Every brand knows that content is an important part of your digital marketing strategies.
And one of the most important aspects of your content marketing is creating good content that your audiences are interested in reading.
In order to outrank your competitors and have your content displayed at the top of search engine results pages, you need to have a strategy for content optimization.
But what exactly is content optimization, and why does it matter to your brand?
In this essential guide to content optimization, we’ll talk about the value of optimizing your content and how it helps your brand’s SEO.
We’ll also discuss when content optimization is needed in your organization and give you some tips to create your own content optimization strategy.
What is Content Optimization?
Content optimization is the process of improving the content you publish to rank higher on Google and other search engines while simultaneously increasing the return on investment, or ROI, that your content provides to your brand.
By using SEO best practices and some content marketing techniques together, you can create a better content creation process that allows your content to be seen by more people.
Common elements of content optimization include:
- Internal links
- Meta tags
- Featured snippets
By improving the content you create now and applying some of the content improvement tactics to older content, you can create a content optimization strategy that continually works to improve your content rankings and quality.
Why Should You Optimize Your Content?
When your content isn’t optimized for SEO, it’s going to be hard for it to be found and consumed by your audiences.
What’s more, the content your competitors produce will rank higher and be discoverable by more of your potential customers.
Optimized content ensures that the most eyes as possible will be on your content, which can help in a few key areas.
One of the major benefits of content optimization is the increase in traffic it brings to your sites.
By optimizing your content for Google, you can rank higher on search engine results pages.
Think about it like this: when you do a Google search, are you interested in the links on page two or three? Or do you want to click on one of the first few links?
By getting your content better rankings, more people will see your content links and click on them.
And, if your content is engaging and interesting to audiences, they won’t bounce from your site and will instead browse around and potentially click more links.
Better Quality Content
Optimizing your content is more than just changing meta tags and adding internal links.
It also requires you to improve the quality of your content and the readability your content has not just to search engines but to your audiences as well.
Search algorithms have advanced over the years so old tactics like keyword stuffing won’t help your content rank higher.
Instead, search engines are looking for content that addresses the topic and provides value to readers.
By increasing the quality of your content you can get more readers than trying to find ways around high-quality content.
Improved Customer Experience
The customer experience is an important part of content marketing and your SEO strategies.
You want to create an experience that brings customers back for more. When you have great, high-quality content that addresses the needs and interests of your customers, they are more likely to click on your content links.
When you have more links from a dedicated audience, the search engine algorithms take note.
That adds to your brand’s authority and influences how high your new content can rank. Search engines like to promote content that comes from a trustworthy source.
Content optimization isn’t just great for improving your search engine rankings and technical SEO. It also can help increase your brand’s sales and revenues.
Content is an important part of your sales and marketing funnels. It brings in audiences who can then convert and move down the funnel to become a customer.
You get more leads for your top-of-funnel marketing when you have content that ranks high and appears on the first page of Google and other search engines.
By optimizing your content you can increase traffic, which increases conversions, which in turn increases the amount of sales that your content marketing efforts have brought in.
When is Content Optimization Really Essential?
The short answer? Always.
A strong content optimization strategy isn’t just a one-time deal. Instead, it focuses on continual improvement of your content process.
Search engine algorithms and SEO best practices are constantly evolving and changing, and so the content you create needs to adjust alongside them.
If you optimize a piece of content for today, but next year there is an algorithm update, your content needs to update too.
While content optimization should be ongoing, there are times when you might want to put more energy and focus on it.
If you notice that your posts are getting a dramatic decrease in views or your rankings for keywords are dropping, it could mean that your content isn’t optimized as much as it should be and your SEO rankings are suffering.
By tracking your SEO and content performance regularly you will be able to notice any unexpected drops or decreases and adjust your content as needed.
And, when your reporting and tracking are combined with consistent content optimization, you can create a process and system that is always working to improve your brand’s visibility and authority online.
Hands-On: 12 Tips to Optimize Your Content
Now that you understand what content optimization is and why it’s an important part of your content marketing and SEO strategies, let’s take a deeper dive into some of the best tips and tactics you can implement to build a content optimization strategy that works.
1. Improve Internal Linking
Your internal linking structure needs to be a major component of your SEO and content optimization strategies.
Internal linking refers to the blue links in your content that direct traffic to another page, piece of content, or channel of your brand.
When your content has a linking structure that interlinks, it increases the ability of bots to scan your pages and share authority among your entire site.
2. Aim for Snippets
A featured snippet is an element on the Google search results page that is designed to quickly answer a user’s question without having to click on a link.
That can appear as a numbered or bulleted list, a quote or paragraph, or table dropdowns.
When your content is featured in a snippet, you are essentially being promoted as the best answer and source for that particular search query.
By making sure your content has the formats that are used in featured snippets, you increase the odds of being picked by the search engines.
3. Add Content Optimization Tools to Your Process
Content optimization tools can help remove some of the guesswork and uncertainty of content optimization.
They also help you save time and scale your content creation processes to meet your marketing goals.
They can help you with keyword research and some of the technical SEO and content optimization tasks necessary to rank higher on search engine results pages.
4. Perform Periodical In-Depth Content Audits
A content audit and analysis can help you create a benchmark of where your content currently stands.
While you definitely want to ensure that your new content is being optimized as it is created, odds are that you have older content that doesn’t meet the current standards.
By analyzing the keywords, length, quality, and goals of your older content periodically, you can create a plan to approach and improve older content on your site.
5. Conduct Competitor Research
Your competitors are a great source to use when improving your content.
You can see what keywords they are ranking for, how often they post, the quality of their content, and the amount of views each piece of content they publish gets.
That can help you identify gaps that you can fill with your own content and determine different areas you want to overtake them in.
6. Use a Content Grader
A content grader is a fairly new concept that takes a look at the content you’ve created and tells you how optimized it is for SEO.
It will use a long list of relevant and related keywords to help determine what score your content has, which directly relates to the organic search engine ranking that the content can receive.
This can help you add in important keywords without stuffing them into your content.
7. Increase Your Content Quality
As mentioned earlier, the quality of your content plays a major role in determining how high you can rank on Google and other search engines.
High-quality content also plays a big role in improving the customer experience and bringing in more views for your content.
Take time to examine all the spelling and grammatical choices that are made in your content to ensure that it makes sense and reads easily.
8. Remember the Technical Elements
While there is value in improving the readability and quality of your content, you don’t want to forget about the other technical elements that go into content optimization.
That can include things like:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Meta keywords
- URL structures
- Alt text
- File names
- Keyword distribution
- Snippet optimization
9. Create Better Images and Videos
Content is more than the words on a page. It also includes things like infographics, images, and videos.
By including these types of elements on your pages, you can improve the interest and increase engagement from viewers.
And when you optimize those images and videos to include the right SEO tags and descriptions, you can help to create a better experience for audiences and higher rankings on search engines.
10. Find the Best Keywords and Topics for Your Industry
Keywords are a fundamental building block of any content marketing strategy.
After all, the keywords and descriptions that you have in your content are how searchers and your audience members will be able to find your content in searches.
Conducting keyword research and narrowing down the specific topics you want to use in your content optimization helps establish the authority of your brand and meet the search intent of your audiences.
11. Regularly Update Your Older Content
Your older content is just as valuable to your content optimization as the new content you create.
If you have older content on your site that isn’t optimized, it can damage your brand’s reputation and authority with search engines and detract away from the new, optimized content you’ve created.
When you can update your older content to be relevant and meet the current best practices and demands of search engines, you can improve your authority.
12. Outsource if Necessary
SEO and content optimization are necessary for brands that want to grow and improve their reach.
However, it can be hard to stay on top of content optimization with a small team or a team that has many other focuses.
Outsourcing your content optimization and SEO can help you stay on top of things without needing to do it all yourself.
There are many companies and agencies that specialize in SEO and optimization that can help your brand.
Content optimization is a valuable strategy for brands that want to improve the quality and SEO of their content.
Without it, you run the risk of falling further and further down the search engine results pages.
While content optimization can help you improve your brand’s SEO, there are many other aspects of a well-rounded SEO strategy that require your attention.
To learn more about where your SEO strategy falls on the maturity scale, take our SEO maturity assessment.
You’ll discover if you have any gaps in your SEO strategy and identify what areas you can focus your improvement efforts on to take your SEO to the next level!