Content Marketing for Small Businesses: How To Optimize Content For SEO

…And make sure your customers find your content every time. So, you can build trust, grow your audience; become an industry authority; and ultimately make it easy for people to do business with you.

Guide to optimize content for seo

Content is King. No doubt. However, Distribution –findability – is Queen.

It doesn’t matter how valuable your content is. It doesn’t matter how much time you spent creating the epic content either.

If no one gets to see it… if there are no eyeballs on the content.

All your efforts, those grueling, back-breaking hours spent creating the content will all be for nothing.

You don’t want that, ever.

You want your ideal audience to see your content. You want them to spend time reading it. And, to also engage – leave comments, like, and share with their friends.

Right?

Well, it all starts with making sure your customers can find the content.

How? You asked.

That’s the question, we answered in this post. Continue reading to find actionable, easy-to-take tips on how to optimize your content for SEO and make sure your ideal audience never miss any of the content you create ever again.

Optimize Content for SEO: Why Should You Care?

According to a report from Forrester, an average buyer consumes about 11.4 content before committing to any major purchase.

And in 2017, a new research revealed that only 9% of all digital ads are viewed for more than a second while 65% of those ads are not even seen at all.

That’s a truckload of money down the drain. In fact, in 2017 alone, marketers in the UK wasted over £7.2 Billion on unseen ads.

This is mind-blowing when you consider how obsessive brands are throwing money at digital ads for business growth.

Do you know, just last year, over 615 million people downloaded Ad blockers and two out of every three young person aged 20 to 39 years currently have an ad blocker installed on either their desktop or mobile devices?

This confirms that people are tired of ads. And an indication that, its time businesses leverage new channels and strategies to reach their target market.

It is not surprising then, when Havas Group came out in 2017 with a report that reveals 84% of people expect brands to create content.

To the discerning marketer, these stats are a pointer that content is the future of digital marketing. A trend supported by, 78% of CMOs.

Here’s where it starts getting interesting.

According to a study by GroupM, 86% of buyers conduct non-branded search queries before making buying decisions.

A 2016, DemandGen research shows that 95% of B2B buyers consider content to be a critical trustworthy indicator when evaluating a company.

This means, content don’t just educate customers; but also play a role in shaping their perceptions.

Now, imagine what this means for your business, if your customers always find your content whenever they search for related services/products online…

…imagine the impact on your revenue if buying customers always click on your high ranking content on search engines.

The good news; however, is that 85% of users prefer organic search results to paid searches.

Also, the average click-through-rate for content on Google’s first position is over 30%, with the top 3 positions attracting about 60% of the clicks.

Now, compare this with the meager 3.17% from Adword Paid Search.

As you can see, it makes business sense and sure going to save you tons of money in the long term to include content optimization as part of your content marketing strategy

What does it mean to Optimize Content For SEO?

In a nutshell, it means creating valuable, helpful, actionable content that rank in the top positions on search engine search result pages (SERP).

Now, what does this mean for your business?

Why Optimize Content For SEO?

Open tab viewing content optimization for seo
A guy holding a tab

Generate Easy, Cheap, Quality Leads

A study by Conductor shows that consumers who read a brand’s educational content are 131% more likely to purchase. Interestingly, 48% will still purchase even after 1 week.

So optimizing your content will help you to build a community of loyal customers.

Drive Organic Traffic to Your Business Website

A recent study with data from 97 countries covering 15,000 high-volume English searched keywords across 20 different industries reveals that the average CPC for Google Search across all industries is $2.69 per click.

This means that on average, brands pay close to $3 for single traffic. But unlike PPC, content deliver organic sustainable visits to your website.

Better, Long-term ROI

Like we just pointed out above, the average CPC for Google Search across all industries is $2.69 per click.

This is pricey when compared with the Adwords’ average conversion rate of 3.75% across all industries. This means that on average, 1000 paid clicks lead to a mere 38 conversions.

That is over $2,500 for just 38 conversions.

The implication is that a brand might struggle to stay above the waters if it doesn’t have high sale volume or average order value.

In fact, it is on record that Adwords is not right for products with an average order of below $75.

But you cannot say this about organically optimized content. In fact, 82% of marketers who blog see better ROI from their content marketing.

A Case study That Show Optimized Content is The New Marketing ‘Red Pill’

Lenovo, one of the largest manufacturers of computer hardware leveraged content marketing strategy to generate about $300 million in sales.

Their digital content hub was able to generate over 1.7 million unique web users from about 250 published content which resulted to those sales while in 2015, Lead Pages was able to generate $16 million revenue from their content efforts.

But in general, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

In 2017 PG Media forecasted, that digital-only content will replace hybrid print and digital content marketing as the largest platform in 2021 to reach $24 billion.

Technical SEO Factors To Consider For Content Optimization

A lopto, books beside -contentotimization for seo - samsteve
source: CMIdentics

Luckily, I am going to teach you everything you need to know, including how to monitor your content performance and how to use data to drive quality results.

According to a NetCraft Survey, there are over 1.8 billion websites on the world today.

That’s a massive number and unfortunately, all of these websites are competing for a space on the Google organic results.

It’s essential to note that Google considers over 200 factors when ranking pages; and you’ll find below some tips how to position your website to pass most of these requirements for a better ranking.

Minimize HTTP Redirects

Redirects send users and search engines’ bots to different URL from the one originally requested.

Too many redirecting stresses the Google bots. This is because it takes some time for search engine bots to discover a 301 redirect and recognize it.

So Google bots don’t always follow HTTP redirects over multiple hubs; this impact negatively on the SEO for your website.

If Google fails to get to your page, there is no way it is going to index it. So it is essential to avoid several redirects as much as possible.

Reduce load time

Load time is the time it takes to load your website, and according to Google, this is an important ranking factor.

Apart from this, slow loading websites lead to high bounce rate and this affects conversions adversely.

According to a study, improvement in load time from 8 to 2 seconds will increase conversion by 74% while 1-second delay could potentially cost an ecommerce site that makes $100, 000 per day sales of about $2.5 million every year.

Fortunately, it is so easy to reduce site load time and the good news is, you don’t even have to spend much especially if you are running on WordPress.

SSL Certificate

In 2015, Google started flagging websites without https as unsecured and this impacts adversely on the website’s bounce rate, another signal Google uses in ranking.

This is because high bounce rate signals to Google that a website does not have high-quality and relevant content.

Installing this certificate is not enough; make sure you redirect the Http to the Https. This will ensure your users have secured connections whenever they are browsing your website.

You might have to contact your web developer for this, but if you are running on WordPress, the plugin Really Simple SSL will do this for you automatically.

Remove low-value pages       

Low-value pages are those that are populating the search results for your brand name but are not useful to your conversion.

Use the robot.txt file to remove those pages or the No Index option in Yoast SEO plugin to block those pages.

This will reduce the number of pages Google will have to crawl on your website, but importantly,

Upload an updated Sitemap

A graph google sitemap - content optimization for seo
Source: samsteve

A sitemap makes it easier for Google bot to find and crawl your pages.

Luckily, there are couples of free tools you can use to generate this sitemap like the Yoast plugin instead of going through the rigors of writing the code.

The good thing about this plugin is that it updates automatically each time you add a new page to your website.

When you generate this sitemap, copy the link and submit to Google through the Search Console and then leave the rest for Google.

You can always go to your Google Console to see the number of your pages Google has indexed.

Ensure Your Website is Mobile-friendly

In 2018, 52.2% of worldwide website traffic came from mobile as against 0.7% in 2009.

Again, early last year Google announced the Mobile-first Indexing Policy. According to Google, they will predominately use the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking.

So a mobile-friendly website is a must.

Setup Canonical Tags

Do you know, ‘www.yourwebsite.com’ is different from yourwebsite.com’ and ‘http://yourwebsite.com’.

Even though, they return the same content, they are different versions of the same website and this creates an indexing problem for Google.

Canonical tags are used to tell Google the current version to index. Don’t forget to set this up on the https version of the website.

Implement NoFollow Tag on External Links

Google algorithm penalizes websites that are linking to malicious contents.

To be on the safer side, implement NoFollow tags on all external links. To some external parties, this act might be viewed as selfish because you are not passing the right link juice to the website you linked to.

If you are concerned about this, instead of using No Follow tags, you might consider linking only to websites that have a higher domain authority than yours.

Improve your Domain Authority

Domain Authority is a signal of how much people trust your website. Google also considers it when rankings sites.

When people link to your content, it sends a signal to Google that you are producing quality content.

To improve this, you might consider running link building campaigns. Or better still, create epic, quality content – like this one you’re reading –  people will love to link to.

Setup Google Analytics

This is not a ranking factor though, but it holds tons of data that can help you monitor the performance of your content, iterate, and optimize where necessary.

Step By step guide on how to optimize Content for SEO

Google mockup on Macbook -optimize content for seo
Source:

First, research the top ranking pages for the keywords you’re targeting

  • Enter the keywords you’re targeting in the search bar of the search engine you’re using.
  • Take note of the pages that are currently ranking in the first three positions and copy each into a Word document.

Now, here are what you should look out for:

  • Word count for each article.
  • How many times the keyword and its variations are used in each post
  • How it is spread across the content. Take note of all the related keywords that were used and the number of them.
  • Note how they used the primary keyword in the heading 1 tag and the other heading tags. Don’t forget to take note of the number of heading tags that were used in the article.
  • Check for how images were used, the title and alt tags and the number of internal and external linking.
  • Identify the gaps the contents did not cover, including those that will need further elaboration.
  • Finally, check the domain authority of the website and number of websites that are linking to the page.

Take note of all these, and make sure you pay attention to them when developing your content.

Develop a quality content that includes all the insight learned from the research

Use the insight you gathered to develop something better and comprehensive, covering all the gaps that were identified during the analysis.

Try to make your content actionable and avoid thin content. In fact, Google Panda is specifically deployed to penalize pages with thin content.

Google believes that larger content will offer in-depth knowledge than thin ones and when you look at this logically, this is true.

Studies show that the average word count for pages on Google first page is 1,890 words. So pay attention to this when developing yours.

Aside from thin contents, Google Panda also penalizes for spammy keywords, plagiarism and keyword stuffing. So avoid these.

Sprinkle your keywords and related words naturally in the content.

When developing the content, use as many related keywords as possible including all those you identified during the research. This will help Google to associate your content to the right search intent.

Use a cascading content structure

Here’s what I mean:

H1 tag > H2 > H3 > H4

  • Break your content down for easy read using heading tags.
  • Avoid using more than one H 1 tag on the same page.
  • And ensure the other H tags are properly configured. This will help Google to understand the structure of your website and index it appropriately.
  • Ensure you have at least a keyword or related keyword in one of the H2 tags and don’t overdo this.
  • Proper grammar and spelling are quality signals.
  • Ensure your content are UNIQUE.

Optimize for your local audience

If you are targeting audience within any specific location, then include that location in your title and content and Google Possum will reward you.

Google Possum tries to return search results based on the location of the searcher.

Again, go to your Google Search Console and charge the target settings from international to the country of your choice.

Local seo for content optimization

Pay attention to Google Penguin

This algorithm penalizes pages with low-quality, spammy or unnatural Backlinks.

Google understands that people sometimes buy Backlinks from vendors and they don’t want this.  So they try to hit them with Penguin.

This algorithm operates in real-time, so the punishments are meted out in real-time.

Sometimes you don’t help who links to you and Google don’t care. So it is important you pay close attention to your backlink profile because Penguin is watching.

Disavow those that appear malicious and you wouldn’t have any problem with the algorithm.

Use short URL

Instead of using /how-to-improve-your-ctr as part of your URL, you might consider using /improve-ctr.

Studies show that Google prefers a short URL to a long and complex one.

Again consider adding your primary keyword to the URL.

Don’t use topic tags if you are not sure how it works

In fact, don’t even use this because they duplicate your contents.

Topic tags just like categories are used to group different posts into similar topics, but I have seen a lot of people who erroneously think these acts as keywords, so they make the mistake of stuffing one post with many similar tags.

For instance, you might notice tags like: content optimization, optimize for google, optimize for search engine, optimize for seo.

Only use tags to organize your posts properly. If you don’t know how to use these, then avoid it entirely.

Tags as content optimization strategy
Source: Kinsta

Optimize for click-through-rates

A lot of studies have shown that CTR affects page ranking.

For instance, when people repeatedly click on the organic result on the third position more than the one on the first position, it will signal to Google that the page on the third position is more relevant and Google will swap their positions.

So it is important you optimize for click-through-rate.

Ensure that you include a Meta description tag that will encourage visitors to click through and avoid duplicating Meta description across your site at all cost.

You might also consider using schema markup. This will add rich data snippet to your organic search results.

Google search results showing metadescriptions

Leverage internal linking

Internal linking is the practice of linking to another page on your website.

But how do you leverage this to improve your ranking?

Go to your Analytics and identify pages with high traffic and low bounce rates. Use the Moz bar to filter out those with low Page Authority.

If you don’t have this Moz bar, then download it from Google Chrome Store.

Now, tweak them such that it will be possible for you to link to your new article without any break in logic. Make sure the anchor texts are not an exact match, but related keywords.

This is necessary to avoid Google Penguin’s hammer and don’t forget to add a follow tag to those links.

Optimize your images

Ensure that the images you are using are properly optimized.

Include the keywords in the image title and try to compose the alt tag such the keyword will appear also.

Don’t forget to name your file appropriately before uploading and pay attention to the image size or this will affect the page load time.

You can set up lazy loading for the images or better still, host on a CDN.

Please avoid using images that might rise up copyright issues. Google Pirate wouldn’t be happy with that.

 Use the Fetch and Render technique

It takes between 4 days to 6 months for Google to crawl any new page.

But you can use this technique to get Google to crawl your contents in a matter of minutes.

To do this,:

  • log in to your Google Console – use the old console.
  • go to Crawl and then scroll down to Fetch as Google.
  • Enter the URL of the content and then click Fetch and Render.
  • After rendering the page, then request for indexing.

Leave the rest to Google and then move to the next stage.

Easy step to get Google crawl your site

Viral sharing

Google has already told us repeatedly that social signals are not part of the ranking factors, but lots of case studies have established a high correlation between social signals and Google rank.

Leveraging social media can help promote your content and build a stronger audience and there are three ways this can help your ranking.

The more you promote your content, the higher the number of people who will find them and link to it.

Again, the promotion will lead to branded searches of your keywords, especially if you are able to distinguish yourself as an authority.

Fortunately, branded searches have higher conversion rates and if there are a hell lot of people making that branded search Google might associate you with that root keyword for your geographical location.

For instance, Google might associate you with the root keyword “massage in USA” for the branded search “XYZ message in USA”

Finally, promotion can help you to generate quality traffic from social media, and according to some SEO Experts, traffic and page dwell time affects ranking.

Now, what next?

Go ahead now, use the information here and optimize your content.

We are also available to help you Optimize the content on your website.

Send us a Message today let’s talk about how we can help your business.

Email: Info@samsteve.com

Chat me on Whatsapp

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