Content marketing is the future, because that’s where the Internet is headed. The technique is being used by both big and small businesses to not only build a brand, but also grow their profits.
And the best part? It’s actually working better than many outdated marketing methods.
Thanks to growth of content marketing, today businesses are not limiting themselves to one or two popular content types. No, they’re experimenting with various kinds of content. This diversification in a way is making content marketing even more viable.
However, in order to find real success with content marketing, creating good content isn’t enough. It’s an important first step, but there’s more that you need to do.
You also have to make sure your content gets consumed by your target audience. And that can only happen when they are able to find it at the right time. Adding more bells and whistles to your content won’t work if it isn’t getting any exposure.
This is where content optimization comes in. It’s what makes your content stand out from the rest and adds more life to your marketing. Which makes it an integral part of any quality, result-oriented content marketing.
In the insider marketing circles, content optimization is seen as the third important factor that helps you make your content marketing campaign successful. It’s the lever that pushes the other two.
1st comes the content creation part.
2nd is content promotion.
And finally, the 3rd is content optimization.
With even one of these missing from your content marketing, you’ll have a hard time turning your readers into customers.
What Does Content Optimization Really Mean?
Content optimization is about taking an average piece of content and turning it into something great. It’s about adding a layer of optimization that helps you get more readers and fetch you a higher conversion rate.
The main goal of content optimization is to make the content as useful as possible to the readers. And in the process, turn it more enticing to the search engines.
Google will give you more brownie points and rank your site higher if it is making searchers happy. That’s how modern SEO works. Impressing people is impressing the search engines.
By focusing on content optimization, you’re also giving Google the data it needs to learn more about your content. When Google can determine what your content is about, it will be easy for it to gather more information about your business.
If you run a business website, you should know the importance of ranking in Google. Because it has the potential to get you a lot of traffic that actually converts into customers. If you’re creating content just for the heck of it, then you’ll have a hard time convincing both, your visitors and the search engines.
When you invest in great content (something like an in-depth blog post), you’re actually investing in building a long-term traffic strategy. By consistently producing top notch content that’s relevant to your target audience, you increase your chances of ranking higher than your competitors.
This is exactly why lengthier content tends to rank higher. In Google’s eyes it offers more value.
Your content creation workflow will have a critical piece missing if there is no content optimization. Which not only helps you create authoritative content, but also gives people a reason to link back to you. And as you know, backlinks hold an important place in the SEO arena.
Content optimization allows you to make your content more in-depth and comprehensive. Which is exactly what you need to drive more organic SEO traffic and increase your leads/sales.
Content Optimization vs Search Engine Optimization
Anyone even with the basic SEO knowledge knows the value of weaving the right keywords in content. Because keywords are those phrases that you ultimately want to rank for. They are the words or the query your target audience is using to search.
However, if you look at how Google has evolved over the years, you’ll find that the search engine giant is slowly moving away from the keywords-only approach.
This change started happening after their infamous Hummingbird algorithm update. The purpose of this algorithm was to give more importance to natural language queries, and using context/meaning in place of individual keywords.
What does this mean to you? It means that you need to focus on topics that go with the meaning of the search terms people are typing. The more specific and in-depth these topics are, the better results you will see in the long run.
Content optimization takes the rising importance of semantic search into consideration. And helps give the most meaningful answers to search queries in the form of good, detailed content. Content that is not paper thin, but has the needed muscle. Content that touches that on related topics/issues that help you position yourself as an authority in your industry.
Even though content optimization starts with a keyword, it doesn’t end with it. Because you go much beyond it by covering the full topic and go deeper. This is the type of content that lets you showcase yourself as a real-world expert, and not just another SEO article writer.
If you’re writing about “product profitability” for instance, your content should naturally include words and phrases like: business, strategy, costs, pricing, company, and related topics.
Focus less on keyword density and more about covering the topic in depth. It’s necessary to show you’re an expert.
For example, if you’re writing about “digital marketing”, then your content should include related phrases/words such as, SEO, social media, advertising, etc. Even though you should keep keyword density in mind, don’t stop there. Try to cover the topic from different angles, in the best possible way.
3 Common Content Optimization Mistakes to Avoid
Content optimization goes hand in hand with quality SEO. Because ranking higher for your targeted keyword wouldn’t give you a good ROI if your content doesn’t deliver value to the visitor.
When your content doesn’t live up to expectations and makes a bad first impression, your visitors leave right away, leading to a quick bounce rate.
Here are a 3 common content optimization mistakes that stop you from connecting with your visitors at a higher level.
Mistake #1: Your Content Fails to Stand Out
When people want to learn about a topic and Google it, they’re faced with a number of choices. They usually choose to visit the first 3 sites or sometimes check out all 10 on the first page. Nevertheless, they might not see much difference before clicking through to your site. It’s only when they visit it, will they start to notice the quality of your content.
If your content doesn’t offer genuine value, it fails to stand out from the many other pieces of content. Your visitor has no real reason to stay back and share your content with others.
So it’s imperative for you to find the topics that your target audience would want to consume. Find out what they are interested in, sometimes even when they have never thought of that idea or question. You can use “Answer the Public” for this to find the user’s most commonly asked questions that are related to a specific keyword. Or you can also try Google search “People Also Ask” feature to see more question ideas for your next article topic.
Just the way it’s important to identify the unique selling point of a product, you need to do the same with your content. Stop trying to impress everybody who comes across your site.
Instead find something unique that can appeal to your target audience. The moment you find your winning difference, it becomes easy to lower your bounce rate. Which Google does count when ranking pages.
Mistake #2: Your Headlines Are Too Vague
The first thing your visitors notice is your headline. If it is too generic or vague, you’re killing off your chance to keep the reader reading. People are tired of the same type of content. And if they see your headline isn’t offering a unique benefit, they’ll assume your content to be the generic too.
In order to stop people from hitting the back button, make your headlines more interesting and specific. If you’ve identified the USP of your content, then this becomes easy. Because all you need to do is, communicate it through the headline. Give people a clear idea as to why they should read your content and what makes it helpful or better than others.
Mistake #3: Your Content is Published Unedited
There’s no doubt that pushing out more content can help you get more traffic. But should your publishing be done at the expense of quality? Of course not. Publishing your first, rough draft without any editing will make a wrong impression on your visitors. It will make you look unprofessional and make people back off.
Your aim should be to clearly convey your message with your content. If your content is rough, it may not be easy to read and contain errors that lower the overall value of your content.
When you spend time editing your content before publishing it, you’re going to give your visitors a better, more profound content experience. Instead of rambling and tuning your content into a rant, you’re creating an engaging presentation that gives readers the clarity to understand and maybe even solve their problem.
4 Content Optimization Tips to Grow Your Traffic
There’s no doubt content optimization makes your content marketing strategy stronger. But in order to actually make it work, you need to ensure you’re doing it right.
Let’s look into a few useful content optimization tips that you can use make your business site stand out and attract more targeted traffic…
Tip #1: Use Keywords Properly
Even when you’re writing detailed content and focusing on the topic at hand, you cannot and should not ignore the importance of keywords.
Incorporating the right keywords properly will help you increase the ranking for those particular keywords. You need to make a list of your important, target keywords and use them in the right places. Here’s how to do it:
- Page Title: Most people with some SEO knowledge know that they need to place their primary keyword in the page title. But did you know that by placing it in the beginning of the title you boost your chances of getting ranked higher?
Also, make sure to practice brevity when writing your titles because longer titles tend to get cut off. Keep the title length between 30 to 60 characters.
- Meta Description: The meta description is what people read in the search engine result pages, right after they read the title. These little snippets are where you should embed your important keywords, since they get bolded when people search for them.
Doing so not only makes your meta description more meaningful, but also helps it stand out from the other search results. Which increases your click-through rate, an SEO factor that can give you better ranking.
- Body Content: Including your significant keywords in the body text, particularly in the first paragraph can make a real difference to how you rank. But if you look around, you’ll find many forget to do this.
- Inbound Links: Keywords in anchor text allows you to add more weight to your internal linking and gives better direction to the search engine spiders. So make sure to add inbound links from other relevant pages of your site to your primary page, using the relevant keywords in the anchor text.
- Image Optimization: Adding your important keywords to your images’ alt tags, file names, caption etc. is a part of content optimization because your images after all are a part of your site’s content.
When you’re placing keywords on your site, do so naturally. Avoid stuffing your content with too many keywords. Give your reader a better experience by writing for them, and not solely for the search engines.
Tip #2: Improve Organic CTR
Ranking in the search engine result pages for your choice of keywords is only one part of the equation. The other part is actually getting people to click on your search listing. Getting a low organic CTR can have a negative impact on your SEO efforts and affect your ROI.
But can you really improve your organic CTR? Of course you can. When PPC advertisers can spend time crafting the perfect ad copy to increase their CTR, why can’t you do the same with organic search?
Here are 3 ways to do it:
- Try and experiment with your title and meta description in terms of length and keywords. It’s the first step you can take to improve your organic CTR. Also, don’t forget to test the call to action that appears in your description.
- Use structured markup (like reviews) to stand out from the other websites in the search engine result pages. Any reviews your product has can showcased here as a social proof, which makes your site look different and may increase your CTR.
- Leverage Google’s featured snippets because more and more people are asking questions to Google, instead of a keyword query. If you’ve created content that answers a particular question then Google may use your content as an direct answer to it. Which automatically pushes your site to the top of the SERPs.
Tip #3: Update Your Old Content
When content optimization is done right, it can help you get the most out of your existing content. Rewriting and updating your content is a part of content optimization and can help you deliver consistent value without publishing new content.
Regardless of the industry you are operating in, there will be changes happening that your audience needs to be aware of. Keep up with these trends and update your content to reflect them.
The last thing you want is your content to become outdated. You want to increase its value with time for both old and new readers. Also, you can re-promote your revamped content and drive more traffic back to your site.
Here’s some data from updating and republishing old blog posts:
For example, if you’re in the finance industry, you’ll find that some of the topics you covered the past are no longer valid. Your old content will bring little value to your audience if they’re not getting current information.
When updating your content, you should also re-evaluate the links, tools, and resources mentioned. What worked back then, may not be working now. Taking this approach can help you keep your content fresh and valuable over a long period of time.
Tip #4: Be Reader-Friendly
Let’s face it, when people visit your website via Google, they don’t want a confusing experience. Making your content readable is the most basic step you can take to give your visitors a great user experience.
People do not want to stare at a block of text that is devoid any images and is a pain to read. If they do experience something like this on your site, rest assured they won’t think twice before hitting the back button and skip to the next result (which might be your competitor).
A part of content optimization is to ensure your content is presented well and is easy on the eyes. That’s how you get people to spend more time on your site and also convert better. So make your sure your content is in a scannable format.
Here are a few ways to be reader-friendly with your content.
- Use shorter lines and paragraphs, with a lot of white space. Content this way is not only enjoyable to read but is also easily understood and digested.
- Break the content into relevant subheadings so that people scanning can quickly find the part that interests them.
- Add visuals wherever you can. They make the content look more appealing and inviting. Whether it’s pictures or videos, any visual you use has to add value to the content and shouldn’t be added just for the heck of it.
- Make sure all your pages are optimized for a flawless mobile experience.
Content Optimization: 3 Crucial Factors to Keep in Mind
Besides applying the above proven tips, you should also keep the following 3 factors in the forefront. Focusing on these will allow you to take your content optimization efforts to the next level.
Factor #1: Publishing Frequency
Different markets react differently to content. Which is why it’s important to find a publishing frequency that goes with your target audience.
Some companies are able to deliver value to their readers even though they publish just once a week. It works for their audience, so it works for them. But there are other brands that find 3-4 blog posts a week is a good target to have as it helps in delivering consistent value.
And then there are some businesses that go to the extreme by publishing just one blog post per month or even per quarter. Their focus is mainly on publishing super-premium content, which is fine.
The idea is to find that crucial balance as it can make or break your content marketing campaign. It may take a bit of experimentation. But eventually you should get clarity on how frequent is too frequent.
The bottom line is: content optimization is not limited to the kind of content you are publishing. It’s also about the frequency of publishing. Because what’s the use of creating great content if your readers aren’t happy with your timing?
Factor #2: Topic Relevancy
Content optimization can only work when the topic you’ve chosen for the content is relevant to your target audience. The more interested they find the subject matter, the better results you will see.
This is where content optimization also differs big time with SEO. A blog post that can have all the on-page and off-page SEO factors ticked, but it’ll fail to make a dent if the target audience doesn’t find it interesting. You’ll also fail to generate relevant backlinks and social shares due to the lack of relevancy.
An effective way to make your content highly relevant is to know your audience well, and then create customer personas based on this knowledge. When you create content targeting these personas, it will not only be relevant, but also value-oriented.
Factor #3: Content Usability
Now, you’ll find a lot of content out there that is very relevant to its target audience, but a good chunk of it doesn’t offer any real value to its readers. Relevance won’t work unless and until your content delivers in terms value.
Every piece of content that you create needs to give your target audience something that is worth linking to and sharing. This could be in the form of blog post, a case study, a video, etc. The format of the content can vary, it has to have a high level of usefulness.
According to a study done by Content Science, having less content detail/sophistication drives low content usefulness and relevance.
A lot of businesses tend to focus so much on quantity, that they forget the importance of quality. Producing a high volume of content will make little difference to your bottom line if it doesn’t have a “wow factor”. You need to give something new each time you publish.
Implement Content Optimization
Content that solves a real problem with a solution and follows current trends, can be called optimized.
If these factors don’t apply to the content you’ve already published, you may want to consider optimizing it before publishing new content. Don’t let great content go to waste and miss out on traffic just because it needs a little enhancement.
If you need help optimizing your content or just want a team to take care of everything for you from start to finish, then look no further. Our content marketing specialists at LYFE Marketing pride themselves in the amount of traffic they can drive to your website with properly optimized content and great topics. Contact us today to discuss a custom content optimization plan for your business.