Tackling the optimization of web content can be overwhelming. These simple suggestions can help you break up the monotony and prevent you from biting off more than you can chew.
1. Devise a content plan.
A 12-month content plan is recommended, but even increments of 3 or 6 months is better than not doing it at all. Why 12 months? Simply put, you can plan around things like holidays, events or other happenings within your organization.
Spontaneity is great for creativity, but it’s unrealistic to think it’s a long-term/viable content strategy. While developing a content plan does take a time commitment, it ultimately saves time and increases your productivity over the long term.
What should a content plan include?
There's no one size fits all rule when developing a content plan, however, the ideas below can help you get a strong start.
- Ideas for search engine-friendly post titles
- Any suggested links relating to your topic(s)
- Blog category and tags
- Meta keywords and Meta descriptions
- Rough draft(s) of your social media post(s)
2. Write to provide value to your visitors.
Current search engine algorithms look at website metrics that run far deeper than keywords or links. Instead they’re reviewing your bounce rate, time spent on your web pages, engagement, etc…
If your content lacks purpose or value, visitors won’t stick around. While there may be some trial and error in finding the ‘voice’ of your brand, usefulness and value should always be present.
4 questions to ask yourself when trying to determine whether your content is valuable:
- Am I answering the questions my visitors may have?
- Am I entertaining my visitors?
- Is my content educational to users?
- Is my content meeting a need visitors to my website may have?
The benefit you’ll provide to your audience is why you publish content. To up the value, be sure to include visual or video content in addition to text. Numerous studies have shown that users prefer visuals to plain text.
3. Optimize Title Tags & Meta Descriptions.
Here’s the SEO part! Nope. Sorry. Here’s the part where I advise you to take the word ‘SEO’ and ban it from your vocabulary. SEO is dead, which means you need to optimize for marketing.
Is it semantics? Yes and no. While you could make the argument, the truth is that the two really go hand in hand. A title tag is what you name your content and you need to do it well in order to draw in visitors. Search engines use that same information to describe what your content is about and how it’s named/described is often the difference between whether you receive clicks or not.
With that in mind, you can see how optimization for marketing should be your goal. While the use of keywords in your titles and descriptions is important, there should only be enough to explain what your content is about… And let’s be real: this often comes fairly naturally if you know your audience and subject.
4. Do a technical audit.
Technical audits will help you find errors in your website you may be completely unaware you have. Here are just a few things to keep in mind in order to stay in (or get in) shape.
Taking large chunks of content and duplicating them across multiple pages is a big no-no. In order to provide users with the best content possible, search engines place an emphasis on diversity.
While e-commerce sites may find these errors more often than other websites due to the nature of their products and/or site structure, you’ll want to be careful in making sure that you do not duplicate text without reason. The risk of it having a negative effect on your web pages or website is too great not to heed the warning.
Take advantage of Google’s Rel=author/publisher
When Google made another algorithm change several months ago, many website owners became frustrated as they found Google Authorship had become far more competitive. The goods news is that it means higher quality content as a whole.
While being a top tier author takes work and you definitely don’t want to post terribly written content, using Rel=author/publisher allows verified association between your Google+ profile and content you post elsewhere on the internet. Rel=author is for bloggers/blog posts and links to the author, while rel=publisher is for brands to create a connection between their Google+ page and their website.
Search engines look at image tags, so naming a your photo something like, ‘photo-1’ is a poor choice. Keep your image tags/names relevant and they can help you increase traffic.
5. Get social.
A social media is non-negotiable, especially if content optimization is your goal. While it’s fruitless to measure ROI by follower numbers, everything has the potential of being shared. Posting links is not enough. Monitor social networks, find groups that are talking about your industry, reach out to people who may be interested.
Contrary to the way many businesses may think, in order to get social media users to invest in your product/service, you need to build relationships based on the rules of the specific network you’re using.
Which social networks should you use?
Regardless of your industry, make sure your business is on Google+. No exceptions.
For the rest, it's important to take a look at your product/service and determine what medium will be the most beneficial. You can find social media statistics that will tell you about demographics, the number of users, etc... but it's important to be realistic. How many social networks can you maintain on a regular basis. Posting sporadically may often be worse than not doing it at all, so don't fool yourself, no matter how tempting it may seem.
A general rule of thumb:
90% of your content should provide your user with value —only 10% should be any type of self-promotion. If you want people to be interested in you, you need to be interested in them for the right reasons… not for the sale.
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