How to Optimize Every Piece of Content
Nail your next blog post by learning how to optimize every piece of content on your page for engagement and rankings here.
Onsite SEO refers to the actions you take to improve the quality of your website and the content it contains, to get better rankings in search engines. One of the most critical components of SEO is having well-written content, but there’s more to it than that.
Your content needs to be optimized for search engines.
If you’re wondering how to optimize every piece of content in order to get the most visibility — you’re in luck.
The following is a guide that will help you optimize all of your content before you post it.
The Importance of Content
Content is one of the primary ranking signals used by Google. You need great content to rank. A short blog post without much depth or thought isn’t going to get you where you want to be.
When you publish anything, you should be able to answer why. You want to make sure your content has a purpose—otherwise, rethink it. Don’t publish anything just to do it or to add fluff to your site.
Some of the objectives you should have in mind with each bit of content creation you put into action include ranking, getting links, and educating your audience or helping them solve a problem. Other goals include generating leads and increasing social engagement.
When a purpose drives each piece of content, you’re going to create better quality posts inherently.
Google is constantly updating its algorithm to ensure the best content is being delivered to its audience. As you consider purpose, think about making sure what you create is useful, helpful, relevant, comprehensive and readable. These are factors that are essential in search results.
You have to think about not just the elements on your page but the overall impact it’s going to have on your reader.
To ensure that you rank over your counterparts and leave your audience yearning for the next post, click here to get your outline for writing high quality content for your blog.
Ok. We’re about to get into it, so make sure you’re comfortable, because you’ll be here for about 7 minutes as we cover How to Optimize Every Piece of Content when publishing to your site.
A) Make It User-Friendly
One of the big things that even somewhat experienced content creators have a hard time with is that they continue to optimize for SEO but not for the user. Yes, you want to do keyword research and build these into your content because that’s how readers will ultimately find you when they perform a search.
At the same time, you want to make sure you’re thinking first and foremost about your user.
As you’re writing, consider things like solving a problem and how you can direct your content in a way that’s going to solve the problem of your reader. Having an understanding of user intent can help you here.
Readability is also essential for optimization.
Think about what’s going to be easiest for your reader to process on the page, especially if they’re on a mobile device, which so many people are now.
Break it up into small chunks, and make sure you use plenty of headings and bulleted lists. Paragraphs should be no more than a few sentences, and use images when relevant.
B) Don’t Overlook Your Meta Description
A meta description isn’t necessarily a ranking factor—that’s something Google stopped using a few years ago. That doesn’t mean you should overlook it or not optimize, however.
Your click-through rate makes your meta description relevant still.
A meta description is a visible description shown on search engine results that you can create yourself. Otherwise, Google will pull it from your content.
While the meta on its own isn’t a ranking factor, your click-through rate is, and if you have compelling meta descriptions, you’re boosting your CTR. Include a call to action in your meta description, as well as being informative.
Even though Google doesn’t use your meta description 100% of the time anymore, it’s still a really good chance to advertise yourself to users on the web. This case study shows that if your meta description is written well enough, there’s a good chance Google will present it to your users.
If a page has a compelling meta description, more people are going to click on it, therefore increase click-through rate, traffic to the website and potentially conversion rate.
All of these factors when increased will, in turn, boost your rank. So even though it’s true that meta descriptions are no longer a ranking factor, it can still help your SEO.
If you’re looking to dominate Google SERPs simply by using meta tags — good luck!
That being said, Meta tags, when used properly can still be useful in a number of areas outside just ranking pages e.g. to improve click-through rates from the SERP.
C) Keyword Usage
Understanding how to optimize every piece of content means understanding how to use keywords. One thing you want to avoid is overusing a keyword. That’s going to cause your content to be seen as low quality. However, there are some keyword best practices to remember with your content:
- You begin your content with an H1 tag, which is optimized with your keyword. If you’re using WordPress, that’s typically what’s in your title box. From there, you want to use H tags hierarchically.
- The most critical title goes in the H1, and then you move your way down. You can also use multiple H2 tags, as long as what you’re putting in them is equally important. When you’re writing H2 tags, include variations of your primary keyword.
- Using images and videos helps your content because it increases how long people spend on your page, plus they make your content more readable and digestible. When you’re adding images and videos, make sure they’re optimized as well.
- Use keywords that are semantically related to indicate relevance. This means naturally integrating words or phrases that relate to one another.
- Make sure your content is optimized for mobile. Google recently rolled out Mobile-first indexing. Your site is probably already responsive, but you should still consider how people will view your content on a mobile device before you hit publish.
Well-optimized content should have internal and external links.
Internal links are those links you add to your content to other relevant pages on your site. When you have internal links, users can navigate your content and are more likely to visit other pages. Internal links can also help search engines navigate. If you mention something in a post and you know you have another piece of relevant content, link to it.
There is a lot you can do with internal links and since you have complete control over them you should understand how to use them to your advantage. The first step should be to organize your existing content into keyword-based categories that make sense.
Even if you weren’t planning to use an organized link structure on your website, it should be possible to sort your content into silos.
This technique is called a link silo and is very effective in helping your content rank.
Here’s what a link silo structure would look like in its simplest form:
External links should be high-quality and should provide more context and information to your reader on the topic at hand.
Taking on link building to improve your search engine rankings requires effort. The amount of effort usually correlates to the quality of the link. Let’s take a look at 10 highly relevant way to get great links.
1. The HARO Technique (Help A Reporter Out)
Ever been published? If not, Using HARO to provide journalists with timely information is a great way of getting valuable backlinks and building your authority.
All you have to do is register on the Help a Reporter website then receive emails for source requests. If you answer them — they will then list you as a source, linking your website.
2. Blog Often & Blog About Trending Topics
Building backlinks is all about creating shareable content. Hot trending topics tops the charts in terms of shareable content. Since these are new topics, people are hungry for more info and will want to link you as their hot source!
So if you’re able to be one of the first to report about such relevant content in fast-paced times, then this is a good strategy to follow. It can even get you both a large number of backlinks and new followers!
If you need a little help finding trending topics to blog about, check out this post.
3. Co-Author From High Authoritative Websites
Guest posting on various websites can also help you get backlinks, as long as your pitch includes you adding a link back to your website. You too can take advantage of this strategy, as long as you guest post on relevant and high authority websites and get your pitches accepted. This is a win-win situation for all because the website gets good content while you get high quality backlinks.
4. Utilize the Broken Link Technique
Many websites, yours included, has broken links.
Link building can be easy when you’re simply helping others fix out of date links.
You can use a lot of tools, like Ahrefs, who created that awesome video shown above, to help you find broken backlinks on your site, recovering and repurposing them. Furthermore, you can look for other websites’ broken links and notify the admins, asking if you can create content around those topics related to that broken link or page.
5. Build Excellent Link Relationships
Building high quality links requires quality relationships!
Have you ever heard that saying, “you have to give a little to get a little”?
It’s no different in link building, by partnering and helping others, you can be rewarded greatly in terms of links. Some great examples are answering questions on Twitter, Quora, and other forums.
Take note: It takes a little time to build an authority presence, but Quora and forums do work quickly to start getting traffic in!
Share people’s stuff: Building relationships is a selfless act. When you see a great piece of content, share it. This is a great way to get someone’s attention and they might even return the favor with a link down the road.
6. Turn Your Mentions to Backlinks
Link building is easy when somebody’s already mentioned you!
If ever someone mentions your website and what your business has to offer, contact them and ask if they can turn the mention to a backlink instead.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Sign up for BuzzSumo Alerts (or Google Alerts).
- Set up backlink alerts to receive daily digest.
- Set up brand mentions to receive daily digest.
- Email websites mentioning you by starting with a thank you, offer help or advice, then ask if they wouldn’t mind linking to you as it would make it easy for readers.
I hope you’re doing well. I see you’ve [mentioned a post I’ve worked on].
I was doing some research this morning and noticed you [that your readers might benefit from a link to this post].
If you don’t have the time no worries, but let me know if there’s any other content I might be able to contribute to your site or readers.
Either way, keep up the great work!
[your name and title]
While this is pretty easy, take note that this strategy only works if the websites haven’t linked back to your website from the said piece.
7. Try the Skyscraper Technique
The Skyscraper technique is a tough strategy but very effective when link building. This is a link building technique developed by master link builder and content creator Brian Dean.
You will need to write up amazing and informative content related to specific issues about your industry or niche, offering solutions and call-to-actions around your piece. If you have the right solution or information, then you can get authoritative backlinks, though it takes time!
More importantly, organic search traffic to his entire site — not just that post — doubled in just 14 days!
8. Check Out Local Influencers and Directories
Interviewing or collaborating with influencers can give you a lot of local links, with more fans and people sharing them. You can find local influencers through connections and contact details, or through online tools and websites.
Furthermore, you can check out your local directories as sources for local links. This can help you create strong relationships for future link building collaborations as well.
9. Finding Linkable Websites and Creating a Good Pitch
Fortunately, there are now great tools and websites that can help you find authoritative websites related to your niche. Once you have your list of potential blogs and websites you can write or collaborate with, it’s time to make a pitch!
E) Page Speed
Page speed is officially a mobile search factor for ranking, according to Google. Overall, if your site isn’t optimized for speed, it’s going to be problematic.
When you’re creating content, make sure that you’re optimizing images, for example. Images on content are primarily what contribute to page speed.
Finally, take the time to get in-depth on subjects. You don’t want to have posts with a lot of fluff, but try to explore content more comprehensively. Long-form content tends to add the most value to an audience. Therefore it’s more likely to do better in SERPs.
It’s better to create one high-quality, long-form piece of content than a few lower-quality and shorter pieces.
F) Your Images
“F your images” — that’s hilarious, but seriously you don’t want to eff your images because they are single biggest factor to page speed.
Most webmasters upload images to their website or blog without taking the time to properly optimize them. Even if the image “looks” fine, tweaking just a few basic elements can prove helpful in encouraging higher search rankings while promoting a better experience for the end user.
So, what’s the correct way to optimize images on a website?
1. Start with a Relevant File Name
First and foremost, be sure to name your images based on what they represent. If you are uploading an image of a dog playing fetch, for instance, rename the image something along the lines of “dog-playing-fetch.gif.” Search engines will notice keywords like “dog” and “fetch,” at which point they’ll have an easier time ranking both the image and the respective web page on which it is posted. Just ask yourself: which of these names is a better fit: “image25832.gif” or “dog-playing-fetch.gif?” If you chose the latter, you are correct.
2. Add the Alt Text
While there’s no rule – written or otherwise – stating that you must include alt text with your images, doing so will almost certainly prove beneficial from a usability and SEO perspective. Alt text is displayed as a placeholder in the event that an image fails to load. More so, some web browsers display alt text when the user hovers over an image. You can add alt text to your images by including the “alt=”insert text here” tag to the end of the image source code.
3. Add a Description
Another essential step in image optimization is to add a description. These are text-based captions that search engines use to determine what an image is about. You have to remember that search engines are unable to identify the content of images (not yet, at least). Therefore, they rely on elements like the alt text and description to determine this information. When uploading images to your website, take a moment to write a relevant description.
4. Compress them
Last but not least, run your images through a “lossless” optimization tool. The term “lossless” refers to a method of optimization in which the file size shrinks without sacrificing quality. TinyPNG is an excellent (and free) lossless optimization tool. Upon visiting the aforementioned link, drag and drop your image files to the top of the page and let it work its magic. TinyPNG will strip away unnecessary bits of data, shrinking the file size so your images load faster and more efficiently.
That’s it! How to Optimize Every Piece of Content before you publish it.
If I’ve missed anything, please let me know in the comments, but if you follow these steps your content will rank better than ever.