Your digital content needs to work hard to educate, entertain, persuade, and convert lookers to buyers. There are millions of websites and platforms filled with the stuff. That means you have to work hard to keep your content doing what it’s supposed to do.
Competition for attention is fierce. Only content that has been optimized for performance will be found. If yours isn’t, you might as well not bother creating it.
Optimization is your best shot at making sure your content is doing its job. That could be boosting your SEO rankings, attracting leads, or converting those leads into customers, to name a few. Whatever your goals, here are four ways you can optimize your online content.
1. Analyze It
Is your content working or not working (or do you have no idea what it’s doing)? Regardless of how you responded to this question, you need to know the answer. Rather than make assumptions, you have to analyze the performance of your content.
Evaluating your content should enable you to look at more than objective data points. It should help you understand your prospects and customers better. Conducting a thorough content analysis can tell you which assets are worth investing in and which are not.
Use content analysis metrics to determine how much work you’ll need to do to shape a piece of content to gain a competitive advantage. If it makes sense, invest the time. If it doesn’t, move on to create other more compelling content that will give you an edge.
One of the great things about digital content is its ability to be measured and analyzed. Don’t just make assumptions or, worse, stumble around in the dark. Find out what you’re doing well and what needs work in your content strategy.
2. Link It
Some content creators believe strongly in the power of links and others have a more tepid opinion of them. But research indicates that, when used properly, links still help boost content. Good links may indeed be the missing link to your content’s optimal performance.
You should know that all links are not created equal. Internal links connect content on your website to other content on your website. External links link your content to someone else’s, and backlinks are when someone else returns the favor.
Part of the controversy about links involves surreptitious use of them in blackhat SEO practices. Using them for those purposes will get you in trouble with search engines and reduce your brand credibility. As long as you link valid content to other valid and related content, though, you’ll be fine.
You can also optimize content by getting others to mention your brand in their content without links. Google uses those in its SEO ranking algorithm as well. Position your brand as an authority and consider engaging in some digital PR to get others talking about you.
3. Visualize It
Human beings process visuals far more quickly than text. How much more quickly? A whopping 60,000 times faster, according to research conducted by 3M Corporation.
We live in a world where an infinite amount of digital input is placed before us every day. The advantage of using visuals to capture attention is clear. Any time you can replace text with a visual or reinforce it with one, do so.
Infographics, photos, and videos all add value to your content for your readers and viewers. They boost SEO rankings, which helps more web users find your content. Moreover, other websites and platforms also frequently backlink to visuals, even those on competitor websites.
The human brain is wired for images. To optimize your content, leverage that trait by using visuals to show, not just tell.
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4. Nail It
Content for content’s sake achieves nothing. In fact, irrelevant content can harm your brand’s relationship with both search engines and readers. You have to create content that offers the right stuff.
Begin with setting clear goals for your content. Are you creating it to build trust? Recognition? To establish you and your brand as an authority? To attract prospects or convert them to buyers? To deliver a great customer experience?
Whatever your goals, make sure your content is honest and relevant to what your target audience is looking for. Using the right long-tail keywords and visuals will help them find your content. But you must make sure it’s what they want to read, learn about, or be entertained by when they find it.
Pay attention to mechanics, such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, readability, and formatting. What you say, how you say it, and who you’re addressing is what great content is all about. Nail that, and you’re on your way to building success.
Optimized Content Will Reap Rewards
Taking steps to optimize your content will make the difference between just having a digital presence and maximizing it. Earning a page one ranking in a relevant search is a formidable but worthy goal for any brand.
Be mindful of the need to make your content attractive to both search engines and users. That’s a bit of a chicken-or-egg proposition. Users and search bots are always trying to catch up to one another.
Just make sure you’re in the game and not standing on the sidelines. Optimal content performance requires optimal effort, beginning with these four steps. So get in there and go for it.