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Bernadette Coleman

Six Steps to Optimize Your Content

blackboard with content flowYou spend a lot of time developing and marketing your content. It’s good stuff, and you want people to find it, use it and share it with their friends and colleagues. So before you hit the final “Publish” button, take a few minutes to optimize your content for three essential features, the trifecta of content marketing: discoverability, readability and shareability. You can do this in six simple steps.

1) Keyword Focus

Review that well-researched keyword list you put together when you developed your content marketing plan. Focus each piece of content on one or two keywords and be sure to include them in the first few sentences of your document.

2) Content Links

Include links to relevant content you published previously, on your own site as well as on third-party sites. Search engines like resource-rich content. Double check all links to be sure they are active and that they take consumers to the correct destination.

3) Strong Headlines

Resist the temptation to use a catchy headline or that hilarious one you came up with that references a news event. Opt instead for a descriptive headline that signals the subject of your content and won’t go out of date in a week or two. Include a keyword if possible. And if you absolutely must show off your catchy version, make it an H2 subhead.

4) Images and Illustrations

Research shows that content with images makes a greater impact than content that is copy only. Photographs that show human faces are especially appealing to readers. Write a straightforward caption and include a keyword if appropriate. Don’t forget to include alt text that describes the image for users with accessibility constraints.

5) Format

Most people will scan a piece of content to see if they want to take time to read the entire article. Make it easy for them by keeping copy flush left. Use bullets, numbers, boldface, subheads and other formatting devices to help people find the parts of your content that most interest them. Consider that consumers use different devices to access the Internet, everything from big desktop screens to tablets to small smartphones. Ask yourself, “Could I read this content on a smartphone screen?” If not, your piece needs a friendlier layout.

6) Sharing

When someone discovers an interesting article, a great quote or a helpful tip, they usually want to share it with friends and colleagues. Make it easy for them to spread the word about your content by including social sharing buttons at the bottom of each article. It seems to us that the favored current practice is to add individual buttons for Facebook, G+, Twitter, etc., but it’s also acceptable to use an aggregated sharing button such as ShareThis or Shareaholic.

Using these six techniques will make your content more attractive to search engines so that more consumers discover your content, are more likely to read it, and can easily share it with others. And don’t forget to promote your content through your own social media accounts as well.

Comment below and add to the list some of the techniques you have used to make your content more attractive!

Bernadette Coleman

Bernadette Coleman is a SEO, Local Search, Engaging Content Enthusiast & CEO of Advice Interactive Group, an Inc500 Digital Agency.

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