What does it really means to optimize existing content? Optimizing new content and optimizing existing content are very different processes, but they are often misunderstood as the same thing. let’s break this down:
This means creating an SEO and content plan for your document that has all the necessary information you need to meet the user intent and rank well.
When optimizing new content, the approval and review (in your org) have not happened yet, so you can strategize and then execute that plan. Once you go through the cycle of approval, you’re all done.
You can use Outranking’s content brief and research tool to get this done fairly easily.
However, optimizing existing content is a different story.
First, let’s break down which kinds of content you should be optimizing.
A few things can happen after the content goes live:
Improving content that isn’t ranking at all may be tempting, but optimizing #3 and #4 should be your top priority.
|Content isn’t ranking||Low||This is time-intensive and requires repeating the whole process of content planning and evaluation. This makes me want to pull my hair out sometimes, and it’s often best to prioritize other pages.|
|Content ranks in top 3 position||None||This is great. You don’t want to touch this or do any experiments. The idea of ruining a ranking page that was successful in the first place is scary. Don’t do this unless you are determined to get to position 1. |
|Content ranks between 4 and 25||High||These are the perfect pages to optimize. There are many proven quick tricks you can implement to move this page up. The efforts required to do this can be further divided into: |
– Hard: content changes that require review, approval, and publishing
– Easy: on-page internal and external changes that only involve publishing or web teams
|Everything beyond 25+||Medium||This works similarly to the above process, but I have given this medium priority because this can be slightly more difficult when your rank is below 25. To improve your rank for these pages you need to improve the PageRank (not position) and unique point of view on the topic. In many cases, this requires careful thinking, evaluation, and planning.|
About 2% of keywords rank in the top three positions from the total list of keywords for which a website ranks.
Guess what percentage of keywords rank between 4 and 20? More like 20%.
Few examples we drew from MOZ to give you an idea.
Example 1: Godaddy.com
Example 2: lendingtree.com
These numbers can slightly vary for your website based on age, authority, and various other factors, but you get the idea.
There is likely a major chunk of keywords that you are not capitalizing on.
What if you were able to find the right group of keywords from that 20% and continuously get optimization tips on autopilot and enable team to act on it?
How much could you increase the traffic to your website?
An insane amount!
If you wear many hats, creating and optimizing content yourself, you can probably optimize all four categories recommended above. Even then, you should still prioritize content optimization based on the above categories.
But, if you are part of a team and extensive changes on pages mean extensive approvals, you need a different approach.
You should optimize your content for:
|1||Keyword emphasis and minor adjustments to headings, titles, meta tags, and bold text|
Keyword emphasis increases the importance of the given keyword in your content. If you do this correctly and address the smaller content gaps, you can better align with the intent behind that keyword.
This is a relatively easy task to achieve.
Also, a search usually results in an exact match. Having an exact match also increases the chances of ranking.
(Some dynamics are changing here with the introduction of the “unique point of view” in the Google algorithm. We will discuss this in a future blog post.)
|2||PageRank or Page Authority (getting more link juice to this page from internal or external resources)|
Improving the internal linking structure to a page and getting backlinks can improve the rank, provided that you have the right content and anchors linking to a page. This is easy to do and only requires a web team to make changes to a webpage.
|3||Media and alt tag optimization|
Another great on-page optimization technique we have used involves adding the right anchors to images and adding video to the webpage when possible.
You should use your own YouTube or video channel to source these videos if you have them. If you don’t, feel free to use an external video (obviously not from your competition). This will definitely make a difference.
In our experiments, we have noticed that having FAQ and Q&A-type schema marks greatly improves the probability of ranking in People Also Ask.
|5||Featured snippet optimization|
This is a very new trick. If you rank on the first page of Google or even early on the second page, you can optimize the answer around a primary question that contains the keyword you want to rank for. If your answer is precise and one of the best compared with ranking pages (remember that most are not optimized for this), you can improve your chance of ranking as a featured snippet.
This is an insane trick that has been known to improve ranking over time. If more people click on your URL, even when it’s not ranking at the top, it tells Google that people like your content and hence give you a ranking boost.
There are best practices and tricks you can use to adjust your title tag.
Most of the time, no editorial approvals are needed for this type of change.
|6||Content gap (addressing LSI, NLP, and target keyword gap)|
This is the last resort if you feel you have done everything and still can’t get the darn ranking to budge.
In a nutshell, you import your content into Outranking and find the content gaps, revamp the content a bit, and then send it for review, approval, and publishing.
This offers a clear pathway for prioritizing and improving existing content. The challenge here is a workflow that helps you go through this entire process of finding, prioritizing, and sending optimization briefs to the respective stakeholders to accelerate organic traffic.
This is why we built “Actions” into our 7.8 release.
“Actions” is a tool for data collection and on-page suggestions that help you find, prioritize, and send optimization tasks to your teams with precise recommendations.
In the last two months, we have had three releases: 7, 7.5, and 7.7.
The major focus of the entire 7 series and its minor releases has been:
Release 7.8 focuses on three goals in particular:
Let’s get right to it.
To connect to Google Search Console, you need an account that has been verified as an owner.
2. Narrow down the keywords using the filters and click Track on the keywords you want to optimize.
Outranking collects important suggestions and starts tracking the rank of those keywords.
3. Click Optimize to find suggestions and add them to optimization briefs.
4. Print and send the optimization brief to the teams.
Outranking will now track if the changes have been implemented and report on the improvements in ranking. We plan to bring many additional data points and enhance this utility to help you accelerate growth.
We are launching “Actions” in beta, and a limited number of people will be given access. If you have a website that brings some organic traffic and you want to accelerate growth, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get beta access.
We extended the features of content briefs in this release to be more team-friendly and give you more control to customize the briefs.
You can now assign roles and status to a team member. This will allow you to do two things:
2. You can give additional rights to the utilities you use on Outranking. We started with basic restrictions on the features and plan to enhance this for more granular control.
We have updated the WordPress plugin to make it even easier for our customers to move content into and out of the Outranking editor.
With one click, you can insert all content into the editor. All SEO best practices around images, alt tags, styling, nofollow, and headers are automatically applied, saving you quite some time in formatting the post in WordPress.
Download link: Outranking WordPress Plugin