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Mastering Content Optimization: A Step-by-Step Guide

Does your team have SMART marketing goals in place? Do you have insight into your marketing ROI to maximize spend? Get in touch with us today for a free consultation!

We understand what it takes to create content that not only attracts your target audience but also drives conversions. That's why our content team lives by these winning strategies. We use them for our clients time and time again to ensure they achieve outstanding results.

Let's face it: producing authoritative, high-quality content isn't a walk in the park. Still, it's essential to improve your website's SEO rankings, generate traffic, and ultimately win leads or earn revenue. 

By implementing these proven techniques, you can feel assured that your content will stand out from the crowd and deliver the results you're after.

Table of Contents

What is Content Optimization?

Content optimization is all about making your web page or blog post more attractive to search engines and users. That means fine-tuning everything — from your technical SEO performance and content copy to your user experience and page design to help you perform better and rank higher.

Why Are Optimizations Important?

Optimizing your content is crucial for achieving success in today's digital landscape. With countless websites and blogs vying for attention, it's crucial that your content stands out and engages with your target audience. 

Content optimization can help you achieve this by making your content more discoverable and appealing. Here are just some of the benefits you can expect: 

  • Improved search visibility
  • More backlinks
  • More traffic
  • Increased social shares
  • Increased conversions

How to Optimize Your Content

Optimizing your existing content is one of the most effective ways to improve your content's performance. This practice can be a more efficient use of your time and resources, as you're building on what you already have rather than starting from scratch.

Follow these steps to guarantee your content is optimized correctly and primed for conversions.

Step 1: Research

Before you even open a Word doc, examine your top competitors and do some topic and keyword research. Here’s how.

Start With a Google Search

A Google search is the best way to find out what is currently out there on your topic. Search your target keyword on Google and see what appears on the first page. Open up the top three to five search results. Read each web page carefully and assess:

  • The word count or overall length of the content
  • The depth of the post or page
  • Any gaps that you can fill with new information
  • Overall design and user experience

Perform Competitive Backlink Research 

You can perform backlink research with a subscription to a site like BuzzSumo or Ahrefs. These tools let you enter the URL of a competing site or blog post and see how many sites are linking to the page.

Examining the backlink profile of a competitor already ranking well for your target keyword can help you gain insight into the link building that helped them achieve their top placement. 

Make a note of the websites linking to your competitor. You’ll want to target those same sites for backlinks once your content is optimized and ready to share. 

Step 2: Improve Content Quality

Improving the quality of your content is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your content. Most people aren’t willing to spend the time and effort needed to create in-depth content packed with insights. But if you invest time where your competitors don’t, you can stand out and establish yourself as an authority in your industry. 

To improve the quality of your content, consider the following strategies:

Leverage Your Research:

In Part 1, you identified the keywords and phrases your target audience uses to search for information related to your business or industry. By including these keywords strategically in your content, you can improve your content's relevance and visibility in search results. 

You also checked out the top-ranking web pages for your topic. Look for gaps and areas where you can improve. Then follow these guidelines to ensure your content is better and more comprehensive:

  • Add more depth. Many top-ranking blogs merely skim the surface of the topic. Dive deep into the subject matter. List as many actionable takeaways as you can. People who click on your blog should find all the information they’re looking for without having to dig through more search results.
    • Do you answer every question a reader might have?
    • Do you clearly define and explain unfamiliar topics?

  • Add new, up-to-date information. Nobody will want to link to your site if you rehash the same ideas as everyone else. Look for new research and statistics from authoritative sources that support your point. Contribute fresh insights from your expertise or from your company's subject matter experts.

Use Clear and Compelling Headings

Headlines and headings are one of the most critical elements of your content. They're often the first thing readers see when browsing search results, social media feeds or scanning your blog for a quick content summary. 

Use clear and compelling headlines that accurately reflect the content of your article and make readers want to keep scrolling.

Learn more about How to Use Heading Tags.

Write for Your Audience

When creating content, writing for your target audience rather than search engines is essential. Focus on creating high-quality, informative content that provides value to your readers and addresses their needs and pain points. 

Don’t forget to:

  • Use clear and concise language.
  • Focus on a single topic. If you try to juggle multiple topics in a single blog, your objectives will become unfocused, and you may confuse readers.
  • Present your information in a well-organized format. Short paragraphs, bold text, bullet points, lists and callouts make your copy visually appealing and quickly digestible.
  • Use supporting evidence. Add examples, case studies and other valuable insights to back your claims.
  • Edit and proofread your content carefully. To ensure accuracy and readability, every piece of content needs a second set of eyes before going live.
  • Make it shareable. Are your social sharing buttons easy to find? Do social media users find your content attractive enough to share it?
  • Make it actionable. High-quality content gives readers a clear sense of how to apply the information they just read. Offer actionable tips and takeaways so readers aren’t left guessing when they finish the final paragraph.

Use Visuals and Multimedia

Visuals such as images, infographics and videos can help break up the text and make your content more engaging and shareable. Plus, blogs with images get 94% more total views than blogs without!

Use relevant visuals and multimedia to supplement your content and provide additional context and information.

Pro Tip: Add ALT tags to your images to optimize them for search engines and increase the chances that your page will appear in image-based results.

Update Your Metadata

Your metadata provides essential information to both search engines and users about the content of your page or post. It includes the title tag, meta description and meta keywords – the highest priority being the first two.

  • The title tag is the text that appears at the top of your browser window and in the search engine results. It should be concise (60 characters or fewer), relevant to the content of the page and contain the keywords you want to rank for.
  • The meta description is the summary under the title tag in search engine results. In 160 characters or less, it should accurately summarize the page's content and include the keywords you want to rank for. 

Optimize for Mobile

With more and more people accessing the internet on their mobile devices, optimizing your content for mobile viewing is essential. Updates may include using a mobile-responsive design, shorter paragraphs and sentences, and minimizing load times.

Pro Tip: Drop your URL into Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to uncover opportunities for improvement on both desktop and mobile.

Grow your content marketing 10X. See our FREE actionable, step-by-step guides to help you master inbound marketing and drive real results.

Remember: The goal of writing content is to provide value to your audience. Don't stuff your blogs with excess words and repetitive phrases for the sake of upping the word count — it won't work.

Step 3: Review for Accuracy

Is there anything more embarrassing than getting called out for a false claim or glaring typo in your otherwise perfect blog post? Probably not.

Citing shady sources and publishing poorly edited copy can hurt user experience metrics like bounce rate and time-on-page. 

Follow these Quality Assurance (QA) tips to guarantee your content is ready to share with the world:

Link to reputable sources

Before you link to a source, make sure they are legitimate. Outbound links to authoritative sites demonstrate to Google that you know your stuff. Links also help search engines determine what your content is about and how it should be categorized.

Fact-check your research

Your blog is a reflection of your brand. You don’t want to promote inaccurate information, so don’t include a statistic in your blog unless you can pinpoint the source and verify its accuracy.

Edit for spelling and grammar

There’s no excuse for letting typos and poor grammar slip past the editing stage. Online tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway App point out textual errors and suggest ways to make your copy more readable. Readable content will help reduce your bounce rate and keep visitors on the page longer.

Content Optimization Made Simple

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Properly optimized content has the power to move the needle for your inbound marketing efforts. At Human, we help companies produce high-quality, optimized content that drives traffic and turns visitors into long-lasting customers.

Interested in learning more? Contact us for a free marketing consultation today.

Topics: Content Marketing