5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content You Create for SEO

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5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

Do you consistently create great content for your startup? More importantly, do you optimize it for search?

If you’re not doing the latter for every piece of content you create, then you’re going to miss out on valuable, sustainable traffic in the long run.

In this post, I’m going to give you five hacks to optimize every piece of content you create for SEO.

1. Choose a Keyword Phrase to Optimize Every Piece of Content You Create

This one should be obvious, but just in case it isn’t… solid keyword research for every aspect of your online marketing, including your content, will play a vital role in your SEO strategy’s success.

You will want to choose a keyword phrase to optimize every piece of content you create. You don’t have to create SEO-focused content where the entire piece is heavily optimized with a certain percentage of keywords. But be sure to choose at least one main keyword phrase.

You may want to choose a few related keyword phrases too. During the process of researching for related keyword phrases, you might find a better keyword phrase to use as your main term. For example, you may think that startup marketing is the perfect keyword phrase for your piece of content. But after a quick search with Google AdWords Keyword Planner, you find that marketing strategies is determined to have a higher search volume.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

At this stage, instead of optimizing your content for just startup marketing, you could optimize for startup marketing strategies and target two great keyword phrases with one piece of content.

2. Rename your content files to something meaningful

Are you about to upload an image, document, MP3, presentation, video, or other file to your website, Facebook, iTunes, SlideShare, or any other network that you want people to be able to find in search? Are you uploading files named infographic.png or ebook.pdf?

If so, then your files are not optimized for search because no one searches for just infographic or e-book without specific keywords relating to what the infographic or e-book is about.

Before you upload any file you want to eventually be found in search engines, change the file name to something meaningful. Take your main keyword phrase and include it in the file name. Change infographic.png to top-startup-marketing-strateiges-2016-infographic.png and ebook.pdf to 50-essential-startup-marketing-strategies.pdf.

Now, you have keyword optimized file names that will mean something to search engines.

This tactic isn’t just good for Google—it’s also good for the people who download your files. It’s easier to remember why you downloaded a file named 50-essential-startup-marketing-strategies.pdf than a file named ebook.pdf. It’s also more likely that people will keep your file on their computer and refer to it again if it has a specific name rather than a generic one. While there is no research to prove that, you can take a look at your own files to see which ones jump out at you as visually appealing and easy to read at compared to ones you have no idea what they are by looking oat their file name.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

Right now, I’m more inclined to look at Derek Halpern’s Persuasive Guarantees than the FreeReport.pdf in my folder of educational content. Which brings to mind another tip on file names: try to include your brand or business name at the end of the file name so people will also know who created it. This way you can build some brand recognition and authority, too.

3. Always fill out the title, description, and keyword fields

Most places you submit content to will have some common fields. They’ll ask for a title, description, and keywords or tags. These are crucial to ensure that people can find your content on the Internet, and also when doing an internal search, such as the search box on YouTube.

The goal when you’re filling out these fields for your content’s title, description, and keywords or tags is to make sure each field contains your main keyword phrase.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

For fields like keywords or tags, place your main keyword phrase first, followed by any related, relevant, or similar keyword phrases you discovered during your keyword research.

Some sites might have the option to do a title and description for the readers, and a separate title and description specifically for SEO. Make sure you have filled out both accordingly with your main and related keyword phrases.

4. Choose keyword optimized categories and topics

Category and topic pages optimized for broad keywords tend to rank well in search engines. Take the keyword marketing, for example. Often Wikipedia trumps the SERP, but here we see Entrepreneur’s topic page with the latest articles about marketing ranks highly.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

Mashable and Business Insider get good search results for the keyword advertising for their category pages on the topic.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

So to get your content appearing on the top pages for broad terms in your industry, choose category and topic pages that are ranking well, frequently submit your content to those sites, while selecting your chosen categories and topics. To get more views and clicks, your content either needs to be the most recent (for blogs and news publications) or the most popular (for networks like SlideShare and YouTube).

5. Promote your content with keyword optimization in mind

Optimizing your content for keywords doesn’t stop after the content is submitted and published. It should continue throughout the promotion of your content as well. In particular, you will want to take note of the following points to ensure that your content is visible in more results when people search for your main or related keyword phrases, such as this Facebook search for startup marketing strategies.

5 Hacks to Optimize Every Piece of Content for SEO | SEJ

  • Include your main keyword phrase (and a few related ones if possible) in social shares of your content. If you optimized your content with the main keyword phrase in the title and description, the link preview should be set. This means you just need to add your keyword phrases as early as possible your custom description of the content before you share on social networks. This especially applies to Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn.
  • Include your main keyword phrase as one or more hashtags in your update, preferably after the custom description of the content on Facebook and Google+ or after the link on Twitter. For example, you could have #startupmarketing or #startup #marketing (or both, space permitting). If you do a “link in the bio” promotion on Instagram, this will help more people discover your content.
  • Search for your main keyword phrases (and related ones) on Q&A networks like Quora and Yahoo Answers. If possible, add your content link as part of a helpful answer to the top and most recent questions.
  • Submit your content to keyword optimized categories on the top social bookmarking and voting sites in your industry. BizSugar, for example, has a Startup category and GrowthHackers has a Marketing Strategy category. Submissions with the most votes tend to end up at the top of the categories on these types of networks.
  • Repurpose your content and submit it to other networks. That way, your content has the potential to be discovered in different forms – blog posts, podcasts, presentations, videos, etc. Link those new pieces of content back to the original when possible.
  • Find other blog posts and articles that mention your main or related keyword phrases. If those keyword phrases are not linked to anything else, contact the owner of the content to see if you can get your content linked to that keyword phrase.
  • Find people who rank on social networks for your main or related keyword phrases. Contact them to see if you can get them to share your content with their audience, assuming you are not a competitor of theirs.

In Conclusion

As you can see, these five hacks to optimize every piece of content for SEO are very powerful if put to good use. I encourage you to try them out, experiment with your content where applicable and start ensuring that more people can discover your great content through good optimization.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Nathan Chan
All screenshots by Nathan Chan. Taken January 2016.

Nathan Chan
Nathan Chan is the Publisher and Editor of Foundr magazine. He is an avid table tennis player and a lover of everything entrepreneurship.
Nathan Chan
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  • http://memocup.com/ Deepak Memo

    Nathan, I completely agree with you about keyword optimization but I think these days on page optimizations are having less impact as compared with off page. Now social signals, quality backlinks, promotion are big players in he market which impacting search ranking directly or indirectly.

    Now 30% efforts are going into all on page activities in which keyword optimization is a part and rest effort goes to promoting your content to all relevant channels.

    What do you say?

  • http://www.blogail.com Ravinder Dande

    Hi Nathan,

    Understanding and choosing keyword phrase is not easy one.Many bloggers gets confused about using keywords.I didn’t know much about keywords may be i was not using for same for my blog.But here I this blog post cleard my mind about using keywords and phrase to some extent.Lets try to use what i got here and see result.Thanks 🙂

  • Siri Innovations

    In my view keyword phrase will change according to the content for Blogs then how can we overcome this issue without hacking.

  • Roger Rogerson

    do you optimize it for search?
    If you’re not … then you’re going to miss out on valuable, sustainable traffic in the long run.

    Wait! What?
    You mean simply creating the best written, most authoritative, longest content won’t get me to the top of the SERPs and keep me there?

    *recovers from bout of sarcasm*

    More seriously – if people aren’t doing those sorts of things … they should give up or hire someone.

    >> Keyword research.
    There’s a little more to it than identifying target terms.
    You also need to consider additional phrasing – stuff that matches the purpose of the search (searcher intent). You may also want to look at Qualifiers and Disqualifiers.
    Take the example from above [startup marketing].
    Are we looking at reviews, aids, tools, resources, guides etc.?
    Is it who, what, why, when, where or how?
    Are you selling, advising, offering tips or something else?
    By identifying the prupose and aligning with it – you not only increase the chance of being relevant and getting clicks, you reduce the amount of competition for that more detailed phrase.
    Qualifiers and Disqualifiers can do the same – they help distingquish your content from others and help set you apart. Are we talking begginer or advanced? Are we talking listicle or infographic?

    >> Titles and Descriptions.
    Remember that Titles are character limited. Only N number of characters appear in the SERPs, and fewer still in browser tabs. Try to ensure that any key terms/phrases/qualifiers appear early in the title.
    And just to make it harder – remember, it’s not just about Relevancy. You want clicks – so your titles/descriptions need to get attention, hold it and convince the searcher to click – so again, Qualifiers/Disqualifiers are important!
    (Consider things like including the price and free shipping, or discount values, or limited stock etc.)

    >> Keyword optimised hubs.
    Hubs/head pages are those that point to more detailed pages – things like product/article categories, taxonomy pages etc.
    One of the reasons these tend to rank well is because you link to them … normally from your sub pages.
    Ensure that you have proper internal linking! All info-pages (leaves, products, articles – whatever) should link back to their immediate parent. It would also be nice to link to other ancestor pages if there are multiple (grandparent, great grandparent etc.).
    If a piece appears in multiple categories/tags, list them (the one you want to rank most for should be first!).
    And whilst you’re doing the linking – link between sibling/related end pages too 😀

  • Ryan5ear

    I think another consideration when targeting keywords is the likely hood that you would rank for that particular phrase.

    If you are competing with huge companies for the top spots, you would realistically struggle to rank highly even if the quality of the content and the on page optimisation is spot on.

    From an agency perspective, managing a clients expectations of what they can achieve is important.

    Long tail is the way forward for small and medium sized blogs/businesses/sites.

    Agree with Deepak that quality backlinks that large companies aquire by just being is also a big consideration.

  • neil77hannam

    You forgot to include “use a clickbait style headline featuring a phrase like ‘hacks’ even if the points made within the article are in no way ‘hacks’”.

    These five ‘hacks’ as you describe them are just basic optimisation elements. The title is rather misleading readers by suggesting something that isn’t really delivered within the content. It’s just basic optimisation advice delivered under the guise of being something more than that.

  • Ron

    Nothing new here but good info all the same.

    One point: Google has not looked at the keyword tag since 2009. It is a complete waste of time to add it.

  • http://clicktoreview.com Muhammad Sadiq

    This is a great Blogs post its very Knowledgeable topic to highlight, and some great information that you have shared with us Nathan Chan.

  • http://www.cygnet-infotech.com/ Hemang Rindani

    Interesting post. Content creation is a tricky task, especially a content that is rich in SEO. Fore-mostly it is important to know the target audience and select topic accordingly. Use your keyword planner and confirm certain relevant keywords and phrases that allows you to have good search results. To build a content around the selected keywords is not easy as Google algorithm penalize content if there has been any unethical activity, Write a content where keywords can be accommodated naturally. Quality of the content is must. Meta title, Description, URL, H1 to H5 headers and Alt Tags are other important areas where Keywords can be utilized. Content Management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Sitefinity can efficiently handle these focus areas painlessly and it will be a good thought to use them as your Content and Website Manager.