A Comprehensive Guide to Mastering Content Optimization for Small Businesses

You could have crafted the most in-depth content, but that wouldn’t matter if it’s not optimized for search engines. Optimizing your content for search engines, particularly your site content, is critical to ensuring it gets the visibility it deserves. Whether it’s content for your site, online course platforms, or emails, you also need your content to be something human readers will consume in the first place.

Content optimization involves ensuring your content is SEO-friendly and readable. Your content needs to climb up search rankings and hook your readers so they take the next step. 

Are you ready to improve your content? Here are six content optimization strategies for small businesses.

1. Carry out a content audit

A content audit involves evaluating your current content’s value, discoverability, performance, and accuracy. This process—typically done for content on your website—allows you to identify gaps in your content optimization strategies and areas where you can further optimize existing content. 

Let’s briefly run through the steps involved in auditing your content :

Define your content auditing goals and metrics

Here, you should set clear objectives and metrics for determining the effectiveness of your existing content. Ideally, you want to keep your overall business goals in mind.

Major content auditing goals you can consider include:

  • To improve your SEO performance—This involves checking how well (or poorly) your digital content pieces are ranking on Google and enhancing them. Metrics to check here include organic traffic, keyword rankings, backlinks, and click-through rates (CTR) from search engines.
  • To gain better audience engagement—Involves getting visitors to spend more time on your site and interact with the content. For this, you’d be looking out for how long users stay on your page. Assess metrics like bounce rate or engagement rate.
  • To boost your conversion rate—For this, you can look at metrics like conversion rates and number of leads generated.

Clear objectives allow you to understand which content or data points to focus on. Remember to set specific objectives. For instance, instead of simply saying your goal is “to improve audience engagement” or “to improve search engine ranking,” a more specific objective would read like this:

  • To gain Y% increase in engagement rate by the end of the year
  • To move “X” blog post from position 10 to the second position in Google for “Y” keywords in X months

With clear goals like these, you should be able to assess the performance of your content optimization efforts properly.

Create an inventory and collect the URLs

This is where you create an inventory of your published work. You’ll collect the URLs of all the web pages you want to analyze. These URLs will be put into a content audit spreadsheet where you can sort and review your data. 

Use tools like Screaming Frog to crawl your website and gather a list of all URLs. Screaming Frog can help you download a large number of URLs for free. 

You can manually add the links to your spreadsheet if you have a small website.

Your spreadsheet should have columns for the following:

  • URL
  • Page Title
  • Content type
  • Content format
  • Backlinks
  • Target keywords

Ideally, you should only keep columns relevant to your specific audit goals. For instance, you can add columns for “average time on page” or “total page views” if you want to increase engagement.

In most cases, you’ll need to use multiple analytics tools to gather the required data. For instance, Google Analytics will give you information about traffic, page views, and bounce rate. Semrush can be useful for identifying backlinks and keyword rankings.

Analyze and interpret the content data

With all data consolidated, the next step is to analyze it to identify future actions.

Examine the digital marketing content metrics to understand your site’s content status. You should also explore patterns and connections between different metrics.

For instance:

  • Which content is generating more traffic than others? Analyze the pieces of content to see what’s different and how you can take advantage of that.
  • Are some pages experiencing a decline in traffic or other metrics? Check what the issue is. Perhaps you’ll need to update the content, or you may need to leverage some SaaS link building strategies to get some backlinks and improve its rankings.
  • Is some of your content enjoying high volumes of organic traffic but low conversion rates? That may require some conversion rate optimization (CRO) efforts.

Using your collected data and metrics, assess each piece of content according to your goals.

Add a “Status” column to the content audit spreadsheet and, depending on your assessment, assign it to keep, repurpose, update, or delete. 

2. Keep a conversational tone

Whether it’s comprehensive content for online course platforms, your site, or other channels, you’ll need to use friendly language to ensure it gets consumed in the first place. A conversational tone keeps the audience in mind. It can help you establish a connection with your readers, get potential customers hooked, and encourage them to finish your piece.

Conversational content also invites user interaction through comments, feedback, and social shares. Since you sound like just one of your audience’s friends, it becomes easy for them to approach you.

If crafting a conversational tone feels challenging, consider using professional online copywriting services. These services specialize in developing engaging and relatable content tailored to your target audience, ensuring that your messaging resonates effectively and drives meaningful interactions.

What are other tips for ensuring a conversational tone, you ask?

Address your audience directly with words like “you” and “your.” Also, avoid jargon and complex words. You wouldn’t want your reader to leave halfway into your high-quality content just because they saw the word “quotidian.”

But what if you can’t avoid using complex terms in the first place? Let’s just assume you’re writing specific medical online course content for your enrolled learners and you need to introduce some medical concepts. Then just define the complex word in layman’s terms. So, if you can’t avoid using the word “otolaryngologist,” you can say it’s a “doctor who takes care of diseases of the mouth, ears, nose, and neck” the first time you mention it in your resource. 

3. Include short and clear phrases

Short and clear phrases are easier to read. They make the content more accessible to a wider audience, including those who may skim or scan the content. Besides, short and clear phrases are easier to comprehend. These are the types of sentences you want, especially in content that aims to educate like resources on online course platforms and customer support articles.

When writing, use short sentences with simple structures. You also want to use shorter paragraphs. Ideally, your paragraphs should not occupy more than five lines in your relevant content. 

You can use tools like Clearscope and the Hemingway App here. 

These solutions will point out sentences with complicated structures so you can improve them and enhance your content’s readability. On Hemingway, aim for a grade not higher than eight. On Clearscope, aim for the grade the tool recommends for you to potentially outrank already-existing similar content. This is usually an A or a B.

4. Add calls to action

Include clear and actionable prompts within your content. Calls to action (CTAs) serve as conversion drivers by encouraging your target audience to take your desired action. 

CTAs can come in the form of buttons or statements. For instance, your site article can directly encourage readers to sign up for your email list with a “Subscribe” CTA button. Your content for online course platforms, on the other hand, may come with the statement “Take the quiz now” that is linked to the actual test.

Whatever types of CTA you use, ensure they’re easy to understand so readers will know what exactly will happen once they click on them. 

Also, strategically place them within your content to optimize the conversion rate. The right placement depends on what the content is and, in some cases, what you want readers to do after consuming it. 

For instance, if you’re writing landing page content, it’s best to insert the CTA above the fold, before or after the copy. The whole point of using a landing page, after all, is to get visitors to take a single desired action. That means you wouldn’t want them to waste their time searching for the CTA in the text.

But if you’re writing online course content or a blog post and your goal is to get readers to take a quiz or subscribe to your email list, the CTAs should come later. You want to make sure readers consume these pieces of content first before they take the next step. How else will they know what types of emails they’re signing up for or the answers to the test questions?

5. Proofread your content 

Proofreading allows you to identify and rectify errors in spelling, grammar, formatting, and even content flow. These mistakes can undermine your professionalism as the author. They may hurt your brand reputation and negatively affect conversions.

Writer and Grammarly are fantastic additions to your content creation arsenal. Just input your text and they’ll point out any possible spelling and grammar mistakes. You can just approve their suggestions so they can make the necessary corrections. 

As for the formatting, you’ll have to check this manually, unless you have a template you use for all your pieces of content. In this case, all you have to do is input your text in the template for the content to adapt to the specified formatting.   

When proofreading your content, you’ll want to read it out loud on your own, too. This will help you see whether there are disruptions in the content flow you should correct by including relevant transition words.

6. Feature videos and images

Blog posts with visuals such as videos, images, or infographics, receive 94% more views than those that don’t. This Semrush report also says that site articles with images receive 116% more organic traffic than those without. 

In other words, incorporating visuals into your site articles is a must. Just make sure to optimize them. Include relevant keywords in title tags, alt text, descriptive titles, and captions. That increases your visual content’s visibility in search engine results and, in turn, can help attract more organic traffic.

This isn’t to say you should include relevant images and videos only in your site content. Visuals are also great for content on online course platforms, emails, social media posts, and any other piece you can think of.

That’s because, in general, content with visual elements has a unique advantage in terms of engagement. Visuals in educational content can boost learner engagement by 33%. Adding videos like explainer videos to emails can also increase click rates by a whopping 300%. Facebook posts with images, meanwhile, see 2.3 times more engagement than those without. 

Whatever the type of content you’re crafting, always use high-quality images and videos.

Ready to enhance your small business content?

Every business, including small businesses, should master content optimization strategies. They will help ensure the content appeals, not just to search engines, but also to target readers.   

You learned content optimization strategies to follow with this article.

Conduct a content audit to evaluate your website articles’ value and performance. This is crucial to search engine optimization and will help you identify content marketing gaps and opportunities. 

Whether it’s your site articles, or fresh content on online course platforms and social media channels, use a conversational tone. Employ short and clear phrases as well. Don’t forget to include clear CTAs so readers will know what action to take after content consumption. Also, proofread your work and incorporate visuals to enhance engagement. 

With these tactics, you can expect a boost in your content visibility and engagement that can help your small business growth. Good luck!

This is not intended as legal advice; for more information, please click here.

These views are made solely by the author.

Eli B.

Eli is the Content Manager of Crunch Marketing. The company works with enterprise SaaS clients, helping them scale lead generation globally.

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