With the massive amounts of content produced, content optimization has become nearly (if not more) important than content creation.
You may have the best content in the world, but if it’s not optimized, majority of those who actually need it may not even read a line of it. Below is a guide on content optimization and its equally important brother: re-optimization.
What is Content Optimization?
Content optimization is the process of optimizing web pages and their contents to help them perform better in search results and ranking. This could include tasks like improving page speed, SEO, and adding pertinent updates, among many other strategies.
Basically, the goal is to make information in your content more accessible for search engines. And perhaps more importantly, make your content as useful, easy to find, and as easy to digest as possible for your target audience.
10x Content – Shooting To Make It Exponentially Better
Content marketing has grown from being a strategy to a necessity.
Everyone’s doing it, which means, there is a massive ocean of content out there. That’s why producing good content simply isn’t enough anymore.
As a Forbes article notes, good, unique content didn’t suddenly go bad – it’s just that there are more businesses producing it, with more of them doing it moderately well.
And this is where the staple term “10x content” comes from.
As pointed out by a Whiteboard Friday episode, you can no longer just strive to be as good as the top 10 people in search results for a particular keyword. With content saturation, the challenge has become “How can you create something that’s 10x better than anything that’s out there?”
Optimizing The Past
But shooting for exponentially better content doesn’t always mean putting in the resources to create new ones.
Add to that the fact that Google’s constantly changing algorithms bring with it changes in SEO practices—meaning, existing content previously optimized needs to be re-optimized in line with those changes.
What performed well two months ago may not be ranking as well today, making re-optimization an integral element of content marketing. As noted by Marketing Heroes, the goal in this process is to tweak what already exists; not recreate it.
So Where Do You Start?
Of course, as with any enhancement strategy, you need to get a feel of the lay of the land.
This is where page-level audits come in. Using Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or other tools like Ahrefs, you can start by getting data to determine the performance of each of your content.
Once you see pages whose performances have dipped (or have fallen out of search results entirely), you need to assign and interconnect multiple goals for each page you plan on re-optimizing.
These goals could include:
- Making a single page rank for multiple search items
- Owning Rank #0 in Semantic Search
- Increasing the chances of pages to earn links for informational queries
Your Four-Step Content Re-optimization Guide
Once your goals are set, here’s a simple 4-step content re-optimization guide:
1. Start with your top pages
Using Google Analytics or other tools available to you, and identify the pages you think you should focus on.
Say, your data presents a list of 20 of your top pages.
Prioritize those that have potential in helping your website generate leads and/or conversions, but are not delivering the expected results – particularly those pages that target keywords with medium to high monthly search volume. The top metrics you should look into are the traffic and search ranking.
2. Competitor Analysis
To get your pages to perform better, you need to get a feel for what your competitors are doing for each query/page.
There are a lot of possible ways to conduct a competitor analysis. One of the most effective is using tools like Ahrefs which automatically lists your direct competitors based on keywords, traffic, and other metrics, with their site explorer. Another way is through a simple Google search of your target keyword.
List down your current competitors and analyze how and why they may rank higher than your content.
While getting to the top of the search results will always be the ultimate goal, for a more realistic approach, you can start with those which you feel you can compete with. That’s a good place to set your baseline, and then work your way up from there.
3. Re-optimize content
Once you’ve identified the page you’d be working on and have enough data from your competitors, the next thing to do is to identify what you can do to update and re-optimize your content.
One of the simpler yet necessary ones is updating images. You don’t want visitors seeing content with evidently old screenshots that would make them question the value of your content.
You can also tweak your content title, update sources with more up to date references, add social share buttons, or any of the long list of things you can do to improve your existing content (depending on your goals, of course).
You can even re-launch the content, which has been proven to boost organic traffic by as much as 260.7 percent.
4. Move down to other content assets
After working to re-optimize your top pages, you can move further down the list – particularly if one of the main goals is to attract more traffic.
Your top pages may get the bulk of the impressions and CTRs, but the key to having a rock-solid website is working on and with all of your assets.
1. Provide valuable content for improved linkability and shareability
A linkable content does not just have the potential to bring visitors from other websites to yours but also contribute to your site’s overall metrics (Domain Authority and/or Domain Ranking), which can help you rank higher in search engine results.
Social media, as one of the most prominent platforms, with millions of users (a.k.a. potential audience), is also something you should keep on top of your head. Having your content oiled up for social media shareability, along and aligned with an intensive social media strategy can deliver more traffic, and *free* promotions to your content.
You certainly want every content to be useful for your audience, but there are ways to step it up a notch and improve linkability and shareability in the process.
Freemium content, or top-notch content you offer on your website for free, has always been one of the best ways to make your content assets a link building machine.
You can also try:
- Cheat Sheets
- Trivia (fun facts) about your product/service
- Product demos
- How-to guides
Have a look at what your competitors are doing in this realm and shoot to provide something even better.
2. Make it visual
There’s no going back from how much of a visual people the world has become. As such, optimizing your content with rich media would inevitably increase engagement.
So whenever applicable, you can enhance your content with any of the following:
- Interactive content
- High-quality images
These go a long way in adding value to your content.
Take this example from MVMT, which provides a visual guide to the size of their watch’s face. It’s a simple touch, but incredibly helpful in ushering visitors towards conversion.
3. Optimize for different kinds of readers
You need to make sure that your content is optimized for the different kinds of visitors you could get.
Most visitors want to get the answers fast, so you need to make sure that your content’s readability is optimized
Make it easy to skim your content by using H1 tags, subheads, bold fonts, and white spaces, so users can easily get to the answers they need.
Having said this, you should also make sure that it’s comprehensive enough for visitors who are on that particular page to learn by consuming everything.
4. Minimize friction
Your site’s ease of use adds ranking value to key pages, so make sure that you lessen the number of clicks required to go from the homepage to identified key pages.
This kind of accessibility can easily be achieved by simply including tabs to those pages in your navigation links.
Bonus tip: you can also improve the crawlability and link equity of your other content assets that are deeper in your site through the contextual linking to those pages.
5. Optimize for mobile
If you don’t make your website optimized for mobile use and viewing, then most of the work you’ve done will be all for naught.
Now more than ever, people are navigating the web on their mobile devices. You don’t want to turn them off by not having your content optimized for exactly that.
The thing about content optimization is that it’s always an ongoing process. As search algorithms change, so will SEO techniques. You need to strike the tricky balance of applying those new techniques and giving it ample time to take effect. Apart from the know-how, this takes great patience to wait and see which works and which doesn’t.
As well, while content optimization and re-optimization may be crucial elements of content marketing, it is in no way a substitute for continually producing topnotch, new content.
In this hypercompetitive world, this is vital to answering your targets’ needs, providing value, and guiding them through the buyer’s journey.
Which of your content assets do you think is ripe for re-optimization? Take a look at your site data, and find out which of them you can further improve.