SEO Content Optimization: A Beginner’s Guide to Crafting SEO Content 
In the world of digital marketing, new and innovative ideas flow constantly. The practice of SEO content optimization, for instance, never remained stagnant in terms of strategies. Specialists discover new techniques every year, which help to appease all existing search engine and their complex algorithms today.
Take Google’s ranking signals, for example. They regularly update and create new algorithms programmed to analyze and evaluate content to ensure that users get the most relevant and useful content based on their queries. In return, it drives a considerable amount of online traffic to pages offering handy and user-oriented content.
Having that said, the importance of search engine optimization to your online marketing efforts is high. It is especially true now that most consumers rely on the internet about a lot of things—including making purchases, both offline and online.
If you are not yet aware of how SEO marketing works, let us help you learn SEO piece by piece using our free beginners’ guide to content optimization. Shall we?
What is SEO?
In layman’s terms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of enhancing the quality of content to boost online visibility by ranking on search engine results pages (SERP). Technically, it comprises of various factors that work together in order to optimize a particular online material.
To further understand, here are the crucial elements of SEO you should know:
Keyword. A keyword is a single word or set of words used to generate traffic for a particular niche. These phrases are derived from different search queries Google and other search engines receive every day. It mainly guides a content marketer by giving him ideas on what topics people are searching. In return, it helps him create unique content that is useful and relevant to users.
Note: For more comprehensive information about keyword usage, read the SEO best practices that I will discuss below.
On-page optimization. To perform SEO content optimization, a strict set of rules called on-page optimization must be implemented properly. You should learn how to use and integrate keywords into your material correctly. In return, it will help you to enhance the content for maximum searchability.
Content organization. Content organization refers to the systematic and organized placement of content on a website. All content should be structured logically as much as possible. Primarily, it is beneficial to your SEO content optimization efforts because it helps visitors navigate the page and find the information they need quickly. And take note that it is also a ranking factor for Google and other search engines.
Content marketing. Content marketing is one of the many SEO techniques to improve a page’s visibility. It is performed either through sharing content across different online platforms (social shares) or through link building—both for external and internal link.
Different Types of SEO Content
There are different types of SEO content used by marketers today. Here are the most utilized materials and how they work:
Blog posts. Blogs are the most exhausted material marketers used up to this date. It is used to attract potential customers as well as to keep them engaged by sharing informational and useful ideas concerning a specific niche.
For instance, if the blog is about organic supplements, you will have to discuss topics like “are organic supplements effective?” or “can organic supplement help me cure my insomnia?” to find and attract your target audience. This way, you do not only get high but quality traffic.
Articles. Compared to blog posts, this content is more formal in terms of language and structure. Some examples are news pieces, feature articles, interviews, or editorial pieces. It is typically used by digital magazine and news companies.
Product pages. This content is used particularly on e-commerce sites or online shops. As what the term suggests, it is utilized to describe a product and at the same time persuade the customer to purchase it.
Guides. Unlike informational blog posts, guides are content that explains a particular topic. They are long, well-detailed, and are broken down into different pages. It is often used to generate leads by asking the reader/viewer to give its contact details in exchange for the content.
Infographics. This content comes in large images that contain information about a certain subject. Compared to blog post and guides, the details are short and precise.
3 Tricks to Perform SEO Content Optimization Effectively
Driving traffic to your website is a piece of cake if you understand well how to perform SEO content optimization. So, to have a better grasp on how to do SEO writing, below are a few search engine optimization tips to guide you.
1. Use Keywords to Your Advantage
As mentioned earlier, keywords are words or set of words used to generate traffic to your site. They simply are search queries people typed in search engines such as Google and Bing.
Generally, they are used in two ways: as a guide to creating relevant and timely topics and as an anchor between people’s queries and content. It helps marketers to narrow down and target a specific audience as well, which in return generates quality traffic.
However, if you do not know how to use them properly, you might just end up attracting the wrong audience. It is why you must understand all types of keywords today first, so you know which ones are suitable to your niche.
Different Types of Keywords
There are several key phrases marketers use nowadays. And each of it has different uses. To understand better, scroll down and continue reading.
User intent is search queries that are defined based on the users’ objective of completing the query. It is categorized into three groups.
- Informational. Simply put, these are searches users made to look for a piece of information concerning a particular topic. Examples: what is climate change, how does SEO work, etc.
- Transactional. This query intends to simply make a transaction or a purchase.
- Navigational. It is use to locate a particular location or a web page.
Search volume refers to the amounts of searches users made for a specific keyword. It is divided into three categories as well.
- Short-tail or head. This type of key phrase is short (one word only) but is broad in meaning. It is not specific compared to long-tail keywords.
- Medium-tail keyword. Unlike the head and long-tail keywords, medium-tails hit the right balance. It is not too specific yet it is not too broad as well. Hence, the difficulty to rank for these is not that high.
- Long-tail keyword. Longtail keywords are a set of words with specific intent. Compared to short-tails, they usually have a low search volume. However, many marketers used these key phrases still, especially if they are targeting a very specific audience.
How to Determine the Right Keyword
Not all keywords are efficient. Integrating several of them does not guarantee you will rank on SERPS as well. You still have to assess which word or phrase is appropriate to use as the primary keyword, and which ones are excellent as supplemental key phrases. Otherwise, your efforts to improve your online visibility will become useless.
Having that said, here is a simple guide on how to choose competitive keywords.
Step 1: Check the Keyword Difficulty.
As what the term suggests, keyword difficulty refers to the complexity and level of competition of a keyword. Simply put, it means thousands of pages are trying to rank for a particular word or phrase. Hence, the competition is tough. See how difficult SEO content optimization is?
It does not, however, mean that you do not have a chance to rank for a specific key phrase with high keyword difficulty. As said, if you clearly understand how to perform SEO content optimization, then you can do it.
This is how it looks like in keyword research tools:
Step 2: Evaluate the Search Volume.
Search volume represents the number of people who use a specific keyword to look for a piece of information or content. As a website owner, it is an excellent technique to measure how much traffic you will gain from a phrase. However, the higher the search volume, the higher the competition as well. It is why it is essential to evaluate your choice of keyword phrases first before deciding which ones to use.
This is how it looks like in keyword research tools:
Short Note: Take note that low search volume does not always mean low keyword difficulty. Look at the case sample below.
The keyword ‘optimization‘ has 39% KD with 29, 000 search volume, while the key phrase ‘what is content’ has 56% KD but has 1, 300 search volume only.
It is why SEO content optimization is not an easy task. If you think this is not the type of things that you can do, better to consult with your local digital marketing agency to help you in your digital needs.
Step 3: Check If the Idea is Relevant and Timely.
What is the use of content if no one is going to read it?
Take into consideration if the keyword is relevant and timely. Make sure that it is also associated and useful to your brand. Otherwise, it will not help you attract the right people.
Here’s a graph (from Google Trends) showing the relevancy of keyword ‘content optimization’ from July 2019 to August 2019.
Step 4: Make Sure You CAn Integrate the Keyword in the Headline and Subheadings Naturally.
If you are not aware yet, ‘readability’ is one of the highest ranking factors for Google and other search engines. It is why it is crucial to create a headline—and the whole content itself—that is easy to understand.
One way to do that? Always prioritize your title before the keyword. Rather, try to look for a word or a phrase that will fit smoothly into your headline and subheadings. It will give you less headache when crafting titles as well.
Trustworthy Keyword Tools
Looking to start your keyword research? Here’s a list of SEO tools you can choose from.
- Google Trends
- Google Keyword Planner
- Moz’s Keyword Difficulty Tool
- Keyowrd Tool.io
- Term Explorer
- Hubspot’s Content Strategy tool
2. Optimize Your Content
SEO content optimization is notorious for being one of the most meticulous tasks in content marketing. You need to plan ahead and allot a considerable amount of time to complete a content in order to rank it on Google’s SERPS.
If you are confused where to begin, below is a guide to help you optimize your material further.
Create Long and Useful Content
Years ago, the content’s length and intent are not recognized as factors to determine if a page is worthy to rank or not. Many took advantage of Google’s and other search engines lack of ability to acknowledge valuable materials, which in return resulted in poor content. Pages displayed on SERPS are often pointless and created with the objective to rank only.
But last 2011, as SEO and digital marketing are becoming more prominent, Google launched a new algorithm called Panda. The new program eventually helped users get better results, which enhanced the overall usability of the platform. It has penalized and weed out websites that offer content with less to no value. In return, it gave more visibility to those who do.
Today—together with the newest programs RankBrain and Fred—search engines can now discern if a content offers value to users or not. As a result, marketers and website owners always build their content plan according to their target audience’s need and preferences. It is to ensure that everything they produce is value-driven and user-oriented. Hence, the birth of SEO content optimization.
That being said, how does one make good articles for SEO yet write engaging and useful content for people as well?
Step 1: Leverage Informational and Commercial Keywords.
Informational and commercial keywords under the category ‘user intent’ are two of the most searched phrases on Google and other search engines.
Now, how could these keywords help you to produce useful content?
Informational Keywords. More often than not, folks prefer freebies. So rather than paying hundreds of dollars, they DIY and search for materials that can help them without spending a single penny. Hence, they prefer free content.
If your niche is digital marketing, you will have to search for words or phrases that suggests ‘information sharing’. Here’s a list of examples of informational key phrases.
If you notice, informational keywords often start with a “how-to”. Using these set of words, you can then create SEO articles that revolves around “information sharing”. But take note that these kinds of material typically do not convert readers to real customers.
On the one hand, they build audience engagement, brand voice, and trust. Hence, it is an excellent approach to nurture your readers and keep them interested in what you offer.
Commercial Keywords. If not often, there are still (of course) individuals who are ready to pay for a material they need. Whether it is a digital content or a physical product, they intend to get the best solution ‘immediately.’ These phrases are usually accompanied with terms like ‘review,’ ‘free shipping,’ ‘best,’ ‘order,’ and ‘compare.’ Take a look at these examples of commercial key phrases:
When writing content using commercial keywords, you have to keep in mind that your target readers are folks who are ready to buy and are searching all information they can get from the internet.
As such, make sure to supply them everything they need. This includes the benefits and features of a product, its market price, and disadvantages.
Step 2: Find Ideas to Include in Your Content by answering Questions
If you are having a tough time coming up with ideas to put in your content, try to answer commonly asked questions about the topic you are writing. Try to put yourself in your readers’ situation. For example, if they are searching data about SEO, what would their questions be like?
On the other hand, if you want an immediate and accurate results, you can try question generator apps like Answer the Republic.
First step: Enter your content’s topic. Click the ‘Get Questions’ button.
Second step: Once the process is done, scroll down to see the results. Here’s how it looks like:
The good thing about answering frequently asked questions is that you have a chance to rank Zero. Simply put, your article has a chance to be included in Google’s snippets. It is especially true if you are able to give clear and straightforward answers.
On-page optimization is the practice of enhancing a page’s usability and ranking through implementation of technical measures. To understand better, here are the important elements in technical SEO.
Keyword placement is crucial if you want to enhance your SEO content optimization efforts. For this section, we will use Brian Dean’s article from Backlinko.com as an example, which is number 5 on Google’s SERPS.
Title tag and Subheadings. When crafting headlines, make sure that your focus keyword is placed at the beginning of the title as much as possible. The headline is one of the most crucial SEO elements, so always pay attention to how you write it. Evaluate the sample below.
Aside from that, never forget to integrate your main keyword in one of your subheadings too. However, as much as possible, do it with the first subheading. Take a look at the example below. The writer incorporated ‘SEO content’ in the first heading.
Body. Your primary keyword must appear within the first 100 – 150 words of your content. In SEO, writing the key phrase within that said range signals and tells Google that your article’s topic is about that keyword. Thus, it makes easier for search engines to identify what the information you are sharing is about.
Moreover, evenly spread the keyword in the body of the article. But take note that Google does not acknowledge content that performs keyword stuffing or filling every sentences and paragraphs with keywords. Have a look at this example:
URL. Your content’s URL structure must be short yet comprehensible. Most importantly, you must include the keyword in it as well. Make sure that it is within the first 3 – 5 words. Avoid using incomprehensible URLs too like permalinks that show random numbers and letters only.
Check the sample above. The writer did not include other words and went straight to the point, which is the keyword.
Meta description. Just like the body of your content, your meta descriptions should contain the focus keyword as well. Apart from that, make sure that it is informative and at the same time compelling.
Remember that its purpose is to give the readers an idea of what the whole content is about. Thus, keep it enticing as much as possible.
Headline and Title Tags
As mentioned earlier, the headline has one of the most significant impact when it comes to SEO copywriting. To ensure your chance to rank, below are a few points to remember when writing title tags.
- As much as possible, start the title with your chosen focus key phrase. If not, make sure that it is within the first 60 characters as Google cuts it off on the search engine after it. It is especially useful if the headline is too lengthy.
- Add modifiers such as “guide” and “review” in the title. It helps to rank for long-tail versions of the chosen keyword.
- Always wrap your headline with h1 tag. Although this Example:
- Your subheadings must be wrapped in title tags like h2 tags, h3 tags, h4 tags, h5 tags, and h6 tags.
Optimize Image Alternative Text
Visuals are important element of a content. However, Google’s algorithms cannot read and recognize photos (yet). So, to maximize its usage, specialists recommend to use ‘image alternative text’ or ‘image alt text’.
In layman’s terms, image alt text describes what the picture is about. It helps Google and other search engines to identify a photo and rank it in Google Images. Technically, it is an attribute added as an image tag in HTML.
This is how it looks like:
Apart from it helps the content to rank on Google Images, it also aids individuals with poor and impaired vision. Hence, it makes the material become more user-oriented.
It is vital that you add the keyword (if possible) into it as well. This simple trick might seem small and unimportant but it does truly help in content optimization.
Leverage the Power of Link Building
Link building is the method of gathering quality hyperlinks from other sites to yours. Through these links, users can navigate and jump from page to page easily. It is among the many crucial factors in SEO content optimization as well. In fact, it is a broad topic and one of the toughest elements of Search Engine Optimization.
There are two ways for you to leverage it: through internal links and outbound links. Link building services, on the other hand, are helpful also especially if you are not a techy entrepreneur. Here’s how you can leverage its power:
Internal or Inbound Links. These are hyperlinks that connect two different pages within the same domain. They are primarily used to help users navigate the site (and collect information) quickly and with ease.To optimize content, it is vital to include at least 3 to 4 internal links. You can do this by inserting the link of your chosen page into a word or a phrase that describes it.
Say, if I am going to link an article that talks about content creation techniques, I will have to choose words that are relevant to the topic. It can be ’writing articles’, ‘building content’, or ‘planning content ideas’. What’s important is that the thought is associated with the content hyperlink is pointing.
External or Outbound Links. These are hyperlinks that connect two different yet relevant pages from two different websites. Just like inbound links, these signals search engines concerning the page and content’s reliability. It aids Google to figure out the main topic of the material as well. Include at least 2 to 3 external hyperlinks. For instance, you can do it when referencing a case study, survey, or statistics or credible sites. Eventually, it builds trust between the brand and the readers.
Leverage SEO Content Optimization Tools
SEO content optimization is no easy feat that knowledge alone is not enough. You need to have trustworthy SEO tools to assist you improve further your efforts.
Having that said, below are the top four applications Web Design Plus SEO use for content optimization.
Cora SEO Audit
This application is excellent for folks who, despite all efforts to rank in Google SERPS, are still not able to see the results they need. In fact, it is Web Design Plus SEO’s top tool for content optimization. This premier SEO tool is a software that will help you identify mistakes and nuisances that might have caused the failure to rank. It gathers data from SERPS top 100 sites for a particular keyword. After that, it compares all pages according to Google’s 520 ranking factors. Lastly, you will have comprehensive data and roadmap to help you rank #1.
For instance, it will give you tiny details that you might have missed and need fixing such as title tags, keyword density, grammar, spelling, etc. Moreover, if you purchase a Cora SEO Audit, you will get a 2 to 6 keyword reviews based on 1 to 3 URLs per gig ordered. For noobs, you will get an instructional video as well to aid you to understand and grasp the idea better.
Page Optimizer Pro
This app is not like the other keyword research tools you know. It is, in fact, better than key phrase searching devices available today. It is Web Design Plus SEO second best tool for on-page SEO content optimization too.
Page Optimizer Pro is a complete SEO app that allows website owners and marketers to enhance their SEO tactics. It gives you ideas on how to improve your content further, particularly for on-page optimization.
Say, if you have content and the keyword you want to rank for, the software will analyze it for you. By evaluating the material and comparing it with other pages that use the same key phrase, you will then get comprehensive data on how you to optimize your content to outrank your competition.
This app is a complete and in-depth digital marketing solution. It provides all possible issues your content has and suggests helpful answers to fix and optimize them.
Whatever it is you need, Cognitive SEO has it. Along with its many features are on-page and off-page ranking aspects for Google, site audit, rank tracking, content optimization, keyword research, in-depth backlinks review, and social media visibility.
3. Optimize Your Site to Improve Your SEO Content Optimization
More often than not, website owners tend to neglect the fact that the site’s elements—as well as structure—can affect the pages’ ranking probability. It is because optimized sites are more likely to rank on SERPS now as Google acknowledge SEO websites as a ranking aspect.
That said, what are the elements of a good and optimized website?
Here’s a list:
Site’s speed refers to the average loading time of a webpage. According to research conducted by Akamai, 47% of users anticipate a page to load within 2 to 3 seconds only. And 40% will abandon a site if it takes 3 seconds and more to load.
Moreover, Google announced last 2018 that the site’s loading time in mobile as a ranking factor among others. With these facts, it is undeniable how crucial your website’s speed is.
If you are worried whether your page is performing okay or not, try to assess its loading speed using Pingdoom Tool.
First step: Enter your website’s URL and choose a location you want to test from. Then click the ‘Start Test’.
Second step: Wait till the results show up. As you can see, you can either download the complete data or share the results.
Using the data acquired from Pingdom, you can then evaluate whether your page is performing well or not. Check the history and other information that may help you enhance your site’s overall performance.
Make it Mobile-friendly
According to Statista, the average amount of people using mobile phones is growing consistently. And by 2020, there will be at least 4.78 billion smartphone users. That’s a considerable amount of online traffic, isn’t it?
But how would that affect your SEO efforts?
As mentioned earlier, Google made an official statement stating that mobile-friendliness is now a ranking factor for all web pages. The reason behind Google’s decision is based on the increasing number of mobile users. As such, to enhance UX further the company settled new algorithms that will cater to people’s demands today. And if your contractors’ website design is outdated and unresponsive, you could be losing a considerable amount of quality lead.
To have a mobile-friendly page, you have to ensure that you are using a responsive web design. In layman’s term, you need to dress your webpage with a modern web design that caters to today’s problems.
Responsive web design allows your website to adapt the correct and available display ratio. For instance, if a mobile phone’s screen is too small for the web template, it will automatically change its display ratio according to the device’s requirements. It makes the viewing experience better for users as a result. Thus, enhancing your SEO content optimization efforts.
You can test if your site is mobile-friendly through Google’s Mobile-friendly Test. It is Google’s very own SEO tool that lets website owners like you evaluate (for free!) your site’s performance and if it meets Google’s criteria.
Here’s how to use it:
First step: Go to Google’s Mobile-friendly Test app. Just like the example below, type your page’s URL in the search box. Then click the ‘Test URL’ button.
Second step: Wait for a few seconds then, that’s it! The application will then show you if your website is smartphone-friendly or not. In the sample below, the site www.websitedesignseo.com is mobile-firendly.
Furthermore, it is understandable for beginners like you to lack vital information regarding the elements of a mobile-oriented page. For such cases, you can check Google’s comprehensive guide to phone-friendly web designs.
The page has in-depth information explaining the basic elements of a responsive website. The guide also talks about how mobile-first indexing functions and affects all pages, common mistakes owners should avoid, and a list of frequently asked questions.
If, on one hand, you can understand technical pieces or you have idea how SEO content optimization works, you can check Google’s Mobile SEO as well.
The page includes useful date concerning dynamic serving, responsive web design, separate urls, Tablets and Feature phones. It also has a section dedicated to frequently asked questions and common mistakes (that should be avoided) website owners do. It is rich in SEO content optimization tips and tricks.
Proper practice of SEO content optimization is truly an essential aspect if you are looking to enhance your content strategy. Your material may reach hundreds of viewers without it. But it is a waste not to maximize its capability to inform thousands of folks who need it.