Optimizing your content strategy for SEO (search engine optimization) enhancement is crucial for achieving success online. While it may require time and effort, the benefits are worth it when done correctly.
The aim of SEO is to improve your website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), which makes it easier for users to find your content. A common misconception is that an SEO-optimized content strategy can’t simultaneously be user-friendly. You’d be surprised how search engines have evolved to prioritize user experience. In this blog, we’re here to share some SEO tips on how you can create relevant and valuable content that aligns with both your users (and potential customers) needs and search engines’ objectives.
Here are some ways to optimize content for both search engines and users:
1. SEO keyword research
The number one rule with all content is to create something that your potential customers will find useful. A good indication of whether or not your users will find a blog article useful is whether or not they are searching for answers on Google already. This is where keyword research comes in.
Properly done keyword research will not only give you a range of keywords and phrases to write about, but it should also show you just how many people are searching for that keyword per month. Keyword research will quite literally tell you if anyone will be interested in the topic you are writing about.
- Select keywords that align with your target audience’s needs, have reasonable search volumes, and help you create competitive and user-friendly content.
- Understand the searcher’s intent behind the keywords you want to use. Are users looking for information, trying to make a purchase, or seeking a specific solution?
- Determine the search volume for specific keywords. This helps you understand the popularity and demand for certain keywords. Focusing on keywords with higher search volumes can attract more traffic to your content.
- That brings us to long-tail keywords. These are more specific keywords that may have a lower search volume. However, they often have higher conversion rates because they are more targeted and attainable. For example, suppose you have an Edmonton-based business that sells leather shoes out of a brick-and-mortar location. You could target keywords like ‘shoes’, which has 60,500 searches per month in Canada but is extremely competitive and general.
How to utilize keywords strategically
The big risk with keywords that are too general is that they may not be the most relevant for your business. Yes, you sell shoes but you only sell leather shoes and you can only sell to people in Edmonton. Someone searching the ‘shoes’ query on Google could be based in St. John’s Newfoundland and may only be interested in buying suede shoes. Even if you manage to rank for this query, it’s safe to assume that your store would only be relevant to a very small portion of those 60,500 searches.
A smarter strategy is to balance relevancy and volume. So instead of targeting ‘shoes’, you could choose a longer-tail keyword like “shoe stores Edmonton” which has around 2,400 searches per month. This keyword is slightly more specific and means that a larger portion of the searches would be interested in your leather shoe store.
Additionally, you could go one step further and target “leather shoes Edmonton”. This query is comparatively low volume (only around 20 searches per month) but you know that this is extremely relevant for your business. If someone is searching for ‘leather shoes in Edmonton’, they will be extremely satisfied if they found your website at the top of their search results.
2. Write a well-optimized title tag and URL
A title tag, sometimes referred to as a ‘meta title’ or ‘meta title tag’ is an HTML element that allows you to ‘title’ a page. The title tag appears in the browser tab title bar as well as the heading on your search result. Title tags and URLs are confirmed ranking factors. Title tags define the page title for search engines and URLs provide an enhanced user experience and improve ease of sharing.
- Titles should be catchy and descriptive, communicating exactly what kind of content a user can expect to see. Include your target keyword in your title, ideally at the beginning, and keep the character count around 55 so it doesn’t get cut off in the search results.
- To improve search visibility, URLs should also include the target keyword to help identify the page. Remove any unnecessary words (especially stop words like “but, so, a, an”) to keep it short and to the point, avoid using any numbers, and use hyphens to separate words.
3. Optimized meta description
A meta description is another HTML tag or element that you can set for a page to describe the content of that page. It can appear beneath the title on your search result. An optimized meta description summarizes the webpage’s content and displays it in the search results under your title. These descriptions don’t necessarily affect your ranking directly, but they will help entice users to actually click through to your page. This is why it is so important to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) in your meta description.
- Keep them brief—just a couple of short sentences to explain what the content is about and appeal to users. To avoid being cut off, keep these descriptions around 155 characters.
- Include your target keyword so it’s easy for users to identify the topic, as well as a call-to-action to make it more compelling.
- Important to note: just because you set a meta description, doesn’t mean Google will accept and show it on your search result. If Google thinks that it can pull a better, more relevant meta description from the content on the page, then it will show that instead. This is why it is important to make sure your meta descriptions accurately describe the content on your page.
4. Create properly formatted content
Structure is imperative for creating high-quality content. If your content has low readability, chances are your users will not stay on your site for long, which defeats the purpose of putting all this effort into your content.
- Use headers to improve the user’s experience so they can easily scan the page to find the information they are specifically visiting for. This also helps search engines better understand your page’s content.
- All content should have an identified introduction, main body, and conclusion. Use small paragraphs, with each one containing a single idea.
- Use a range of formatting options to keep your content concise and visually appealing. This includes bullet points, numbered lists, highlighted or bold text, etc. This can also help you get a featured snippet.
5. Include relevant links
- Using internal links is an effective strategy to get users to spend more time on your site, creating the potential for more conversions. It also helps search engines understand your site’s structure by passing authority between pages.
- External links help build trust with both search engines and users, showing them that you’re using reliable sources. Providing external statistics can also help validate the messaging in your content.
6. Optimize visual content
An advantage of visual content is that it is easily understandable and memorable. This type of media can also rank in the image and video sections of search engines.
- Images, videos, infographics, checklists, and templates are great ways to deliver information to your audience. The more engaging your content is, the more likely it is to be shared, which leads to more backlinks. It also signals on-page behaviour to search engines.
- Tip: Make sure you are adding alt text and descriptive titles and captions to images to help define their relevance in terms of search results. Try to incorporate a keyword to provide context.
- For video content, make sure you are adding any relevant videos to both your YouTube Channel, as well as embedding it in your own site. It is also helpful to include either a written transcript or a written summary of the video to help provide context for search engines. Check out our SEO Guide to Optimizing YouTube Videos for more helpful tips.
7. Provide high-quality content
It may sound obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. Having an SEO content strategy to create high-quality and relevant content is the best way to get people to read and engage, and it is something search engines reward.
- Optimize the length of your content by producing longer-form content. Search engines give higher priority to longer articles as they are seen as providing more thorough answers for users. However, keep in mind that quality over quantity is most important.
- Ensure your content and web design are optimized for mobile devices. Search engines tend to rank mobile-friendly websites higher.
Even the best-written content is pointless if no one finds your page. Use these SEO optimization tips to create SEO-friendly material that not only brings value to your readers but also helps you get more traffic and improve your website’s ranking. If you’re looking for more help, reach out to our team, and we can assist you in enhancing your SEO content strategy!