What is Content Optimization?
“We can elaborate content optimization as enhancing the piece of writing to the level where the audience can get maximum value out of it.”
We write content for a variety of reasons. It may be for a personal journal, publicizing any information on the internet, or for monetizing the content using affiliate marketing and third-party Ads services.
Writing great engaging content on your website would bring a flood of visitors and ultimately help in the branding. That great content is only possible by optimizing it properly for the end-user; “the reader”. Without further ado, let’s dive deeper into different content optimization tips.
5 Tips To Optimize Your Content
1) Proper research above everything
The one writing the content must have sound knowledge of the subject. This ensures error-free writing and an elevated user experience.
The knowledgeable writer also can convey the message in the least possible words. This way, we can write economical content full of meaningful insights.
We can make use of the internet, books, or journals to complete the research
2) Audience doesn't read, they scan
Unlike book readers, people reading content on the internet have the habit of scanning through the whole content. They read books for leisure but browse on the internet to solve a particular problem.
Rather than reading word by word, they have the habit of skimming through the content — to find the information required to solve their problem.
If we notice here in this very blog post, the paragraphs are extremely short. We have tried to explain only one idea at a time.
This is to assist the scanning audience in gaining the quick insight they are looking for. It won't make any difference for the audience going through it in full depth.
Long paragraphs are to be avoided at any cost to enhance the readability of the content.
3) Use of systematic writing strategy
Our content optimization should start with a descriptive overview, giving a glimpse of what the article would deliver.
Sometimes the reader can decide whether he wants to continue reading, simply by viewing the overview. It would save precious time for readers who might be looking for different niches of information.
If you can notice, this content got key points summarized in the beginning. A detailed description has followed it. We can use this strategy whenever we are writing to describe key points.
Using proper heading and subheadings would help readers scan the article. Without even reading the sentence, it can inform the reader about what it is going to be.
The concluding paragraphs are another key factor for writing structured content. It would also give that important wrap-up of the entire work.
4) Understanding the end-user needs
Our audience would have certain intent and needs with which they decide to view our content. Our content should reflect the effort to match those needs.
Writers, being creative people, can quickly drift away from the main subject line. Having the proper space for creativity, the content optimization should still try to be precise about what it is trying to deliver.
Grammatically sound content is another important aspect here. If the reader notices grammatical and typing errors, the website would quickly lose credibility.
Using stock images gives that visually appealing appearance to the content. It also helps to make the context clear in instances. But if we overuse it, it would be a waste of precious internet bandwidth for the reader.
Last, it is a commonly accepted standard for content writers to make the content understandable for an 8th grader. We can achieve this with the use of simpler words and shorter sentences.
5. Referencing other quality content
If we explain every single subject inside our content in a broader manner, quickly it would lose its preciseness. To meet the needs of the end-user, we must not deviate from our core subject.
But we must also consider the occasional wants of readers for additional information on the subject. Referencing is used to address this dilemma.
Whenever you intend to just briefly touch a topic; find other reputable sources that have covered the topic to the fullest depth. Then we can place hyperlinks on their website wherever possible. This way, the reader would gain that valuable insight by following the link.
Four Additional Tips for Writing Content
To produce an exceptional piece of writing, there must be added 4 essential ingredients: simplicity, clarity, beauty, and evocativeness. Let’s know them better.
Simplicity here means writing content, which is easily understandable for a reader without the use of complicated words, repetition, and stray thoughts.
It is also about writing as economically as possible — Every word, sentence, paragraph, and punctuation mark should be there only when it is absolutely needed.
Let me illustrate it better with an example. I would first write a sentence in a complicated manner and later simplify it. Hope you can feel the difference:
I am a highly motivated person who makes the internet a better place by developing websites that are highly dynamic and powerful. Hope you find me useful enough to include in your company.
I am a web developer and want to work in your company.
Please don’t take the illustration in a literal sense to use in your writing practice. But notice that the simpler version has fewer words and goes straight to the point.
Clarity is all about expressing your ideas out loud with precision. What is the use of a long article which isn’t clear about what it is trying to express?
One way to enhance clarity is by avoiding the use of words or sentences that may impart multiple meanings.
For eg; a sentence :
- The older students of mine are coming tonight
This sentence has two meanings. The older students here can mean students who are older in age or those who are studying for longer periods of time.
We can solve this using:
To denote students who are old in age :
- The old-age students of mine are coming tonight
To denote students who are studying for longer periods of time:
- The students who have been with me for a long time are coming tonight.
Another aspect that can enhance clarity is by avoiding writing sentences that are missing links. Let me illustrate what missing links mean, with a sentence :
- The downfall of the pashmina export has caused the government revenue to plunge down.
This sentence may seem normal at a glance, but looking closely, it isn’t. The sentence is trying to establish a link between two happenings: the downfall of the pashmina export and low government revenue, but it is not clear on how they are linked.
To solve this, we could rewrite the sentence this way:
- Because of the downfall in pashmina exports, the exporters are paying less tax — which has caused the government revenue to plunge down.
The missing link here is: the exporters are paying less tax. When we include this into our sentence, it is absolutely clear about what it is trying to convey.
This ingredient is all about taking care of minor details in your writing as an artist would and making it elegant.
Essentially, the writing should have a certain flow in it to create beauty. Every sentence should link to another sentence in a flow. The transitions from paragraphs to paragraphs should have the same rhythm.
Also, the writing should have certain style rules in place. Would you capitalize on the first letter of every word or only the first letter of the first word of every sentence? How would you write a country name: like “Germany” or “germany”. However you decide, consistently use it throughout the writing. This would unify the writing and create a presentational beauty.
Finally, you may also consider reversing the sentence when necessary. For example, the following sentence: As the widget size was given static values regardless of the type of devices, I changed them to make it responsive as per display size.
There we can write the same sentence another way around. Likely as:
I changed the values for widget size to make it responsive as per display size, as it was previously static regardless of the size of the devices.
It's great to have this tool in your bucket to create a variation when dealing with these kinds of sentences.
Evocativeness is a mystical ingredient in writing. It makes it thrilling and arouses emotions in the reader. We may find articles once in a while which can throw us off the chair and motivate us to do certain actions. We can recreate this by including a few tools at our disposal while writing. Let's group these into points:
Diversity in writing:
Try to use unique words every time in your writing or find the synonyms for them. Only repeat the word as the last resort.
Avoiding passive voice:
Passive voice - The dress was worn by Samir.
Active voice - Samir wore the dress.
Here the subject is Samir and action is wearing a dress. Passive voice makes the sentence unclear by putting the action into focus. Active voice, on the contrary, puts the subject first and places action afterward. Active voice also uses fewer words than passive voice. After you grasp this, you may find a few occasions on your writing journey to use passive voice. You may occasionally use passive voice for style or to break the monotony. So writing in an active voice is a great tool for you to write well.
Trigger vivid imagination of reader:
Your sentences should be able to put the imagination of the reader into action. We can achieve this by demonstrating certain sentences as people performing an action because it's what we see. For an example:
A sentence like - Concerning the attendance of staff, a fingerprint scanner is to be attended.
Can be rewritten into - Staff should use the fingerprint scanner for attendance.
The latter sentence can stimulate imagination in the reader about how the action is to be performed.
What is content optimization on SEO?
Earlier, in this writing, content optimization was about making the content optimized for human readers.
Whereas, Content optimization in SEO means planning, writing, and uploading the content onto the internet, in a way that a search engine can easily interpret, understand, and make it available for the highest number of targeted audience possible.
How to plan our content for SEO?
First, we should know what phrases are people searching on the internet in the niche we would be writing. It is for deciding the topic we would write about. Google keyword planner is a great tool to know more about keywords and the search volume.
We use this method to make sure the title of our content is actually what our readers want to know. It makes no sense to write for keywords that people don't search for.
If you own a second-hand car dealership, phrases like buy a second-hand car or a second-hand car dealership near me might be an interesting keyword for you.
Hop into keyword planner, and input these keywords to find out the number of searches it gets in a month. If the search volume seems satisfactory enough, you can choose that phrase as a base for your writing.
Let's assume you chose “Buy a second-hand car” as a topic for your writing. Now let’s move on to writing for SEO.
How to write our content for SEO?
If I must summarize this section into a single sentence, it would be: The best way to write content optimized for SEO is to deliver content that is of unmatchable quality.
Search engines go through each webpage on the internet and try to emulate how a human reader would read it. So, writing content that is optimized for human readers, is ultimately the content optimized for SEO too.
Other tips here can be, using the phrases of the People Also Ask and Related searches section of the search engines and blend the answers for those questions into your content. This way search engines would also recommend your web page when a search occurs for related keywords to your major topic.
How to upload the content to optimize for SEO?
In HTML, which is the standard markup language of the web, there are provisions of heading from Heading 1 (H1) to Heading 6 (H6). These denote different heading with different levels of importance, where H1 is the heading with the highest importance and H6 is with the least. Structure your content in line with this understanding before uploading to help the search engines understand your content properly.
Also use of proper meta description is crucial here. It helps search engines know what your webpage is about. It would also appear as a description of your webpage in the search result. Users may decide either to click or not to click on your webpage by looking at this very description. So make sure the meta tags you use would describe the content accurately.
Lastly, make the URL of the webpage in line with the title of the content. So if your website is https://www.thereviewerguy.com and you wrote content about “Review of iPhone 12”, the URL to the content should be similar to: https://www.thereviewerguy.com/review-of-iphone-12
Here we first looked into what is content optimization and elaborated on tips to achieve so. Content optimization is the fundamental requirement for blogging and marketing. We then expanded ourselves to content optimization on SEO. If we infuse these ingredients, our writing would be distinct from the crowd of unorganized and cluttered writing we encounter every day. The last tip — don’t repeat the word “unorganized” and “uncluttered” like I have done in the previous sentences as they impart similar meaning; either the word unorganized was suitable or cluttered, but not both at the same time. This information would be useful in your journey as a content creator and help you stand out.