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9
minute read
November 14, 2019

The Complete Guide to Content Optimization

Written by
David Scott

Writing a great piece of content takes time and energy.

But, what happens if no one reads it or engages with it once it goes live?

It exists to drive real results for your business and to help nurture your ideal buyers into paying customers.

If your content doesn't hit key benchmarks such as:

  • Matches the search intent
  • Contains up-to-date information
  • Loads quickly on all devices

Then you're leaving opportunities on the table.

Luckily there's a process you can use to ensure that your content is up to the high standards you set for your company blog, and it's called content optimization.

Content optimization is a great way to ensure your content is going to do exactly what your audience hopes it will. Whether it be to answer a simple question, provide an in-depth explanation of a topic, or recommend the best software to use, you should be guaranteeing that your audience gets value from it.

In this article, we're going to explain what content optimization is, why you should ensure your content is optimized for readers and search, and show you practical steps to optimizing your content.

Without further ado, let's jump into the article.

What is Content Optimization?

Content optimization is the act of updating, improving, and optimizing your content to leave it better than it was before.

Content optimization includes a range of activities.

You might do something simple, such as optimize images to a web-friendly format, or it could involve a complete content refresh where you update, add, and edit the content in your article to better match the search intent.

Regardless, the goal is to improve your content and make it more valuable to your ideal buyer.

Why Should I Optimize My Content?

1. Eliminate Poor Quality Content

If a potential lead leaves your blog unimpressed, you're losing out on opportunities.

The first major benefit of content optimization is that you will eliminate all low-quality content from your site. Your content will begin to live up to the quality of your brand and reflect well in your future customers' eyes.

With regular content audits, you'll be able to identify content that doesn't perform well. You can then refresh it and be left with only the very best content that will be interesting to both your existing and future customers.

2. Traffic Growth

If you want your blog to be a traffic generating machine then you should be regularly optimizing your content.

If you're not sure content optimization is really worth it, take the case of Siege Media. After a content audit they saw a ~50% increase in traffic after optimizing their content and blog.

That's right.

Without creating any new content, and simply improving and pruning existing content, they saw a monumental traffic increase.

After a content audit Siege Media saw near instant benefits

And, the benefits are there even if you don't create any new content at all.

Deleting old content and 301 redirecting to similar pages, or simply 404'ing your pages can lead to benefits.

An Ahrefs study found blog traffic grow by over 80% by deleting all poor quality content from the site in question. Why would deleting content have such a big impact, you might ask?

Well, there could be a number of reasons. You might be cannibalizing your traffic with competing pages, it might be hard to find your best content or a whole range of other reasons.

In the next section, we'll show you the steps you can take to effectively optimize your content and reap the rewards.

How to Optimize and Refresh Your Content

1. Start with Having Great Content

The first step to successful content optimization is to create amazing content.

Sounds obvious, right?

It may be, but it's important to note that just because you have an article that's 2000+ words long and includes your target keyword, it doesn't mean it's what your audience wants to read.

Your content needs to satisfy a few key points if you expect it to bring results.

Let's take a look at what those points are.

Match the Search Intent

Firstly, your content should match the search intent.

What does that mean, exactly?

Simply put, it means your content should be what the searcher expects to find when they land on your page.

For example, if someone searches for "best software to manage ABM campaigns", they'll probably be looking for an article or page that contains recommendations for tools they can use. If an article appears in the search results that doesn't contain software recommendations, or doesn't mention ABM, they'll quickly bounce off the page.

Answer FAQs

You should then be answering key questions about the topic throughout your content.

If you want to quickly discover key questions your audience has, you can find out with a quick Google Search. In the "People also ask" section you'll see frequently asked questions on your topic.

Answering FAQs will give you a higher chance of being featured in a snippet

By answering these on your page you'll be more likely to own the featured snippet, and will subsequently have more people arriving on your page.

Finally, your content should be engaging and authoritative if you expect people to read it to the end.

Use Data to Build Trust

One way to improve the trust your audience has in you is to back up your points with data.

Use sites like Statista to find data relevant to your topic. You could also create original research, or cite other trustworthy content sources.

Design Your Article for Engagement

You should design your article to keep your readers engaged.

Some ways to optimize your content for engagement include:

  • Using logical headers and sub-headers
  • Be concise
  • Break up long paragraphs (no walls of text!)
  • Use stories and real examples
  • Interlink to other relevant content

These are just a few of the ways you can ensure your content is high quality and engaging.

The key is to write in a style that your audience expects. If you're writing for decision-makers in Fortune 100 companies you'll need a different style to if you were writing for solo founders.

If you match the tone your reader is familiar with you'll keep them interested for longer.

You'll also need to make sure that your content is complete and detailed.

Your audience doesn't want to end up on your blog and find only half of their questions answered or they'll soon leave to find another resource. There is no hard and fast rule for content length, but a HubSpot study found that articles between 2,250 and 2,500 words generate the most organic traffic.

Technical Optimizations

Your pages need to be technically sound.

This means that there should be zero usability issues for your readers, whether it be related to page speed, the hierarchy of content, or whether you're presenting your content in the best way to be crawled by search engines.

Improve your Page speed

BBC lost 10% of their visitors when their page speed increased by 1 second.

Other research by Google shows that 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a page takes 3 seconds or longer to load.

Luckily, you can easily ensure your website loads quickly as tools like Google Pagespeed Insights and GTMetrix can show you detailed information about issues with your web pages, and how you can fix them.

You don't want your customers arriving on your articles or landing pages and bouncing off because it took too long to load. Fixing your page speed is a great place to start if you want to make sure you're not leaving opportunities on the table.

Apply Schema Markup

Using schema markup is a powerful way to optimize your content both for your readers and for search engines.

You'll need to add your Schema markup directly to your HTML. It then improves the way your site and content is displayed in search results.

While your content may look relatively similar after your schema markup is added, it provides an opportunity to be more visible in the search results, and attract more leads to your content.

Schema will also boost your chances of owning the coveted Rank #0, or Featured Snippet for your chosen keyword.

Keyword Optimization

This isn't an article on SEO, but we'd be foolish to ignore the importance of SEO to your content's success.

If no one can find your blog content, there's not much point in creating it. You need to ensure it's optimized for your target keywords. It's simple to do in-depth keyword research with tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. Both of these will show you data on the questions people ask about your topic, related keywords, and much more. You can also use a more advanced tool like Clearscope which provides insight into what keywords and related content you should include in your article to rank highly, based on learning from other top-ranking results.

So, you're ranking highly, but traffic is still low. What should you do?

You need to make sure your meta description and title tags are engaging and entice your audience to click through.

While the meta description isn't a ranking factor, it does affect click-through rate (CTR) because it contains information about what your article contains.

By making your meta description enticing but also transparent about what your page contains, you'll see higher CTRs and lower bounce rates as people are aware of what your page contains.

Social Sharing Optimization

There's no better promotion than free promotion.

You'll need to ensure your content is optimized for social sharing. There are a few ways to do this.

Number #1 is to have great content. Sharing is a natural consequence of having great content, so all of our above points will help you increase the shares that your content generates.

Data shows that audiences prefer to share content that's over 2,500 words long.

Why is that?

Longer posts generally include more complete information, and they can go in-depth into the topic they're about. This doesn't mean you need to write 2,500+ word articles, but you do need to fully explain the topic you're talking about and leave the reader feeling like they've gained something.

Final Step: Promoting Your Content

Once your content optimization process is complete you still need to ensure you promote it to your ideal customers.

If you want to promote your content in-house, we recently published a guide on the best content promotion and distribution channels that you can use to successfully grow the reach of your content. We also wrote a step by step guide to creating a content distribution plan that you can follow if you want to see great results.

If you don't quite have the time to promote your content in-house, then we'd be happy to help.

Our experienced team can help you syndicate your content and get it in front of key decision-makers within B2B companies that you're targeting.

We handle the whole distribution process for you, using tactics including PPC, social media, email marketing, telemarketing, and optimized landing pages.

Our process will enable you to generate qualified leads from your content in a systematic way, and as soon as new leads are captured we'll pass them onto you will all the details you need to take the next steps. Our process is GDPR compliant and completely customized to your brand and needs.

We'd love to find out what your content syndication needs are and see if Internal Results is a fit for you. You can get started here.

Conclusion

Your content needs to be optimized if you want it to be seen by your ideal customers and work as a lead generation asset.

The steps we've outlined in this article will help you ensure that your content is high-quality, technically sound answers the questions your audience wants to know, and will rank highly in search, attracting the right people to it.

Content optimization should be done regularly to ensure your content works for your business and has real bottom-line benefits in the long run.

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