Publishing a brilliant piece of content is just the beginning.
It might feel like job done.
But the fact is, the value of that content could decrease over the next few years without proper optimisation.
Especially if it was written with organic search in mind. Those SEO benefits won’t last unless you consistently update the page.
The amount of additional work that needs doing varies and is almost impossible to predict.
You might just need to do a few tweaks, update a few keywords.
Or, if you’re hit by a particularly harsh Google penalty, a complete rewrite may be necessary.
Here, we’re going to look at why you might need to optimise your content, and how to do it. Even if the content you’ve published is already amazing.
Four Reasons You Might Need to Optimise Your Content
1 – It Isn’t Performing How You’d Hoped
If your content just isn’t producing the results you’d hoped for, then you need to take action.
You might have spent a lot of time writing that page, and if it isn’t performing, it will have gone to waste.
Performance can be measured in different ways. It depends on what your goals are.
You could be looking for:
- Organic traffic
- Social shares
If you’re not achieving any of the above, then there’s probably something you need to change.
We’ll talk about what you can do a little later on.
2 – A Google Update Is Starting to Hinder Search Visibility
You can only write to Google’s best practice as it stands now.
But the search giant is constantly evolving, and releases multiple algorithm updates every year – some small, some game-changing.
There’s no way of predicting which way it’s going to go. Not even Google knows.
So you need to be prepared to make changes to your content if a new update has a negative impact on search visibility.
Keep up to date with SEO blogs. They won’t have all the answers, but most generally try to gain an understanding of what an update has done, why it’s done it, and how to adapt.
3 – Your Content Is out of Date or Inaccurate
Depending on the nature of your content, it’s very possible that it could be out of date in a year.
This isn’t really an issue if it’s a blog post that has fallen off your front page, but if it’s something you still want to drive traffic to – an update is necessary.
Even if wrong information doesn’t always impact search visibility – telling your audience something that isn’t true won’t win any trust.
So it needs to be changed. The more inaccurate the information, the more urgent it is to get fixed.
Especially if it’s details about a product or service you’re selling.
You don’t want a customer paying for something that isn’t as advertised in the description. They won’t be very happy.
4 – You’ve Improved as a Writer
As a writer, it’s often hard to pinpoint how and when the quality of your work has improved.
But if you look at something you wrote yesterday, and compare it to a piece you wrote four years ago, there will be a massive difference.
The question is – if you were to write a page you did a couple of years ago, again, would it be that much better it could improve performance?
If the answer is yes, then it may be worth investing the time into some minor rewrites.
Writing never has to be “finished”. The best authors in the world wish they could go back and change things they published years ago.
As an internet writer, you have that luxury.
However, it’s worth noting that if the page is performing well, too many changes could diminish that. So be careful not to rewrite just for the sake of it.
How to Optimise Your Content to Make It Even Better
First, determine why you want to optimise your content.
Most of the time the solution is quite simple. If the information is out of date, fix it. If a Google update is affecting visibility, find out how and why, and make changes accordingly.
The top SEO websites, such as Moz, will generally have a good breakdown of any Google algorithm update.
If the problem is low performance, it gets a bit more complicated.
But we’re here to help.
Is Your Blog Not Generating as Much Organic Traffic as You Expected?
This could be for a number of reasons.
Perhaps the keywords you’ve implemented don’t have the search volume they did when you first wrote the piece.
Or, perhaps your competitors have seen your work, and produced something better – knocking you down in the rankings.
It could be that your title is just not strong enough. Does it really grab the reader, and make them want to click on your web page?
Everything that you do before initially writing a piece of content – competitors analysis, keyword research, producing a good headline – do it again and see where you’re going wrong.
Are Conversions/Interactions Lower Than You Anticipated?
If traffic is good, but conversions aren’t, then you need to take a look at your CTAs.
A well-written, strategically placed call to action will entice people to convert.
But if it’s bad, they won’t. It’s that simple.
First, make sure you have at least one call to action on the page. It needs to be clearly visible, and tell the reader exactly what they need to do.
Having multiple CTAs is preferable, however. As long as you don’t overdo it and have them on every other line.
Then, check the copy is strong enough. You’re selling something – so you need to get salesy.
The readers are interested in your product. Persuasive language will get them over the line to becoming a paying customer.
A Few Final Tips on Optimising Your Content
Don’t Change Too Much
This post is about optimising content. Not changing it entirely.
A complete rewrite might make Google think it’s an entirely new piece of content – and you’ll lose any authority you’ve built up since publication.
You probably just need to tweak a few things. Unless the page just isn’t performing at all, it’s important to understand what is working, and try to build on that.
Optimise Your Own Content
Unless it’s out of your control, don’t allow another writer to optimise your content.
You’ve written it. You know why you’ve done things the way you’ve done them, and have a better idea of why it’s performing the way it is.
So you’re in the best position to make changes.
Technical Compliance Optimisation
This may not be a job for the writer – but it’s worth mentioning anyway.
Over time, Google best practice technical requirements change. You need to stay on top of this. Your competitors will, and you don’t want to give them an edge.
Work with an SEO expert to determine any changes that need making.
Done all the above?
Great, you’re finished!
Not really. The point of this is that content is an ongoing process. You’ve optimised once, you need to keep doing it.
It’s the only way to ensure you maintain performance over a long period of time.
I’m going to be optimising this very post myself. But not for a while, yet.