Optimizing content seems like a tedious task that’s not worth taking the time to understand. We get the pain points of blog production and are more than happy to edit and optimize our client’s blogs on a month to month basis, but we all know knowledge is power. Taking the time to break down and understand the most important aspects of blog content optimization can make sure you are getting the most out of your content, and don’t need to wait on an agency to take care of these optimization tasks for you. We have broken down the most important aspects of content optimization so you can get a better grasp of the items found in the checklist found at the bottom of this article.
AUDIENCE AND KEYWORD TARGETING
Understanding the audience for whom will be reading your article is important to understand the tone and approach you have for content. Are you writing for local real estate investors? You could use some real estate jargon to connect. Are you writing for people with broken sprinkler systems? Make sure you relate to the issue(s) at hand and connect with the pain points your readers may be facing. Having a grasp of your audience lets you connect and put yourself in their shoes as to what information they would like to consume.
Once you understand your target audience, you can look for a target keyword. There are a few free search volume tools you can utilize to gather search volume for particular keywords. These include, but are not limited to, Google Trends, Answer the Public, and Google Search Console. There is a lot of data out there, so much of these data points are best guesses unless you are in the Google system itself. If you are looking for absolute data, stick to the Search Console side of the tools above.
You may lean toward going after the keywords with the highest search volume as they will bring the most traffic, but you should take some time to build out the keyword into high relevance for the topic. An example of this would be an SEO company located here in Denver. Maybe you have found the keyword “SEO” has 18,100 searches per month and start salivating at ALL THAT TRAFFIC you’re missing out on. When we unpack that keyword the picture becomes a little more clear. Someone searching “SEO”, even geolocated to Denver, may not be searching for any type of service at all. So while your blog may be about marketing your SEO services, many of these visitors are looking for some basic information on what SEO is. When we add Denver onto the front end, in the form of “Denver SEO” we are a little closer to understanding that user’s intent. They are looking for someone in Denver who can help them with optimizing their website. Let’s drill down one more time to the keyword we would target (potentially) for this blog: Denver SEO company. This is the ultimate intent based keyword. The searcher is exploring solutions for service providers to help rank their business on Google in the Denver area. So while this keyword may only be searched 70 times per month, the conversion rate is going to blow the keyword above (with 18,100 searches per month) out of the water.
This one seems counter intuitive as you are “writing to optimize”. The tactics behind content optimization have transitioned over time to a point where all the quirky little tricks people were able to use in the past are no longer relevant. Google’s algorithm has gotten much better at trying to mimic a user’s experience when interacting with a blog versus how a crawler sees the page. As this transition has taken place, there has been more and more weight placed on readability and overall user experience than ever before. While an SEO company in the early 2000s may have told you to use your target keyword 76 times in the copy and make sure there are white versions of the keyword hidden in the margins all over the pages, this will end up getting you laughed off the internet in today’s time. This is why we implore our clients to write content naturally so the flow happens without intention. If writers focus all their time on hitting optimization points, the reader is not going to engage with the article at all, and it will turn into a dusty old document on your website.
TECHNICAL ASPECTS OF BLOG OPTIMIZATION
Once you have worked through writing your article naturally, there are a few technical areas to help ranking and readability within the blog. There are a few ways to break up text on the page, and no user wants to scroll through 12 paragraphs of information without a break. Implementing subheadings and images on the blog will help keep the text from feeling canned and boring. Subheadings are also an area to include your target keyword or secondary keywords you established prior. Along with implementing an image, make sure you add what is called “alternative text” or “alt text” for short to the image(s) in the database with the target keyword included. Alt text is an alt attribute added to the html used to display images which tells Google what can be found in the image. Since Google is unable to read images, the more indications you can give it, the better favor your domain will be seen in with Google. Make sure you have a relevant and optimized meta title and meta description to fit your article. Once all of this is taken care of, be sure to link to both external sites and pages within your own site that supports and defends the points you are making in the article. If the SEO company mentioned above is writing about search engine optimization, they should certainly link to that specific service page as well as any other blogs that may support the idea.
Once you have worked through the above optimization tasks, you are ready to publish! There are a few minor items that were not specifically discussed in this article, so feel free to Download the Blog Optimization Checklist (Coming Soon) to keep for your records.
- Understand Your Audience
- Assign ONE target keyword
- Create a title or headline using the target keyword
- Consider any secondary keywords you would like to use
- Gather facts (stats, news, information)
- Use subheadings
- Add an image
- Add alt text to the image with the target keyword included
- Make sure your images are the right size (for page speed)
- Write a meta description using the target keyword
- Use the primary keyword in the first paragraph
- Use the primary keyword in the article where it is natural
- Use the secondary keywords where natural
- Add internal links to valuable and relevant pages on your website
- Add links to high quality and relevant third party websites
- Make sure the outbound links open a new tab/window
- End with a call to action
- Implement any social sharing functionality to the various platforms
- Perform a final edit and publish