Investing time and resources into content development is in a sense useless if not properly optimized. Content and SEO go together like wine and charcuterie boards. One without the other simply doesn’t make sense.
Search engines are responsible for answering searcher’s questions. Whether you’re asking for a recipe for chocolate chip cookies or how to outsource your company’s marketing efforts, search engines are the place to start. That being said, whether your top search result is a blog, news article, video, or photo, it’s all content.
SEO is a critical aspect of content marketing. The goal of content marketing is to bring organic traffic to one’s website by optimizing that content to meet a searcher’s needs. If not optimized to meet your target audience’s needs, your content is unlikely to meet the right eyes.
We’re sharing our top tips and tricks to maximize your content for the best search results.
Pay Attention to Keywords
Keywords play a significant role in the optimization of your content. You want to ensure you’re paying close attention to the keywords you choose to use. While they play a critical role in targeting the correct audience, you want to be careful not to overuse them.
You want to avoid keyword stuffing while still including relevant keywords throughout the body of your content. SEMRush suggests that one of the easiest ways to avoid keyword stuffing is to write longer content. Writing 1,000 words instead of 750 gives you 250 more words to fill up space instead of stuffing too many keywords into such a short body of writing.
Another important factor of successful keywords is focusing on long-tail keywords. We discuss long-tail keywords in more detail below (nudge nudge … keep reading) but the most important thing to know about them is that they can help successfully segment your audience to the point of improving your direct search traffic. While broad short tail keywords might produce larger monthly search traffic, more specific long-tail keywords are more likely to provide increased direct clicks and engagement.
Use Headings … The Right Way
Headings are an important part of SEO that is often wrongly pushed aside for other aspects of an SEO strategy such as keywords and backlinks. Headings range from H1 to H6 headers that help provide an outline structure for your content. Your H1 should focus on the overall topic of your content while others should grow increasingly more specific as they progress.
It should be noted as well that it’s critical that there be no more than one H1 heading in your content. Including more than one H1 heading confuses search engines and makes them question which is truly the main subject of your content.
Make Sure You’re Writing Enough, But Not Too Much
The ideal article length for Google’s algorithm is 1,760-2,400 words. The goal of writing longer content is to build authority and establish yourself as an expert on the subject. Google attempts to maximize the depth of content, meaning that focusing on an extremely specific topic may not be quite as beneficial as a slightly broader topic that deep dives into more detail through longer copy.
Localize Your Content
One of the most important aspects of market segmentation is geographical segmentation. In the same way that it’s important to not focus on selling swimwear to customers in Alaska during the winter, it could be significantly beneficial to use geographically relevant keywords when targeting specific audiences.
If you’re a local business, especially a B2B business looking for local clients, utilizing local keywords can help you attract relevant attention. For example, a local San Diego real estate agent likely wants to focus primarily on building their clientele within the area. Using keywords relevant to the local market will play a helpful role in boosting their content for the right audience.
Link optimization is critical to overall content optimization. Including relevant links throughout the content is a helpful way to not only increase traffic to your site but also helps position you as a credible source. On top of the basics of citing sources and providing your viewers with helpful resources, links help Google determine the relevance of your content and provide searchers with the most helpful search results.
It’s important to include both inbound and outbound links throughout your content. An inbound link points a reader to another page or resource within your own site. For example, you may want to link to a similar article topic that you have shared in the past or link to a pillar page that provides more information on the subject. On the other hand, an outbound link sends the reader to an outside source either for additional information or as a way to cite the reference that you use within your own work.
There are a number of ways to analyze the links that you choose to include throughout your content. They include the following:
Authority: Authority can be assessed in a number of ways including by Google’s PageRank, or by an SEO tool such as SEMRush. Authority measures a site’s overall quality and SEO performance. The score is based on many metrics that represent trustworthiness and authority and uses a neural network and machine learning to ensure the score is always accurate and fresh.
Relevance: Relevance refers to the relationship of the link you’re sharing to the content that it’s included in. For example, including a link about the top-rated chardonnays in the market in a blog post about SEO wouldn’t be relevant. But including a link explaining domain authority would be relevant as it relates to the topic that you’re already discussing.
Location: While it’s not necessarily consistent 100% of the time, many SEO experts agree that links included throughout the content body are more effective than navigational links or links in the page footer.
As previously mentioned, it has become increasingly beneficial to focus on a broader topic and provide more detail on the overarching theme than it is to focus your content specifically on one or a few keywords. Instead, your focus should turn to long-tail keywords, which is a fluid string of words more likely to be searched. This shift in focus makes sense given that over 70% of page views are a direct result of long-tail keyword searches.
Think about it from a customer’s perspective. Imagine you’re looking for a new attorney to represent you. You might start to search for an “attorney” but your results are likely to be much vaguer than what you were actually searching for. So instead of clicking on any of those results, you try again. This time you search “IRS audit tax attorney San Diego.” Your search produces results that are significantly more relevant to your search.
While long-tail keywords may not have the same traffic as more vague and broad keywords, the traffic that they do get is more likely to bring traffic directly to your site if they’re relevant.
Overall, the best practice is for businesses to find a balance between both. Content should be optimized based on the higher traffic broad keywords and more specific long-tail keywords. Only paying attention to one or the other is unlikely to get you the results you’re looking for.
Optimize for Mobile
Over time more and more people have begun to look to their mobile devices for everyday search. This is largely apparent by the fact that 61% of google searches are via mobile devices. And why wouldn’t they be? The convenience of a computer in your pocket is appealing to the 48.53% of the global population that have smartphones. This being said, it’s increasingly important to ensure that your content is optimized for viewing via mobile devices. Not doing so leaves you at risk of missing out on a huge portion of potential views of your content.
On top of the obvious disadvantage of missing out on mobile searches, Google has begun to penalize sites that are not optimized for mobile. That being said, they’ve created a simple to use tool to check and verify if your site is properly optimized for mobile-friendliness.