Content Optimization Done Correctly
You might think that content optimization is all about crafting the perfect title, meta description, keywords and dozens of other elements on your page. However, in reality, your content is completely worthless if it doesn’t satisfy the needs of your visitors. To do it correctly from the beginning, there are several things you will need to keep in mind. So, before you start crossing all these elements off your to-do list, take a step back and think bigger.
First of all, to achieve great results, you will need a content optimization strategy. To understand how to prepare a successful strategy, you will need to become familiar with a few SEO phrases that you might have heard before, but didn’t really pay attention to understanding their meaning and value.
Content Optimization Strategy
If you’ve never optimized a single piece of content before, it might seem a bit complicated. But, it can be done by almost anyone who is interested in learning more about digital marketing. As the search engines are evolving the way they are scraping through millions and millions of websites, it’s more crucial than ever to find your spot on the virtual stage.
Using NLP/Entity Based Approach
An entity can best be described as a concept that is unique, singular and distinguishable from all the other entities. In other words, it can be an idea, place, event, person, brand and many other things. However, a lot of people will confuse it with keywords. So, what’s the difference between an entity and a keyword?
When talking about entities, they are not determined by language, but are seen as a concept that is universally understood by everyone. More importantly, an entity can best be understood when taking a look at its relation to other entities.
In 2015, Google created a patent called Ranking Search Results Based on Entity Metrics, which consists of four factors:
- Relatedness - determined by the co-occurrence entities
- Notability - the more value the entity has, the lower is the value of the entity’s topic or category
- Contribution - demonstrates the entity’s contribution to a certain topic or category
- Prizes - shows the number of prizes an entity has received
Entities allow search engines to understand the content in context, just like people do. As Machine Learning (ML) is constantly improving, we can only expect entities to become even more crucial in the future. They ensure searchers will find the exact information based on the context of the content, but entities also help writers to create content that will meet the needs of their audience.
Natural Language Processing (NLP)
With Natural Language Processing (NLP), understanding and processing the human language has evolved tremendously. That completely changed the way SEOs look at the content, placing writers once again as the focus of digital marketing strategies. It attempts to extract the information from words that are spoken and written with a goal to avoid complexity related to generating natural human voices and speech transcribing.
This type of writing helps Google understand if the piece of content built around a chosen keyword is good or not. If you’re using this approach when crafting your articles, Google will know that your page provides the audience with quality information and therefore, will rank it higher.
Optimizing Your Content for Entities
Optimizing your content nowadays without focusing on entities will tremendously affect the results you are after. To simplify it as much as possible, an entity can be a noun, person, thing, place, and so on. If you’re looking to optimize your content for entities, make sure you follow these steps below:
- Choose the topic you want to cover and research it before you start writing by determining the keyphrase for which you want to rank. Use Wikipedia, Google Images and People Also Ask as inspirations.
- Don’t forget about the context in your content piece. Your entities should be given a context so that Google can understand it better. When doing this, avoid keyword stuffing and focus on the language and semantics. Wikipedia, Google Images and People Also Ask will help you with this step as well.
- When writing your article, make sure you run it through a content optimization editor to see how well you implemented the related keyphrases and what your content is missing to rank better.
- A content piece is never actually done. You should always think about updating it as the new trends appear around your chosen entities.
Salience is a concept that demonstrates the importance of a linguistic feature within the larger content. It determines the extent to which various entities stand out from the surrounding content. After all, different words can refer to the one entity, such as when describing a person.
For instance, William Shakespeare can also be referred to as a “writer,” “he,” “poet,” or “playwright.”. Terms like ‘man and ‘he’ would have a lower salience score as they are more common and less relevant to the topic of Shakespeare, while ‘writer’, ‘poet’ and ‘playwright’ would score higher.
As Google uses natural language processors to automate textual understanding, predicting entities within a content piece is crucial. That’s why your entities and related keywords need to be carefully researched and implemented in your text.
Why LSI Can’t Help Your SEO?
When talking about keywords and entities, you might also think about Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), but Google has evolved far beyond this concept. For document indexation, Google uses much more sophisticated technology LSI, which is a good practice for a small number of static documents.
So, what makes LSI problematic when talking about content optimization? Firstly, it was developed in the 1980s, and with constant technology development, it’s unrealistic to expect that any tech solution from 40 years ago might be incredibly useful today. Secondly, there is no trustworthy evidence that Google even uses LSI, however, you should think about the synonyms you want to add in your content. Thirdly, if Google doesn’t care, your target audience cares even less than that!
What about TF-IDF?
For those seeing this term for the first time, TF-IDF stands for:
- TF - Term Frequency
- IDF - Inverse Document Frequency
TF-IDF is a measure that estimates how relevant a certain term is to a document among the set of documents. This is achieved by multiplying these two metrics mentioned above, Term Frequency and Inverse Document Frequency. Term Frequency demonstrates how many times that keyword appears in a document, and the Inverse Document Frequency shows the keyword across the entire set of documents.
What makes this approach insufficient is the fact it cannot look beyond the keywords. Moreover, it is not a ranking signal, which will have an impact on the position of your page. Google looks more at the semantic of your text rather than just counting the number of keywords within it.
As TF-IDF doesn’t imply quality of the content, it is not something you should focus on while optimizing your pieces. Writing in an unnatural way can only harm your rankings and be sure that your customers and prospects will not appreciate it, either!
Now that we’ve gone through all the technical details of content optimization, it’s time to start crafting your first piece. Before you start writing, you will need to perform initial keyword research that will provide you with essential information for your content. Look for phrases with:
- The correct search intent
- Significant enough volume to be commercially viable
- Difficulty based on competitors referring domains to a ranking page
After you’ve done that, you will need to choose your real organic competitors. Take a look at the types of pages ranking based on the search intent. Are these pages transactional with a clear purchase intent, or are they just providing information about a certain product or service?
Before you choose your competitors, make sure you go through the search intent types list to see where your competitors fit:
- Research - searcher is looking for more information about a product or service
- Answer - searcher is looking to get a quick answer for his search
- Transaction - searcher is looking to buy a product or service
- Local - searcher is looking for a local answer
- Visual - searcher is looking for a visual inspiration
- Video - searcher is looking for video content
- Fresh/news - searcher is looking for the latest news
- Branded - searches is looking for a specific brand
- Mixed - searcher has various intents
Now, you will need to define the content type. Take a look at your competitors’ pages and see what type of content they published to better understand what works for your target audience. Make sure you exclude these pages from your research:
- Pages with a different intent
- Outliers, very long or short pages
- Pages clearly ranking just because of their authority, e.g Wikipedia or Amazon
Analyse the Real Competition you defined in the previous step that is currently ranking for your target terms for:
- Entities used
- Salience score
- Sentiment (positive, negative or neutral)
See which of these entities are pretty common and think about what makes them relevant to your topic. As today’s users are making their decisions based on their emotions, and even their online communication is emotional, you should treat sentiment as a crucial element of Natural Language Processing.
This helps businesses understand customer reactions and act according to this information to improve customer experience. After all, a good piece of content will do just that — make your customers feel better about your product or service and/or encourage your prospects to engage with it.
Treat entities as a guide that suggests topics to include in your piece and salience as a relevance factor. With our tool, all of this information can easily be seen, making it easy for you to craft the piece accordingly.
Software Tool Advantages
As content optimization is becoming one of the imperatives for all of those who are looking into increasing their traffic numbers, having a tool that delivers all the above-mentioned data is incredibly valuable. Not only does it speed up this process, but it also helps you add more quality to your content and understand your audience better.
Some of the AB Rankings features that streamline the quality content optimization process are:
- Topics / Entities: You can explore entities in the top 30 Google results and find inspiration for any topic you choose to write about.
- Search Volumes: Knowing the search volume of suggested keywords help you understand which keywords your audience uses when looking for that “something” online.
- Word Count: Not knowing whether your article should be longer or shorter might affect your optimization results, so always keep the recommended number of words in mind.
- Comprehensiveness: Your article should cover most relevant entities and keywords suggested by the tool to ensure you rank high on search engines.
- Most frequently asked questions: Knowing what questions your target audience asks can show you what answers you need to provide to them within your piece.
- Content Editor: Start writing your articles within the content optimization tool to easily include necessary keywords and track the use of these elements.
- Other phrases commonly used in conjunction with the topic.
Besides writing new pieces of content with optimization in mind, you can also decide to optimize some of your existing content. However, it’s not enough to just go through your pages and see what needs to be updated. As much as the visual and informative aspects of your website are important, you will need to approach it from the perspective of the search engine.
Start by determining which of your keyword phrases have lost ranking. The right way to do this is to start comparing keywords from October to November 2019, due to the release of Google’s new algorithm at that period. These keyword phrases should be sorted by difference in impressions, and Queries and Pages that have received the biggest losses should be in your focus.
But, make sure you don’t concentrate just on the keyword implementation. After all, your website should have a good structure, and that also applies to the chosen topics for your articles. Another thing you shouldn’t forget is internal linking.
Links you add in your piece should be carefully chosen, just like the anchor text for them. Take a look at the suggested keyword phrases and implement the ones that match the content with which you are linking. These internal links should be placed on a page with a similar context to the one you are optimizing and placed in a paragraph that is logically related to the content of your page.
Existing Content Optimization Steps
After determining the keywords and the website structure, you should start upgrading your content by following these simple steps:
- Use Competitor and Entity Research
Use the same Competitor and Entity research used in the new articles section to upgrade your content to include the relevant topics and entities. Among the top 30 Google results, determine which of the suggested topics fit in your article and use them as sections. Keep in mind that keyword stuffing or simply mentioning these entities is not enough. This list shows you what your target audience wants to know, and it’s up to you to provide that information within your new piece.
- Add Schema Implementation
Think about adding a proper schema implementation. Once you add it to your website, it will create an enhanced description, also known as a rich snippet, which will then appear in the search results.
- Eliminate Keyword Stuffing
Adding too many of your keywords could seriously harm your rankings, but also the relationship you are building with your customers and prospects. The keywords provided by the tool should be used wisely. Think about these keywords as the instructions of what to cover in your article and make sure you write it organically. One of the biggest mistakes people will make while trying to write optimized content is to finish writing the article and then start adding the keywords.
- Align Structure & Headings with Entity/Topics
The entities and topics suggested by the tool can also be great guidelines for your headings and structure. After all, if you want to optimize your content in a quality way, you will need to optimize your headline and headings as well. An entity can be the heading for your new section after you’ve found a way to place it naturally in your piece.
- Think about Search Intent
Match the preferred sentiment for the article as well as entities to ensure your content is now well optimized according to the search intent of your target audience. We can even say that the search intent is more important than the keyword implementation. Think about it, would your audience read a perfectly optimized article about something they don’t care about? Just write naturally and avoid implementing keywords which don’t fit into your topic, or overuse certain keywords.
Always keep in mind you are writing for humans. Your content needs to be clear, informative and engaging to answer the search intent of your prospects. Adding too many keywords into your content will not provide your audience with the information they need, and when that happens, they will start looking for what they need somewhere else.
With content optimization, you are taking care of your customers and prospects. By providing them with the value they need, you are building trustworthy relationships with them. Having content that satisfies the needs of users is imperative for all businesses. Luckily, with a quality tool, all of your content pieces can be optimized, so they correspond with the search intent and bring the results you need.