Now that you have your content marketing program in place, it’s time to optimize it. “What is content optimization?” you may ask. “It sounds high-tech. Do I have to hire an SEO guru or IT person to implement it?”
Not at all.
What Is Content Optimization?
In fact, content optimization is just doing a bit of housecleaning on your content to make sure that it can reach more people in your target customer base. Optimization can maximize your reach in content distribution, so you’ll be able to reach more of your target customers than ever before.
Content optimization techniques include:
- Researching and adding relevant keywords and key phrases: Ensuring that you include the keywords that people will likely use to search for your products and services gives search engines the information they need to make your content rank higher for those terms. That way, when people search for information about your topic, they’ll be more likely to click on your content.
- Adding metadata: Specific bits of info like title tags and meta descriptions help guide search engines as they crawl your content, allowing them to classify and rank your content properly.
- Including links to authoritative sources: This practice can broaden your audience’s grasp of your topic and give your content more clout, both with search engines and your audience.
- Writing better headlines: Creating catchy headlines that include your main keyword and increase your audience’s interest will help attract the right people – and search engines — to your content.
- Adding subtitles and bullet points: Using keyword-rich subtitles, headings and subheadings not only helps search engines properly index and rank your content, but they can also make content more scannable, allowing your audience to digest information more quickly, a major plus in today’s time-stressed world.
- Embedding more visuals: Using visuals, infographics, and videos to break up the text helps to retain your readers’ attention. Labeling visual aids properly with metadata allows search engines to “see” this content, raising your visibility in search results.
When you optimize your content, your web pages, blog posts, and other publications will attract not only search engines, but even more importantly, the people likely to buy your products and services. Breaking it down into chunks of easily achievable tasks simplifies the process, making it easy for you to optimize every piece of content that you publish.
Let’s dig into each of these points to see how you can simplify your content optimization process.
Keywords and Key Phrase Optimization
The key to keyword mastery is to learn what your target customers want to find and how they search for it, as the SEO experts at Moz.com point out. Targeted keyword research can help you discover just that.
Create Customer Personas
Start by understanding who your customers are. Many companies find that creating customer personas, such as “Debbie Doctor” and “Dan the Developer,” help them put a face on their target audience. Demographics, such as age, gender, location, income, and occupation, are a vital part of your customer personas. Even more importantly, you need to include your customers’ preferences, the questions they ask, and what keeps them up at night – their pain points.
Using Facebook Analytics and Google Analytics can help you narrow down all these factors. Your content analytics program, too, will be an essential ingredient in nailing down who is actually converting through your existing content, helping you get an accurate picture of your typical customers.
Find Out How People Search for Your Products with a Keyword Research Tool
List your products, services, and related topics. Next, enter them into a keyword research tool.
Google’s Keyword Planner is easy to use, even if you’re not currently running Google Ads. When you enter your keywords, the tool will suggest similar keywords, along with the monthly search volume for each. Often, it helps to choose longer-tail terms with fewer monthly searches, particularly if they’re more relevant to your niche since there is less competition.
Often, these keywords will include questions. With the rise of voice search using personal assistants, such as Alexa and Siri, questions that include your keywords will help you rank higher. With 48 percent of all web searches occurring by voice, questions in natural languages will become more important as voice searches rise daily.
Use these keywords in your content, especially in its title, a subtitle, and in your first paragraph. Never stuff keywords into an article or use awkward wordings. With today’s search engines’ sophistication, they can recognize synonyms and disregard common words like “the,” “a,” “in,” “an,” and “you.”
Leverage Metadata to Get on Your Target Audience’s Radar
When you search for something, the list of results includes a title and a short description. These items are metadata – and they help to determine which content appears where in the results. Even more importantly, they help searchers determine, at a glance, what the content is about.
Since both social media and search engines use these as headlines to describe your content, optimize them to attract more of the people who search for your products and services. The ideal format is to include your primary keyword first, your secondary keyword second, and then your brand name – all in only 50 to 60 characters, if possible.
Blog posts often include only the title of the post.
Separate the two keywords with a hyphen and the keywords from your brand name with a vertical bar (|). Count all the spaces and characters in your character count.
Here are two examples, the first, for a product, the second, for a blog post about how to choose products of that type.
- Product page: Bridal Bouquets – Floral Arrangements | Ideal Florist
- Blog Post: How to Choose Your Bridal Bouquet | Ideal Florist
Meta descriptions are short, accurate, yet attention-grabbing descriptions of what each piece of content offers its readers. Ideally, they should be between 150-160 characters, including punctuation and spaces.
Here are two examples for the fictional florist above:
- Product page: Find the ideal bridal bouquets for your big day with advice from the expert team at Ideal Florist. Find floral arrangements and bridal party flowers here.
- Blog post: Discover how to choose the perfect bridal bouquet for your big day from the wedding floral arrangement professionals at Ideal Florist. Learn more in this post.
Use Links to Authoritative Sources to Give Your Content Clout
As the vintage E.F. Hutton commercial points out, people are more likely to heed advice if a major industry expert supports your point of view. Conversely, when you produce the kind of high-quality content that others cite in their work, you’ll get valuable backlinks to your content, raising your likelihood of appearing higher in search engine results.
Not only will world-class content and backlinks help you get more of your target customers to your brand’s online channels, but they’ll also leverage the power of recommendation. When a blog post helps one of your target customers solve a problem, she’ll probably recommend that post to her friends and colleagues, increasing your audience with more of your target customers.
Use Catchy Headlines to Grab Your Audience’s Attention
With all the content out there on the Internet about your topic, you want your post to be the one your target audience picks to read. Using your target keywords in those headlines lets your audience know at a glance that your post is relevant to their needs.
Using timely references, like March 2020’s “How Coronavirus affects Your X,” where X is your keyword, can get readers’ attention. Even better, use titles like “How to,” or “X Easy Ways to Do Y,” to let your audience know that they’ll receive actionable information that helps them solve a problem.
Even better, leverage voice search by using questions in your headline, such as we’ve done here.
Use Subtitles and Bullet Points to Guide the Audience’s Eye
Breaking up your content with subtitles, headings and subheadings helps your audience fast-forward if they need only some of the information you offer. These guideposts also provide a break for the reader’s eye, especially when you’re posting longer-form content.
Bulleted and numbered lists, too, underscore essential information and guide a reader’s eye. They work a lot like the highlighting you did in school when you crammed for finals, helping readers remember the most important information in your article.
Visual Content Brings Your Words to Life
Effective content management includes maximizing every aspect of your content, including the visuals. The more senses you can incorporate into your content, the more memorable your posts will be. If you only hear something, you’ll probably remember only ten percent of it later that week. When you slip an image into the mix, the percentage of what your audience will retain rises to 65 percent.
If you pair written text with images, infographics, and videos, you involve three senses, giving your audience an even higher chance that they’ll remember it later. Posts that include images increase engagement by 185%, while ones with videos make people more likely to buy what you’re selling.
Don’t forget your friendly search engines, though. Since they can’t actually *see* images or watch videos, use the right metadata, such as alt text and titles, to help search engines zero in on your content so it can appear higher in search results.
Optimize All Your Content to Boost Your Content Strategy’s Effectiveness
The great thing about digital content is your ability to update it in minutes. Don’t limit optimization to new content. Expand your revamped content strategy to include past content as well.
With a comprehensive content marketing platform, you can easily retrieve older content, optimize it with all the tips we’ve provided here, and get it working overtime to attract more target customers to your business. For a quick demonstration for how DivvyHQ can help your optimization efforts, request a demo today!