Optimize Content For Customers, Social Media And Search
Did you realize solely focusing on optimizing the search-related elements of your content marketing may hurt your results?
While search is a critical component of content optimization, it’s NOT the only factor.
In his book Optimize, Lee Odden refers to optimization as a persistent effort at improving just about anything for better performance. This applies to your content marketing.
Content marketing optimization
Content marketing optimization is comprised of a combination of 5 key factors: content attractiveness, content consumability, content effectiveness, search findability, and social media shareability.
Focusing on search while ignoring the other 4 content marketing optimization factors guarantees your content will under-perform its potential.
Here are 50 content optimization tactics:
1. Content attractiveness.
Before you can get potential visitors to read your content, you must attract them to your content. You must ask if your content provides the quality information and/or entertainment your target audience actively seeks? Remember it’s about their interests, not yours!!!
- Write about topics your audience craves. To this end, create a marketing persona to appreciate the information your readers seek. Provide the 5 basic content types.
- Craft a magnetic title. Hands down this is the MOST important element. According to David Ogilvy only 20% of readers get past your content hook. Spend enough time on your title to lure readers in or all of your investment in the content is for naught.
- Reference thought leaders in your content. Add credibility to your content by referring to other trusted sources. It also helps get your content recognized.
- Get influencers and fans to help create content. People love to see their names in print, online and offline.
- Add an attractive image. People are visual; it’s in our DNA. We see images 60,000 times faster than text. Use your image to stop your readers in their tracks.
- Include other media formats. Go beyond text. Add photographs, videos, audio, presentations and PDFs.
- Integrate your brand in your content. Beyond visuals, this includes your voice, the words you use and how you use them.
- Publish your content on popular platforms. Consider publishing your content where it will attract the most attention.
2. Content consumability
Face it—no matter how good you are at attracting visitors or how good your information is, if they can’t see or read it, they’re gone. To this end remove any element that hinders prospects from consuming your information.
In my experience, it’s useful to have people of varying ages review your content design guidelines. I learned this working with an editor at Bertelsmann who wore reading glasses. She nixed the highly ornate fonts, small type sizes and acid colors.
- Use legible fonts. While this sounds obvious, skip the ornate decorative typeface. When it comes to fonts, choose readability over design.
- Think big when it comes to type. Go for 12 point type in the body at least. There’s only so much you can increase your type online.
- Go for easy-on-the-eyes colors. Don’t turn most of your readers off with acid yellow or low contrast palette. Bear in mind that people who have low vision prefer white text on a black background.
- Sound like a real person. Skip the personless corporate language that sounds like it was written by a machine.
- Use the short words. Take a page from Winston Churchill. Skip the $5 words. Your goal is readability. Think 8th grade reading level.
- Craft short sentences. Your goal should be to write as short a sentence as possible. If a sentence takes up 3 to 4 lines, see if you can break it into 2 or more sentences. Do this in the copyediting phase not the creation phase or you may stop the flow.
- Write short paragraphs. Long paragraphs translate to blocks of text. This makes people think hard-to-read. Limit your paragraphs to a maximum of 4 lines.
- Outline your content to guide readers through it more quickly. Use numbering or bullets to show your readers the relative importance of information on a page.
- Selectively bold important information. Like when you’re studying, highlighting everything to make it stand out means that nothing stands out.
- Develop content that’s long enough to achieve your goals. The optimal length of a search optimized blog post is 1,500 words according to Andy Crestodina.
- Incorporate consistent design elements. This signals to your readers that they’re on your content. These elements should incorporate your 360° brand.
3. Content effectiveness
Make every page of your content an entryway to your business to ensure new visitors find the information they’re seeking. According to Jakob Nielsen, you’ve got 10 to 20 seconds before your average visitor leaves.
- Optimize content for different device usage. Think responsive design that adjusts to the reader’s screen size. The average user waits under 6 seconds for a mobile optimized site.
- Link to other relevant information on your website or blog. Show visitors the related content you’ve got. Don’t assume that they’ll use your onsite search function. Bear in mind, if they leave to search, they may not return.
- Add an onsite search box. Let visitors search for other information they may consider important.
- Include a contextually relevant call-to-action. Provide the appropriate offer to your reader at the right time. Realize that not every reader is ready to purchase.
- Reward visitors for taking the next step in your process. Don’t assume that readers will bookmark your website or blog to return for more. Make them an offer they can’t refuse for signing up for your email newsletter.Think ebook or coupon.
- Make it easy for readers to contact you. Include your physical address, phone number, email and other forms of contact. Don’t forget you must be available there!!!
4. Search findability
Search optimization is at the heart of content marketing optimization. It’s a combination of art and science. (Check out what Rand Fishkin of Moz says if you’d like a quick one-page search optimization primer.)
- Focus each piece of content on 1 keyword phrase. This is a group of words based on your keyword research.
- Include the keyword in the content title. Keep your title short and meaning full for search engines. Use about 55 characters.
- Add the keyword to the content’s URL. Title tags are one of the most important elements of search optimization. In plain English, they use HTML linked to the page to tell search bots what the page is about in a few words.
- Use your keyword in first 50 words. This indicates your content focused.
- Write a short description (known as a meta-description) including the keyword. It should be able 150 to 160 characters. This is the information that appears in the SERPs.
- Speed up content load times. Visitors have limited time and patience for your blog to load. BTW—Google also cares about your load speed.
- Link to credible outside sources. Cite others where appropriate. This adds to your content’s trustworthiness.
- Consider the user experience (UX). Streamline the irrelevant elements.
- Create your content for human beings. Don’t just focus on search engines.
- Add Google authorship. This adds to your content’s trustworthiness.
- Plan your site architecture. Make sure that humans and search engines can distinguish which pages are most important. This includes good site navigation.
- Optimize images. Include alt tags in image tags to describe the image for text based search engines and screen readers for the visually impaired. It also helps your audience if the image doesn’t load.
- Optimize videos. Add a title for the video that includes your keywords and a description of the video.
- Improve content findability with target advertising. Where appropriate, enhance your content’s chances of being found with paid support such as paid search or advertising.
- Eliminate duplicate content. Don’t confuse people or search engines by adding multiple pieces of the same content.
5. Social media shareability
Enhance your content marketing with social media sex appeal. Entice your visitors and social media connections to share, engage and talk about it.
Social media isn’t just about your content’s social love. It’s at the core of its search signals. At LeWeb 2011, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “The social signal, the people you ‘hang with’ is actually a ranking signal.” The reason? It provides information about relationships that provide relevance.
- Share your content on appropriate social media platforms. Distribute your content to your social media followers.
- Make your content easy-to-share. Add buttons for the major social media platforms your audience uses. At a minimum, include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.
- Incorporate tweetable data or comments. Use Click-To-Tweet to make it easy for readers to share.
- Enable visitors to pin your images. Don’t underestimate the value of Pinterest especially for couch-shopping. (Pinterest drives sales.)
- Email your content to your housefile. Share your own content with your own following.
- Leverage the power of influencers to extend your reach. It helps to mention other people in your content.
- Distribute your content via feeds. Let your readers decide how they want to receive your information.
- Encourage conversation about your content. Ask a question at the end of your content.
- Be part of a community to extend your reach. Don’t go it alone. Get others to help you. Share their content and they’ll share yours.
- Add embed codes so other people can publish your infographics and other content. Allow other people to use your infographics and grow your inbound links.
The goal of content marketing optimization is to improve your results.
Content optimization translates to ensuring your information reaches the largest possible audience and engages them to take the next step in the buying process.
The end goal is increasing sales and creating satisfied customers who turn into fans.
What is your favorite content marketing optimization tactic and why?
Hi. I've just returned from San Diego where I presented a workshop session on Blogging at Social Media Marketing World 2016.
If you couldn't attend this exciting conference, consider buying a Virtual Pass. You’ll get all of the sessions and can watch them on your schedule!
Free Guide —
It’s tempting to view social media and SEO as two separate entities, but in our experience these two elements of digital marketing are interwoven.
Using appropriate search terms in your social media posts helps users find your most relevant content and clearly spells out what’s being offered. In turn, social media shares greatly benefit your search engine visibility in many ways. Use this guide to help you quickly and easily boost your SEO.
Now there are two ways to get Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide by Email:
Subscribe to receive notice of each new actionable marketing post delivered free, directly to your inbox.
Signup for the weekly Actionable Marketing Newsletter and get a roundup of of the week’s posts, plus extra content you won’t find on the website, plus a free e-book: What Every Blogger Needs to Know – 101 Actionable Blog Tips