You’ve heard it time and time again, “content is king.” While this phrase has become increasingly popular on the web, it’s important to explore its meaning. Content – the visual/verbal message in web pages, online posts, ads, and articles – is in fact “king”, as it tells visitors and search engines exactly what you’re trying to relay. This is one of your best shots at captivating and persuading an audience towards an action, winning over those search engine bots, and creating awareness for your brand. However, it’s important to not forget about content optimization: the strategy, research, testing, and ongoing maintenance of your online posts and web pages.
Learn to be intentional. Content optimization is often a detailed and time-consuming process that entails being very deliberate with your titles, headlines, sentences, images, and videos, while also focusing on technical factors like site structure and speed. Sure, solid writing and design are at the core of your message’s direct success, however, that message might go short-lived or unnoticed if you don’t construct it on a solid foundation. Here’s the rundown on using content optimization to boost your online visibility.
Building A Content Strategy Is Like Building A House.
To ease our explanation, let’s compare a content strategy to the process of constructing a house. That’s right, try to picture your on-page SEO efforts as the concrete foundation and your off-page SEO efforts as the additions – pillars and cross beams. Now, let’s get to hammering.
On-Page Optimization: The Concrete Base
“On-page” optimizations focus directly on your content itself, from headlines, body copy, images, and videos, to H1 tags, page layout, and CTA buttons. There’s a lot of elements that comprise on-page SEO, but here we’ll set our sites some on the most fundamental:
Keyword Strategy & Copywriting
Your keyword strategy is everything. If you’re not targeting topics towards exactly what your target audience is searching for, then you’re likely missing out on a wave of site traffic, increased conversions, and potential brand advocates. By using keyword research tools, it becomes possible to find the topics your audience is looking for the most, along with the exact terms they use in their searches.
Keyword research tools like SEMrush, give you an endless list of search terms with their respective volume and difficulty score. By identifying and integrating what you’ve determined to be the most valuable short-tail (2-3 word phrase) and long-tail keywords (3-6 word phrase) into your content, you’ll begin to boost your rankings. Each piece of content should have one main keyword that is placed in the title of the page, opening paragraph, meta description, image alt-text, and even the H1 tag. But, be sure to use a healthy blend of synonyms for your primary keyword phrase throughout your copy.
“New Spiderman Movie” can be restated as…
- Recent Spiderman Film
- Latest Spiderman Cartoon
- Upcoming Spiderman Motion Picture
- Contemporary Spiderman Animation
- Modern Spiderman Video
Be referencing your primary keyword in a variation of ways, this works to enhance your reader’s experience, and most importantly, Google’s preference for your content. To put it simply, search engines prefer to see that your content makes things as “not annoying” for the reader as possible.
While keyword integration and effective copywriting are one side of on-page optimizations, technical elements are also very important. Not only should your content be relevant and engaging, yet it should load quickly and be free from any technical errors like broken links, images, and lagging videos. In essence, every file on your page should be optimized to the highest resolution, while also being compressed to the lowest possible file size. Technical performance is a major factor that search engines now consider when they begin to crawl and index your content.
Off-Page Optimization: The Pillars & Crossbeams
Off-page optimization refers to the efforts that take place outside of your actual page of content. Off-page SEO includes everything from backlinking, to social shares, business listings, and online ads. These are the efforts that help attract visitors to all the hard work you put into your on-page optimizations. You’ll want to engage in off-page efforts to make sure your content gets the exposure it deserves.
This is the process of acquiring links from other websites, social media platforms, influencers, and anywhere that someone can share your link. Not only does this increase the number of eyes that see your work, but Google has made it very clear that backlinking is almost the most important point of reference for how they recognize your content’s value. The page or post with the most external links pointing to it is deemed as well-reputed and gets boosted in the search engine results.
This tactic requires a bit more time and effort but can have massive returns. If you take extra time to hunt down several people and businesses that have a similar offering to you, it can be greatly beneficial to guest blog on their site. Guest blogging builds relationships, creates additional awareness for your brand, and gives you an opportunity to receive a backlink (or two) from another website.
Don’t Just Make Content That Survives, Make It Thrive.
First and foremost, make your content original, engaging, and actionable. In today’s digital climate, you have to work hard to separate your work from the hundreds, if not thousands of competitors. How do you do this?
Make It Original
Focus on the distinct aspects of your company or service that make you original – what do you do that others don’t, what do you do better, and what makes you the most trustworthy? Integrate these facts and stats into your copy to build a stronger sense of trust and authority for your industry.
Make It Engaging
Don’t just tell it like it is. Identify your core audience, find where they hang out online, and adjust your tone and online personality accordingly. Your content must reach the right people and truly make them want to engage with you or your company.
Make It Actionable
Yes, your content is everything, but you should always focus on how your message will lead people to complete an action. If you want to make conversions, add call-to-actions, lead forms, and internal links throughout your copy. If you want to increase awareness, give people a valid reason to spread your name or even offer an incentive like a giveaway, shoutout, user tag, or guest feature every once in a while.
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