The term ‘search engine optimization’ is misleading, to be quite honest. The thing about this term is it immediately conjures up an image that content writers and search engine marketers are actually organizing the search engine itself. In reality, they’re just optimizing content for user experience and client visibility.
Additionally, most search engines have been slowly improving their algorithms to detract search engine marketers from gaming their systems. It used to be that in order to get a website to the top of the search, SEO simply involved jamming as many keywords into a webpage on that site, and the webpage would show up prominently in search results. Now, actions like that are instead punished by the search engines, going so far as to blacklist the website containing such haphazard content.
So with all this debunking talk about SEO and how things have changed from 20 years ago (can you believe SEO has been around for 20 years?), companies shouldn’t be focusing on getting their websites to land on the first few pages of a search engine by finding loopholes in the system. Instead, they should really be having conversations with their marketing team around how to produce quality content. Let’s face it: quality content will lead to a larger audience. And a larger audience means better placement on search engines.
The rise of content optimization
Given how ubiquitous the concept of SEO is in digital marketing, it’s highly unlikely that a replacement for it will be arriving anytime soon. That may be about to change, however, given the increasingly vested interest in the concept of content optimization.
Content optimization is, for all intents and purposes, the process of making a website and its contents more appealing to its users. It encompasses a lot of things — which we will be talking about in a bit — that have allowed this concept to gain prominence in the world of digital marketing.
Search engine versus content optimization
So in what way is content optimization different from search engine optimization? It can be a very tough question to answer since content and search engine optimization are closely interlinked. The goal of both strategies is to get more people to visit a site. Broadly speaking however, content optimization focuses on directly appealing to readers and users of the site in order to drive more traffic through organic reach. Search engine optimization attempts to drive traffic by increasing a website’s visibility to search engines in order to gain more readers and users.
Optimizing how content is written
High-quality content is the output of content optimization; there is less emphasis on using the right keywords. It’s one of the differences between copywriting for users and copywriting for search engines. Google for one, has tried to reduce the appearance of spam from search results and encourages quality content through its search algorithms.
MarketMuse talked about what makes high-quality content. For one, it must satisfy user intent. This means that whoever is reading the content on a webpage must be able to find the information they are looking for without having to look at other websites or do another search.
Another thing that makes content high quality is its uniqueness. While most search engines do not penalize duplicate content, it can be flagged if a website’s content is too similar to content found on another page.
The format through which content is presented is not directly tied in to the quality of the content. It can be images, an infographic, or a simple blog post; what’s important is to know the audience that a website is dedicated to. Doing so helps streamline the content that will be uploaded to that site, and it makes it easier for content writers to think of interesting and relevant material that users can connect with.
Optimizing how content is displayed
Content optimization works because it really focuses on making sure every single part of a website is not only high-quality, but also high impact. Not only does a website have to have great articles, products or services, but it also needs to present these in the best way possible. The first thing that people will see when they visit a website won’t be the actual innards of the site, but rather the aesthetics and the user interface.
A website’s design should be clean and easy to look at. Taking a look at the top websites that show up after a search, most of these websites are well-designed and do not have a lot going on. Even with sites that are reliant on images and graphics, it can be seen that great care has been taken to avoid overwhelming the user.
Another thing that great web designers use to optimize website content looks to its readers is to make sure that the websites are optimized for mobile view. Most audiences are on their mobile devices and smartphones rather than on desktop computers, so it’s important to also polish the UI for mobile.
Determining how long content should be
Another trend among top ranking and high-quality websites is in how long the content is. Blog posts of over 1,000 words have been noted to receive more attention and do generally better in key categories than short-form content.
Numerous studies on digital marketing have confirmed this trend. Websites that host more long-form content are generally seen as more trustworthy, and are viewed to be experts and authorities in their particular niche.
This does not, however, mean that websites should stretch out posts that can be easily covered by a 500-word post or an infographic. Focus instead on how much information is in that 1,000 word blog post. Most long-form posts are over 1,000 words not because they need to be long, but because they offer an in-depth look on a particular topic.
Most long-form posts are also full of information that is well-researched and well-referenced. For search engine optimization, this could make things easier to create links that can help with search engine rankings. So long-form posts are beneficial not just for creating high-quality content, but also content that will rank better in search engines.
In conclusion, content optimization is a concept that is gaining interest, not because it seeks to replace search engine optimization, but because it seeks to supplement what SEO is already providing. The top 50 SEO companies from BestSEOCompanies.com know that search engine algorithms are now placing more emphasis on quality than quantity, and content optimization can help achieve better rankings by posting content that is more likely to draw in readers organically.