Creating awesome content is one thing and to optimize content for SEO is something else. You can write the best content but if it isn’t optimized for search engines, it won’t rank high in search engine results pages. Search engines must understand the content you write so that it can be indexed and ranked.
One of the key questions that content marketers and content creators ask is how to optimize content for SEO. As a content creator, you must have the basic know-how of SEO and on-page optimization. If you don’t know how to optimize content for SEO, your content will get a tough time ranking in search results and you won’t see enough organic traffic.
As they say: The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search results:
This is because 95% of traffic is generated via Google page 1 and the traffic drops by a whopping 140% as soon as you move from the bottom of page 1 to the top of page 2.
Your content has to be optimized for SEO to be on page 1. Else, you’ll not get any traffic.
How to Optimize Content for SEO
Content optimization involves several aspects of on-page SEO. You don’t have to master on-page and technical SEO but you must know everything related to content optimization.
Here is an overview of everything you need to do to improve optimization of content for SEO:
The title is the most important part of your content. The title is visible to the users in search results and plays a significant role in clicks and traffic generation:
It is also important for SEO. Inclusion of keyword in the title tag improves search engine ranking:
Ahrefs improved organic traffic to one of its posts by 37.58% after adding a keyword in the title:
So, you need to use your primary keyword in the title. This will help search engines better understand the topic and they can serve your content to the right searchers.
When writing a title, keep readers and search engines both in mind.
2. Heading Tags
There are 6 heading tags that are used for formatting and structuring content:
Distribute content into headings and subheadings by using relevant heading tags. The most important and main headline must have an h1 tag, the second important heading must have an h2 tag, and so on.
This helps Google read, rank, and display content in SERPs. Google uses heading tags to display content in featured snippets. Here is an example:
In the absence of heading tags, Google won’t be able to understand and structure your content, and your content will not be used as a featured snippet.
Use heading tags appropriately and distribute your content into different sections.
3. Keyword Optimization
When you are writing content, you need to choose a topic and your primary keyword. This is important for categorization and ranking. Using your keyword and its variation in the content helps search engines categorize content and rank it for relevant terms.
When a user enters a search query, the search engine matches the searcher query with content in its database and finds all the content matching the keyword or a related term. This is how search engines work.
Not using keywords in the content will make it hard for search engines to identify the key topics and terms that they should rank your content for.
Follow these best practices to optimize content for keywords and how to use keywords in your content:
- Use the keyword in the first 100 words. This is because search engines give more weight to terms that are used early in a piece.
- Use your keyword in at least one heading tag.
- Don’t overdo. Use keywords naturally throughout the article. If it doesn’t fit, don’t push it.
- You need to use different variations of your keyword and not just the keyword as is. Google and other search engines understand related terms fairly well.
4. Meta Description
One of the key areas where you must add your primary keyword is the meta description.
Because meta description is visible in SERPs and the keywords appear bold that helps users identify the most appropriate search result.
While using a keyword in meta description won’t improve ranking as it isn’t a Google ranking factor, but it improves organic CTR that is a ranking factor.
Search results with high CTR are pushed high in rankings by Google as these results are considered valuable.
It is, therefore, recommended to use your primary keyword or its variation in the meta description to optimize content for SEO.
5. Alt Text
It is the alternate text that appears in the absence of an image when it fails to load. It is also used by screen readers that are used by visually disabled people.
Search engines use it to understand what an image is about. This is the text that is used by Google (and other search engines) for image SEO. Images are categorized and ranked in Google Images search based on alt text (and other elements).
Search engines can’t see images so they rely on the text and other information that you provide them to understand an image and then use it in search.
Here is an example of how to write alt text:
The idea is to describe the image in detail so those who can’t see the image still understand what it is about.
Follow these tips to write SEO-friendly alt texts for images:
- Describe the image. Be descriptive.
- Avoid using or fluffing keywords in the alt tag.
- Make sure that your description makes sense.
- Keep it short.
This doesn’t end here, there are other optimization elements too such as internal links, external links, URL structure and its friendliness, and others. For now, let’s stick with these 5.
If you’ll stick with these 5 optimization elements, you are good to go.
Initially, you’ll find it a bit complicated to optimize content based on these elements. Once you’ll get used to it, your life will become easier.
You’ll then optimize content during the write-up. This is what the best content writers out there do. They keep both search engines and readers in mind when writing content.
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