What is Content Optimization, Why It Matters, and How To Do It Well
I have been pretty vocal lately, both on LinkedIn and with my team on the importance of content optimization on every piece of new content that we produce, but particularly with long-form content like blogs, long form landing pages, eBooks, etc as part of our content marketing strategy.
According to an Ahrefs report, 60% of marketers say that inbound content is their highest quality source of leads. It also stated that nearly 93% of global web traffic comes from Google Search, Google Images, and Google Maps. So if your content isn’t optimized for organic search algorithms and ranking, you can’t expect it to be your highest quality source of leads.
So today, I’m going to share how to optimize content creation and examples of how to do it well and poorly. But first, let me clarify what I mean by content optimization and why it’s important.
What is content optimization to a digital marketing agency?
As a content marketing agency, content optimization means improving a piece of content, such as a web page or blog post, in order to make it more appealing and engaging to both the search engines judging your content and the human readers it’s meant for.
This can include activities like keyword research, improving the structure and formatting of the content, ensuring the tone and phrasing matches how the target audience speak, adding authoritative external links and statistics to add credibility to your positions, and ensuring that the content is relevant and valuable to the target audience.
The goal of this is to increase the visibility and engagement of the content, ultimately driving more traffic and conversions for your marketing efforts.
What are the benefits of content optimization?
You mean you need more of a reason than the fact that it will help the people you want to sell to find your stuff? Fine, here’s four more bennies to keep in mind:
- It helps to improve search engine rankings: By optimizing content for relevant keywords, B2B digital marketers can improve their website’s search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find their content in a Google search AND exposing your business to the largest potential market of potential customers.
- It helps to attract and engage the right audience: Yes; we discussed it helps attract potential customers to you, but if your target company is an enterprise SaaS company, you’re going to have to be laser targeted in order to attract the right audience. By optimizing content for specific topics and audiences, B2B digital marketers can attract the right audience to their website, increasing the likelihood of engagement and conversions.
- It helps to establish thought leadership: By creating high-quality, informative content that is optimized for search engines, B2B digital marketers can establish themselves as thought leaders in their industry, building trust and credibility with their target audience.
- It helps to improve ROI: By optimizing content for search engines and the target audience, B2B digital marketers can improve the performance of their content, ultimately driving more traffic, leads, and revenue for the business.
Now that we know what content optimization is and why it matters in search engine optimization (SEO), let’s get into how to optimize your content and then I’ll share examples of well optimized content and poorly optimized content.
How to Optimize Marketing Content For SEO and Conversions
As I’ve now explained, content optimization is a critical part of any successful digital marketing strategy. By optimizing your website’s content, you can improve your SERP (search engine results pages) rankings, attract and engage the right audience, establish thought leadership, and drive more traffic and revenue for your business.
However, optimizing your content can be a complex and time-consuming process. To help you get the most out of your content, here are some best practices to follow:
- Incorporate keyword search terms: Use keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console to identify relevant and high-traffic short and long-tail keywords that the target audience search intent, and track the search performance of your content after you’ve created it.
- WARNING: Avoid keyword stuffing (i.e. shoving keywords anywhere) and be sure to use them thoughtfully. Otherwise, it can hurt your organic traffic ranking.
- BONUS: Run a customer journey exercise to help map content topics to funnel stages.
- Incorporate authoritative statistics and real-life case studies to add value: Great content is valuable, informative, and relevant to your target audience. This means it’s not only well-written, structured, and contains visuals but it also includes real-world statistics and case studies or customer success stories that validate the positions you take in the piece.
- Optimize your content for search engines: Use your target keywords strategically in your content, meta description, alt tags/alt text, title tags and image tags. Ensure that your content is also optimized for readability and well-structured, with headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
- BONUS: Use content optimization tools like Clearscope that can help you quickly improve content by incorporating search query keywords that match high search volume competitive posts on the same topic.
- Use internal links and backlinks: Another way to improve authority and credibility is to add backlinks to third-party relevant, high-authority, non-competitive pages or posts within your content. You can also improve the SEO strategy of your website by frequently link building on your website to help search engines better understand the structure of your website and improve user experience. Dive deeper on this topic in our Ultimate Guide to Backlinking.
- Optimize for mobile devices: Ensure that your website and content are optimized for mobile devices and accessibility needs, including responsive design, fast page load times, and easy-to-use navigation.
- Always include a call-to-action (CTA): Good content always includes a next step for the reader. For marketers, this is critical, as neglecting the CTA or using the wrong content or CTA for the funnel stage can have a serious impact on your marketing funnel.
- Measure and analyze performance: Use analytics tools to track the performance metrics of your content, including traffic, engagement, and conversions. Use this data to make informed decisions about future content optimization efforts.
Here’s the optimization checklist the Interrupt Media team uses.
Now let’s look at a piece of poorly optimized content and a piece of well optimized content. We’ll discuss what makes them good or bad and review performance metrics to understand the true impact to the bottom line.
Poor Example: Campaign Monitor’s Content Optimization Glossary Page
The first page we’re going to look at is Campaign Monitor’s Content Optimization Glossary Page.
This page is set up as a glossary or definition-style page to define what content optimization is. That said, it’s pretty immediately obvious that they don’t have nearly enough content on the page. Could they limit the definition to the most basic sense of the word? Yes. Or, they could also add examples of content optimization, use cases, case studies, tips on how to improve, etc.
That, along with some basic keyword and header optimization, would really help add value to this page. Now let’s inspect how this page is performing to really help us understand the impact of poorly optimized content.
What could be improved and why should it matter to Campaign Monitor?
This post currently has 204 words, according to Clearscope, whereas other competitive content on this topic has over 2000 words on average. We need more content to make this piece more competitive. You may be surprised to know that even with just a paragraph of content, this page currently ranks 1st in Google SERPs (yes, you read that correctly) for the query “content optimization.”
Then why does content optimization matter? They already have the top-ranking post!
Search ranking isn’t everything and when you start getting into the long-tail keywords, that Campaign Monitor page quickly starts to sink. For example, when you change the query to “why content optimization is important for marketers” this same page plummets to the number 10 spot.
Campaign Monitor has a high domain authority (73), but with content this limited, performance will degrade overtime. In terms of optimization, Clearscope ranks this page as an “F”. There’s just not enough content! This could serve as a pillar page for other pieces of content on similar subjects, but it still needs keyword optimization at a minimum.
In terms of revenue goals, even with the top ranking piece of content, the CTAs are #1 to download an eBook on email marketing or #2 to reach out to Campaign Monitor for a sales call. My opinion is that those CTAs don’t connect well with the search intent of someone searching for content optimization and marketing services.
I understand they are an email marketing software, but still I feel like someone looking for content optimization might instead enjoy an eBook on the top email subject lines to drive open rates and click-through rates.
I would also recommend saving a sales pitch CTA for a middle of funnel and bottom of funnel asset or email campaign as the person who lands on this page is likely going to need to consume at least 2-3 more pieces of content before they’re ready to convert.
I should mention Campaign Monitor isn’t a client of ours and I’ve had no contact with them, so it’s possible that “content optimization” is not a top priority target for them in their current GTM strategy. This exercise was simply done to analyze the impact of content optimization versus not optimizing content.
Good Example: Taboola’s Content Optimization Blog Post
This time we’re going to look at What Is Content Optimization (And How to Do It) by Taboola which is a web advertising company.
Wow! That is A LOT of content. Very detailed coverage of the topic, great optimization, and the technical screen shot documentation really sets this post apart as a highly valuable piece of content. The infuriating thing is that this business has almost the same domain authority as Campaign Monitor and yet this page ranks #10 for the query “content optimization.” What?!
The interesting thing is though, that when you search for “why content optimization is important for marketers” they move up to the #6 slot. Interesting.
Putting myself in their shoes, I’m thinking the long-tail keyword matters much more to me anyway. There’s is a marketing publication so I imagine it’s extremely important for them to have strong, high-value content around key marketing activity topics.
What is good about this post and why should it matter to Taboola?
If I’m being honest, it’s possible they’re ranking a bit lower because word count is a bit too high at almost 4000 according to Clearscope. Because otherwise, this is a pretty high-value piece of content. Clearscope gives them an A- for content optimization.
I will add the Table of Contents is a must-have for super long posts like this and breaking up sections with SEO optimized headers is also critical which they’ve done a great job of here.
In terms of trying to move folks down the funnel to a sale, CTA they have multiple options including a BOF request to get started, a TOF/MOF request to sign up for their impressive marketing publication. At the bottom, they also have the next suggested pieces of content to read.
It’s possible the readability of the page still needs work. On top of being very long, some of the images and links are stacked, leaving little white space, but all-in-all, this piece is very competitive for the subject matter.
This is where I remind you that Taboola isn’t a client of ours and I’ve had no contact with them. This exercise was simply done to analyze the impact of content optimization versus not optimizing content.
Interrupt Media Can Help You Ensure Content Furthers Your Marketing Goals
At Interrupt Media, we’re not interested in writing blogs for the sake of writing blogs. We want to get to the heart of what your target personas want, what their pains are, where they’re searching for help, and serve them the content they need to begin trusting your brand as an authority on the subject, and moving them closer to the sale.
If you’re not sure what your target personas are or what their buyer journey looks like, we can help.
Then, we’ll audit any existing content you have that can help facilitate the marketing funnel and the buyer journey stages and identify any content gaps. Then, we’ll help you strategize and build out highly-optimized, highly-valuable content that persuades and promote your offerings when and where your target customers are looking for them.
Read to talk about your content marketing goals? Speak with a strategist today.
Topics: Content Marketing