So, you are a content developer and looking for the eternal question: How to optimize content for search engines? Justified. 200%. Believe me, some years back, I used to look for the best SEO tips and this very ‘optimization heavy’ instinct of mine was deeply imbued with my every single content developing approach.
I hope, on the way to searching about ‘content optimization, you have stumbled upon the good old SEO chanting, probably not less than a thousand times, telling you not to write for the search engines but for your readers. I don’t know what’s your take on this point, but personally, I’m not a firm believer in this approach. It’s fairly bookish.
I believe your content is your mettle and that should get proper exposure in a scientific way and ‘content optimization’ is one of the ways to achieve the same. So, what is the best tool for this? Thankfully, a critical understanding of the whole concept.
Now, before digging down further, I want to ask you a simple question. Who should your content be optimized for? Search engines or readers? What’s more important to you between these two?
No one. Admittedly, the answer is both, as these are interlinked to the sub-atomic level and beyond that. So, there is no ‘search engine optimization on this planet that excludes readers. Now, as this article heading pushes me to talk about the technical aspects of content optimization for search engines, so I will try to bend my focus more on those points.
Start the Battle: Mother a sterling content
It’s the first step to content optimization. It’s always better to go for under-optimized smart content than for over-optimized flat content. Ultimately, the main goal of your content is to add value to the web by delivering the proper information in a lucid way to your readers. Right? You will have to understand that there is no SEO technique out there which can uplift the literary quality of your content. They simply handle the issues which deal with the visibility of your content. Nothing else.
Keywords: Don’t commit a careful mistake
I bet it’s hard to find a content developer across this globe who is unaware of this word. It’s the obvious focal point of any SEO strategy. It’s those magic words anyone would put in the google search box to drag out your content on the search result pages. Technically, it’s a word (short-tail) or a group of words (long-tail) for which you want your content to rank on any search engine result page (SERP).
So, how to determine the best keyword for your content? I bet there isn’t any ‘best’ but there is a group of ‘better’ and the process of finding isn’t stepless.
- Just find the need. I mean, that group of words or phrases or keywords, on any popular keyword search tool like Google Adwords keyword planner, that is defined elaborately on your content.
- Concentrate on two or three of them, which carry more relevancy and search volume.
- Develop your content by wrapping them.
So, what’s the careful mistake? Keyword stuffing. Get this straight, more keywords aren’t more visibility. I admit, there is no exact rule regarding keyword density, but if it appears that you are injecting your keywords repeatedly in your content, it will kill the genuine integrity of the same and the search algorithms will deal with this issue strongly.
Once, Matt Cutts(former head of the webspam team at Google) was asked on an explainer video, what is the best keyword density? Is it 0.7% or 7% or 77%? With a gentle smile, Matt Cutts replied flatly: Why are you concerned?
I believe, he wanted to say, don’t kill the free flow and turn it into a dull piece of mechanical writing. Just enjoy the process of creation. I am still following this simple rule and I will encourage you to follow the same. The current web standard for the keyword density is within 2% to 4% i.e. the keyword should not appear more than 4 times within every 100 words of your content body.
Title: The Flag bearer
It’s the richest real estate for any content. A clear and stolid title containing the keyword is the bottom line requirement. Always remember, you will have to put both the search engine and your readers on an equipotential level while designing your title. For the best visibility, the length of a title should fall within 40 to 70 characters. It’s the current web standard.
It’s a no-brainer to say that search engine bots and URLs are the best friends. So, putting the keyword in the URL (the permalink) targeting to your content is a good way to tell them to drag your content on the search result for this keyword.
Meta description: Webmaster’s ad area
It’s the second richest real estate for content. Technically, it’s 170 words long gist of your content and it appears right under your content title on the SERPs. Definitely, users will invest their concentration on it after the title. So, It’s also an important ranking signal.
Images & Videos: Edit alt-tag or alt-text value
Relevant images and supporting videos ornate the central concept of content. Now, when you upload an image and add the same within the text body of your content, you will have to care for a single thing. Namely, alt-tags. Every uploaded image that you further add to your content should carry an alt-tag value that describes the function of that image on that page. It’s one of the best ways to communicate with search engine bots.
Internal linking: The Bridge
Simply, give the search spider a way to reach your every page and lick every information they carry. When you interlink your pages, those shape your website, it gets easier for bots or spiders to move around and thankfully, index every single interlinked page of your website. You can term the whole workaround as an SEO friendly approach for developing content and it uplifts the overall link value targeting your entire website.
First Paragraph: The first blood
Nowadays, almost all the standard CMS (content management systems) like WordPress, will tell you to put your keyword in the first paragraph preferably, in the first sentence. It’s a standard SEO practice.
There are also other SEO factors:
- Content length – not less than 300 words
- Outbound links- high value and authentic
- Ease of reading – less complicated sentences
Undeniably, like everything, SEO techniques are also getting evolved along with ever-changing Google search algorithms and with that respect, this article barely scratches the surface of the mammoth SEO world. Still, if you follow these simple and basic checkpoints, as I also do, I believe you will be on the right track.