Optimizing Content - Beyond the Basic Keyword
Updated: Dec 7, 2018
A breakdown of content optimization planning to help you organize before writing.
What does optimizing your content mean? And how do you do it? Well, it means two things: Making your content easier for people to read, and making it so it is easier to find on search engines like Google. By doing this, people are more likely to find your content, read what you have to say and drive them towards your goals.
So, how do you do that? You need focus keywords, readability, device targeting, page length, and a few other important pieces in place before you begin your content writing process.
The importance of finding the right keywords
We have talked about keywords before in this article by Marq. But I will give a quick overview here as well.
One of the most important parts of content optimization is how you actually get the right people to read your writing. To do that, you need to tell Google what your article is about. You target “keywords” for the content you are writing that summarize the broad concept or idea of your content. When someone searches for these keywords, if you have optimized correctly, it will include your page in search results.
Generally, shorter keywords (or head keywords) have a lot more search volume. But at the same time, many more websites competing to target them. Also, it can be hard to attract your specific audience when using small, vague, keywords. For example, “China” could attract people who are looking into travel, economics, or are looking for nice plates.
It is better to pick longer keywords that are more specific to your audience. Not as many people will search for “Chinese stock prices” as they will “China.” If you target the more specific keyword, you are more likely to draw in readers that are interested in what you have to say. You will also have less competition for top of the page real estate on search engines like Google.
Finally, it is best to pick only a few specific keywords. If you pick too many, Google will flag your page is either unspecific (and therefore useless) or trying to game the system (keyword stuffing). And thus it will reduce your page ranking.
Make your writing easy to read
After driving traffic to your website, the second most important thing when optimizing content is getting the reader to care about what you have to say. An important part of that is making your writing easily understandable. If it is easy to read, your visitors are less likely to leave the page, and more likely to follow up on actionable content.
For readability, you want your copy to be free of any grammatical errors.
You should also make sure it is formatted well. For this, it is better use shorter sentences. Longer sentences are harder to read and understand. You should also break up long paragraphs for the same reason. Large blocks of text are daunting and can turn readers off. You can also use bullet points to break up lists and make them more digestible.
Finally, make sure your point is clear and easy to understand. Do not use excessively complicated words or lots of jargon if you can avoid it.
Is there a right length for content?
Correct article length is important to both keep the reader’s interest and rank highly on Google. If you make your page too short, it is no longer informative to the reader. But, no one wants to read a novel, either. They might just click away if they feel it is too long.
Google tends to prefer long form webpages, generally ranking those with more text more highly than those with less (although not to the degree they once did). But that is not always what is best for every website. Visitors will often leave before finishing longer articles. Especially on mobile, where reading long chunks of text is cumbersome, and users have little patience for even medium sized articles.
In general, the ideal post length for desktop users is around 1,000 words. Mobile readers, on the other hand, prefer their articles to be around a pithy 500 words long. Of course, this can vary depending on the tastes and needs of individual audiences and readers.
Knowing this, it is good to keep your audience in mind when writing articles or blog posts. Will they most likely be accessing your site from mobile or from desktop? Do they prefer longer articles, or those that are more short-form? Knowing this will help you develop content that is more likely to attract readers.
Device targeting is important once you know your audience demographics
This leads well into our next topic: optimizing your website for specific devices. We already talked about this in our article on email marketing, but it is just as relevant when designing websites as it is when designing emails.
Fun fact: most website editors optimize their websites to display on desktops. But, about half of all web traffic in the world comes from mobile devices. A number that will only grow as younger audiences increasingly use phones as their primary browsing devices.
So, if you only optimize your web pages to display properly on desktop, you risk alienating a huge portion of your potential visitors.
Thankfully, most modern website design software has tools built in to create websites for both mobile and desktop. It is easy to create a webpage that will display correctly, regardless of what type of device is used to view it.
Final points on content optimization
Avoid plagiarism Google keeps records of basically every website it lists (almost every website ever written). So, it knows when you steal content. If two web pages have incredibly similar content, Google does not like this. It makes their search results less useful and frustrates their users. So, if they find a website with a lot of stolen content (or webpages that are incredibly similar to other websites), they might reduce it’s search rankings or even delist it entirely. So, stealing content is not only bad for your soul, but it is also bad for your website.
Have a good hook Like any book or news article, you need to hook your reader immediately. Preferably in the first two paragraphs. You have to say something that catches their attention and makes them want to read the rest of your content.
Use a well-written and targeted meta description Like with your keywords, you can have a meta description set in your page’s HTML code. This tells Google what you want your web page’s summary to be when it displays in a search. This should describe what is in your webpage to show potential readers why they should click. If it is too vague, they will not know what your website is about. So, you will want to include a decent amount of detail. Google allows about 300 characters for the description. Anything more than that will be cut off when viewed in search.
So, now you have a good grasp on how to optimize your content. Follow these guidelines, and you can make your content more appealing to your consumer. For drawing them into your site, keeping them on the site and moving them along the sales funnel. Good luck, and happy writing.
Author: Colin Malone
Colin is a high-level endgame boss. He specializes in Fire and Lighting attacks, has over 45,000 HP and high elemental resistances. You'll need to have a well specked out part to bear him. His weakness is Ice, so be sure to be bring the Legendary Iceblade you got in the last dungeon. He aspires to become nothing less than the Hunter S. Thompson of marketing blogs.