The saying, “there are plenty of fish in the sea”, holds good even for businesses. Several businesses are offering the same solution resulting in confusion for individuals to choose from a lot of options. And, if you want to be your audience’s choice you have to cater to their needs by educating without intimidating them whilst also positioning yourself as an expert.
Sounds overly complex, doesn’t it?
That’s where content optimization comes in.
When it comes to marketing your product today, you need an education first approach to reach your consumers. While a content marketing strategy covers the aspect of nurturing your audience to the point of conversion, content optimization is what ensures your content is consumed in the right manner.
Content optimization doesn’t only mean SEO optimization. There’s a slight difference between them. Search Engine Optimization means making the content search engine friendly while content optimization is all about making it easy to read and act on at any point in the piece.
What is content optimization?
Content optimization is the process of making your content readable and SEO friendly, allowing it to reach the highest possible target audience to acquire website traffic and conversions.
The process of content optimization includes using relevant keywords, defining the meta title, and meta description, on-site speed, headers and sub headers, call to action, and many other factors. Oh, and content formatting too!
Content V/S Optimization
There is a huge difference between content and optimization. Each term applies to two distinct audiences. Where content is targeted at readers, optimization on the other hand is done for search engine robots, which in turn helps your content get discovered by the right set of readers.
Great content attracts readers, makes them stay hooked on your content, and encourages them to buy your products and services. At the same time, optimization is focused on making it easier for search engine bots to analyze the content and show it to the target audience.
Why is content optimization important?
Content optimization is vital for a content marketing strategy to work and bring in the desired results. You might have created the best possible content comprising helpful insights but, without optimizing, it’s unlikely to be found by the right audience – forget about it being read.
When you write content for the readers and optimize it for the search engines, you can be sure that it reaches the right audience at the right moment – which is essentially the hack to driving more organic traffic, and who doesn’t want that?
A simple thing like dividing the article into sections and tagging them as h1, h2, h3, etc signals the search engines that the content is useful and covers all the important aspects around a topic or theme that may hold value for the people looking for information.
Simply put, here’s why we believe content optimization is important:
- Making the content readable
- Indicating value to the search engines
- Standing out in the content noise
- Enabling easy information consumption
- Maximizing the probability of click-throughs
How to optimize content for maximum reach?
Pertaining to how important content optimization is for a content strategy to work and your content marketing goals to be achieved, we have discussed how you can optimize your content to reach your target audience:
After having experimented with various tactics, here are some of the most effective ways we found for content optimization:
- Optimize content for readability
- Optimize content for SEO
- Optimize the content quality
- Optimize content for conversions
- Optimize other content formats
1. Optimize content for readability
Content readability refers to the ease with which the content can be read and understood by an individual. Research has found that the average human can read grade 9 text but would prefer grade 8 text over it to read and comprehend easily.
Content that has a difficult vocabulary, long sentences, and longer paragraphs, is hard to read and understand when compared to the content that uses simple words with short sentences, and crisp paragraphs.
If the content is easy to read, then the person will not have any problem reading the entire thing and this in turn will help improve session duration. And, longer session duration implies an increase in engagement and improved conversions.
Here are a few things to keep in mind to optimize content for readability:
- Use simple words
- Use shorter sentences
- Break the content into paragraphs
- Give importance to formatting
- Use relevant images
- Use readable fonts like Arial, times new roman, etc.
- Structure the content properly and segment them with sub headers
2. Optimize content for SEO
The intention behind writing and publishing content on the internet is to educate the audience while establishing authority. The main aim here is to become visible on the search engines to capture the intent of your audience from day one.
High-quality content without SEO can’t perform and low-quality content with SEO fails miserably. Good content and SEO work collectively. Hence, only quality content with SEO can bring visibility and engagement to your website.
Here are 10 steps on how you can optimize your content for SEO:
1. Craft compelling content
The first and foremost thing to do before optimizing anything is to write original content that serves its purpose. This includes creating content that is focused on highlighting the use of your product or service or addressing the concerns, challenges, and goals of your target audience.
2. Conduct a thorough keyword research
When someone searches for a topic or a word, the search engine shows the most relevant and helpful content to them. For a search engine to rank your content higher, you have to write good content first and then optimize it for SEO.
Keyword research has to be the most important task when it comes to optimizing the content for SEO. Keywords are phrases and words that match the search intent of internet users and also describe what your business is about, what it has to offer, or what you are writing about.
For example, articles on content marketing will be ranked on the keyword ‘content marketing’. But they actually also may cover close keywords like ‘content marketing tips’ and ‘content marketing strategies.
A good tip to follow here is to ensure you have the following types of keywords shortlisted:
- Exact match to your topic
- High monthly search volume keywords
- Low volume, high opportunity keywords
- Long tail keywords
3. Avoid keyword stuffing
Keyword stuffing is a tactic to spam the content with keywords to rank higher on the search results. This spamming tactic is ancient and if used now, will negatively impact your content, leading to lower ranking and even lower organic traffic.
One of the best things to do to avoid keyword stuffing and still score a rank is to use conceptually related keywords over the article. Here are a few tips we recommend for keyword content optimization:
- Use only one primary keyword
- Use a maximum of 5 secondary keywords
- Use your primary keyword at least 1% times of the total number of words
- Restrict secondary keywords to just 1-2 times in your content piece
- Leverage image ALT text to place keywords
- Add keywords to headings, but not all
4. Use headings appropriately
If headings are optimized properly, then it gets easy for bots to crawl over the content. Headings give the structure and outline to the blog post and make it easy for the reader to read, also letting them navigate to the section that holds the most value to them or they want to read more on.
Optimizing headlines is the most essential but overlooked part of SEO.
5. Optimize the blog post length
According to HubSpot, the average length of a blog post should be between 2100 – 2400 words.
It’s not always necessary to write a lengthy article. But, a lengthy article is expected to work wonders if you pay close attention to the information you cover.
Here’s what we recommend to optimize your content length:
- Reduce the use of fluff words
- Remove repetitive headings
- Consider your target audience
- Identify the goals and objectives of your content
6. Make sure you do interlinking
Interlinking is one of the neglected SEO tactics in a good content strategy. Interlink or internal linking is the process of linking one page to another page of your site.
For example, a link to a LinkedIn content marketing article for this page is an internal link.
You’ve to have your audience in mind while interlinking. Imagine if an individual is reading article A, what sort of another article will be useful to them? And guide them to articles B, C, D, etc.
Individuals are quick to build external links or backlinks. But, it is an internal link that is going to help you in increasing the visibility and engagement of your site. This also helps the search crawlers index related content – pieces that are interlinked together.
7. Optimize your meta title and meta descriptions
SEO ranking also depends upon the meta title and meta descriptions, as the snippet written under the title will be shown for a user when a related search is made. And, hence, perfecting meta titles and meta descriptions is necessary as it impacts the website traffic.
Here are some tips we do recommend:
- Keep your meta title optimized to 70 characters
- Keep your meta description optimized to 160 characters
- Make sure you include the primary keyword in both
8. Utilize long-tail keywords
Ranking on the shorter keywords is kind of difficult as they’re irrelevant these days because in just a word or two you cannot understand the search intent and long tail keywords are the saviors we needed.
Optimizing your content with long-tail keywords helps improve visibility on search results by making it rank for a topic you’ve chosen. You can also use them in a separate FAQs section at the end of the content piece.
9. Optimize images
Optimizing images is also a necessary part of optimization for SEO. It helps the search engine understand what’s there in the images by reading the alt text on them and therefore improving SEO ranking. Also, content with 7 or more images garners more organic traffic than those without images.
We suggest you compress images before adding them to the article, as an uncompressed image slows down the site speed.
10. Optimize URL
A URL has to be related to the article and should include the primary keyword. Adding keywords in the URL confirms the relevance between the URL and the content one’s searching for. Hence, optimizing URLs will help your content score in the search results.
We also recommend keeping your content URL length optimized. Overly long URLs will get clipped while sharing.
3. Optimize the content quality
Creating valuable content doesn’t only compel the audience to stay on your site but also improves conversions. You’ve heard from many about creating ‘quality’ content, but, what exactly is ‘quality content’?
Quality content is the type of content that matches the user expectations and here are some quick tips to create quality content:
- Write as you talk
- Grammar and spelling errors are an absolute no-no
- Personalize content for your audience
- The content has to be well formatted
- Use simple words
- Write in short paragraphs
- Sentence length should be between 15 – 20 words
- Maintain a consistent brand voice throughout the content
4. Optimize content for conversions
Not all content is written to rank on the search engine.
Some of it is placed strategically to improve conversions. Think about what’s the next thing you want your audience to do after engaging with your article -convert? Yes! And for that, you need to optimize content for conversions using tools like Squidvision.
You should consider the following three things before optimizing content for conversions.
1. Your target audience
You have to give priority to your target audience. For example, if you are a B2B business, your content should focus on the decision makers of the company and talk to them in their language about their pain points and your solution.
2. Your CTAs
Every content has a purpose to serve – either to educate, inform or sell. Your CTAs are an important part of your content, guiding your audience on what to do next. And, the next step for your audience has to be well planned, and if not then all the hard work goes in vain.
For example, you cannot send a sales email to a new subscriber, as they’ve not yet reached the purchase decision stage. Firstly you need to prime them up with educational content and only then send sales emails.
3. Your copy
To achieve the conversion goal, the copy has to compel the user into taking action and only a good copy can make it happen.
For your copy to bring conversions you need to focus on:
Formatting your copy and making it easier for someone to read and digest the information by using bullet points and lists
Focus on the benefits your product or service is going to provide to the user rather than its features.
Focus on providing value first and then ask for a sale.
5. Optimize other content formats
Optimized blog content helps achieve content marketing goals successfully but there are other equally important content formats like video and images that appear in different SERPs. And, they need to be optimized too to score conversions.
1. Optimizing video content
- The video must have eye catching thumbnail
- Create relevant titles that include the keyword
- Add a proper video description of what’s in the video
- Add appropriate tags to your video
- Add video transcripts to get better SEO results as google crawls the text
2. Optimizing Images
Optimizing images has to be one of the disregarded parts of SEO. Images break the monotony and make the written text easy to comprehend. And, optimizing them makes it easy for search engines to recognize and help them rank.
Here are a few things you can do to improve your image SEO:
- Give descriptive names to images rather than the default names
- Compress the images as they’re the culprit behind the slow site speed
- Add descriptive alt text to the images
Content optimization has to be the most important part of a content marketing strategy for you to achieve your business objectives and goals.
A simple tip for you is to write for the readers and then optimize it for the search engines. Only then can you rank for your target keywords, position yourself as an authority, and turn leads into customers.
Struggling to keep your content optimized?