Google’s helpful content update has now been completed, and while it did not produce the impact many expected, it certainly drew our attention to reviewing and improving the content.
We’ve determined that Google is taking the next steps to make human-written content available for humans. With this in mind, it should be possible to optimize content for both individuals and search engines.
Here are my top tips for improving your content for better search results and reader satisfaction.
1. Review the readability
Readability rating is one of my top tips for optimizing online content.
We read and accept information on the Internet differently than in print. Short, simple sentences are easier for us to digest.
In the US, the average reading age is 12-14 years.
In the UK, guidelines encourage us to get our writing to do something that a 9-year-old can understand. The UK Bureau of National Statistics recommends writing that is easy for all users to understand.
Putting this into practice is more difficult than it sounds and is often overlooked.
Search engines also love “legible” content. They use natural language processing (NLP) to process language based on linguistic rules to understand the relationships between words.
The intended meaning can be easily lost if these relationships are too complex.
For example, this sentence has a readability score of 11 (OK) in the Hemingway Editor:
And Google’s NLP tool identifies the “sales funnel” and “target audience” as the most relevant actors. But this passage aims to focus on PPC management in e-commerce.
I simplify this to get a readability score of 7 (good) and run the updated version using Google’s NLP tool:
This is not only easier to follow, but also more relevant to your intended topic.
2. Keep language simple, precise and concise
While continuing to be readable, it’s best to keep your language as accurate and concise as possible.
Delete unnecessary or complex words.
Try to write things in their simplest form, keeping pace and rhythm to keep them interesting.
This will help readers keep track of your content and help search engines to process it.
3. Use synonyms and close variants
It is not a good idea to repeat the same terms or phrases. Produces content that is laborious to read and may seem unreliable to a discerning audience.
Optimize your content by upgrading repeated words to their counterparts. This will make reading much more interesting and engaging.
It will also provide search engines with more contextual information and avoid the temptation to misuse certain keywords that could result in poor search performance.
The use of synonyms consolidates the topics you write about, providing many different points of reference. It can also give you broader ranking opportunities.
For example, the Search Engine Land guide “What is PPC?” ranks for a wide range of different synonyms and close PPC variants, such as paid search, search marketing, paid search marketing, paid search advertising, paid-per-click search, and more.
Each content item is a collection of entities, and both search engines and humans understand relationships between multiple entities.
Over time, people have learned, for example, that Buckingham Palace is a royal residence located in London, England:
So it is linked to entities like London (location), the late Queen Elizabeth II (person) and certain events, to name a few.
While some relationships between entities, such as these, are well-defined and visible, others are more subtle. Therefore, it’s important to research entity relationships and take into account the links you create in your content.
Creating the right associations helps build the bigger picture and give context to the topic. This is useful for readers and search engines. If you wrote about Buckingham Palace but didn’t mention the royal family, your content would be missing.
But the relationships between individuals also help to clarify the meaning. If you are writing content about the historical figure of Anne Hathaway, affiliated entities such as William Shakespeare and Stratford Upon Avon provide context. A piece of content about Anne Hathaway, a modern-day movie star, is likely to bring together actors like movies, acting, the Academy Awards, and New York City.
So, when you include a number of appropriate units in your content, it improves the overall element. It helps provide search engines with broader benchmarks to increase their confidence in what you are talking about and shows readers that you have thoroughly researched the topic and provided them with a valuable resource.
5. Structure your content
Make sure your content has a logical, structured structure. This makes it easier for readers to digest and for search engines to interpret.
For example, this Ideal Home article on how to load a dishwasher has a simple and effective structure. Provides general tips for getting the best results, then includes the top and bottom baskets.
Other, competing articles have tons of tips. While useful, their structure is not so logical and easy to understand.
6. Use headings
An effective headline structure is crucial for both individuals and search engines.
Clear, descriptive headlines help busy readers scan your text faster or jump to areas of interest.
Well-constructed headers are also critical to accessibility. They are used by assistive technology, so good headers enable screen reader users to navigate effectively and understand the content as intended.
Just like humans, search engines love headlines as well.
The clear headers H1, H2 and below help search engines understand what your page is about, what each paragraph covers, which topics are important, and how they relate to each other.
Mordy Oberstein recently reported some really interesting findings on how improving ambiguous headlines helped index much of its content.
I don’t know if it’s me or in general, something happens more these days, but I’ve seen more & amp; more of my pages on my SEO Rant site are indexed but not indexed.
So I made a few changes. Lo & amp; here the pages are now indexed
Here’s what I found fixed my problems pic.twitter.com/RjvjEkvz6G
This really shows how important clear, informative headlines are to your content’s success.
7. Use formatting correctly
The way you format your content helps convey its meaning.
For example, a numbered list can be a step-by-step process or a ranking system. Bullets usually indicate a list of items of equal importance. Bold or italic text helps to make items stand out and emphasizes their importance.
You are reading this article now, and I promised you 25 tips. So I tagged these 1-25 to reinforce the message in the title.
Proper formatting will help people read your content the way you want it to. It will also facilitate scanning and processing. This also helps search engines as they also recognize these formats and their shared meanings.
For example, some formatting will suggest a classification such as address. Other elements, such as tables, imply certain relationships. Charts can show averages and ranges.
If I’m interested in London weather all year round (maybe I’m planning a trip there), graphs and tables convey this information better than text:
So the formatting here helps support the message. It creates better resources for people and search engines by setting up items most efficiently.
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If you are creating long form content, adding a skip linking content section to each main section can be helpful optimization.
This will help readers navigate easily between sections, accessing the information they need. It enhances the user experience and makes the content more digestible.
From an SEO perspective, these unique internal links help to clarify what certain snippets are focused on, which can improve ranking of long articles based on snippets.
In a 2020 article How Artificial Intelligence Powers a More Helpful Google, Prabhakar Raghavan explained:
“Highly detailed searches can be the most difficult to correct because sometimes a single sentence that answers your question can be buried deep in a webpage. We recently made a breakthrough in the rankings and are now able to better understand the relevance of specific passages. By understanding the passages in addition to the relevance of the entire page, we can find that information about the needle in the haystack that you are looking for. “
So search engines are able to identify useful snippets and match them with your queries, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to point them in the right direction with a clear content section.
9. Choose usefulness over word count
When writing or optimizing your content, try to describe what is useful to users, rather than trying to count words.
Most people can review the content that is written to achieve word count. Search engines can too. The content becomes empty and meaningless.
Helpful Google Content Guidelines asks the following questions:
“Are you typing up to a certain number of words because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (No no).”
Clearly then, they are keeping an eye on it too.
If you focus on providing enough depth to satisfy your target audience, they’ll really find it useful. You will avoid empty words and information that is there just for the sake of it.
10. Do your search term research
Great content should always be based on research. We often think we know what our target audience wants, but as content producers we may have a skewed perspective.
Data about your search terms appear here. It is a treasury of information about what people are actually looking for. While it’s important to use it with caution, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Knowing how people search for topics you write about is essential to optimizing your content. Readers will find your content is more relevant to what they were looking for to discover your content, and search engines will display your content in the right context.
Here’s an example of content in a very specialized niche that has been optimized based on search data and republished to a new URL:
Visibility has increased significantly and Google Analytics is showing a lower exit rate and bounce rate for the new page compared to the previous version. This optimized content is clearly more effective for searches by both the search engine and the readers.
11. Identify an appropriate scope
Consider where the content begins and ends. Should it be combined with other resources to create a better and more useful resource? Or should it be broken into bite-sized pieces?
When you optimize your content, it’s better for both people and search engines if you take scope into account. Something very short may be considered poor content from a search perspective and lacking detail for readers.
On the other hand, a very long resource may be easier to digest in parts or sections that are related to each other. Breaking it down can create a series of more focused pieces of content that will perform better in search results because they are more defined.
For example, Search Engine Land’s guide to SEO is general information and links to more detailed sub-topic chapters. Trying to cover all about what SEO is in one resource would be too broad a scope.
12. Give direct answers to questions
If you ask a question in your content, please answer directly. Do not mix or waffle.
Use the expected units or classifications in response. Think of the answer you would like to see!
For example, this passage directly answers the question simply and effectively:
(Disclosure: GeoSLAM is my current customer.)
And this one gives a simple answer based on the expected temperature measurements in degrees Celsius and Fahrenheit:
Most people use search engines to find answers to their questions quickly. They don’t want to read the debate. They want access to something definitive and unambiguous.
13. Use images to improve understanding
People are visual learners by nature, so consider updating or enhancing your images to optimize your content.
Gorgeous visuals also improve search performance. They can increase your click-through rate, show up in image searches, and increase your SERP property.
The key is to make sure your photos really add value to your content.
If so, it will likely enrich your message.
For example, this technical article on LiDAR technology helps you understand with simple diagrams:
14. Add videos to improve the experience
In 2020, over 3 billion internet users were using online video content. This number is expected to reach 3.5 billion next year, based on Statista data. Therefore, where videos lend themselves to supporting or enhancing your content, consider them as part of your optimization plan.
Lots of people prefer watching rather than reading, so video content enhances their overall experience.
You will only get real search benefits if you create original video content yourself. If your budget isn’t that far, it’s still possible to host useful video content from other vendors.
Overall, the goal is to create a better content resource, which can result in additional perks such as more actions and backlinks.
Remember to use internal links when optimizing your content.
Does your content link to other useful internal resources? Are there links to it on other internal pages?
Improving internal linking increases the convenience for readers as it allows them to learn more about the topic of interest. It is also crucial for search engines, helping to discover content, meaning and thematic connections.
Earlier this year, Google’s John Mueller explained:
Adding external links to your content is a great way to get rich and optimized.
This may seem counterintuitive at first. Why would you refer readers to another website?
But there are many benefits if you consider this approach.
People will find your content more trustworthy and useful if you back up claims, statistics, or citations from a reliable third-party source. They also add value by giving your audience a quick route to more information.
However, they do require regular checking to make sure you’re still sending your readers to the most appropriate source.
Transparent, relevant sourcing also demonstrates expertise in your field, which is appreciated by search engines. They provide context that helps solidify the relationship between content on a specific topic and other expert or authority websites that cover it.
17. Give examples
A great tip for improving your content is to provide real examples. Are there areas that could be better explained by showing how something works than by trying to explain it in words?
You will notice that in this article I have provided many examples to help you follow my way of thinking. They reinforce my arguments by showing you a representation of advice in action, making it easier to apply to your own content.
Showing your idea in action increases credibility and makes it more useful and engaging.
18. Ask the experts
If you have created ideas or content that answers a qualitative question, you can improve it by asking experts in the field.
The combination of expert quotes that are explicitly referenced will improve the EAT signals to search engines by showing that skilled experts in the field are involved. Readers will benefit from a more balanced argument as well as recognition of industry expertise.
You can even benefit from attracting everlasting backlinks or social activity from the experts involved.
This post about Google Penalties from Ahrefs is a great example of getting in touch with skilled experts to add value:
It got backlinks from 212 linking domains and just look at the latest spike in visibility after the September core update (H tag).
19. Find a new angle
Add value to your content by making sure you approach the topic differently. If you are simply rewriting something that has been discussed multiple times before, you likely won’t be delivering anything insightful or meaningful.
Google’s helpful content guidelines state that you should avoid “mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value.”
So if you have some legacy content to optimize, perhaps you could approach it from a different perspective or gain some extra insight into the topic.
You can do original research, test something, or ask an expert in the field for additional comment as mentioned above.
20. Include data
When reviewing your content, consider whether you have made claims that could be backed up with data. Providing the hard facts builds trust and shows readers that you have really researched your topic.
From a search perspective, adding relevant data can also provide external linking opportunities. You can refer to useful data published on the pages of authorities in your niche.
If you include your own unique data, there is a good chance that other writers on the topic will connect to your resource to back up their own claims in the future.
For example, this study, which compared 2,000 digital PR elements, gained several significant backlinks from industry websites in no time thanks to the unique, useful and interesting data provided.
21. Keep it up to date
Content optimization never ends and it’s important to keep your resources up-to-date. By conducting regular reviews, you will prevent people from accessing out-of-date content that could constitute out-of-date advice.
Search engines use freshness as a ranking factor, which is why they value content that is well maintained and updated. Botify’s research has confirmed this, although it is a complex problem.
One e-commerce site I was working on saw a decrease in traffic to a key page, and on analysis, I noticed that the copy mentioned “prices start with” but the reserve price has changed. After a price correction, performance returned to previous levels.
22. Keep it relevant
Make sure the topic of your content is highly related to your area of expertise.
People reading content separated from the main focus area may find it confusing, unhelpful, or may not trust them.
Search engines are working on a better user experience, so they reflect that. In recent months, I have conducted numerous content audits on various types of websites.
Evaluating the content of a website as a whole usually reveals a lot, but one of the main findings is usually that relevant content performs much better than unrelated content.
There are several reasons. In most cases, content is likely to be of better quality if it is produced by experts in the field. But the relationships between the parties also matter.
Content Grouping displays a broad knowledge of a related topic, which can help build the authority of the topic over time. I covered this in more detail in my last article on Using Relationships in SEO.
23. Take your time
It takes time to factor in the effects of content optimization on search and users.
According to extensive research by Orbit Media, the time needed to write a blog post averages just over 4 hours and has increased by 67% since 2014.
This only shows that the quality, level of detail and expertise are only on the rise. Older content may require additional time to optimize and adapt to current standards.
If you want to do a solid job, give yourself time to grow and empower your content.
24. Analyze the results
If you’re optimizing your content, take advantage of the results. The data will provide valuable information about what works in search and how people are using your content. You should analyze both.
This site, which was improved using data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics, did much better after optimization. Total impressions increased by 359% and clicks by 433%.
Google Analytics shows that the average time spent on the page has increased, which indicates that refreshing the content not only generates more traffic but also engages your readers.
25. Check and check again
Checking spelling, grammar and facts.
Maybe you missed something the first time and posted content with inaccuracies. Any mistakes will result in a loss of readers’ confidence. They can also make your search difficult.
I find it really valuable to have a checkup process on my team. It’s much easier to spot someone’s mistakes and review the content from a pragmatic point of view if you haven’t written it yourself.
Balance humanity and SEO
It has never been so important to get the right balance between improving your content for search engines and people.
The perfect mix is a user-centric approach with good grounding in SEO.
They should not be ignored when optimizing your content.
Search engines are crucial to driving an audience to your content, but you don’t want your readers to be disappointed when they get there.
Keep this in mind, and search engines and readers can work hand in hand to deliver exceptional results.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the guest and not necessarily Search Engine Land. The list of staff authors can be found here.
Claire Brain is the Head of Copywriting on the SEO team at Boom Online Marketing. Claire has 16 years of experience in the digital marketing industry and has specialized in SEO for 7 years. He manages SEO B2B and B2C customer accounts and leads the SEO copywriting team.
The goal of optimization is to achieve the ‘best’ design for a set of criteria or constraints with priorities. They include maximizing factors such as productivity, durability, reliability, longevity, efficiency, and utilization.
How to optimize social media
- Define your goals on social media. …
- Complete your profiles in full. …
- Use hashtags. …
- Create valuable content that will solve your followers’ problems. …
- Use images. …
- Include calls to action. …
- Use attention-grabbing headlines. …
- Be active on social media that adds value to your business.
What does it mean to optimize the media? Media mix optimization is an analytical process where marketers evaluate the effectiveness of various campaigns to determine which campaigns have a positive impact on their core audience and which are not.
What is the right way to optimize your content?
How do I optimize my content? You can optimize your content by doing keyword research and embedding these terms in your text, title tags, meta descriptions, and headlines. You can also add internal and external links as well as eye-catching images.
What is a content optimization tool?
SEO content optimization tools are designed to help bloggers, content creators, and website owners search for keywords, analyze competition, optimize content for search, and improve existing content – to make it rank on Google.
What are website optimization tools? Website optimization tools help you gather information about how people are using your website so you can understand what works well and what can be improved and ultimately provide a better experience for your visitors. Website optimization tools will help you: Speed up your website. Improve the user experience.
What is SEO content optimization?
Basically, content optimization or SEO (search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your content to make sure it is more visible on the web. Search engine robots will place highly optimized content higher on the search engine page than non-optimized content.
What are the 3 types of SEO?
The three types of SEO are: Search Engine Optimization Everything on your websites Blogs, product backups, website backups. Off Page SEO – Everything that happens off your website that helps your SEO strategy – Backlinks. Technical positioning Everything technical taken to improve the search ranking of the site indexing to facilitate the indexing of bots.
What is product content optimization?
Product content optimization can be defined as modifying or enhancing product attributes to ensure accurate, accurate and high-quality content. Traditionally, the task was associated with the marketing side of the business.
Why do you need content optimization? By optimizing your content, you provide the necessary data that search engines will use to determine the content – and thus – your business. Search engines then use this information in their search results, which they display for relevant keywords or phrases.
What do you mean by content optimization?
Content optimization is the process of making sure that your content is written in such a way that it can reach the largest audience possible. The content optimization process should include making sure related keywords are present, adding meta and title tags, and relevant links.
What is content optimized for SEO?
Content optimization in SEO is about making sure your content is written and presented in a way that search engines can understand and share with your target audience. This process essentially means making sure your website pages are attractive to both search engines and users.
Why is content optimization important?
Optimizing your content is important as it provides search engines and users with an easy understanding of your content. The benefits of content optimization are high-quality, search engine friendly content that is easy to use and easy to find.
How does product optimization work?
Production optimization involves a number of activities related to measurement, analysis, modeling, prioritization and implementation of activities aimed at increasing productivity. Product optimization solves the following production problems: Slow production lines. Long-lasting work in progress.
How is a product design optimized?
Optimizing product design in this way subtracts and / or adds material to strengthen and improve product performance. It reduces material from unwanted areas in your product design and adds material where you really need it.
What is optimization and how it works?
Optimizing means finding the optimal value or number, or in other words, the best possible option. Thanks to the optimization of work, the use of the resources used can be planned so that it is as effective and profitable as possible.
How much do SEO content writers make?
The average SEO Writer salary in the United States is $ 50,175 as of September 26, 2022, but the salary range is typically from $ 45,540 to $ 55,480.
How Much Do SEO Developers Earn? While ZipRecruiter sees annual salaries as high as $ 71,500 and just $ 22,000, most SEO Content Writer salaries currently range from $ 30,000 (25th percentile) to $ 50,000 (75th percentile), with the highest earning (90th percentile) earn $ 68,000 annually for the entire United States of America.
Are SEO writers in demand?
It’s a simple fact: SEO writers are in great demand. Writers who are knowledgeable about SEO best practices usually have a waiting list of clients waiting patiently for their services as they understand the importance of SEO writing.
Is SEO content writing a good career?
The simple answer is yes, SEO is a good career. SEO professionals can earn good money, achieve a comfortable work-life balance, find an industry position that matches their natural skill sets, and challenge themselves creatively.
Is SEO writing in demand?
The online marketplace is becoming more saturated than ever and SEO content writing is bigger now. Perhaps you want to increase your income or want to start a job as a full-time writer, SEO writing is one of the highest paying jobs (even for freelancers).
Is SEO content writing easy?
Writing SEO is fairly simple, but it’s not always easy. There is no magic formula for ranking the best search engine results, but there are a few parts of Google’s algorithm that we know about. Content should be written with these aspects in mind to get a better ranking.
Is content writing and SEO are same?
The key difference between SEO content and regular content is that you write for both search engines and users, which means including keywords with search volume, E-A-T, readability, alt tags in images, metadata optimization, images, internal links and much more.
What is the benefit of media optimization?
SMO creates online customer compliance and thus helps in increasing sales and increasing profits. It helps in building your brand awareness by discovering endless possibilities on the market. It also helps in building interactions with potential customers via swamps and forums.
Why is social media optimization important? Social media optimization (SMO) is the use of social media networks to manage and develop an organization’s message and online presence. As a digital marketing strategy, social media optimization can be used to raise awareness of new products and services, engage with customers, and mitigate potential harmful messages.
By consistently updating, the right social media marketing strategy will lead to more traffic, better SEO, higher conversion rates, better brand loyalty, and more. There is practically no reason not to incorporate social media into your marketing strategy.