Right Ways to Optimize Content for more Organic Traffic
Content marketing is sometimes seen as an opposing force to SEO. Making the content all about the customer rather than the search engine is a good idea. The early 2000s was full of content written just for search engines to optimize placement. Then Google smacked those sites down hard and the current customer-oriented content marketing boom began.
But that doesn’t mean that we need to ignore the search engines. There are ways to optimize your content for SEO while still delivering content that people enjoy reading. Here are a few tips that you can use to optimize your content for SEO.
Search Engines And People Love Headings
Headings in a document divide up sections of content. They give the human eye a break and helps people scan a document to find the sections most relevant to them. Search engines also use heading information to get an idea of what a page is about.
Naturally, your headings should contain keywords that you want to rank for. However, we are not suggesting that you keyword stuff your headings. Instead, use terms related to your keyword and split up long tail keywords into their important parts.
If “plumber in Los Angeles” is your keyword, you don’t need that exact keyword. As long as you mention “plumber” and “Los Angeles” each for one time in your headers, that’s enough. Ideally, the content below that header will also relate to that portion of the keyword to boost the link between the content and the keyword.
Featured Snippets Rock
If you already have some of your pages on the first page of Google but they’re not quite making it to the top, trying to get listed in Google’s Featured Snippets section is a way to leap up. Featured Snippets is a new feature that Google is rolling out. If you’ve done a search and found a list of related questions under the ads on your search results, those are Featured Snippets.
When you click on one of those questions you get a small portion of a website that Google thinks will answer your question. These entries are usually taken from anywhere in the top 10 pages in a Google search, so having first page placement is key. If you have a page on there, find what keywords it’s ranking for, then try making a heading that relates to a question that someone using that keyword would ask.
Under that heading, you need clearly formatted and optimized content related to the question. The heading needs a keyword related to the snippet. The content below the heading has to answer the question. If the heading implies that there is a list of things needed to answer the question, put in the list.
Some study of Featured Snippets will help you understand how they are formatted and how useful they can be for your website. One thing to remember is that the answer must be bite-sized. A short 100-200-word paragraph that answers the question concisely is all that is needed.
Tag Your Visuals
Despite how good Google has gotten with image searches, Google still relies on alt and title tags to tell its search engine spider how the images and video in an article relate to the content. Ideally, the image, the content, and the tags will all align so Google makes a strong association. It can be fun to put in an unrelated picture, but if it’s too unrelated then your photo or video won’t help with SEO.
Video content is growing and that needs additional explanation. Videos often have headings and captions with them to describe what is in the video. These need to align with the content, but they also need to align with what’s in the video as well. The key is to create a seamless link of information. Video, headings and captions, and content all talk about the same thing. This is what gets a search engine’s attention.
Whenever you add a link, you should ask yourself “will the reader click on this?” If they won’t, you probably don’t want to put the link up. Internal links should always link to related content on your site that naturally follows what the reader is currently looking at. Jumping them to an unrelated article is a sure way to get them to jump off your site.
A strong internal linking structure makes people stay longer on your site and that’s something Google takes notice of. Avoid meaningless links.
Take these methods and go back through your old posts. Do your posts comply? If not, these simple changes will help them rise in the rankings.
Chris Hickman is the Founder and CEO at Adficient with 15 years of experience in search marketing and conversion optimization. Since 2006, he founded GetBackonGoogle.com helping businesses and websites suspended in Adwords to Get Back on Google.