Website content optimization is the process of modifying written content to focus the topic on specific keyword phrases so that it ranks well for those phrases. In past years this was usually accomplished by simply adding keywords throughout the content. Nowadays, it requires more finesse and attention to aspects such as content uniqueness, page title structure, supporting keyword phrases and synonyms, specific formatting tags and linking patterns.
A look at content optimization
Content optimization can be divided into five categories:
1. Written content
5. Duplicate content
1. Written content
The written content of a page should first and foremost be as well-written and unique as possible. From a marketing standpoint, well-written content will convey quality and will provide a better experience which will result in improved conversion ratios. From an SEO standpoint, well-written content will be recognized and rewarded by search engines, resulting in more indexed pages and subsequently more traffic.
Page titles of your content should contain a target keyword, should be descriptive of your content and should be as eye catching as possible. Try to use your keywords as early in the title as possible to increase relevancy while maintaining readability.
For example, if your target is “weight loss” a title such as “Weight Loss Expert Shares Her Secrets” will be more productive than a title like “Expert Dietician Reveals Her Secrets to Weight Loss”. When a search engine interprets each title it will find the phrase “weight loss” more relevant in the first title than it will in the second. You may be tempted to work as many keywords into your title as possible, but it’s more important to have a readable title that contains your keyword naturally where it makes sense. Search engines have become very sophisticated in their ability to recognize grammar and context.
Titles should also be as eye catching as possible, since they will be used as your link on search results pages. When someone searches for your keyword phrase and finds your site listed along with nine others you’re going to want your link to grab as much attention as possible.
The ultimate goal of any search engine campaign is to get as much traffic as possible, so plan ahead to make sure that once you earn a good rank you can compete for clicks with the other nine sites you’ll be displayed with.
Once you have quality written content prepared you will need to optimize it to target your chosen keywords. If your target keyword for the particular page (or blog post, or category) is “wedding photography” than you will want to include it along with all of its related keywords as often as is naturally possible. By this I mean you should not stuff wedding photography into your content twenty times or you might be penalized for keyword stuffing.
Rather, you should work all related words including “photographer” and “wedding planning” as well as “wedding photographer” into your content wherever if fits naturally. If you can fit these words in a dozen times while still maintaining easy readability then great, but if you can only work it in several times before it starts sounding repetitive than it’s better to stick with the count that fits naturally.
Keyword density is an old metric that has become obsolete. It was used back when search engines had limited resources and had to rely on what you said about your site more than what other sites did. Search engines have since become far more sophisticated and consider hundreds of factors when determining the topic and popularity of your pages. Because of this, using arbitrary percentages to gauge your keyword optimization is discouraged.
Formatting your content is great for readability but it does not carry as much significance for SEO as it once did. Header tags (H1, H2, H3) used to be nearly as important as title tags. However like many formatting tags, they were heavily abused and pass along less value because of it.
Other formatting tags such as bolding, italicizing and underlining are also far less useful than they used to be but can help with readability and therefore can be used to optimize your content.
H1 (Heading 1)
When using H1 tags, it’s best to only use one per page and it’s best to use your target keyword as close to the first word in the H1 as possible. Also, try to keep your H1’s to only a few words. This will help with readability and will help keep your keywords prominent.
Internal linking within your site is an important part of content optimization. The system you use can play a role in how many of your pages get indexed and can also help to indicate to the search engines which pages you consider to be the most important.
Internal linking is very common in most websites, many articles have a number of links within the content pointing to related articles on the very same site. Providing these links within content not only helps make the articles more useful to people but they help provide context, relevancy and importance of the linked pages to search engines.
5. Duplicate content
Content duplication is a problem that every SEO has to deal with. If you run a site built on a CMS like WordPress you might experience content duplication in the form of archive, category and tag pages. If you run a custom-built site you might experience content duplication in the form of dynamic pages, search results or filtered results.
When search engines find duplicate copies of your content on your site they’re forced to decide which copies to index and to rank. Leaving this decision up to bots is not in your interest since they might decide, based on some arbitrary factors, to rank a copy of one of your pages that you didn’t optimize properly.
You might know that page1.htm is the page you want ranked in Google, and therefore is the page you spend the most time on, only to find out that Googlebot picked up on page2.htm instead. Correcting duplicate content issues is the process of telling Google which pages you want indexed and which you don’t.
Content optimization will be discussed in further detail later in this SEO course. But simply optimizing all of your web pages using the guidelines presented here will significantly improve your website rankings.