By Roger Gallager
Why should you be optimizing your content?
There are countless articles, videos and other digital assets that are left hidden on the Internet. You may produce unique and relevant content, but without content optimization techniques, these will go unnoticed by your target audience.
What is search engine optimization (SEO)?
SEO or content optimization is a set of techniques that increases the visibility of your website or web pages for relevant searches. This boosts your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google and Bing. With your content or webpage on top of SERPs for relevant queries, you can increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website.
Why should you incorporate SEO into your overall marketing strategy?
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SEO offers a long list of benefits to your brand. Primarily, it reaches your target audience at the right moment, i.e. when they are searching for keywords related to your brand, products and services, or content. Below are other compelling reasons why you should have an optimization strategy:
- To boost traffic to your website and pages.
Organic search or unpaid search via search engines is the primary source of website traffic. Recent statistics suggest that 68% of online experiences start in a search engine. Google remains as the most powerful search engine with nearly 93% of global traffic originating from its platforms. With your content on top of SERPs, you can increase visits to your site.
- To build your online credibility.
Google ranks sites, pages, and content based on a list of criteria, also referred to as ranking signals. These signals include unique and useful content, mobile-friendliness, quality backlinks, and relevant keywords. Meet Google’s requirements and you will get rewarded with a coveted top position on its SERPs. A high ranking is considered a seal of approval by search engines.
- To positively impact buying behavior
Optimizing your Web content and, consequently, your site can influence your audience’s behavior throughout the buying cycle. You have to increase brand awareness, encourage users to engage with your social media posts, entice your audience to fill in your online forms (for lead generation) and eventually make them choose your over your competitors. Using the right SEO techniques, you can lead users from the awareness to the conversion stage.
- To improve users’ experience
Search engine algorithms are essentially geared towards providing users the best possible results and experience. Quality content, mobile readiness, and low bounce rate are some of the criteria Google and other search engines use to assess whether a site deserves a top spot on their results pages.
As you strive to meet ranking factors, you are improving user experience, and ultimately delighting your audience.
How do you start developing an SEO content strategy?
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SEO can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. Do you focus on the most important ranking factors? How do you choose among Google’s 200 ranking signals? A better solution is to go through a full SEO process which involves the following phases:
- Keyword research – This affects every other SEO task such as content marketing. This involves identifying terms and phrases users enter in search bars. You will use these keywords to optimize your content and to rank them for these keywords on search engines.
- Keyword mapping – After gathering keywords, your next task is to create a keyword map which is typically a spreadsheet wherein keywords are matched to appropriate pages on your site. Keyword mapping allows you to determine keywords without content, content without your target keywords, on-page opportunities to improve, and link-building needs, among others.
- SEO competition audit – Do you know that you can use your competitors SEO strategy to your advantage? Check out their content, keywords, backlinks and how they perform on search engines. List down the tactics that work well, and incorporate them into your own SEO strategy.
- Full technical SEO audit – Before implementing any change in your current website, do a technical assessment of each page. Check the crawling, indexing, rankability, and clickability of your site on SERPs. You may need assistance from a digital marketing agency to properly conduct a technical SEO audit.
- On-page optimization – With the results of your keyword research, keyword mapping and audits, your next task is to develop a strategy on how to improve your site’s on-page SEO. The tasks involved in this phase include optimizing page titles and URLs, incorporating powerful calls-to-action (CTAs) and building an organized structured data and schema mark-up.
- Content marketing – This phase involves the creation, publishing and distribution of content to your target audience. How do you improve content for SEO? Begin with a content audit in which you assess your content inventory (check the quality, keyword distribution, etc.). Then create a content map in which you match the right content to the right audience. Next, conduct a competitor analysis. What types of content are working well for your competitors? How can you incorporate the best practices into your own content strategy? Finally, craft topics that are relevant and useful for your audience. This is where your content creation kicks off.
- Off-page strategy – Off-page optimization is all about convincing search crawlers that your site is valuable and deserving of a top position on SERPs. The tasks involved in this stage are focused on increasing the number of links from high-authority websites pointing to your pages.
- Monthly reporting – The last stage in the SEO process is reporting. This provides a clear picture of the traffic to your site, conversions and user/visitor behavior. Use the data you collect as a guide in deciding which tactics are working for you and which are not.
Keyword mapping, a digital content optimization hack to focus on
Let us backtrack a bit and discuss more about keyword mapping. After you’ve researched keywords that you want to rank for, it’s time to organize these and plan how to distribute them across your site. This is where you organize your keyword-to-page relationships.
Check out these pro tips:
- Pick priority keyword buckets to analyze. A keyword bucket is a group of keywords classified based on objectives, location, number of clicks or any other feature that you choose.
- Go over every page in your site and take note of those that either have multiple or no keyword targeting. Check for pages that are using keywords with the wrong search intent.
- Group the pages using the same keyword bucket and choose a main page. This main page is where all the other pages will link to and vice-versa. Organizing the internal linking structure of your website will help power up your SEO.
- Finally, make a list of your target keywords that are yet to be used in content and pages. These will be your next focus when you create new content or pages.
Creating content is just one part of your job in the SEO process. You need to ensure that every article, video or podcast you create is optimized. You have no use for a digital asset that will only be left unnoticed. Keep the tips below in mind:
- Optimize your content by following the SEO process.
- Explore the best SEO tools that can make your job a lot easier. Check out Ahrefs, Google Search Console, Google Trends, SEMRush, and Screaming Frog. Many powerful tools are available for free.
- Consider working with a reputable digital marketing agency. Specialists are knowledgeable, skilled and experienced in bringing out the best marketing results.
Remember that you are investing time and money creating content. Maximize your resources with content optimization!
Roger Gallager is a Marketing and Sales specialist. He has written a wide range of articles about money circulation, marketing strategies, business world, real estate, home and community improvement/ security, mobile technology.