How to effectively optimize content

How to effectively optimize content

30-second summary:

  • By using a range of techniques to optimize your content, you can make it easier for both search engines and users to consume your written text
  • Taking the time to plan your content topics and conduct extensive keyword research can make a big impact when it comes to performance
  • You should always write for the user first, but you can still implement SEO best practices while doing so
  • Understand the role of accessibility in written content and the importance of providing the maximum amount of contextual information as possible

Content optimization is essential because it helps users and search engines to easily understand your written text. In addition to this, there are a signifigant amounts of other advantages you are able to gain by optimizing content. You can increase engagement rates, obtain links, generate brand recognition, and appear as an expert in your field. All while improving your organic search rankings.

Sounds good, right?

Let’s find out how you can reap the benefits of all this, and more, by effectively optimizing your content.

Think about your topic

Before you write content, you need to decide on the topic you’re going to cover. This might sound obvious, but it’s worth thinking about. Spending some additional time planning will help you to identify specific subjects and talking points you can discuss. This will help shape your keyword research, which plays a huge role in creating SEO-friendly content.

At this stage, it’s worth thinking about what you want to focus on. You need the topic to be broad enough that you can produce detail by detail content about it, but not so broad that you won’t be able to cover it all. It may be the case that you need to separate the topic into multiple articles. Or if your topic is too vague, you may have to home in on something more specific.

Conduct detailed keyword research

Keyword research is and always has been an important part of producing good content. It’s the basis for content production and making sure you’re ranking for relevant key words that you have a good chance of competing for. When performing keyword research, you should be on the lookout for many different types of keywords.

Short-tail keywords

Also known as the head or main keyword, short-tail keywords comprise of a maximum of three words. These keywords will routinely have large volumes, but due to this, they have high search difficulties and therefore are highly competitive.

Because these key words have a broad search intent, they should be used alongside more precise keywords to make it clear to users and search engines exactly what your page is about.

Long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are terms made up of more than three keywords and therefore are much more specific than short-tail keywords. These keywords generally have lower volumes, nevertheless they also have lower search difficulties, which means they are less competitive.

These key words are important because they allow you to target a user’s exact search intent. A user who searches for the short-tail keyword ‘motorbike’ might be trying to purchase a motorbike, find more information of a model or simply look at a picture of one.

A long tail variation of this search might be ‘Motorbike helmet with Bluetooth speakers’, which narrows down the user’s search intent to an extremely specific product.

LSI keywords

LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are keywords which can be loosely related to your head keyword. While these keywords are relevant to your main keyword and the overall topic, they’re definitely not directly related.

Instead, they’re used thematically to build broader topical depth and make it clear to both search engines and users what the overarching topic of your content is. If your short-tail keyword is the trunk of a tree and your long-tail keywords are the branches, then the LSI keywords would be the twigs.

LSI keywords branch out from the main keyword but are still relatable enough to provide additional context and information. These could be a bit trickier to find, but by using the suggested search feature in search engines, you can get both hands on them.

Local keywords

These keywords won’t always be relevant, but if you’re trying to boost your rankings for local terms, then including local keywords is essential.

Luckily, this is a lot easier than implementing other key words. You simply add your location in to your content along with your main keyword. But remember, don’t stuff in keywords for the sake of it! Try to mix it up, using different variations whenever we can.

People also ask (PAA) key phrases

Like the suggested search function, the people also ask feature is an excellent way to obtain relevant keywords and phrases. These are phrases that users have searched for before, so we know that they hold value and have good search volumes.

So , how can we use this to the advantage?

By creating content that targets these queries, you’ll be increasing your chances of appearing in Search Engine Results Pages for these terms.

And the best thing is, these questions are often different to the main keywords you’ll normally target. This means your content will be more varied and unique and will specifically target pain points that your audience wants.

Always write for the user first

People skim content more than ever these days, so it’s important to keep it short, snappy, and engaging. The days of writing solely for search engines are long gone, and Google’s recent helpful content update has really cemented this.

This update emphasizes the importance of writing for the user first. Your focus should be on creating engaging, informative and easy-to-digest content. You can always go through your work afterward and make tweaks and edits to optimize for SEO best practice.

Just be careful not to ensure it is too robotic as search engines can spot keyword stuffing from a mile away! Keep it free-flowing and attempt to insert keywords in an all-natural way; both users and search engines will appreciate it.

Include alt-text for your images

If you’re including images in your articles (which you should be) then it’s essential that you add alt text. Alt text is the written copy that describes a picture to users who can’t see them or if the image fails to load.

First and foremost, alt text is a core principle of web accessibility for visually impaired users. Its secondary function is to provide additional context and descriptions to search engine crawlers, letting them index an image properly.

As some pictures contain critical information or provide context for other page, it’s crucial to take care to write appropriate alt text. By doing this, you are adhering to accessibility standards and improving your SEO at the same time.

Remember internal and external links

Another way to optimize your content would be to include internal and external links.

Internal links can be used to take users toward relevant, closely related pages that will provide them with more info they might be looking for. This causes it to be easier for users to navigate your website and helps to create a strong site structure.

External links are also useful because they can be used to point toward external data and sources of information that back up your content. In the eyes of search engines, the use of valuable external links improves the authority of one’s content.

Just make sure you have a healthy balance of follow and no-follow tags on your external links.

Consider site speed

Site speed is always important in terms of performing well in search engines. No one likes a slow website, and users are far more impatient than ever when it comes for waiting for things to load. Even an extra second’s loading time could put some users off and cause them to bounce from your website.

You should regularly review your site speed and make sure your website is performing well. Consider removing unnecessary code and compressing large images as these are common factors that contribute to slow site speed.

Break up your content

Imagine you land on a webpage and the first thing you see is a wall of text with no paragraphs, headings, or subheadings. It’s not exactly going to draw you in, can it be?

Users may consume your content if it’s broken up into digestible chunks. This makes it much easier to allow them to quickly take in the information they’re looking for.

In addition, it provides you an opportunity to weave keywords into your headings and subheadings, which are strong signals for search engines. It’s a win-win!

Keep things current

Remember, even if you’ve produced a well-written, SEO-friendly article, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Google LOVES it when you go right back and update existing content because it shows you’re keepin constantly your website up to date.

Has there been a new development that affects the main topics your post? Or perhaps some new data that you could use to explore a new angle? If there is some way that you can update your article and add information that will benefit your users, then it’s worth taking the time to do so.

Enjoy the benefits of optimized content

Now that you understand how to optimize your content, you’ll have a better chance of ranking for your chosen keywords. Furthermore, your users will be more prone to stay on your website for longer, increasing your engagement rates and the time spent consuming your articles.

As a result of consistently producing high-quality content, you might well find that your site is attracting more links from external sources. This will raise your domain authority and allow you to appear as a trustworthy and authoritative source of information.

So , if you’re looking for ways to give your articles a little boost, consider implementing some of these techniques into your writing. It won’t often be possible to include everything we’ve mentioned here, but if you write for the user first and take care with your keywords, you’ll be on the right track.

Rob Phillips is Digital Manager at Coast Digital.

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Source: searchenginewatch. com

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