If you’ve been following us so far, you’ve done all the hard work of creating a content strategy that works. You’ve discovered the content that works for your brand, honed in on your target audience, and found your voice and tone. Now, you’re ready to go!
While you’ve got the content down, there’s one last thing you need to implement: content optimization. Optimization is about making your content easier to find online. This can be a tricky balance: you need to do some optimization so your content is findable and polished, but you don’t want to go down a rabbit hole and lose hours on refining and tweaking.
Think of it like this: content is for people, and optimization is for search engines. You want both parties to be happy so that audiences can discover your content but it’s still readable and helpful to them once they do. Help search engines display the content you worked so hard on with these optimization strategies.
Build better internal links
Internal links are links you put into your content that take the reader to another page on your site. This is an easy way to get more traffic to different web pages on your site and boost your ranking on Google. Plus, it improves the user experience because readers easily find more relevant information to their original search topic. It also helps them trust your brand when they see your wealth of knowledge on the subject.
When linking internally, follow these rules of thumb:
- Create a list of relevant internal articles to link to when you write so you can spread them out evenly throughout the content
- Only include relevant links—linking to random pages on your site will only hurt your page ranking
- Use relevant anchor text, ideally with appropriate keywords, so Google can analyze the link quickly
- Check and update existing pages periodically so that internal links remain relevant
Nail down your headers and headlines
How you structure your content is almost as important as what you put in it.
Every piece of content should be divided into readable chunks using headlines. Use H2s, H3s, and H4s to outline your articles in advance, so they create a smooth flow to your article that’s easy to read for people and search engines alike.
When writing headlines, stick to these best practices:
- Use keywords when relevant in your headlines, but don’t overdo it, and make sure it always sounds natural
- Create numbered lists to drive up views and entice readers
- Organize headers logically, starting with the most important information and cascading down to the least important
Craft a compelling headline
Headlines are often what grabs your reader’s attention first, so make them count! But writing headlines? It can be an art form. Consider the following tips:
- Tease the value of your content to incentivize your readers to click through
- Make sure your headline includes your target keywords
- Don’t promise something the article isn’t going to deliver
- Keep your headline easy to understand
- Consider how the headline will look on different platforms (web browser, mobile, social media, etc.)
If you’ve ever Googled something and the answer was given to you at the top of the search engine results page in a box, then you’ve seen firsthand the benefits of a snippet. Snippets in articles can be a bulleted list, a dropdown, a quote, or a short, standalone paragraph. If you can answer a person’s problem fast, that’s a surefire way for them to trust your brand or become more interested in your content.
While you can’t make Google turn your content into a snippet, you can increase the likelihood that Google will capture snippets from your content when you follow these guidelines:
- Format the sentences so it answers a single question that people would frequently search
- Write a snippet as a table if the information would be best digested by the reader this way
- Create detailed, concise sentences that are less than 300 characters in total
- Break up the content with images, paragraph breaks, or videos so that Google can easily pull the content
There are a handful of technical elements that you need to structure correctly to ensure that search engines can crawl them. Read through these technical elements, and don’t be afraid to outsource for help.
Meta descriptions are the HTML verbiage that provides a description of the web page for search engines to use. This appears directly beneath your web page when it pops up on a search results page and should be a maximum of 160 characters.
This five-part structure includes the:
- Root domain
- Article permalink
Use clear URL structures that makes it easy for people and search engines to understand your content. For example, the URL structure below obviously shows that you’re reading a blog from Clearview Social about employee advocacy content strategy.
Search engines don’t understand what an image looks like unless you tell them. Alt text does just that: it’s HTML code that outlines what an image is and why it’s on your page.
This information can be used by screen readers and read aloud for the visually impaired, and if the image for some reason can’t load on the page because of a slow connection, the alt text will be shown instead.
When writing alt text, include 125 characters or less and use keywords when possible.
When uploading any images or videos to your sites, you want to optimize the file name to make it easier for search engines to understand. Accurately describe what the image or video is about before uploading rather than using the random numbers generated by your camera or phone.
Visuals like images are a great way to break up your content and give clarity to the reader. In fact, Facebook posts with images receive double the engagement of those without. However, if an image causes your page to load slowly or makes the text more difficult to read, then you’re only hurting your website by including it.
When adding images to your content, follow these rules:
- Use descriptive alt tags with keywords so that if the image doesn’t load, readers can still understand the content
- Implement image tags so that when the reader scrolls over an image, a small box of text appears that tells them what the image means—this helps the reader and search engines understand what’s going on in the visual
- Make sure the file size has been adjusted so that it looks right next to the text
- Choose the correct level of compression so that the image loads quickly and doesn’t cause your website to run slowly
Run content audits
Information moves fast, and something you wrote two years ago may not be relevant today. To ensure that all of your internal links are linking to something helpful, you’ll need to perform content audits every six months.
To run content audits, first, identify which KPIs are most important for evaluating content success—for example, are you looking for page visits? Click-throughs? Time on page?
Once you’ve identified this information, you can create KPIs and find out which pieces of content aren’t performing the best. Then, update those pieces with more relevant titles and add improved keywords.
For example, if you had a piece that was about the best practice management software for 2020, change it to 2023 and bring in newer, more relevant software tools that have come out since the original article.
These audits let you put your best foot forward with search engines and readers, and help you create new content more easily by rewriting items and adding more relevant information.
Run content audits easily with Clearview Social
Clearview Social’s robust employee advocacy software includes business intelligence features that outline what content works for your brand and what doesn’t. Run content audits using our customizable analytics dashboard. Look at which content is no longer performing well on search engines and use the techniques outlined in this article to get back on Google’s first page.
Clearview also offers robust social sharing tools to make the most of your content strategy, including:
- One-click email sharing: send an email full of pre-approved content that your employees can share in seconds
- Article queue builders: copy and paste links to create posts in advance
- PeakTime™ AI: an algorithm that knows the best time to post online for your target audience
Ensure your content remains top-notch for people and search engines alike! Schedule a free demo with Clearview Social today.