The Importance of Content Optimization
Content optimization is the process of making your website’s pages more attractive to search engines and users. The process seeks to transform keyword research into text that can influence your site’s ability to rank well in organic search results.
Writing Optimized Content
Usually, it’s more effective to SEO optimize text content that already exists versus trying to write something for SEO from scratch. One principal guide for the best way to write for search engines is to write for real people. Search engines are strategically aligned with the goal of providing the best content in their search results pages, so they’re continuously being refined to evaluate content in a way that supports this. This means they reward content well written and organized while weeding out content that is not natural like content that is stuffed with extra keywords (keyword spamming).
Keyword research should unquestionably guide decisions on which topics are chosen for website content creation; however, writers should have some liberty to express their opinion and thoughts about the topic within the context of the overall theme being written. Keyword phrases are often best if they’re 2 to 3, or even 4 words long. A single keyword tends to be very competitive (You will never rank for a single keyword like “Cars”). In order to optimize a page for a specific phrase, the page really needs to be about that keyword topic. Just writing about the keyword phrase in a page of content about something that is slightly associated to the keyword phrase target may not result in strong SEO performance. Just remember to use these keyword phrases several times throughout the article, but do it in a natural writing style.
Effective web content optimization focuses on using very specific keywords in very specific places to send the strongest possible signals for that keyword target. Keyword prominence, the importance of placing keywords in the most prominent places, is the most important aspect of content optimization. Use the exact keyword phrase assigned to a page in the areas to which search engines like Google and Bing assign the most prominence to boost stronger rankings.
- Page name. The page name in the content management system influences some very valuable SEO elements like the default title tags for the site, the headline, and the navigational text. If you’re able to able to specify the page name, and if it makes sense for user experience and branding for each individual page, use the exact keyword in the page name.
- Meta Title tag. The title tag is the single most important content element on a page for SEO and is the name you give your web page, which is seen at the top your browser window or browser tab. The title tag is coded within the head section of the web page. Page titles should contain keywords related to that particular web page content. Words at the beginning of your page title are more highly weighted than words at the end. Title tags are not displayed on the page itself, but are included in the head of the HTML code for a page. In addition, the very beginning of the title tag is more prominent than the end, so place the exact keyword you’re targetingon the page at the beginning of the title tag.
- Meta description. A short description of fewer than 160 characters about the contents of a web page and why someone would want to view your website page. This is often displayed within the search engine results pages below the page title as a sample of the content on the page. Meta descriptions can also be found in the head of the HTML for each page and do not display as regular content on the page. Unlike title tags, meta descriptions do not influence rankings for organic search.
- Meta keywords. Not relevant for SEO any longer so can be left blank. Years ago, keywords were highly spammed on websites but over time and many algorithm changes by search engines went the way of dinosaurs…extinct.
- Headline. The headline should also be the H1 heading for the page which is a good element to be optimized for SEO. Use the exact keyword in the headline, as close to the beginning as possible while still preserving its readability. H2 and H3 headings should be also used if relevant to the body copy and segregating different heading areas within the web page.
- Body copy. Use natural language to fit in the exact keyword to the body copy at least once but up to 3 times and as close to the beginning as possible
Lastly, keyword density, was a major focus back in the day. Keyword density was the idea that a certain percentage of the copy should be devoted to exact match keywords but has also become an outdated concept. There is no exact formula for the number of times to use an keyword phrase. Keyword prominence is the focus for current web content optimization. When trying to asses if the keyword phrase has been used enough in the body copy, follow these three priorities:
1. The first SEO priority is to use the exact keyword phrase 1 – 3 times in the body copy……
2. but make sure SEO importance is placed on natural readability.
3. Use keyword phrase in a headline with emphasis toward H1 in the beginning of body copy (H2 or H3 include long tail keyword description) while preserving readability.
Of importance is to remember to not force keyword repetition especially if it does not make sense within the topic of the page.
Interlinking: if possible, work a few links into the body copy to link to other related articles within the site to assist with click through rates (CTR) and stickiness for visitors. Use links between pages when the link page can provide value to the reader. Links in body copy are seen by search engines to be natural so as to be more valuable than site navigation links but don’t overdo text links in the body copy. Just including a bunch of hyperlinks will look like an attempt to over-optimize your site for SEO rather than promoting other web pages for the users to visit. Lastly, remember to use anchor text (the exact keyword phrase given to the page being linked to).
Writing successfully for search engines is not much different than writing effectively for any other medium. Many guidelines remain the same, however, the one all-encompassing guideline is that the best way to write for search engines is to write for real people in a natural structured way. Search engines are purposefully aligned with the aim of providing the best content for human searchers in their search query results pages, so they’re constantly being enhanced with more sophisticated algorithms updates to evaluate content in order to show the most relevant results from a user query.
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