Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-evolving field with hundreds of ranking factors.
However, throughout its evolution, one thing always stays consistent, and that’s how important it is to optimize your content.
In fact, search engines generate 300% more traffic for websites than social media does. That means that the better optimized your content is, the higher you will rank in SERPs and the more your target audience will grow.
In this guide, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about the best SEO content optimization strategy, high-quality content, and helpful ways for you to rank!
Let’s start with what exactly is “SEO Content.”
What Qualifies as SEO Content?
To put it in layman’s terms, as a whole, SEO content is basically any content that is created to boost search engine rankings and increase online traffic to your website or page.
To grasp what SEO content means, it’s a good idea to look at it in two different parts:
SEO: This is the process of optimizing your website with your best content so it can rank in search engine results. This is specific to target keywords, search intent, and relevancy.
Content: This is the information that you publish or post. This content can be anything from blog posts, images, infographics, and videos.
Search engines show their organic search results based on the relevancy and authority of a website or page content. Relevance is determined by how often a keyword is used. That can be phrases, terms, or targeted keywords. Authority is determined by trustworthy backlinks that point back to your website or page.
As a reference point, your content should be SEO-friendly which means that your posts, images, etc. should be organized logically, have relevant keywords, and be written with search intent in mind.
If you aren’t sure if your website is SEO-friendly, try using The HOTH’s Free SEO Audit Tool.
What Is High-Quality Content?
High-quality content is something that answers any doubts or questions that your reader may have in a single area. The key to writing this type of content is to place yourself in the shoes of your audience. It would be best to ask yourself the same questions that someone reading your content would ask, and then answer them.
Marketers usually agree that in order to determine the value and effectiveness of high-quality content it would be best to try and reach the top three of Google rankings for your target keyword. You should also focus on increasing brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Many businesses prioritize generating leads and sales through SEO content optimization. Another aspect you should prioritize is improving your click-through rate as well as your bounce rate.
High-quality content in the context of SEO has many other attributes including:
- Fully answers the reader’s question or solves the reader’s problem
- Has educational/in-depth writing
- Is well-formatted and structured for readability
- Is “fresh” or up-to-date
- Keyword research such as primary keywords and long-tail keywords
- Is accurate
Let’s break down some of the main elements that help rank SEO content:
Answer the readers’ question(s)
The most important part of quality content is making sure to answer the user’s question fully.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re answering the question is to look at the search intent of your chosen keyword.
Seeing what’s ranking in Google can give you clues to what types of content users are clicking on.
Try modeling the content that’s currently ranking in Google for a great head start!
Studies show that long-form content generally tends to rank better in search engines.
As you can see, having high word counts (1,800+ words) correlates highly with top rankings.
With that said, longer content isn’t always better. You want your new content to be complete, but there is no need to add word count just to make quota.
Be sure to check out the search results for your keyword before writing long content just for the sake of making it long.
Subheadings, or the secondary sections of your content (like the section headers in this post), should be wrapped in H2 tags. It would also be best to use meta descriptions, alt tags, snippets, and other on-page SEO strategies to improve your content structure and organic traffic.
Using these digital marketing strategies not only helps with the readability of your posts by making them easy to scan, but also helps search engines identify your content.
Try using secondary keywords in your H2 tags to clue Google in on the relevancy of your content. It would also be best to include anchor text in your content. That will help with link-building and other on-page SEO structures.
Freshness, or how recently your content was published, is also an important factor.
Search engines don’t want to display outdated content, so be sure to update your content regularly. It’s common for websites or pages that don’t to get a high bounce rate.
That means that visitors who click on your website won’t stay on your page long because of outdated information or information that is wrong or irrelevant. That can affect conversion rates, sales, and traffic.
Some search terms, such as news updates have a higher dependence on freshness.
Google’s algorithm weighs fresh content around “Query Deserved Freshness.”
This basically means that they weigh content as more relevant if it matches a search term that has become more popular in a relatively short time.
For example, when the FIFA World Cup is 4 years away, not as many people are searching for it so you’ll likely get soccer league websites as the result.
When the World Cup is happening, the search results will likely contain a schedule of games, recent news, and websites to stream the games on.
The risk of over-optimizing content is increased when you use too many of the same keywords on your page. That is known as keyword stuffing and can hinder your traffic and your rank. Google can sometimes limit crawlers or penalize content that is stuffed with too many of the same keywords or keywords that are irrelevant.
There is no magical keyword density metric. Instead, focus on writing your content naturally in inserting the main keyword phrase where it makes sense. You can also use free tools such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or The HOTH’s Keyword Extraction Tool.
In addition to using your primary keyword, consider using synonyms as well. Another quick mention here would be to be aware of using high-volume keywords. It would be best to research the search volume of your targeted keywords before using them.
Using long-tail and medium-tail keywords can increase your SEO content optimization. It’s important to use all of these methods at once as much as possible, that is what makes a great marketing strategy that turns potential leads into qualified buyers.
For example, if your page is going after “vegan diet” you can use these words instead of “vegan” and “diet”:
If the page is attempting to rank for “vegan diet,” you can use “plant-based” and “eating” to avoid overusing “vegan” and “diet.” This will help you avoid keyword stuffing and you will be more likely to rank in results pages.
What is E-A-T and How Does it Affect SEO Content Optimization?
One of the many factors that Google and other search engines use to determine high-quality SEO content is level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. That can sometimes be labeled as E-A-T.
To be considered a high-quality piece of content, you need enough expertise for Google to view your content as authoritative and trustworthy.
That is not saying you need to have a degree with tons of certifications to be considered an expert (unless you’re writing under law or medical advice.) You really just need to know enough about what you’re writing about to prove to Google and other search engines that your content is trustworthy and accurate enough to show its users.
Not only does Google have requirements for high-quality content to be ranked, but it also makes your audience more likely to trust and even share your information.
High-quality content may come across as a little confusing on what is high quality and what isn’t. Especially if you’re a small business trying to rank in SEO. However, it’s a good thing Google has a set of guidelines to give you a little insight into how search engines define quality content.
Here are Google’s guidelines for high-quality content:
- Search intent
- Well written main content
- Helpful extra content
- Page layout
- Ad placement
- Length of content
Search intent (otherwise known as user-intent) is the term used to describe the reason for a Google search. Everyone who conducts an online search is looking for something. That could be a product, service, or an answer to a question.
This next part really speaks for itself– you need to create well-written content. Go above and beyond for your audience. Consider the questions they’re asking. And for bonus points, create content beyond what they’ve asked that’s still relevant to the parent topic.
Page layout and the way it’s structured have been briefly mentioned, however, it’s a large part of SEO content optimization. Make sure to optimize your meta descriptions, URLs, and use other on-page SEO strategies.
Ad placement can either hinder or boost your SEO. The best ad placement practices are usually above and to the left. Studies have suggested that an ad receives the most views when it’s at the top of a page, then followed by the left and right. This placement is usually above the fold.
As I mentioned above, the length of content is important. Articles and other blog posts used to be considered a good length for SEO at around 1,800 words. That has evolved, and Google now considers longer content such as 3,000 words or more to be more relevant and informational. But, remember that you shouldn’t fluff your content to create a higher word count simply for ranking purposes.
As I mentioned briefly above, Google does state that topics such as medical and financial advice should come from reliable sources and only if you are an expert in the field. You don’t necessarily need a degree but it certainly helps to have a high level of E-A-T so your content can rank in SERPs and increase your conversion rate.
What is the Difference Between Content Optimization and Content Marketing?
SEO is technical with the main focus on website structure and design. It includes creating a website with a user-friendly layout, relevant keywords, optimization of metadata, and link building with high-quality links.
Content marketing involves publishing helpful content across your entire website, blog, and also social media accounts. What this does is attract and maintain an audience. Marketing creates interest in your services or products.
There is a bit of an overlap between the two. Optimizing your content for search engines will make it rank better, so you will reach more of your content marketing goals. Publishing quality content will improve your site’s authority. That will then increase its SEO power.
Let’s go a little more in-depth with this, just to give you a better idea of the differences.
Content marketing consists of:
- Blog posts
- Social posts
- Emails and Calls
- Case Studies
Posts, emails, e-books, and infographics are a fantastic place to start if you’re trying to create a content marketing plan. As I mentioned, these two different yet complementary practices work together to create a strategy that works. In fact, 80% of B2B marketers report having a content marketing strategy.
Content optimization involves the following:
- Meta description
- Page content
- Alt Text
- On-page links
- Brand mentions
- Domain Authority
Content optimization is anything that improves your content for the purpose of SEO and ranking in SERPs. This includes meta descriptions, headlines, and any other on-page SEO. Using these two concepts together will boost your business, traffic, and sales.
Google is infamous for changing its search engine algorithm anywhere from 500 to 600 times a year; with that being said, it’s important to come up with a strategy that will continue to work even during times of change
SEO content optimization helps your website rank better in Google search results. That lets people find your content, whereas content marketing focuses on driving traffic to your business from outside sources. They both work well together when planning a digital marketing strategy. In fact, 75% of marketers use SEO content optimization and content marketing to boost traffic and sales.
What are the Steps to Optimizing Your Content for SEO?
It’s important to build trust with your audience, that is why SEO content optimization is so crucial. You must match your audience’s search intent, answer their questions, and create great content.
To establish trust, your website needs to establish authority. It would be best to include calls-to-action within your content, optimize engagement with images and other visuals.
Here are some other great tips to optimize your content for SEO:
Link your web pages
If you have a blog post with, for example, 100 backlinks and another page with 3, the page with 3 backlinks is going to have a much more difficult time ranking on Google. However, if your page with 100 backlinks links to a smaller unknown page, it will share some of that link equity, which can help with its rankings. Re-linking your articles to each other can be time-consuming. Luckily, WordPress has plugins for that.
Flatten your blog
Site architecture or information architecture is how information is organized into pages, subpages, and categories on a website which is all linked together.
Site architecture tends to fall into two sections:
- Flat site architecture
- Deep site architecture
A flat site is basically just a website where all pages are only one click away from the home page. The flatter your site structure is, the more chances it has to rank well.
Deep sites tend to waste link equity because Google search engines see higher-ranked pages as more valid.
Put your specific keywords in your post titles
The title of a post is one of the most important content creation of keyword and on-site SEO. Your post has the highest chance of ranking for a keyword if your keyword is included at the beginning of the title tag or headline. It’s also a good idea to make sure that other posts linking to this example post use a similar or the same keyword in their text.
For example, say you are working on an article called “What is SEO?” You would want to link other posts with the same keyword or phrase. So you would create an internal link to an article titled, “How Does SEO Work?” Content and keywords are so important for SEO! In fact, content strategy and marketing creates three times as many leads as traditional marketing and costs 64% less.
Don’t seek out reciprocal links
Reciprocal links don’t have SEO worth they used to. Google caught onto this link exchange practice years ago, so they don’t hold nearly as much value.
Summing Up SEO Content Optimization
Search engine optimization is a necessity for content at any stage of your business. Whether you are just starting out with creating optimized content, or looking for more advanced methods to drive traffic, SEO content optimization is one of the most vital aspects of digital marketing.
You need high-quality content to rank your website or page that answers your reader’s questions, is well informed, and is bursting with fresh, up-to-date material.
If you happen to be struggling and need some help figuring out where you can improve your content, consider scheduling a phone call with one of our SEO experts.
You can also sign up for free and take full advantage of many of our free resources.