Did you know that the first result on a Google search collects about 32% of user clicks?
Pretty great, right? So, how exactly can you land that top position for your brand and start taking advantage of high click-through rates? By optimizing your content for SEO.
When it comes down to it, both SEO and social media content need to be in tip-top condition every single time. Fortunately, we’re here to share exactly how to optimize your content for the best results.
Follow along to discover the content marketing secrets you need to know to beat the Google algorithm and land those treasured top positions.
Put People Before Bots
While this may sound counter-intuitive, perhaps the most important part of a successful content marketing strategy is to prioritize real people reading your content.
At the end of the day, even if your URLs have a high ranking factor, they won’t gain you any business if they aren’t interesting, entertaining, and of value to your audience. So before you start playing around with tricks and cheeky ways to rank, ensure your content is always of the highest quality for real people.
Beyond the benefit this has for your audience, the Google algorithm is actually set up to prioritize the customer experience. While shortcuts may work temporarily, after high bounce rates and low user satisfaction, poor-quality content will actually be penalized in the long run.
Research Your Keywords
Now that we’ve got our priorities straight, it’s time to get into the logistics of SEO content.
Before you tackle any copywriting, you’ll first need to know what your target keywords should be. Unfortunately, this takes a little more work than pulling random phrases out of your head.
While brainstorming is a great place to start, you’ll want to take some time to google each keyword and have a look at what kind of results are coming up. Are they relevant to your brand or are they a bit of a stretch for your customer base?
Using keyword research tools and checking up on your competition’s keyword usage is also a great way to determine what to use and what to avoid.
Don’t forget to consider user intent when choosing your keywords as well as to include a range of content that guides customers through your carefully curated sales funnel.
Now that you know what keywords you are targeting, it’s time to properly place them throughout your content for SEO.
Your primary keyword should have a star appearance in your page title, H1 heading, and in the first 100 words of your content. For longer content, sprinkle this keyword throughout to hit at least one H2 or H3 heading and the conclusion.
Be sure to only place your keywords where they sound natural and fluid and avoid overstuffing at all costs. While packing your article with repeated phrases to get all of your keywords in sounds beneficial, it’s actually quickly flagged by Google and penalized accordingly.
Optimize Your Title Tag
This is a step that is often forgotten that can actually make a large difference to your SEO performance.
Your title tag or page title is what will appear at the top of the browser or on a tab if multiple windows are open. While this may not seem all that important, it plays a role in helping Google determine what your content is about.
For this reason, you’ll want to keep it short, descriptive, and accurate with your primary keyword as early in the title as possible.
Meta Description Madness
Believe it or not, your meta description is not a list of keywords. This description is another tool that the Google algorithm will use to index and rank your content.
This description should be short and sweet while being as accurate as possible. Since these descriptions often feature on the results page, be sure to make it interesting and intriguing for your reader. And of course, a keyword or two in this section is never a bad idea.
As your structure your content, keep your headings as SEO-friendly as possible.
There are a couple of ways to do this. First, you should generally only have one H1 heading per page. This is your title and as we mentioned above will feature your primary keyword. From here work downwards with H2 headings for main topics followed by H3 headers for sub-topics.
Keep your content looking balanced by limiting the amount of text under each heading to less than 300 words.
Next, you’ll want to feature a mix of your target keywords throughout these headers with both long and short tail phrases. This will turn up more accurate results when users type in questions or ask their virtual assistants for results.
Pay close attention to your Google Analytics to see which of these keyword types performs best for your company for future content.
Include Internal and External Links
Links contribute a substantial amount to your ranking factor by giving Google’s bots a path to follow to find, crawl, and index new content. They also help to link your content to reputable sites to raise your own online authority.
Your linking strategy should combine the benefits of leading people through your own content with added value from external sites.
This will help to build a relationship history with those high-ranking pages and boost your credibility with Google’s crawler bots. Just remember to try to keep your external links to non-competitors so as not to send your hard-earned audience elsewhere!
Keep your audience engaged and interested with images that are relevant to your content and eye-catching.
Mix it up with infographics, video, and branded images to draw your readers’ eye through your content and keep them interested for longer.
As you post your images, don’t forget to title and tag them with your target keywords for that content. These are another clue for Google to index and rank! Keep the titles short and descriptive as your users will be able to see them in the bottom corner when they scroll their mouse over the image.
Content Marketing and SEO
Now that you know how to boost your SEO with these content updates, it’s time to start creating. From producing sharable and interesting content to enhancing your pages with well-placed keywords, these tips and tricks are sure to boost your rank and satisfy the search engine.
Feeling overwhelmed with SEO marketing? Get in touch with us today to discover how we use SEO and Social Media to elevate your brand and earn you the traffic you deserve!