How To Make the Most of Your Content By Optimizing For SEO
Pop quiz! What's the holy grail of content marketing?
The answer, of course, is organic traffic.
Why? Because organic traffic = visitors (aka potential customers or clients) who come to your site for free. They found you by searching a specific term on Google and hooray! clicked through to your site without costing you a single penny.
But wait, there's more! There are a ton of other benefits that come with traffic earned organically rather than paid, including higher conversion rates, more engaged visitors, and sustainable results.
Which is why you need to optimize your blog (and other content) for SEO (aka Search Engine Optimization) and other factors.
Because you want a nice, big piece of organic traffic pie. Right?
Make Your Content Work Harder
So, okay. Organic is better than paid traffic and optimizing for SEO is the way to get it. But is it really worth the effort? I'm so glad you asked. Let's talk about even more benefits a well-optimized blog brings to your business.
Fresh & Current Website
Regularly updating and optimizing your content helps your website perform better in search results AND helps establish trustworthiness and authority with your visitors. Think about how you feel when you come across a website that looks like a holdover from the '90s.
- Is the information on the site current or completely outdated?
- Do you want to work with a company so far behind current standards, even just on their website?
- Are they even still in business?
Fresh and current content is one of the factors search engines use to determine your ranking in search results. They don't want to deliver outdated information, so regularly updating your site lets them know you are active and offering current information.
On top of that, every time your content is updated, search engines are triggered to crawl your site again. And, your visitors can tell at a glance that you are open for business. So, keeping your site fresh and current with optimized content definitely pays off.
Visitors Stay Longer
The amount of time a visitor stays on your page sends signals to Google about how good your page is. If they leave immediately, Google knows it's not quite as good as they'd thought. But if they stay for a while, Google knows your page is very helpful and ranks you accordingly. And from the owner standpoint - visitors on your site longer is definitely a good thing! The longer they stay, the more likely they are to consume more of your content, sign up for your email list, or make a purchase. So, stocking your site with high-quality, optimized blog posts not only improves your search rankings, but it also helps build your relationship with visitors. And that's kind of the whole point, isn't it?
Optimizing your blog involves more than just putting keywords in the right places. It's also about making sure your content is. . .
- Easy to read
- Clear and understandable
When your audience reads a fully-optimized post packed with great information, they're more likely to share it - and we ALL want that. Those shares not only drive additional traffic to your site but is yet another signal to search engines that you have a helpful site.
Plus, those engaged visitors are also more likely to return for more content and engage with you in other ways. Your ideal audience visiting your site, becoming followers, and connecting with you is exactly why you're doing all this in the first place. So optimizing your content to help make that happen is a no-brainer.
How To Optimize Your Blog Posts For SEO
Now that you're on board with why optimizing is worth doing, let's talk about the how. There are a number of steps to fully optimize your post for SEO, readability, and shareability. But the following elements are among the most important to get your posts working harder for you now.
Do Keyword Research
The very first step - and most important! - is to know your keywords. Since you are providing valuable content about your topic, you are probably naturally including some keywords without even trying.
But including the terms people actually use when they are searching is important to help them find you. So doing keyword research for long-tail key phrases is crucial.
No idea what that means? Check out a good primer here to get you started.
Add Keywords To Your Posts
Once you've determined the keywords you want to use, you want to add them into your post where relevant. Don't force it - the usage should always feel natural.
And don't try to add it too many times within the same post. That's called keyword stuffing and is unappealing to both your readers and the search engines. Just find a few places where you can work it in. Maybe adjust some sentences or headers to make it work. Then add some synonyms into the post as well, if you can (synonyms are similar keywords for the same topic).
Spend Time On Your Title
Review your post title and see if you can include your target keyphrase or a synonym. The title of your post is not only what entices readers to click through, but it's also part of what tells search engines what your post is about.
Again - the keyword must work naturally within the title. Shoehorning a keyword into your title makes it less likely anyone will click through. The lack of traffic caused by that will tell search engines your post is not helpful, which ultimately hurts your ranking far more than a keyword-stuffed title would help it. Titles are important in a lot of ways, so take time to get it right. It doesn't matter how great the post is if nobody reads it!
Resource: Check out the Headline Studio by CoSchedule
Customize Your Post URL
Include your focus keyphrase in the URL of your post. If you're using WordPress, it's called the post "slug" and is very easy to edit. It's not critical for your URL to match your title exactly, so this is a place you can plug in the exact keyword without worry.
Utilize Headings & Subheadings
Adding headers and subheaders to your post is a great way to avoid the dreaded "wall of text" (which nobody wants to read). They're also a great place to add keywords and synonyms. But remember - only where it's a natural fit. Always write for human readers first.
In addition to naming your images with key phrases and synonyms, remember to include an Alt description that includes keywords. And whatever you do - don't forget to optimize the size of your images! Loading speed is a key ranking factor in search engines, so make sure your images are lightweight and load quickly.
It might be counterintuitive, but linking out to other sites as well as your own may help your search engine ranking. In every post, you should make a point to link to one or two high-authority external sites. Then, also cross-link to a few of your own posts or pages relating to your topic. When you do, the anchor text should relate to your keywords - if it works naturally.
This helps connect the dots for Google in understanding what your posts and website are about. Plus, it encourages your readers to delve deeper into more of your content. #Winning!
Don't Forget the Meta Description
The meta description is one area a lot of people forget. And while it doesn't directly affect your search engine ranking, it does influence what shows up on the search engine results page. This means it's a prime opportunity to entice viewers to click through with a catchy description and ideally, one of the keywords they used in their search.
Reap The Benefits When You Optimize Content For SEO
It's true, SEO can be a beast (which is why there are people who do nothing but SEO). But while there is always something more you can work on to improve your SEO, what I've provided here is a great start for your blog. Don't waste the time, effort, and brainpower you've spent creating value-packed original content. Optimize that content for SEO to start enjoying:
- improved search engine ranking
- more readers
- highly engaged visitors
- and more
In the long run, that little bit of time and effort will pay off tenfold!
Get A Jump Start
The best way to get your posts working harder is to have an optimization workflow as part of your content creation process so that it gets done completely every time. But I'm not gonna lie - setting that up can be a whole beast in itself.
That's why I created my Plug & Play Blog Post Optimization Workflow. It's a no-brainer way to get started optimizing your posts right now, today. The workflow is designed for easy delegation to your VA or team or you can just use it yourself. It includes everything you need to fully optimize your posts while avoiding the hassle of creating an SOP from scratch or even needing to know the details of how to do it.
This workflow provides easy written and video walkthroughs of each step, so there's no need to know anything about SEO to use it. And it comes with a simple task set you can easily import into your existing task platform and get started right now (choose from Asana, ClickUp, TeamWork, or Trello).