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Content Optimization – An In-Depth Guide

What is content optimization and how can it help you better rank your website for the search engines? We’re answering this question and many more in today’s article, so keep on reading! 

SEO Content Optimization

We all know that keywords can make a difference when it comes to ranking any website, but the way you use them is quite important, too. 

It is far easier to start producing content with the right tools and mindset rather than having to optimize hundreds, if not thousands of pages and posts once you have created them. 

Content marketing optimization can refer to a number of things depending on what you’ve already done wrong. It can refer to the actual content, the way you have used the search terms you want to rank for, your meta titles and meta descriptions, your images, and a lot of other things. 

But it can also refer to other on-page SEO things, such as your internal linking process. Although some might argue that this doesn’t necessarily deal with content optimization, you actually have content on most of your pages, so why shouldn’t they be linked properly between one another? 

We’re tackling all of these things in the sections below. 

Optimizing text

Have you been using your keywords right? The basics of keyword use aren’t that difficult to grasp, but there are some ground rules that you have to keep in mind whenever you are creating new pieces of content. 

For example, your main keyword should show up in the page’s title, in the meta title, in the meta description (or at least a variation or synonym of it), and naturally, in the text per se. 

Some marketers say that the best places to use your search terms would have to be the first 100 words of text on any page or post and at least one of your headings. 

Image optimization

Images are extremely important these days as no one has a lot of time on their hands or the necessary patience to read text that’s not at least partly visual. 

So while it is a good idea to use as many images and videos as possible, this type of content needs to be optimized, too. 

One way of making your images better would be to optimize your image tags and your alt tags. The image tag is the one that the user sees when scrolling over an image while the alt tag is known as alternate text. 

Naming your images properly is another good way of going about things. Don’t be afraid to use your preferred keyword in the name of your images, but don’t overdo it. 

These days, search engines can tell pretty easily when you’re ‘keyword stuffing’ your content by naming your images with your search term of choice — when in fact they have nothing to do with your topic. 

Keep your code clean

This doesn’t necessarily deal with actual content optimization, but before you even start making any chances on your pages and posts, you need to make sure that everything is perfect from a technical standpoint. 

You also have to make sure that you have no duplicate pages and if you do, just deindex the duplicates. Keep your code as clean as possible and your website design needs to be both user-friendly and easy to read by the search engines. 

Watch out your internal linking strategy

Want to know how to optimize content for search engines using internal links? It’s actually super easy! 

On your website, you probably have several different categories. Try to keep your internal links as clean as possible, meaning you should link to and from posts that are part of the same category. 

When deciding on an internal linking process, you should also keep in mind the crawl depth of your articles. Your homepage is always going to be at depth 0, so it’s your most important page and the one that any search engine’s crawlers are going to come across. 

You don’t have to link to all of your posts right from the homepage, especially if you intend to create thousands of articles in the future. But you have to make them easy to discover. Try to keep all of your articles at no more than 3 to 4 clicks away from your homepage. 

Make sure you’re producing quality content

Everyone’s talking about quality content nowadays and it’s incredibly difficult to rank for a search term if you don’t use other means of improving your rankings, such as link building. 

But your content quality can make a lot of difference when it comes to readability and your user experience. If people go on your site and they stumble upon poorly written content packed with grammar and spelling mistakes and on top of everything, it doesn’t satisfy their search intent, they’re going to be out in no time. 

Your bounce rate not only affects how people spend time on your website and if they ever end up reading something, but your CTR also impacts your rankings. 

For example, if you do end up ranking for a great keyword and you’re the third result on the first page, you’ll lose your position if people click on your link, don’t find what they are searching for, and get back to the search engine page, instead. 

Not every article needs to be 5,000-words long. If you do have a lot to say about something, at least make sure that your paragraphs are short (about 2 to 3 lines). 

Rely on formatting and use headings to your advantage to split up your content as best as possible. 

While we’re at it, we might as well mention a plugin called TOC+, which creates a table of contents and displays it right at the top of every post (you can check out the one we have here for this article, too!) so that people can click right from the beginning on what they are most interested in. 

If you are not a native English speaker, you can hire an editor or at least use several content optimization tools. We’ll mention some great ones toward the end of this article, so keep on reading!

Establish authority

Establishing authority is one of the lengthiest processes involved in a content optimization strategy. If your website is brand new, it will take time for it to rank for the search terms you desire. 

One way to go about things would be to create long and in-depth articles and also get relevant backlinks from high-authority websites in your niche. You can do that through blogger outreach, something we have tackled in many of our other posts. 

PR links and guest posts can also establish you as an authority in your field. 

Another aspect that’s worth noting in this sense is that the people writing your content should be authoritative authors, too. 

These days, there’s something called E-A-T that Google uses to make the difference between good content that needs to be found faster and easier and content that can be left out or placed on the second, third, and later pages of any search. 

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s not a new concept — it’s been around since 2018. But it’s been getting more and more important. 

What does this mean for you? Well, one way of going about things would be for you to check and sign all of the articles using your own name if you are an authority in a specific field and you have a website in that niche. 

For example, if you are a well-known dentist in your area and you create articles about the services you offer, dental hygiene, and any other such topic, there’s no better person to be the author of your articles other than you or someone from your staff. 

Hopefully, by now you might have been published on other websites or you can create an About Me page where you list your credentials so that both people and the search engines can see that you’re a real person and a real professional. 

If you have a website in a different niche and you’re an affiliate marketer, for example, you can actually hire writers with a reputation or you can pay someone to sign the articles with their name although they might not have even written them.  

Resources

Whenever you create an in-depth article about any given topic, you are likely to use a number of resources. All that information isn’t safely kept in your mind, after all, right? 

Even if you might be an authority in something, there are still new things that show up in your field. 

For example, if you have a medical website, when writing about health problems, treatments, or diagnosis options, you can refer to highly authoritative resources such as scientific paper platforms (Elsevier, ScienceDirect etc). 

The best thing about these resources is that you are not even going to be linking to one of your competitors. 

Always back up your claims with something, whether it’s a statistic you’ve found on a financial website or crime data, consumer surveys, or even an interview with an authority in a specific field.  

Calls to action

Just what are you looking to achieve by writing and publishing content on the World Wide Web? You’re probably not doing this only out of the goodness of your own heart. 

Whether you want to bring people to your location and get them to hire you, if you are a contractor or a plumber, for example, or you do dropshipping or affiliate marketing, so you want your users to make a purchase online, you want them to click on something and either call you or order a product. 

If you don’t have any calls to action on your site, how are they going to be able to do this? There are lots of things you can use for the purpose of creating CTAs even if you aren’t extremely tech-savvy and you don’t know much other than how to use a plugin for WordPress. 

Two examples of plugins that can be used for creating buttons (meaning CTAs) that we have used in the past and have found the free versions to be pretty good, too, are MaxButtons and Button Generator. Look into them if you want to create simple buttons.  

Once you have your CTAs, you have to consider how you are going to use them. You can add them to the content, in the middle or at the end of an article, you can showcase them in your blog’s sidebar, or you can use a pop-up generator to try to better convert your readers. 

Best content optimization software

If you are wondering how to optimize content for SEO using a set of given tools, you’re in the right place. We’ve come up with a selection of some of the best website content optimization tools out there and we’ve described them all below. 

Tools for improving the quality of your content

Grammarly Premium

Grammarly is perhaps the best-known content optimization tool if you’re looking to improve the quality of your content and also make sure you are not accidentally plagiarizing another page on the web. 

The premium plan costs just under $140 a year and it gives you access to heaps of features. Best of all, the tool is very easy to utilize and there’s a Chrome extension available, too. 

The free plan is pretty helpful, too, but it’s not going to come with the plagiarism feature, which as we know is very important these days. 

Hemingway Editor

Hemingway is also user-friendly and it basically gives you a readability score based on the content that you copy and paste into the platform. 

This tool tells you if your sentences are too long, if you tend to use passive voice too often, or if your article just isn’t as easy to understand as you might think. Using the Hemingway App, you can learn how to improve your writing for the future.  

Readable 

This tool gives you both a readability score and it also points out the spelling and grammar mistakes that you have made. The higher your score, the better your writing. 

You can try the tool for free if you sign up for the platform’s email subscription, but there are paid plans available. For example, the cheapest one costs just $48 a year and can be used to analyze pretty much any type of content, including your URLs. 

Tools for improving the way your content ranks

Surfer SEO

Surfer is extremely easy to use and it’s also very affordable, especially compared to other content optimization tools and plugins. It can tell you if you have any problems with keyword stuffing or your content structure. 

The downside is that you get a limited number of queries per month, which means that it can’t be used to analyze hundreds and hundreds of posts and pages. 

PageOptimizerPro

The best thing about POP is that it is extremely easy to use. While it might not be as cheap as some of its counterparts, it will tell you everything you need to do to take your content to a whole new level.

It gives you examples of alternate meta titles and meta descriptions, it tells you whether you should add or remove some words from your content, and it also looks at your content length — and it does all this by comparing your pages to those of your competitors! 

It’s a great tool all in all and it is at least worth trying. 

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is by far one of the most generous SEO tools that currently exist and while it might be a little expensive for someone just starting out, it’s definitely worth every penny. 

You can use it for a lot of things from backlink analysis and competitor research to keyword research. The downside is that it is packed with features and it will take you some time to learn the ins and outs of the platform. 

SEMRush

If you already use a SEMRush Guru or Business Plan, you’re in luck. You can use their plagiarism checker and improve your content with their Content Audit tool. 

SEMRush gives you anything from a word count target that you have to reach in order to beat your competition to semantic keywords, readability, SEO, and even tone of voice recommendations. 

It’s an excellent tool for anyone who’s looking to optimize content in a great and effective way. 

Website Auditor by Link Assistant

Website Auditor is another tool you should consider if you’re looking for excellent content optimization options right now. 

We do have to note that we have tried it in the past and found the platform to be quite difficult to use — not to mention that it took a long time for them to download the data. 

There’s a lot of hands-on actions you have to perform in order to make the most of it, but maybe things have improved in the past 2-3 years since we’ve tried it. 

Need help with your SEO or digital marketing efforts? We have lots of plans and courses available. Get in touch to find out how we can be of assistance!