How to Optimize Content
Believe it or not, content optimization is at the heart of search engine optimization (SEO). However, many times efforts and money are spent on a single area of SEO, such as content promotion or link building, or keyword analysis and implementation, even pay-per-click advertisements, in order to drive traffic to websites (and they do) but an SEO expert should not be content with simple traffic numbers. Instead, they should be working to provide optimized content. Here are some ways on how to do that.
Content can be optimized from the viewpoint of the individual and of the search engine-indexing algorithm. Although these two have greatly converged since the Internet’s inception—pages are no longer ranked according to the incidence of the desired keywords in them—it is foolish to undertake no specific search engine content optimization. These techniques will be more familiar as they are in fact SEO white hat methods, but namely, providing accurate meta tags and page descriptions, ensuring the right pages are crawled (excluding the unnecessary, internal-purpose ones), and regularly checking whether every site page is functioning. Additionally, some types of content cannot be indexed, such as images, videos, and dynamic flash animations, so having something to describe their functionality will greatly improve search engine visibility.
Content that is optimized in terms of appearance, functionality and substance will attract organic traffic even outside of search results, thus reducing the site’s dependence on SERP traffic. Appearance is heavily dependent on the website design and its industry. For example, color plays an important role by creating a subconscious attitude towards the company in question1. Additionally, the content and website appearance must be aligned with their purpose, whether it’s to educate, entertain, fulfill a function, or present company products. For instance, a university website should have an evenly spaced font for better reading as well as relevant section headings to facilitate skimming. Finally, the appearance should be a natural extension of the content substance and not try to take the spotlight from it.
As far as functionality goes, consider the usefulness of your pages. Can the content add value to your users by explaining a complicated process or will it enable them to make decisions? Furthermore, it’s important to evaluate if the functionality that your website provides is relevant to your target audience. For example, your national hotel chain website may have a fantastic interactive hiking map, which unfortunately will attract hiking enthusiasts and not possible hotel guests.
It should be obvious, but amending outdated and broken links can greatly reduce the percentage of people that leave your website. Alternatively, think about designing an entertaining, if not interactive, 404-error page2. Following that same logic, all services provided by the website should be flawlessly executed and with minimal rates of failures.
When it comes to user-related optimization with content substance, remember that at the end of the day that is what the user comes to see. Only an atrocious web design, appalling color choice and flaky functionality can compensate for truly original, fact-based content. The substance of your content should be driven by the theme of the website and its related niches. Truly expert articles talk in depth about their niche, but the technical slang might not fit a beginner reader. As well as being relevant, you should strive for being as factual as possible, as made-up numbers aren’t of much use. Additionally, substance is influenced by timing your releases appropriately. For example, news articles about Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney will be outdated and useless after the election. Similarly, what is considered factual at an amateur and enthusiast level could be easily disputable at a professional level, which will threaten the integrity and substance of your website.