Content Optimization in Focus

The "business" Web consists of three groups - Internet retailers, service providers and information publishers. Each group produces content (ideally in whatever way is most useful to their enterprise) and each is responsible for optimizing that content so that it provides some tangible benefit.

Content marketing is the acquisition tactic that generated the most buzz in 2012 and will likely once more take center stage in 2013. But again, it's the optimization of that content that will play an important role in the ultimate success of a digital enterprise.

Here you will find 10 tips for optimizing the content on your own site to aid in message amplification, comprehension and brand value. Naming Conventions Matter:

A piece of content is only as good as its title. If there isn't a good title, there is little to motivate a casual user/browser to click through to view the whole item on your website. Consider the use of playful and entertaining headlines for your content (as opposed to those which simply define the contents) and watch website traffic increase over night.

Provide Entry Abstracts:

Once you've managed to get a user to your website, there needs to be a compelling reason for them to stay. Entry abstracts serve that purpose. Few use this tactic, but providing a synopsis of what's further down the page, in as compelling and exciting way as possible, is the best possible method to reduce bounce rate.

Use Headings Sparingly:

SEOs all but ruined the heading tag. Yes, search engines use H1 tags to determine content relevancy, but too many, at least visually, can confuse a reader as they are unable to prioritize content elements. Use just one H1 (and make it good) and watch as time on site increases dramatically. 

Include Statistical Evidence:

Few enterprises have the resources to conduct their own research, but that should not be the reason to avoid including statistics and data as supporting material within your content. Using information of this nature almost automatically instills a level of credibility. Consider sprinkling in a few stats to support the argument being made in the content and watch repeat visits increase over time.

Use Subheadings Liberally:

While using headings sparingly is smart, using subheadings liberally is pretty smart too. Website visitors tend to scan content as opposed to reading it in its entirety. Use at a minimum three subheadings. 

Asking Questions:

There are a few ways to engage users right off the bat - from stats (see above) to personal stories. Yet in many savvy Web workers experience, simply asking questions of your audience is enough to create a deepened sense of engagement. The objective should be to find ways to let website visitors related to you. For example, "Are you interested in using content to acquire new visitors to your website?".

Bullets & Numeric Lists:

Much like subheading enable users to scan content, the use of bullets and numeric lists do the same, but they also provide the ability for viewers to consume the most valuable information correctly, follow along toward completing a specific task, etc.

Message Clarity:

When you write regularly for a living, so much content is ultimately produced and published so quickly in some cases that all those words and creative turns of phrases can easily get muddled. Message clarity as important as the more mistakes are present (either grammatically or structurally) leads to distrust.

Modified Conclusion:

In writing, you tell the reader what they are going to read (entry abstracts), tell them (message clarity) and then tell them what you told them (conclusion). A modified conclusion is the best, and often last (if not only) opportunity many digital Web workers have to synthesize all the insights and data that were made available in the content itself. Take the conclusion as seriously as the abstract and introduction and watch sales and social shares increase over time.

Strong Call-to-Action:

Conclusions end the content, but for Web workers the end of the article or content item should only be the beginning of the relationship. Each and every piece of content that is developed should have a clear message which incites action among reader/consumers.