30 second summary:
- By using a number 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 content topics and conduct in-depth keyword research can have a big impact when it comes to performance
- You should always write for the user first, but you can still implement SEO best practices as you do so
- Understand the role of accessibility in written content and the importance of providing as much contextual information as possible
Content optimization is essential because it helps users and search engines understand written text easily. Apart from this, there are many other benefits that you can get by optimizing your content. You can increase engagement rates, gain 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 take advantage of all this, and more, by effectively optimizing your content.
Think about your topic
Before writing content, you need to decide on the topic you are going to cover. It might seem obvious, but it’s worth thinking about. Taking some time to plan will help you identify specific topics and talking points that you can discuss. This will help shape your keyword research, which plays a huge role in creating SEO-friendly content.
At this point, it’s worth thinking about what you want to focus on. You want the topic to be broad enough that you can produce detailed content about it, but not so broad that you can’t cover it all. It may be necessary to divide the topic into several articles. Or, if your topic is too vague, you may need to focus on something more specific.
Conduct detailed keyword research
Keyword research is and always has been an essential part of producing good content. It’s the foundation for producing content and making sure you’re ranked for relevant keywords that you stand a good chance of competing for. When doing keyword research, you need to pay attention to different types of keywords.
Short tail keywords
Also known as a main or main keyword, short tail keywords are made up of up to three words. These keywords will typically have large volumes, but for this reason they have high search difficulties and are therefore highly competitive.
Since these keywords have broad search intent, they should be used in conjunction with 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 that consist of more than three keywords and are much more specific than short tail keywords. These keywords generally have lower volumes, but they also have lower search difficulties, which means they are less competitive.
These keywords are important because they allow you to target a user’s exact search intent. A user searching for the short tail keyword “motorcycle” could try to buy a motorcycle, find out more about a model or just look at a photo of it.
A long tail variant of this search might be “Motorcycle helmet with Bluetooth speakers”, which narrows the user’s search intent to a very specific product.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are keywords loosely related to your head keyword. While these keywords are relevant to your main keyword and overall topic, they aren’t necessarily directly related.
Instead, they are used thematically to create a greater depth of topic and make it clear to both search engines and users what the main topic of your content is. If your short tail keyword is a tree trunk and your long tail keywords are branches, then your LSI keywords are twigs.
LSI keywords branch off from the main keyword but are still recognizable enough to provide context and additional information. These can be a little harder to find, but using the search suggested function in search engines, you can get your hands on it.
These keywords won’t always be relevant, but if you’re looking to boost your rankings for local terms, it’s essential to include local keywords.
Fortunately, this is much easier than implementing other keywords. Simply add your position to your content along with your main keyword. But remember, don’t enter keywords for the fun of it! Try to mix, using different variations where possible.
People are also asking for (PAA) key phrases
As the search suggested function, people also ask for function is a great way to get relevant keywords and phrases. These are phrases that users have searched for before, so we know they have value and have good search volumes.
So how can we use it to our advantage?
By creating content targeted to these queries, you will increase your chances of appearing on search engine results pages for these terms.
And best of all, these questions are often different from the main keywords you would normally target. This means that your content will be more varied and unique and will specifically target the pain points your audience is looking for.
Always write to the user first
People are browsing content more than ever these days, so it’s important to keep it short, engaging, and engaging. The days of writing exclusively for search engines are long gone, and Google’s recent helpful content update has really cemented that.
This update emphasizes the importance of writing first for the user. Your goal should be to create content that is engaging, informative, and easy to digest. You can always do your job later and make changes and tweaks to optimize SEO best practices.
Just be careful not to make it too robotic as search engines can spot keyword stuffing from a mile away! Keep the flow free and try to enter keywords naturally; both users and search engines will appreciate it.
Include alt text for your images
If you include images in your articles (which you should be), adding alt text is essential. Alternate text is the written copy that describes an image to users who cannot see it or if the image fails to load.
First, alt text is a fundamental principle of web accessibility for visually impaired users. Its secondary function is to provide additional context and descriptions to search engine crawlers, allowing them to properly index an image.
Because some images contain critical information or provide context for the rest of the page, taking the time to write appropriate alternative text is critical. This way, you are adhering to accessibility standards and at the same time improving your SEO.
Remember internal and external links
Another way to optimize your content is to include internal and external links.
Internal links can be used to direct users to relevant and closely related pages that will provide them with additional information they may be looking for. This makes it easier for users to navigate your website and helps build a solid site structure.
External links are also useful because they can be used to point to external data and information sources that support your content. In the eyes of a search engine, the use of valuable external links improves the authority of your content.
Just make sure you have a healthy balance of follow and no-follow tags on your external links.
Consider the speed of the site
Site speed is always important when it comes to getting good results in search engines. Nobody likes a slow website, and users are more impatient than ever when it comes to waiting for things to load. Even the extra second load time may discourage some users and cause them to bounce off 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.
Divide your content
Imagine you land on a webpage and the first thing you see is a wall of text with no paragraphs, headings or subtitles. It won’t exactly appeal to you, will it?
Users are more likely to consume your content if it’s broken down into digestible blocks. This makes it much easier for them to quickly acquire the information they are looking for.
It also gives you the opportunity to weave keywords into headings and subtitles, which are strong signals for search engines. It is a win for everyone!
Keep things up to date
Remember, even when you’ve produced a well-written, SEO-friendly article, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Google LOVES it when you go back and update existing content because it shows that you are keeping your website up to date.
Has there been a new development regarding the topic of your post? Or maybe some new data you could use to explore a new perspective? If there is a way to update your article and add information that will benefit your users, then it is worth taking the time to do so.
Enjoy the benefits of optimized content
Now that you know how to optimize your content, you will have a better chance of ranking for your chosen keywords. In addition to this, your users will be more likely to stay on your website longer, increasing your engagement rates and the time spent consuming your content.
As a result of consistently producing high-quality content, you may find that your site is attracting more links from external sources. This will increase the authority of your domain and help you appear as a reliable and authoritative source of information.
So, if you’re looking for ways to give your content a little boost, consider implementing some of these techniques in your writing. It won’t always be possible to include everything we’ve mentioned here, but if you write for the user first and take care of your keywords, you’ll be on the right track.
Rob Phillips is Digital Manager at Coast Digital.
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