Do you have quite a lot of content on your website that does not perform quite as well as you’ve planned? If you are wondering how to optimize existing pages for improved SEO, rankings and traffic, try these 7 simple and repeatable steps:
- Identify and prioritize pages based on opportunity.
- Redefine searcher intent around the primary topic, based on what Google currently ranks in the top 3-5 results.
- Edit the page title and meta description to boost click-through-rates.
- Expand the page’s content to comprehensively cover related subtopics.
- Build internal links to the page from other authoritative pages on the website.
- Improve your Call-to-Action to better match the user journey.
- Re-launch social media advertising for the updated page to bring traffic and generate new backlinks.
TL;DR version – watch our video on content optimization.
1. How to Choose Which Pages to Enhance
To get started, log into your Google Search Console, and filter your pages by Impressions. If your page has a good amount of Impressions and Clicks, and if it lands on page 1 or 2 on Google, there is likely enough shoulder room for you to overtake the competitors. This is especially good news if these pages haven’t been updated in a while.
2. Find the Best Keywords for SEO Optimization
Once you have a selection of pages to optimize, check what phrases people are using to find them. To do this, you simply click on the URL of the page in Google Search Console and then take a look at the top queries for it.
If the page is already ranking high for a specific query, make sure you’ve included it in the copy and, whenever possible, in the section headers. Also, research related keywords for these top queries and include some of them on your page.
3. Research Your Topic and Consider the Search Intent
Next, take a step back and explore the main topic of the page. You could do that using any number of SERP (Search Engine Results Page) analysis tools. Moz, Ahrefs, Serpstat, and even Neil Patel’s free tool Ubersuggest have that feature integrated with their keyword research tools. So, if you’re doing keyword research for your content marketing efforts, you already have a SERP analysis tool at hand.
What you want to use it for, is to discover the top web pages that rank for the focus keyword of the page you are optimizing. Taken as a group, the top pages in the SERP for a particular phrase are Google’s attempt to comprehensively satisfy the searcher’s intent.
Search intent is most commonly broken down into 3 distinct types of searches: informational, transactional, and navigational, but it’s also worth it to look at content type and format. Check, for example, if Google ranks “How-to” pages for your focus keyword, or favors list. Are the top results in-depth guides, or does video content rank higher? Do product pages dominate the results or top-of-the-funnel blog articles?
Another takeaway from analyzing the SERP competitors should be expected content depth and related topics. Often you’ll find both overlapping themes and unique angles covered in these top rankings posts. Perhaps you need to add more information to your page to address the subtopics you’ve discovered.
All the information gathered analyzing the search intent will help you align your new, optimized content with the SERP and rank it higher.
4. Update your SERP Snippet and Copy
Your next task is to work on the page content itself. Start where it matters most. The SERP snippet – SEO titles and meta-descriptions – dictates how your page is displayed in Google Search.
Optimize the title and the description of your page with better use of keywords and try to match how your audience is searching for this information. Whenever possible, include a call to action in the meta description as well, such as “Book now”, or “Read this to…”. These changes will have a direct impact on your click-through rates (otherwise known as CTRs).
As a next step, edit the content structure on the page by applying the insights you’ve gathered from the top queries in Google Search Console, the keyword and topic research, and the SERP analysis.
Include the phrases people use in search in the subheaders of your page’s content. If you’ve identified content gaps, amp up the text by adding new sections on specific subtopics.
As always, make sure the information on your page is relevant, useful, and well-organized. All of these factors will help boost a page’s rankings in Google search results.
Do not forget to look at the page’s meta tags and formatting, too. All your section headers should be formatted as Heading 2’s or 3’s in a hierarchical and logical order.
5. Boost Your Page with Interlinking
Another easy way to drive up a page’s ranking is to “upvote it” with internal links from other pages on your own website.
Make sure you are linking to and from pages that are both relevant and well-performing. This way you will ensure a smooth user journey and site navigation while distributing link equity.
If you are using a pillar-cluster structure for your website’s content, interlinking would be much easier and efficient. You just need to decide if the newly optimized page is going to be a content pillar and make sure all related pages are linking to and from it. If it is a cluster page, make sure it is linked horizontally to and from the other pages from the same topic hub, as well as vertically – with the pillar page.
Take this opportunity to check that all existing links in the original text are still functional and accurate. Ensure that your anchor text mirrors the page you’re linking to.
Don’t forget external linking. Be sure that you’re citing relevant and authoritative websites.
6. Polish Up Your CTAs
Make sure you align your Call-to-Action (CTA) with the role of the page in the customer journey. Is this content created to serve visitors who have never heard of your brand? Is it designed for the awareness stage of your customer journey? In that case, the CTA could offer more information on related topics.
Alternatively, if the page is addressing visitors who are almost ready to convert, the CTA should offer your services directly.
7. Re-promote the Updated Page
Now that you’ve invested time and resources in content optimization, you want to get as many fresh eyes on it as possible. Google rewards freshness, and frequent updates to your pages are a signal to the search engines to crawl your website more often.
The revamped post should resurface to the front page of your blog. Re-launch social media advertising as well – this will not only bring traffic but is also a great opportunity to generate new backlinks.
How to Measure the Effect of Your Optimization Efforts
Once you’ve optimized the content, keep an eye on the page’s performance. Some key metrics to measure in Search Console are:
- Average position for focus keywords
- New queries the page is ranking for
Alternatively, you can monitor your optimized pages in Google Analytics. You should create a segment with all the URLs of the pages you’ve worked on and continue updating the segment each time you revamp old content. This way, you can track the performance of the optimized pages separately from the rest of your website’s content.
In Analytics, the metrics to monitor would be:
- Unique Visitors
- Bounce Rate
- Average Time on Page
- Pages Per Session
Newly acquired backlinks to this page and social media shares are also indicators of the success of your optimization process.
Why Make SEO Optimization Part of Your Content Marketing Process?
In a nutshell, SEO content optimization entails analyzing your current pages and dramatically improving them for web crawlers and users alike.
To do that, add the steps we described above to your content marketing workflow. Plan what number of pages you will optimize every month. Schedule a deep-dive analysis of all of your pages at least once a year. Keep in mind that webpages with obsolete content and no traffic might have to be pruned (i.e. removed from Google’s index) for the sake of your website’s health.
As the goal is to boost overall search rankings and click-through rates, optimization should be an ongoing part of your content marketing process, not a one-time campaign.
Need help to get started? Our team of SEO writers and editors can tackle anything thrown their way.