Last week I spent a couple days at Internet Summit. I picked up a ton of good information that I’ll be sharing here periodically. But I’m starting with optimization because it’s something that’s coming up a lot for our B2B and B2C clients. If major brands are struggling with optimization, chances are you are, too.
6 Ways to Optimize Online Content for Search
While most marketers know these strategies, the experts say few of us are actually deploying them to make their copy as delicious to search engines as it is to humans.
Let’s start with key words.
The days of stuffing are long gone. Today we’re focused on more relevant key words. When selecting KWs, remember to include key word phrases (also known as long tail key words) that mirror what people are actually entering into the search field.
“If someone finds you via long tails, they’re looking for something specific and are bypassing much of the funnel,” explained Jason Miller of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
So if your key word is “3D printing filament” or “accounting services”, develop a full phrase related to intent (and the buy cycle stage) like, how to choose 3D printing filament or accounting services for small business.And don’t forget to use the KWs when creating names and alternate test for visual content assets, like photos or videos.
There are tons of tools out there to help you discover long tail keywords, including Google.
— Lee L Kennedy (@LeeLKennedy) November 18, 2015
SEO beyond the key word level.
These five additional optimization tips were compiled from presentations by Mike King of iPullRank and Arnie Kuenn of Vertical Measures:
- URLs: Generic URLs like BlogPost3 don’t do much for human or bot readers. Create a URL that’s descriptive, like https://content.lionbridge.com/3-key-take-aways-2014-trends-content-marketing/.
- Title Tags: This is the “label” for your page, article or post title that drives SERP. You’ve got about 50-55 characters for this. The title tag can be the same as the H1 title (see below), or you can create a totally different spin on the topic. Either way, include relevant key words and related terms customers use when searching as well as your company name, like this: “Year in Review: 3 Global Content Market Trends from 2014 | Lionbridge”. The same rules apply when creating titles for online videos, images or slide decks. This is the information YouTube uses, for instance, to create “suggestions” for similar videos, which is one of the most effective modes of new content discovery.
- Meta Decriptions: This is the copy that shows up in search results. Right now you get about 150-160 characters to give a super-short description of what’s coming up. This is a smart place to use a long tail KW. For visual content like SlideShare or YouTube content, be sure to fill out the description section, leading with your URL (including the https://).
- H1 and H2 tags: The H1 tag is the title or headline of the content and should be engaging and compelling, so readers (and search bots) want to dig in. H2 tags are subheads that help human and digital readers navigate your text as they skim and scan. They also boost relevance and authority. Consider using long tail KWs as H1 and H2 tags. Learn to write better heads and subject lines.
- Contextual Links: Contextual links to other content on your site provide additional relevance and trust. Internal links to content elsewhere on your blog or site increase time-on-site, an important KPI for most marketers. Bonus points if you can include a key word or phrase in the link. Links to external sites help build authority so readers trust your content, but they don’t provide much (if any) true SEO juice for your digital content.
Use these tips to optimize your content for easier discovery, faster scanning and better search engine performance.