Content optimization is the process of building or modifying web pages and posts so they’re most accessible to your audience and to search engines. With a content optimization system, your content is more likely to rank well in Google and generate more traffic. Some businesses use content optimization system programs or software to optimize their pages quickly. However, paying for a content optimization system is not economical for many businesses. This is a 5-step content optimization system you can do yourself. You can use this content optimization system when you write and publish content for the first time, or after traffic has dropped off a bit, and you want to revitalize it.
The 5-Step Content Optimization System You Can Do Yourself
1. Topic Research
The first step in your DIY content optimization system is to find the right topic. If you’re not writing about topics that your audience is interested in, you’re not using your time effectively. Or, if you’re improving content you’ve already written, consider which topics bring in traffic, or used to. If your content has never brought in much traffic, it might be a topic that your audience isn’t interested in. However, if your content used to perform well, but the traffic has recently fallen, optimization might be a good way to restore it.
There are several strategies for finding topics that will generate traffic. Remember, at this stage, you don’t need to know exactly what you’re writing about. You just need a general idea. You’ll refine this in the next step.
- Competitors: What have your competitors recently written about, or what do they often write about?
- Downloads: If you recently created a lead magnet or downloadable content, consider related topics. This will help you drive traffic towards your lead magnet.
- Current events: This probably won’t be evergreen content—content that continually drives clicks—but events that have recently shaken up your industry can help to drive immediate traffic.
- Related posts: Using a tool like Google Analytics, take a look at your top-performing content. Consider similar or adjacent topics you could write about.
- Groups: Take a look at the groups you’re involved in, and what members are talking about.
- Q&A Sites: Forums like Quora and StackExchange invite users to ask questions, and experts to answer them. See what users are asking in your industry.
2. Keyword Research
Keywords play an important role in how Google organizes content when users enter a search. For this step in your content optimization system, you want to find the keywords that users are most likely to use when they’re searching for your content. Using these keywords strategically in your content (we’ll cover these strategies later in the post) will help you get a better search position, and more clicks.
Keep in mind that content optimization using keywords is not as simple as filling your content with a particular word or phrase. Google and other search engines recognize the relationships between words and topics. This means that synonyms and related terms will also be important. These terms are sometimes called Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords.
At this stage, focus on a primary keyword or phrase that best represents your topic. It’s best to choose a long-tail keyword—a longer, more specific term. These terms generally have less competition and correlate with more buying intent. A number of tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Raven, BuzzSumo, SEMrush, and many more, can help you find the right keywords.
3. Research and Outline Your Content
Now that you have your topic and keyword, it will helpful to create an outline to guide your writing. Or, if you already have content that you’re optimizing, create an outline for reogrganizing or adding to your content. This starts with researching similar content.
Using the keywords that you chose, look at other, similar, top-performing posts showing up in a search. Make a list of key topics that these posts or pages cover. Also, notice key terms that the posts use repeatedly, or other media included on the page, such as infographics or videos. If you think the other authors have left out important information, include it in your outline.
Use this list and terms to create a topic outline. This will help to ensure that your content is as thorough or more thorough than the competing posts, which will make it more likely to rank well.
Using your outline, start writing your blog post or page. Remember that your outline will only tell you what subtopics to cover in your post—don’t copy phrases directly from competing posts. If infographics or videos were an important part of the post, try to create new ones yourself. Or, you might share media from other pages, if you get permission to do so.
If you’re applying this content optimization system to existing content, reorganize or expand your content according to your outline.
5. Text Optimization
In-text search engine optimization will make it more obvious to search engines what your content is about. At this step in the content optimization system, you’ll want to use your primary keyword/phrase, synonyms or similar terms. Go through your text and do the following:
- Use your keyword in the title.
- Divide your content into paragraphs, with organized headings over each.
- Use your keyword in a lower heading (H2, H3, or H4).
- Use your keyword at least three times in the body text.
- Use synonyms and related keywords in the body text.
- Add links to reliable outside sources.
- Where possible, link to other relevant content on your own site.
- Add pictures, videos, and infographics. Include your keyword in the alt-text.
- Create a meta description summarizing the content. Use your keyword in this description.
- Use strategies to build links to your content from reliable websites.
Finally, publish your post at a time that readers are most likely to be active. Spread the word on social media, in your newsletter, and other avenues. If you’re updating a post, be sure to update the publish date.
This do-it-yourself content optimization system can be time-consuming. However, a thorough approach will keep you from publishing content that generates little traffic and brings in little value. Applying this process to your existing posts will help you to bring in more traffic without spending time authoring new content. If you don’t have the time or resources to apply this process yourself, work with experts who can help.