As you probably already know, [optimized] website content and search engine optimization go hand-in-hand. There are a variety of tactics that website owners can use to ensure that the content on their website is top notch and doing its job. SEO optimized content is all about directing search engine traffic to your website—users who are looking for what you’re offering. The hope is that once those visitors get to your website and browse through your pages that they will love what you have to offer and convert into a sale.
But optimized content is much more than writing content that is stuffed with keywords in order bring in some traffic, it’s about creating high quality content for search engines and for people. This concept is one of the biggest challengers for bloggers and content marketers—writing content that is optimized for search engines (without stuffing keywords) and that will appeal to people.
Regardless of what type of business you run, thriving in your online business means that you will need to go above and beyond just writing content. Your content needs to accomplish two goals: it should appeal to the end user such as customers, clients, prospects and readers, and solve a particular problem. Achieving these goals and also ranking well with Google is essentially what SEO copywriting is all about.
SEO is when you research keywords, select a particular keyword and use that keyword to write rock solid content. Google displays web pages in their search results based on the authority and relevance of the page, so in order to measure a website’s authority and relevance, Google will analyze your content based on several factors such as where and how often you use words in that piece of content. Google measures authority by the number of links that are pointing to that page and how trustworthy those links are.
Simply put, on the Internet links are like votes—but with a slight difference. The winner of the election is determined solely by the number of votes, whereas your websites rank doesn’t depend so much on how many incoming links it has (quality) but rather on the quality of those. This is where a content inventory and audit will come in, but before we talk about that, it’s important to understand copywriting.
Solid, optimized content is all about creating content that prompts the reader/end user to either buy a product, subscribe to a list, take a test drive or take some other type of action that will benefit them. That said, no matter what you are trying to sell or achieve with your website, high-quality content is the first step to the success of your website.
The image below shows the components of Google’s ranking algorithm.
Before we continue on and talk about creating useful, compelling and valuable content for both search engines and people, it’s important that yousee just how search engines see your website. To do this, you will need to open your browser and select ‘view source’. Viewing this will allow you to see just how search engines digest your webpages. Unlike people who are able to see the style and design of your site as well as the content, search bots don’t see any visual aspects of your website.
For SEO purposes, every page of content will need to have a unique theme as well as several ingredients in place including, but not limited to:
H1 and H2 tags that support the theme of the page
Keyword density of the main theme of the page in the 5% range
Hyperlinks from the main theme of the page to other relevant pages
Human readable URL that also contains the main keywords from the page
Clear and concise title tags with a distinct theme such as “sitemap generator”
All of the above are SEO 101 guidelines—guidelines that really need to be followed in order for your content to be optimized for search. While there are many more advanced guidelines for an SEO strategy it is next to impossible to list them all in this article. Now, I’d like to talk a little bit about writing for humans as this ties into your website as a whole, content inventory’s and audits, as well as search engine optimization.
SEO copywriting is all about creating useful, compelling and valuable content that targets specific keywords so that other people will promote it on social media platforms. This increases the authority and relevance of your content and improves its ranking in Google for selected keywords. Additionally, when writing for humans it is important to keep how people search at the forefront of your mind.
99% of the time an online search is really all about questions and answers, and helping people find solutions to problems. For example, if someone is interested in finding the nearest Apple Store in their area they would write something like, ‘Apple Store Lakeview Chicago’ or ‘Brooklyn Apple Store’. Or, for instance, if someone is looking for natural cures for insomnia they might use the search phrase, ‘natural insomnia remedies’. After typing this phrase into the search box, a list of answers based on that search will pop up and the person who is searching will likely click on the answer that is ranked on the first or second page.
So, in addition to ensuring that your content is high quality and optimized for search engines, your content should also be focused on answering questions for internet users—helping to solve problems through providing correct and relevant information on a specific topic. Google is amazing at what they do, which is one reason why they are constantly changing. Because of these changes, older methods—even white hat SEO strategies—are old. Today, it’s all about rewarding site visitors and potential customers and clients with top-notch content that is meaningful, informative and relevant. Search engines won’t penalize a website for this type of high quality content; a website will be rewarded for offering content to visitors that offers a real value.
That said, keeping up with your content on a regular basis is important. Many people think that once a website is created and launched (and with high quality content), ‘set it and forget about it’ comes into existence, that the hard part is over with and all that you need to do is sit back and watch the sales roll in. This would be a dream, yes, but unfortunately, it’s not the way things work. In fact, the process of maintaining your website has only just begun. You might have rock solid content at launch, but search engines and people are constantly evolving, which means that if you don’t maintain your website properly, your content will become outdated.
This is where a content inventory and content audit comes in. Performing a content inventory—followed by a content audit for SEO—on a monthly basis will help to ensure your website is performing flawlessly. A flawless website also means an optimized website that is performing well in the search engines, bringing in the results you’ve been looking for.
A content inventory will ensure that all of the content on your website, including images, text and video, is on point. A content inventory will also reveal any broken links so that they can be fixed accordingly. After all, the last thing you want is for your visitors to be looking around for what they want, only to find a dead page or bad link. When that happens, it’s likely that those potential conversions will leave your website and never return.
A content inventory for SEO purposes often include the following data for each piece of website data:
Unique Content ID
Description (the title of the content item)
Format (HTML, PDF, DOC, etc. Hard copy, electronic file and links)
Author or Provider
Physical location (in the content management system, on the server, etc.)
Dates (created, revised, accessed)
As mentioned, a content inventory and content audit go hand in hand. A content audit is imperative to the SEO success of your website as well as its maintenance, regardless of how established or new your website is. For newer websites, a content audit will help you understand what it will take to compete in your market, what market opportunities you might have and it will allow you to truly understand the importance of blogs and high-quality content, especially when it comes to your success.
If you’re a company that has yet to utilize a blog, it’s highly recommended to create one. Not only will a blog help drive traffic to your website, it will also help you get ranked in the search engine. According to a 2014 report, companies that have incorporated a blog into their website get 55% more web traffic than those that do not.
After a content audit for SEO, existing websites will have the ability to learn about the health status of their online presence so that they can make sure that their website is optimized at code level and content level. Additionally, website owners of an existing site will learn what inbound links may be necessary for success, find more unique and quality keywords within the market and improve on social media presence.
Keeping all of this into consideration, there’s really not one correct approach to conducting a content audit. That said, the exact steps that a website owner takes will depend on their reason for undergoing an audit in the first place.
It’s common for content audits to be conducted for two primary reasons including:
Conducting a content audit for SEO purposes will help you identify any weak spots in your website’s SEO. For instance, by labeling word count, different tags, optimized images and other elements associated with your website content and comparing those elements to your current page rank, you will be able to determine what kind of changes need to happen in order to improve your website’s natural search performance. Thus, boosting your website’s performance considerably.
Content marketing is a big deal for small to large businesses, ecommerce websites and basically any other website that is looking to surpass their competitors in the search engines (i.e. everyone). A content audit will help you assess the current status of your content marketing content audit is imperative to the success of your website as well as its maintenance, regardless of how established or new your website is. For newer websites, a content audit will help you understand what it will take to compete in your market, what market opportunities you might have and it will allow you to truly understand the importance of blog and high-quality content, especially when it comes to your success. After all, companies that have incorporated a blog into their website get 55% more web traffic than those that don’t.
A content inventory and content audit for SEO can be completed manually or with a content inventory tool such as DYNO Mapper. As with any business venture, every website owner will have a different goal to achieve, but more often than not, some of the following are just some of what one can expect to get out of a content audit:
Identify any problems throughout your website including performance issues, organic search performance issues, content assets, broken links, etc.
Improve your website’s accessibility and usability.
Learn about content marketing pieces on your website and which have performed the best.
Determine content gabs, areas of content that are not quite providing your visitors with what they are looking for when they come to your site. After captioning these findings you will be able to add the appropriate content items.
Improve your information architecture; use pertinent analytics data including search terms to determine how you can make sure that your most valuable and effective content is easily found by both your visitors and potential customers as well as search engines.
Locate gaps in the content you’ve provided for different stages of your sales funnel.
Aside from the above, there are a variety of benefits that one can expect to experience after performing a content audit—benefits that will make a world of different when it comes to the overall success of your business and website as a whole.
Content audits enable you to comprehend and evaluate how a website performs against set business goals, various user needs, editorial standards and various performance indicators like SEO, web analytics and content use. They add value to the site and maintenance assignments, allowing you to document and scrutinize content organization, patterns and consistency.
They are very useful for helping you recognize whether the site’s content follows a specific template consistently, metadata guidelines, and editorial styles, among others. They also lay the foundation for proper gap analysis between the content that you currently have on site and that you would like to have. Finally, it sets the pace for content revision, deletion and migration.
Content audits are important in a site’s lifecycle. They might look like usual documents, but they are useful in connecting designers, stakeholders, technologists and content managers. It is therefore essential to cautiously document all aspects that you can derive from the DYNO Mapper content audit tool like types of content, quantities, content structure, and many more.
All in all, a content inventory and content audit will help to make sure that your website’s SEO is on point and that your website is performing as it should. It will also serve as a tool that will further look into the relevancy of your content, how well it performs against your business and user goals, and areas that require improvements. Consequently, implementing an audit as part of your regular website maintenance is highly recommended.
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