If you are new to the game we call Search Engine Optimization, you may find it daunting to create and then optimize a piece of content in a way that appeals to both your visitors and search engines at first sight, so to speak. But worry not, that is exactly what we are here for, for we understand the hurdles newbies face when creating and optimizing content. In this guide, we focus on how to go about it. Here are the 10 Steps to Optimizing Content to make it more SEO-friendly.
The Content Itself
Gone are those days when you virtually conjure up anything from 300-500 words and Google would reward you for the littlest of efforts. If you want to rank higher up the pecking order in these days, you need to come up with a stronger, well-researched, customer-centric, and maybe a lengthier content creation strategy.
Targeting the Right Keywords
You cannot put your best content forward until you focus on what keywords you need to target. And that makes this step an extension of the first. Keyword selection and content creation thereof need to be followed in tandem. Use keyword research tools to ensure who your audience and what they are looking for.
More often than not, the URL slug will be auto-created while publishing. And you need to ensure to check it out before hitting the publish button. The URL slug needs to be, ideally, just 3-5 words and needs to contain your target keyword in there. Any longer and Google might snub you out of the top results.
Optimized Title Tag, Meta Description, and Header Tags
It is shocking just how many of them overlook this all-important aspect of creating highly rank-worthy content. Your target keyword needs to be, ideally, in the beginning of your title tag as well as meta description. And if already don’t, update your title tag with H1 formatting and your subheads with H2 formatting to give your content a chance at gaining higher ranks.
Target Keyword in the First Paragraph
Force feeding your target keyword at various places throughout the content may have worked in your favour in the past but now it will only impact you negatively. Rather, have it appear in the most organic way possible throughout, including the first paragraph of your content. Keyword stuffing is worst thing you can do to your content.
Use of Multimedia
It goes without saying that visually appealing images and videos go a long way in capturing readers’ attention and holding it for a longer period of time, thereby reducing your page’s bounce rate. But ensure to use the target keyword in captions, file names, as well as utilizing ALT Texts to your benefit. They sure go a long way in creating a wholesome content piece search engines can’t look away from.
Optimized Page-load Time
This is another factor that not given as much due as it deserves. There are multiple researches that suggest that if page-load time is longer than even fraction of a second, visitors go looking elsewhere where they won’t be made to wait in order to solve their queries. You need to ensure the page-load time is as short as possible on all devices.
Google is well on its way to implementing a 100% mobile-first indexing. And that means pages that aren’t optimized for handheld devices are about to lose a large chunk of traffic and experience a huge drop in rankings. You certainly don’t want that, as the researches also suggest that a major portion of web searches comes from mobiles. Get working straightaway.
Use of Social Share Buttons
Agreed, it is not a direct ranking factor. But it does help readers share content they think is worth sharing and that says a lot about you as a company as well as the content you are creating. And that is exactly why you need to put up social media share button alongside every piece of content and ensure they are optimized so that you content appears in the right format on every platform.
Internal and Outbound Links
The visitors on a page of your website must be able to navigate easily across multiple pages of your website. That is what internal links are for, directing a visitor from one page to another that is in some way related to their query. You must also not hold back on linking from one page of your website to another website altogether if you think it will help the visitor sort out their query in a more efficient manner. It also is an indispensable ranking signal you can truly benefit from when done right.
You need to be impartial to the content you yourself create and think of it from the point of view of your visitor. Is it all well-researched and informative? Is it easy to read? Is it properly formatted? Does it help solve queries or is simply there as a mere placeholder? Is it worthy of being ranked higher? You will have your answer.