Content optimization makes the most of what’s on your website and helps you create content to reach the top of web searches. Here’s how to achieve those goals.
Why is content optimization important?
The phrase “content optimization” answers the question of why it’s important. Who wouldn’t want to optimize the content on their website? Failure to do so wastes the resources used to produce and display content. Also, profit is lost when content is not picked up by search engines and seen by potential customers.
What is the impact of content optimization?
According to research by digital marketing firm Conductor, consumers who read a brand’s educational content were 131% more likely to buy from that brand. A week after reading that content, the study indicated, people were still 48% more likely to buy. Those people also tended to maintain trust and brand affinity.
But first, the content must be seen. Research indicates that the No. 1 result on a Google query earns about 28.5% percent of all clicks. And on the first page, 88% of searchers click on organic results on the first page. The second page gets less than 6% of website clicks (a marketer’s nightmare).
Results like that don’t come easily. SEO-driven tactics have had to change to keep pace with ranking factors.
Jürgen Kranz, CTO for rellify, a content performance platform, observed in a recent blog post that millions and millions of websites and content providers compete for the first page of a Google search.
“In the past decades, the SEO industry tried to guess and re-engineer Google’s search algorithms that were handwritten by human developers. The SEO industry implemented all kinds of tricks and hacks to get website listings to #1.”
Now, search engine optimization requires more than loading up on keywords. Newer algorithms put more emphasis on the content and the context of articles on websites, Kranz wrote.
Two sides of optimizing content
Google wants to make every user experience satisfying by providing exactly what a searcher wants as quickly as possible. Part of how it achieves that is an emphasis on what it calls E-A-T — expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. Google wants to exhibit that, and it rewards websites that display it by putting them at the top of Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs.
Optimizing content has two main facets. First, make it easy for other computers to interact with and assess your website. Then, produce relevant web content that EATs your competition and gets great search engine results.
Content optimization within your website
Website managers can tighten up their sites and establish formatting standards for content in relatively simple ways. Here are some examples.
- Title tags. These tell visitors and search engines what a web page is all about. They also tend to lead SERP and social media appearances. Make them count, and use keywords immediately.
- Meta descriptions. Longer than title tags, these are a chance to sell your content and boost click-through rates. Make these keyword-rich, within reason.
- Alt tags. These often represent a lost opportunity. These HTML tags give images a text element that search engines can see and thus can improve a page’s ranking.
- H1 tag. The H1, H2, and H3 tags are, respectively, the main head, subheads, and sub-subheads. They help readers, and web crawlers navigate an article. Think of them as simple, clear signposts. Keyword phrases help.
- Page speed. A slow-loading website with elements that shift around frustrates users.
- Crawling errors. Every link on your website should lead to a working page. These errors frustrate users and the bots trying to index your content.
In summary these optimization standards are part of what’s called OnPage and OffPage SEO.
Make your content relevant
When it comes to content creation, it helps to think of E-A-T. (Unless your website focuses on pictures of puppies and kittens, which really reduces the need to show expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.)
- Keyword research. KWFinder and other services help you find ideas for content and focus them so you can create content that yields high search volume while avoiding competitors who have SERP locked up. The best content SEO results will come from content that shows your expertise.
- Authority. Savvy use of links is one way to establish this. Search engines judge you, in part, by the company you keep, or the links on your page. Links from your content to reputable, well-traveled sites bolster your reputation. Avoid linking to sites that give off a spam vibe and get little traffic. Provide internal links to quality material on your own website. A link from an authoritative website to your site is gold. If your quality content has been mentioned by another site but didn’t get a link, reach out to them and request it.
- Trustworthy. Consider the search intent that might bring someone to your page. It might be a potential customer or someone who shares the interest or passion that drives your site. Answer their questions accurately and thoroughly. If the users, or search engines, sense that you use your expertise and authority to waste their time or manipulate them, they will bounce quickly and never return.
What do content optimization services do?
Because so many elements go into content optimization and the stakes are so high, you might want to hire someone to help.
Many companies offer a wide range of services. They will analyze your current technical practices and content, help you develop a strategy, place PPC (pay-per-click) ads, maintain your website, re-optimize current articles, and blog posts, and help you develop content.
One company, rellify, has created a content performance platform using AI (artificial intelligence) to identify strategic topics and leveraging IA (Intelligence Augmentation) to produce relevant content that naturally ranks well in search engines. It combines the functions of many tools used by other services, simplifying the journey from brainstorming to boosting your conversion rate.
rellify enables you to:
- Explore: Discover topics with high relevance for your target audience and take a deep dive for more.
- Plan: Optimize your daily editorial planning with simple clicks and organize by your own categories.
- Brief: Bundle all relevant information from your topic discovery for your editorial team.
- Create: Write best-performing posts with direct relevance score support from the rellify AI back-end.
- Publish: Send reviewed and approved articles directly to your CMS or export as HTML.
- Monitor: Measure the success of your content based on pages and topics and compare it with your competition.
How to create optimized content
Outside of hiring a company such as rellify, businesses have many content optimization tools and software at their disposal, including BuzzSumo, Clearscope, MarketMuse, and SEMrush.
Google itself offers a comprehensive guide and many SEO tools. Business owners who lack the time or expertise to use such resources can hire a firm to do an SEO audit and perhaps perform the recommended actions.
However, it takes time for optimization efforts to take effect. Many experts say about six months. This can discourage harried entrepreneurs from getting started. And you can’t automate content optimization. It requires vigilance.
There can be risks to a business if things are not done properly. Unethical or clumsy SEO companies and practices can also result in a company being penalized by Google.
Why is cost optimization important?
Cost optimization is a general business term for using resources efficiently.
How do you assess whether your content marketing efforts are getting you the search results you want? There are calculators online to help work through the math. It’s safe to say that for an online business, in particular, improving online marketing is not an option.
Business owners and marketers also should factor in the value of a lifetime customer, not just a single sale. Also, content developed with relevancy in mind can maintain a high SERP value for years.
A final word on content optimization
If your company does not have a strategy for content optimization and has not designated someone to be responsible for carrying out that strategy — or if you have not hired experts like rellify to take care of this for you — the resources you spend on creating content are being wasted and you are costing yourself business.