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The Complete Guide to Content Optimization Strategies in 2022

Soniya Khubchandani

July 26, 2022

You work hard on your content, so it always stings when you don’t get the results you want.

Similarly, it feels incredibly gratifying when your content delivers on its promise.

The question is, why doesn’t all your content hit the mark?

While there can be any number of reasons why your content falls short, most of them relate to your optimization practices.

The good news? There are a few surefire tips and tricks you can use to optimize your content for success.

This guide will cover a massive list of content optimization strategies to maximize your content's ROI.

Let us get started.

What is content optimization? A working definition

Content optimization is the practice of tuning a content piece to maximize its chances of meeting its intended goals, like ranking #1 for a target keyword.

It is one of the critical components of a comprehensive content marketing program.

Types of content optimization

We’ll classify content optimization based on two primary parameters:

  • Optimization goal
  • Optimization time

Types of content optimization based on optimization goal

Every piece of content should be optimized for a certain performance goal. 

Our content analysis guide mentioned three primary performance metrics: reach, engagement, and conversions.

Here are the content optimization types based on this classification:

Content optimization for "reach metrics"

The purpose of these optimization activities is to maximize the visibility of your content. 

For example, reach metrics might refer to the number of page views on a blog post.

Content optimization for "engagement metrics"

These optimization activities aim to maximize engagement with the content, such as the number of social shares a blog post gets.

Content optimization for "conversion metrics"

These optimization activities aim to maximize the conversions attributed to the content. 

One example of conversion metrics would be the number of newsletter signups that result from a certain blog post.

Types of content optimization based on optimization time

You can optimize your content for better performance both before and after you publish it.

This idea begets two content optimization types:

Pre-publishing content optimization 

This includes all optimization activities that you complete before publishing your content. 

For example, think of optimizing your meta title, URL, and H1 tag for your target SEO keyword.

Post-publishing content optimization

This includes all optimization activities you carry out after your content is published. 

One example of post-publishing content optimization would be updating a published post every 3 months to keep the information accurate and up to date. Another would be building backlinks to improve your Google search ranking.

Please note that certain optimization activities can be done both before and after publishing, such as adding alt text to blog post images.

Every content type has its own optimization practices

It is essential to understand that there is no universal content optimization playbook that applies to all content. Your content might be a blog post, a social post, an email, or even a YouTube video.

Every content type will have its own optimization best practices.

For the sake of simplicity, we will focus this guide on blog post optimization. 

What makes content optimization so integral to a successful content marketing program?

Here are a few good reasons why content optimization is a worthwhile effort.

Faster results

No content piece will deliver results immediately after it is published. Some posts may yield results earlier, and some posts may fail badly. 

By following good optimization practices, you can reduce the time it takes to reap the benefits of your savvy content strategy and save some content from failing because of small mistakes.

For example, it’s wise to have a dedicated SEO keyword for every blog post. This will help you nail down proper on-page optimization before hitting publish, resulting in faster organic search traffic.

Maximize ROI

Creating content is costly. Companies choose to invest in content marketing because they believe that the profits will far outweigh the cost of content creation.

You can generate more revenue from every piece of content and maximize content ROI with better optimization.

For example, a simple meta title optimization can improve the Google search results CTR for a top-converting page, resulting in more traffic and ultimately more conversions.

Stay competitive

Every business with a successful content marketing strategy has a few top-performing content pieces responsible for the majority of their content-driven ROI.

However, this performance is vulnerable to decay if you don’t consistently maintain and optimize the content. For instance, if your competitor outranks your top-ranking page, this will lead to a decline in traffic.

A strong content optimization plan can ensure you stay at the top of the search results and keep a leg up over the competition.

For example, Salesforce has maintained the top ranking for the keyword "what is CRM" for years. 

Considering that this is a highly competitive and valuable keyword, it is bound to be challenged by other search competitors. Still, the marketing team at Salesforce has held on to their position firmly.

One optimization strategy they seem to have applied successfully to this content is consistently building high-quality backlinks.

Salesforce landing page ranking #1 in Google search for the keyword "what is CRM"

Adapt to platform changes

Competing companies aren’t the only thing that can disrupt your position. Sometimes, a platform update or algorithm change can affect your content's performance.

For example, since Google made page speed a ranking factor for search results, many slow website pages have declined in the rankings. Experienced marketers, however, embraced this change and prioritized website performance enhancement in order to adapt to the changes.

Leverage data to improve performance

One great thing about online content marketing is its utility for collecting valuable data. Once a content piece is published, it generates data from day one. 

Smart marketers leverage this technically free data to draw insights and make more informed business decisions.

For example, if you have Google Search Console correctly set up on your website, you will find actual search queries any given page is ranking for. This information can be used to identify the primary keyword you are getting traction on and optimize around that.

How to create a solid content optimization plan

Before we jump into our list of blog content optimization strategies, let us first learn to create a content optimization plan for your content marketing program. 

We’ve broken it down into the most important steps below. 

Decide what type of content you want to optimize

As we mentioned earlier, your content optimization practices will apply to a particular content type. This means your first step should be deciding what kind of content you want to optimize. Only then should you create your plan.

Define your key performance metrics for the content type

Defining your key performance metrics will give you clear targets for optimizing your content. Without knowing these, you may waste time on unnecessary actions that have little impact.

For example, if your primary KPI is organic search traffic for the blog, you should make SEO optimization a top priority.

Create a pre-publishing optimization checklist

Build a list of optimization activities you will carry out before publishing any content. The list we share in this guide will give you plenty of options to pick from.

Create a post-publishing optimization checklist

After you publish, you should also have a list of optimization actions you’ll need to take to improve your content performance. 

Define team roles

Assign different tasks to different team members based on their skill sets and responsibilities. 

For example, the content marketing manager can be responsible for defining the metrics and conducting review meetings.

Revise your plan periodically based on results

Remember: Your plan is not set in stone. After you publish, it’s important to track your results and make changes based on what you learn. These changes can be made every few months to ensure relevance.

For example, you may update the plan with a new checklist item to boost social shares.

How to optimize your content: 15 content optimization strategies for an SEO-focused blog post

Browse this list of optimization techniques for an SEO-focused blog post to boost your reach, engagement, and conversion metrics.

Optimize for featured snippets

Featured snippets are bits of information displayed at the top of Google's search results. They answer the search query by finding relevant content from top-ranking pages.

If your page is already ranking on the first page for a search query with a featured snippet, you have a decent shot at claiming the snippet result. Getting your page featured in the top snippet can significantly boost your branding and unlock other benefits.

Here are a few ways you can optimize your already-ranking page for the featured snippet:

  • Frame your blog sections as direct answers to questions
  • Format your content well
  • Don't use long URLs
  • Add a date and keep your content updated

Improve internal linking

Blog interlinking example

Internal linking is one of the most powerful SEO strategies within your control. 

Every new blog post you publish should "link to" and "link from" other pages on your website.

Here are some good interlinking practices:

  • Use short and relevant anchor text to add links
  • Link to relevant pages to expand on the current topic
  • Link from pages that have a healthy external link profile
  • Create topical clusters using interlinks

Build quality backlinks

Backlink profile data of a blog post pulled using Ahrefs free backlink checker tool

Building external backlinks is much more challenging than internal linking, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

Backlinks are one of the most important Google ranking signals, and a strong backlink profile can significantly boost a page's rankings.

Every SEO-focused blog post should ideally have some quality external links to it.

Here are a few actionable tips for building backlinks to a blog post:

  • Do active link outreach
  • Do guest posting
  • Boost page traffic through paid ads
  • Promote the page on social media

Enhance page speed

Sample page speed test results in PageSpeed Insights tool

Page loading time is another important ranking signal that can be optimized to secure an SEO boost and improve user experience.

You should regularly audit your pages for speed issues and have a developer fix them to ensure the best results.

Core Web Vitals offer an objective to understand, diagnose and improve website performance.

Define your focus keywords

Defining focus keyword for a page using RankMath SEO plugin in WordPress editor

Every blog post you produce should have a clearly defined target keyword set to optimize for. Without a clear keyword goal, you will waste a lot of resources creating content that doesn't get much search traffic.

This will simplify tracking your rankings against your focus keywords and optimizing content to improve SEO performance.

Besides, page-by-page keyword mapping for your entire website helps avoid keyword cannibalization issues, saving you from creating conflicting content and helping you maintain an SEO-friendly site structure.

Cover semantic keywords to improve content comprehensiveness

Terms to cover suggested by on-page optimization tool like MarketMuse

In addition to your target keywords, your page content should also include terms that are semantically related to the search query.

The better you do this, the more comprehensive your content will be. For example, if you are writing a blog post on the topic "what is cryptocurrency," it should also cover terms like "bitcoin" and "blockchain."

Match search intent

Example of a listicle-type content search intent 

Search intent matching helps make sure the searcher sees the content they were expecting for their query. 

For example, when someone searches for the "best work-from-home chairs," they are looking for content that lists multiple options with reviews and comparisons.

Looking at the first page of search results is an easy way to understand what kind of content might work best for a particular query.

You should align your content closely with the query's intent to maximize the chances of ranking high.

Add images

A study establishing a correlation between images and organic traffic
Source

Your blog content is much more than blocks of text.

Adding images to your blog is a proven way to improve audience engagement with your content. 

In-line visuals also help break content into digestible sections and add depth to the narrative to keep the reader interested.

Here are some tips for adding images to your blog post:

  • Make images contextually relevant
  • Optimize image file size before adding 
  • Add relevant alt text to help with image SEO and accessibility
  • Maintain a consistent design style
  • Give credit to the source where due

Add video/s

Example of adding video in a blog

Videos are an excellent way to make your blog more engaging and interactive. Articles with videos are much more likely to receive shares, backlinks, and organic traffic than those that don't use any.

One great way to include videos in your blog content is to embed them from your YouTube channel. This way, you will be able to grow both your content hubs by leveraging each platform’s strengths.

Make it easy to share

Easy to access share buttons in a blog post

Social sharing can get your blog post more reach and engagement.

If you have published a high-quality blog post, some readers will naturally be inclined to share it with others.

Social media channels offer a seamless way to share this information with a wider audience.

By adding easy-to-access social sharing buttons, you can make it simple for motivated readers to share the link in their networks.

Here are some tips for sharing your blog post:

  • Make social sharing buttons visible
  • Add multiple sharing options
  • Show share count to add social proof
  • Explicitly ask readers at the end of the blog to share

Rewrite meta titles and descriptions based on data

Average CTR data in Google Search Console

After your blog ranks, you will begin collecting clicks, impressions, and click-through-rate data from its search appearance using Google Search Console.

Firstly, you should monitor the average CTR of the page and aim to get it above the overall average.

This can be done by optimizing the meta titles and descriptions that searchers see before they click on a result.

For example, update your existing meta title and description with new copy and monitor the results after a set period of time. If the click-through rate increases, the changes worked. Otherwise, keep trying.

The best thing about this optimization technique is that it is relatively easy to execute and delivers a healthy spike in search traffic.

Tips for writing compelling meta titles and descriptions:

  • Match search intent
  • Include target keywords
  • Keep titles short to avoid being truncated
  • Include social proof elements in your description
  • Make them specific to the topic

Pro Tip: Write click-worthy meta descriptions with this free yet powerful meta description generator and catchy, SEO-optimized titles with this free blog headline generator.

Improve content structure and formatting

Example of a well-structured and formatted content section in a blog

Your content is not read in HTML — it needs to be well-organized and formatted to improve comprehension with the minimum cognitive load.

Here are some valuable tips to make your content easy to consume:

  • Include a table of contents
  • Right clear headings
  • Use bullets
  • Remove fluff
  • Avoid large sentences
  • Use line breaks
  • Add images
  • Proofread well

Pro Tip: Rewrite sentences to improve readability with this free AI-powered sentence rewriter.

Improve CTA copy and placements

Example of CTA at the end of a blog post

A top-performing blog converts well.

When publishing a blog article, adding quality call-to-actions (CTAs) is a must to encourage readers to take the desired actions.

Here are some tips for writing CTAs that convert:

  • Add one CTA at the end of the blog
  • Make the request relevant to the buyer's journey
  • Use visuals to highlight your CTA
  • Add persuasive CTA copies
  • Experiment with placement and design
  • Make in-line CTAs contextual to the content around it

Show your product in action

Example of inserting own product into a how-to blog

Product-led growth has become a powerful organic strategy to acquire new customers. The concepts can be applied to your blog content as well.

For example, if your product is a browser-based video editing software, you can create a how-to video and explain the steps using your product.

This is a natural way to showcase your product in action without selling it to your audience directly.

Add relevant screenshots or videos with a link to the product trial landing page to drive conversions from this content.

Update content for accuracy and completeness

Last updated date mentioned on a blog post
Link to blog

This is one of the most important content optimization tasks for blogs featuring information that may change over time. 

For example, this blog on the topic "social media image sizes" has been kept up to date to reflect changes in social media platform media policies.

If you fail to update your content, your audience may find it inaccurate and bounce back to browse another result. This will also damage your credibility as a reliable resource.

Here are some tips to keep your content up to date:

  • Define your update cycle; every 3-6 months is a reasonable time
  • Add a "last updated" date to your blog
  • Update stats and data references
  • Update with more relevant examples

Closing notes

Content optimization is an opportunity to give every piece of content you publish the best chance of success.

It starts with the decisions you make before publishing your post all the way to what you do to keep it thriving after it is made online.

Make optimization an integral part of your content marketing workflows and get more out of your efforts.

If you need to update the content at scale, AI-powered copywriting tools from Copy.ai can make the process faster and more efficient.

Give it a free try now and scale your content optimization tasks.

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