevant as possible to the selected keyword queries.
However, it is not always possible to work both sides at once, which leads to a need for strategic compromise and trade offs—changing the structure of your text and trying different styles. One way to improve your website’s search engine visibility is by utilizing a link-building strategy.
Either way, it is necessary to ensure that your content is relevant and of high quality. Even if you decide to outsource website promotion, you need to own your content strategy and understand the implications of optimizing your content for SEO benefits. Here is our concise, yet thorough guideline on optimizing content for maximum SEO value.
Developing a Content Strategy
One of the most common mistakes marketers make today is assuming that it is sufficient to add several links and keywords to an already existing piece of content (e.g., article, blog post, About Us page) to optimize them.
However, this approach has more drawbacks than advantages. First, it might be challenging to insert the target keywords and make them look natural in a sentence that has been created without considering them in context in the first place. This type of “link stuffing” will hurt user experience and may negatively affect your site’s search rankings.
It is essential to develop an effective content strategy and determine which types of content are worth updating and which are outdated and should be deleted. An effective content strategy must begin with keyword research and studying user intent and behavior. Being aware of the popular search queries your target audience uses will allow you to create valuable and relevant content for them.
A high-quality piece of content starts with an understanding of why your audience should care, gives them a reason to read about the solution you offer, and offers them an appealing reason to engage.
Performing Keyword Analysis
A thorough keyword analysis is an integral part of designing an effective content strategy. It allows you to find the most relevant keywords that will help increase the website’s search engine rankings. In order to conduct a keyword analysis, it is crucial to define the goals of a specific piece of content. Then, you will be able to select the keywords you want to target in the search results.
You can use tools like Ahrefs Keyword Explorer or Google Keyword Planner to research and then write content to incorporate the most relevant keywords.
Here are a few tips to help you efficiently incorporate keywords into your content:
- Use keywords selected for website promotion in the title and page title and evenly distribute them throughout the text of the page.
- Avoid keyword stuffing, make sure the number of keywords is natural, and pay attention to the keyword density, which should not exceed 5-7% of the total word count.
- Make sure that the natural text contains different forms of key phrases and separately occurring words to assure that the site won’t be penalized for over-optimized content.
Keep in mind that search engines don’t just notice how many times the keyword appears on the page but also the context in which they are used. Therefore, using keywords as often as possible is not a fool-proof way to rank well—you also need to think about the words surrounding each keyword. Creating personalized, valuable content based on your target audience’s needs and wants remains a top priority, even when it comes to search engine optimization.
A good piece of content should give the user the most complete and specific information about the product or service that you are selling, reveal the advantages of your company, and carefully lead a potential customer to make a purchase or send a request. Simultaneously, search engines should “like it,” meaning it must be unique, relevant to the query, but not stuffed with keywords and links.
Here are a few tips to help you create valuable content that both users and search engines will value:
- Ensure that the text is structured and logical. It is better to arrange several detailed sentences into a laconic but substantial phrase. Each subsequent paragraph should be a continuation of the previous one.
- Eliminate wordy descriptions that lack substance. Users expect clear and quick answers. So, if you can explain something in a concise way—do it. Instead of writing an overwhelmingly long article on a subject, write each paragraph so that the text is easy to follow and provokes the user to read the next one. And while there are no clear criteria for the volume of articles, a word count of 1000 words or less should be your goal, as it allows you to provide enough information to solve a users’ problem while keeping them engaged.
- Avoid unnatural phrases, grammatical errors, an overabundance of keywords — all of these lead to a loss of credibility on the site and distracts from your brand story.
Formatting plays an essential role in creating or updating existing content as it allows you to rearrange the content pieces to achieve better search ranking results. The guidelines mentioned below will help you ensure that your texts are logically structured, easy to navigate, and readable for users and search engines.
Logically highlighted parts of the content are of great importance, so it is imperative to use all possible page markup tools correctly without overdoing it. Make sure to specify the page title (h1 tag), article subheadings (h2 tags), and highlight words in the text. You should also use bullet points and numbered lists when appropriate to simplify more complex ideas.
- Diversifying Content
A rich combination of text and imagery makes the content more visually interesting and informative for the users. Therefore, enriching the content with pictures, checklists, infographics, tablets and charts, contextual links to reputable websites, and quotes will make it more likely to give your audience a reason to engage.
- Alt Text
When updating your content with graphics, photos, screenshots, infographics, or something else, it is essential to add “alt text” (or “alternative text”). It is a short written description of an image. This improves the website’s accessibility, making it more readable for people with visual impairments or a slow internet connection. Secondly, it allows you to achieve maximum SEO results. Search engines cannot understand the pictures located in the text, but adding alt text will enable them to “read” these images, providing them with more context, which is an essential factor in establishing a site’s ranking.
With search engines’ algorithms constantly changing, it is essential to know how to update your content for better search engine visibility. If an organization wants to keep ranking well, it needs to implement good SEO practices while avoiding the bad ones. For example, keyword stuffing that was a convincing strategy several years ago is an unacceptable approach by today’s standards that will get your website penalized. Thus, the quality of your content and its usefulness for the audience should remain a priority at all times. In order to update the content for maximum SEO value, you need to make sure that it is unique, informative, and well-structured—both users and search engines highly appreciate all these factors.
SEO is an essential and transformative marketing tactic for building a strong brand in the digital age. Use these tips to boost your brand image with effective content marketing and SEO practices that will put you ahead of your competitors. Remember, you only have six seconds to give people a reason to care, listen, engage, buy, and stay. But, if they can’t even find you because you’re buried on a second page of an organic search, you won’t get any time at all.