Does All Content Need to be Optimized for SEO?
You’ve heard it a million times before: “Content is King” – particularly when it comes to SEO.
It raises the question – does all content have to be optimized for SEO? Can content just be, well, content? And if you’re writing content, do you have to do it for someone, or are paragraphs on a webpage enough? Does every piece of content need optimization?
Let our guide help you.
Firstly, What is Content Optimization?
It is the process of utilizing SEO techniques to create, publish and distribute content optimized for search engines to achieve your goals. Those could be to rank higher in SERPs, search queries, generate more traffic, increase leads and sales, or boost brand presence.
The process includes a mixture of both on-page SEO (keyword insertions, meta description, and title tags, links, headers and subheaders, image alt-text) and off-page SEO (link-building, both cross, and outbound).
The Advantages of Optimizing Content
While we could ramble on about the well-known benefits of SEO content, such as high search engine rankings, optimal search engine results, more leads, and better brand recognition let’s look at these powerful facts to highlight its importance:
Over 90% of companies market their business with content, according to Demand Metric
They also state that “70% of people feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing.”
Conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%), says Aberdeen
According to Wyzowl’s 2020 report, 87% of marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website, while 80% said that video has directly increased sales
The Content Marketing Institute states that content creation leads to 434% more indexed pages, resulting in better rankings and higher conversion rates
Does All Content Need to be Optimized?
In reality, all content should be optimized if you wish to achieve results, but it doesn’t have to be.
In many cases, high-quality content can be utilized to provide information without adhering to SEO rules: that means no keywords within the content itself, no optimized metas or tags, and no off-page SEO.
Take, for example, this non-optimized page from Toronto Family Hearing, “Services for Children.” Nothing about this page is optimized: there are no focused keywords, no page title, tags, and cross-links. But the page still provides a wealth of information to the audience, highlighting how hearing loss can impact children.
You can also consider the “How It Works” page from Easy Parent, which discusses how their parental control app assists parents. Once again, it’s not optimized but still provides valuable information that can enhance user experience and knowledge.
While you won’t generate high results with non-optimized content, you can still provide valuable information and great content to your audience – which is one important factor that should not be overlooked.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
You Should Optimize For Your People, Not Search Engines
Too often, marketers and businesses write for search engines, like Google or Bing, instead of writing for their audience. Even SEO guru Neil Patel says, “writing for people, and not search engines, is best practice.”
While it is essential to acknowledge the importance of search engines when creating optimized content, you should never lose sight of your audience. Search engines might get you to rank on their first page, but it’s your audience who will drive up traffic, spread the good word about your business and become customers.
Writing for your people is not as challenging as most people think. You can easily transform your content or blog with a few simple SEO tips without losing your audience focus.
Here is how you can truly capture the minds of your audience while adhering to search engine optimizations:
Truly Understand Your Readers – By Creating a Persona
There is no doubt about it: you need to know your readers inside-out to write content for them. Developing a ‘persona’ for your readers can prove beneficial.
You can do this by pulling data from Google Analytics and Facebook Insights, gaining access to location, age, and gender. You can also create surveys through Survey Monkey or Google Survey to give you more information on your target audience.
From here, decipher why your audience is reading content in the first place by answering these questions:
What do they want to learn about your industry?
How much do they love it, and how much do they already know?
What is the most popular type of content?
What motivates them?
While you can answer these questions yourself, it’s best to back up answers with data.
Conduct further research by asking these questions on Reddit and forums (while seeing your questions are already answered there) and search for keywords you want to rank for, noting down the top ten results. If they’re blogs or videos, you’ll know what type of content your audience will like. Also, note the type of channel they’re viewing: is it a blog, social media, or YouTube?
Add these points altogether – demographics, interests, types of content, and search behavior – to create a reader persona.
Solve Their Problems with Targeted Content
Why do people search online? To get their problems solved.
Consider the key questions that when searching for when asking about SEO:
Your readers are online searching for answers. You can give it to them by creating content that answers their concerns, provides them with information, and encourages them to take action.
Research the most popular questions within your industry using Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to find them (or even a quick Google search can be useful), creating a content strategy for the most interesting topics for your audience.
Learn Their Language
As Hubspot says, “having identified the topics you want to take a position on, you’ll need to determine which formats to budget for so you can best express that position.”
This is why creating a reader profile is important, as you’ll see what type of content your readers will enjoy consuming.
Take, for instance, if you were a plumber writing for your audience: a common term would be “How to fix bathroom sink plug”. Look at the top organic search results:
All videos and all on YouTube.
Now, search for “How much does SEO cost?”. What do you see?
Blogs posts from reliable sources. This step highlights what types of content your audience consumes.
Now for the most important part: read or watch the content. What type of language do they use? Are they simplistic in their tone or brand voice, or overly technical? Are they engaging or formal?
Understand the type of language used in the content so that you can use it for your creations. That way, you’re appealing to your audience.
Know Your Stuff – Be Detailed as Possible
A simple point from Walker Sands: “You must have extensive knowledge on the topic you’re writing about. Include statistics, data, and metrics to establish credibility and support your claims.”
In essence, make your content as engaging and detailed as possible to inform your audience about the topic. Create a conversation and invite debate. The last thing you want is to have content that doesn’t highlight anything or inform your audience. Just consider how those non-optimized pages from Toronto Family Hearing and Easy Parent can still provide information without being optimized.
Remember that a “whopping 95% of the B2B service and product buyers admit that they view content as a trustworthy marker when evaluating a business, while another “60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it.”
Do your research, gather valuable information, and create content that will help your audience solve their problems (Point 2!).
Don’t write fluff and watch out for keyword stuffing – write stuff that makes your audience think and learn.
5) Be Informative and Inspiring – Not “Sales-y”
No one likes being sold to.
So make sure you don’t overwhelm your content with how great your business is and how you can transform their operations. You’re there to inspire and be informative, not to sell your brand.
If you do, your audience will immediately pick it up and become deterred from consuming the rest of your content. “Roughly 25.8% of internet users were blocking advertising“, so they don’t want to endure advertising while consuming content in their own time.
Inspire and motivate your audience; don’t sell to them.