What is Content Optimization?

SEO professional optimizing webpage content.

If you’ve ever worked with an SEO you’ve probably heard the phrase “optimize your content” one too many times.

In search engine optimization, you not only want to create quality content, but also make sure it’s optimized in the best way possible. This is so it has a better chance of performing in the search results.

In this article, I’ll outline what content optimization is in SEO and how to go about doing it.

I will discuss:

What Is SEO Content Optimization?

Content optimization in SEO is all about making sure the content is streamlined for both search engines and website visitors.

Generating content is the most important part of the content creation process. But there are some things that you have to consider to help your content perform better in the search results and to offer a better experience for your visitors.

In fact, not doing certain optimization practices can impede your ability to rank in the search results. One example that comes to mind is a slow webpage when compared to your competition in the search results.

Now you might not equate a slow webpage with SEO content optimization, but it’s very much a part of ensuring the webpage your content is on performs. And I’ll talk more about that next.

How To Do SEO Content Optimization

You might think that SEO content optimization involves just slapping a few keywords onto a webpage. But it’s actually more involved than that.

See, it’s not just the words on the page that need to be optimized — it’s the entire webpage (which means getting into the technical stuff). Bottom line: You cannot view content optimization as separate from other types of optimization that need to happen on the webpage.

That said, let’s look at some of the things that go into SEO content optimization. While not an exhaustive list, here are some of the many things you can and should do:

Keyword Research

Keywords are the foundation of SEO content. They tell us what our target audience is searching for and how they are searching for it when looking for what you have to offer.

But keyword research goes beyond that. It helps us better understand what our target audience wants so that we can deliver more targeted content to them, and to better compete in the search results.

Once you have done your keyword research, you can begin to create content for those keyword topics. That is the first step in optimizing SEO content.

Choosing a Content Type

Analyze the search engine results pages (SERPs) and see what type of content shows up for each of your keywords. For example, do you only see webpages? Or do you also see things like videos and featured snippets?

Take note of the SERP features that show up. This is the type of content you want to create.

Read more:

On-Page Optimization

Now we get to the part of SEO content optimization that most people are familiar with — on-page optimization. This involves optimizing your content from top to bottom with SEO best practices.

Here are just a few of the things to keep in mind as you optimize your SEO content …

Competitor Research

Before you put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) you want to be sure you are creating content that will meet or exceed your competition in the SERPs. That requires some competitor research.

Competitor research can reduce wasted efforts and give you better targets for your content. Think about it: If all the top-ranked webpages in the SERPs are 1,000 words, why would you write 2,000?

You can do competitor research the old-fashioned way by going to the SERPs (in incognito mode), typing in your keyword and then analyze the top-ranked webpages. But this takes time.

Easier yet is using SEO tools for the job. (We have one for competitor research and you can learn more about the Bruce Clay SEO WP™ plugin at any time.)


Mobile-Friendly Writing

Given that 63% of traffic to search engines and 54% of traffic to websites comes from mobile devices, it only makes sense that you optimize your content with mobile readers in mind. How do you do that? Think tiny screens.

Mobile content means breaking up long chunks of content into bite-sized pieces. Paragraphs can be two sentences long (or in some cases, even one sentence).

You can use bullets and subheads to keep things organized and to guide the reader along. Think about how much effort it would take to read a long article on a phone, and adjust your formatting to make it easier for your visitors.


Link Targets

Most SEO content optimization will take into consideration the outbound links from the page. Outbound links are the links that you embed that go out to another page either on your website or to another website.

In either case, you want to be strategic about what you are linking to. This is especially important if you are SEO siloing to boost your content performance. And it’s also important to your link profile. You want to make sure you are linking out to quality, relevant websites.


Keyword Optimization

In many cases, you end up naturally optimizing your content when you write — using different variations of a keyword and related keywords. But any optimization effort is about being as precise as possible and also beating the competition.

So it cannot hurt to ensure the page has the most relevant keywords showing up a reasonable number of times. There are tools you can use to help with optimizing your keywords with content, like the Bruce Clay SEO WP plugin.


Meta Data

Meta data (aka meta tags) is another area that is widely known as a standard part of SEO content optimization. You want to get this part right because your meta data is your first impression to both search engines and users.

Why? The meta data is the first bit of content the search engines encounter when crawling a webpage to understand what the page is about. And, the meta data serves as the snippet in the search results, so it’s the first thing a potential visitor sees.

For this, you want to make sure that:

  • The meta data is compelling
  • It accurately describes what the reader can expect
  • It stays within character count guidelines
  • It uses the target keywords


Technical SEO

Really great content will get you pretty far in the search results. But all else equal, if a competitor for your keyword has a faster website or offers a better user experience, your website will likely not stack up in the SERPs.

What do I mean when I say “all else equal”? Search engines like Google use a variety of factors in their ranking algorithms to determine which page is the most relevant to a search. No website is going to be perfect for a query, and Google knows that.

So the search engines essentially rank the webpages by those that are closest to matching the most factors. So let’s say there are 50 ranking factors for a given query — if you have 39 of the most important and your competition has 40, who do you think will rank above whom?

So a key part of SEO content optimization is actually making your website run better. For this, you need the help of a technical SEO person and/or your web team. It’s not something that a content creator can easily tackle without the know-how.


Follow these SEO content optimization tactics to help your content perform better in the search results.

For a more comprehensive list on optimization, check out our SEO checklist.

FAQ: What exactly is SEO content optimization and how can I implement it?

SEO content optimization stands as a pivotal strategy for achieving online success. By tailoring your content to align with search engine algorithms, you can exponentially increase your chances of appearing prominently in search results. This article guides you in understanding and implementing SEO content optimization effectively.

At its core, SEO content optimization refers to the strategic process of refining your online content to make it more attractive to search engines like Google. The goal is simple yet powerful: to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and subsequently draw more organic traffic. This process involves a harmonious blend of keyword research, quality content creation, and technical finesse.

The cornerstone of successful SEO content optimization lies in thorough keyword research. You can strategically incorporate these terms into your content by identifying relevant keywords and phrases that potential visitors might use to find content like yours. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance – keyword stuffing can result in a negative user experience and harm your ranking. Instead, aim for an effortless integration that enhances readability and value in your content.

Content creation remains essential. Search engines prioritize content that provides genuine value to users. Craft articles, blog posts, or other forms of media that not only address your audience’s needs and showcase your expertise. Engaging content encourages longer time spent on your website and reduced bounce rates, signaling to search engines that your content deserves recognition.

Technical optimization is equally vital. Ensure your website is mobile-responsive, as search engines prioritize mobile-friendly sites. Furthermore, optimize your meta titles, descriptions, and headings to reflect your content’s essence accurately. Internal linking, which connects different pages on your website, also aids navigation and boosts SEO performance.

To implement SEO content optimization successfully, embrace a holistic approach. Regularly update your content to reflect current trends and changes in your industry. Monitor your website’s performance using analytical tools to gauge the effectiveness of your optimization efforts. Stay informed about search engine algorithm updates and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Implementing SEO Content Optimization

  1. Conduct comprehensive keyword research to identify relevant and high-traffic keywords.
  2. Prioritize long-tail keywords that align closely with your content’s focus.
  3. Develop high-quality, informative, and engaging content that addresses user needs.
  4. Integrate selected keywords naturally into your content, including titles, headings, and body.
  5. Ensure your website’s mobile responsiveness for a seamless user experience.
  6. Optimize meta titles, descriptions, and headings to represent your content accurately.
  7. Implement internal linking to connect relevant pages within your website.
  8. Regularly update and refresh your content to reflect current trends and information.
  9. Monitor your website’s performance using analytical tools like Google Analytics.
  10. Analyze user behavior to identify areas for improvement and optimization.
  11. Stay informed about search engine algorithm updates and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  12. Leverage social media platforms to promote your optimized content.
  13. Build backlinks from reputable sources to enhance your website’s authority.
  14. Collaborate with influencers or industry experts to expand your content’s reach.
  15. Encourage user engagement through comments, shares, and discussions.
  16. Optimize images and multimedia elements for faster loading times.
  17. Use schema markup to provide additional context to search engines.
  18. Implement a consistent content posting schedule to maintain audience engagement.
  19. Continuously track and measure the impact of your SEO content optimization efforts.
  20. Adapt your strategy based on performance insights and evolving SEO best practices.

Following these steps will help you navigate the complex world of SEO content optimization and help drive organic traffic while creating a strong presence online. Staying current with industry trends and best practices is key for long-term SEO success.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
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One Reply to “What is Content Optimization?”

I follow these guidelines, thanks Bruce :-)


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