Content marketing is integral to building trust with customers, hence improving brand reputation. It also helps with increasing your conversion rate, which is why you want to craft content for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Additionally, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to bolster your SEO efforts. One of the factors that Google takes into consideration when ranking your page is its authority, and this authority increases the more high-quality content you have on your site.
However, it’s not enough to create high-quality content; you have to optimize it to make it easy to find online.
What is content optimization?
Content optimization involves crafting your content in such a way that search engines can find it easily, know what it’s about, and determine how relevant it is to a searcher’s query.
So, while you write content for your audience, you must also optimize it for search engine robots. And, if you optimize your content well enough, you will have no problem getting in front of your audience and having a constructive conversation with them that could lead to sales.
How to optimize your content?
Even though there are many tactics to optimize your content, the overall strategy is usually the same.
You first need to know your audience well, know what they want to read, and know the best way to deliver them the content they are looking for.
After that, you want to write superb content that is not only found quickly by search engines but also enthralls your audience.
Finally, you need to gauge the results of your efforts to figure out what worked and what didn’t and to adjust accordingly.
Let’s look at each step individually.
Know your audience
The importance of knowing your audience cannot be overstated. It lets you refine your message and tailor said message for a given objective.
In a world where customization is on the rise, knowing your audience can make all the difference between thriving and languishing.
To get a better grip on your audience, there are a few things you want to do:
Build clear buyer personas and refine them constantly.
A buyer persona is a fictional character you create that represents a segment of your audience.
The idea is that this persona captures the demographics of your audience, their socioeconomic status, their interests, and anything else that is relevant about them.
When you have all this information condensed in a single space, it becomes easier for you to know who you’re talking to, as well as what this audience wants to hear and how they want to be addressed.
Ideally, you want to create several personas to cover all your different target segments.
Be clear on your sales funnel.
It’s not enough to build personas of your audience; you also need to understand the journey they go through as they pass from general awareness of your product or service to making an actual decision to do business with you.
This buyer’s journey, which is also known as a sales funnel, may differ from business to business and from industry to industry, but its general characteristics are the same.
Buyers go through three distinct phases.
They start at awareness, where they are still unaware of who you are and what you have to offer but are looking for a solution to a problem they have.
After that, they enter the consideration stage, where they figure out that you could help them solve their problem, but they are still weighing all their options and are looking at all their choices.
The last phase is called the decision phase, and this is when the customer has whittled down his options to a select few and is making a go or no-go decision.
The trick is that the customers at different stages of the funnel will be interested in different types of content.
So, whereas customers at the top of the funnel might be looking for educational content and how-to posts, customers at the consideration phase would appreciate comparison articles and videos showcasing your product or service in action.
Providing customers at different stages with the right content at the right time can not only boost your conversion ratios but also increase your credibility with both your existing customer base and those just getting to know you.
Search for the right keywords.
Armed with your buyers’ personas and with a solid understanding of your buyer’s journey, you should find it easier to search for different keywords for different pieces of content.
These keywords will be integral to how you shape your content, and they will play a role in your title, meta-descriptions, and so much more.
Tactics for content optimization
Now that you know your audience well, you should have an easier time writing content that will engage your readers. But, you also have to make sure that your content will be found in the first place, and this means optimizing it. Here are a few things you could do:
Start with trust.
Google uses many things to rank your site, one of which is how trustworthy it is. There are many ways of building online trust, starting with using the right words, such as “accordingly,” “authentic,” and “official.”
You also want your content to be objective, which means that if your content comes across as too salesy or too pushy, you will lose both your audience and the Google search bot.
You can also leverage user-generated content to build trust with your audience. People are much more likely to trust something that comes from an impartial third party than from someone who has something to gain.
In addition to all of this, you should share research, metrics, and case studies to support whatever you are saying. You can show these numbers on your page, or you can link to them.
It is worth pointing out that trust and authority are not the same. Whereas trust is about how much people believe what you tell them, authority is about whether they go to you when they have a question.
Building authority takes time, but it will happen if you stay consistent and keep publishing high-quality, trustworthy content.
There are many things you can do to establish authority. First, you need to make sure that the content published on your site covers a topic in-depth and gives your readers all the information they could need.
Also, you would do well to guest blog on other websites with high authority and link back to your site. When sharing research and other articles on your site, you should only link to high-authority sites.
Make your content match the intent of your readers.
This is where the understanding of your customer journey comes into play. One of the things Google uses to rank your site is how much time each visitor spends on each page. The longer visitors stay at your site, the higher your ranking becomes.
To get visitors to stay as long as possible, you have to give them content that is relevant to them and answers their main questions; otherwise, they’ll just hit that back button and look for someone else who can answer their queries.
Don’t forget to produce high-quality content.
Even though you have probably heard this piece of advice more than a million times, it still bears repeating: Your content must be of the highest quality.
This just doesn’t mean that it is full of relevant information, backed up with authoritative sources; it also means that your content must be flawless.
When it comes to written content, make sure to cover the following bases:
- The grammar must be impeccable, no
typos or spelling mistakes.
- Use legible fonts, break the content into digestible chunks, and use bullet points when appropriate. Also, use clear headlines that let the audience know what you will talk about. You want your content to be scannable so that people who are in a hurry can still get the gist of what you are trying to say.
- Stay within the pocket. Don’t go wandering off, covering different topics and themes within the same article. If you’re going to discuss a certain topic, stay on topic.
- Maintain a friendly tone throughout your writing. Even though each type of audience might require a different tone, a stuffy, formal tone can be off-putting to many people.
- Use images and visuals, such as infographics and videos. These make your content more inviting and make it easier for your audience to scan your content. Just be sure that the visuals you are using are adding value to your content and aren’t hindering your audience’s overall experience.
- Avoid ambiguous language. If a reader is unsure about what you are trying to say, then you have wasted both his time and yours.
Write long pieces.
One of the primary objectives of your content marketing strategy should be to improve your SEO ranking. In addition to valuing high-quality content, search engines prefer long-form content as it usually gives readers all the information they need and more.
Furthermore, long-form pieces are more likely to contain several valuable backlinks, increasing the page’s overall authority.
Have clear Calls-To-Action.
Seeing as the whole point of your content should be to ferry your audience across the sales funnel, you need to end each piece of content with an appropriate Call-To-Action, which is also known as a CTA.
In other words, you need to push your audience towards taking a certain action, helping them figure out what their next step should be.
Post as consistently as you can.
Although different audiences will have different expectations about how much you should publish, what matters the most is consistency.
So, whether you are posting once a week or a few times a day, your audience will soon come to expect your content over a specific time interval, and you need to meet those expectations.
Give your old content a facelift every once in a while.
Rather than having to produce new content all the time, you can just refurbish and republish old content, especially if said content was evergreen. After all, odds are you will get new readers who have not seen some of your past work, and it is your job to introduce them to the classics.
Know where to use your keywords.
Even though using your selected keywords within the body of your content may seem obvious, there are places where you should insert the words you are trying to rank for:
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- Images and alt text
- Link Anchor Text
Measuring the results of your efforts
Having researched your audience and optimized your content to make it easy to find, you now need to measure how effective your efforts have been.
This means that you need to be aware of which metrics to look out for. You also should keep an eye on how your content marketing strategy has affected your SEO and your conversion numbers.
What to do next?
Once you have a clear idea of how effective your actions have been, you can adjust them accordingly, focusing on what worked and discarding what didn’t.
When it’s all said and done, content marketing is an iterative process, one that relies on a healthy dose of experimentation.
So, don’t be afraid of trying different things so long as you pay close attention and are willing to learn from your mistakes.