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How to optimize your content to win at SEO

image of laptop with Google Analytics for SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of helping search engines better understand your content so they can determine where it should rank. The better you do at SEO, the earlier your page will show up in searches on Google, Bing and other search engines. SEO is critical to content success today, as ranking better in search leads to more organic traffic. In the end, SEO helps to provide a major return on your investment in content that will continue to pay dividends over time.

The importance of SEO in content strategy

SEO is crucially important, with more than half of all website traffic coming from organic search; 61% of marketers, in fact, say that improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority. However, there’s work to do, as most pages (90%) get no organic search traffic from Google. Even teams who have an SEO strategy set often need to go a step further—appearing on the third or even second page of a search is rarely good enough. On the number one page of Google, alone, the first five organic results account for 67% of all clicks.

Getting great at SEO can have a trickle-down effect on the entire marketing strategy. If search engines can’t find your content, people won’t either, so by optimizing for SEO you will draw in new business in multiple ways. For content marketers, the focus should be on on-page SEO, which is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines. In a Content Marketing Institute survey, 57% of marketing executives said on-page content development was the most effective SEO tactic.

Brightspot helps optimize content for SEO

CMS providers recognize that editors aren't developers, so they often provide tools to make it easier to optimize content for SEO, and prevent IT from needing to help all the time. Most CMS technologies include useful fields that combine to drive effective search rankings, such as headline, URL stub, SEO page title and description and alt tags for images. If your CMS offers this, you need to apply and take full advantage of all these components as the first step to content optimization.

Having partnered with leading media companies and top global brands, Brightspot has gained valuable insights into the best practices for optimizing article pages for SEO to grow your audience.

Starting off strong

Thirty-six percent of SEO experts think the headline and title tag is the most important SEO element. To boost your ranking in search engine results, incorporate at least one primary keyword into your headline, ideally near the beginning of the headline. With Brightspot, once an editor enters a headline into the CMS, the corresponding fields for Promo Title, Share Title and SEO Title populate automatically, saving busy editors valuable time. Brightspot also has an upcoming feature that will warn users if their titles are too long, and provides the ability to set a focus keyword.

Keywords lead to success

If you want to rank highly for certain search keywords, you need to incorporate those keywords into your content. Keywords should appear in SEO sweet spots like meta descriptions, URLs and subheadings. Brightspot has an integration with SEMRush that helps with keyword selection, too, sharing keyword difficulty scores and volume of search traffic to help marketers find the right keywords to pursue.

Additionally, Brightspot automatically creates URLs for new pages and posts based on the page headline, and the built-in taxonomy settings make it easy to include a category in each URL. Organizations and publishers can also create their own URL to optimize for keywords—this is important because well-constructed URLs are essential for achieving good search rankings. Google uses URLs as both a search-ranking factor and to inform the metadata in search results. (Metadata is the text that appears below the title of the page on search engine result pages.)

It is also important to preview how all elements of the article, particularly the metadata, renders in search engines, and you can make adjustments to this within Brightspot. Brightspot’s content-editing UI includes an SEO tab for content-carrying objects, where you can add metadata to be processed by web crawlers.

The best teams for SEO

Brightspot also makes it easier for the right people to work on SEO within the CMS. The SEO fields can be front and center for a team entirely responsible for SEO metadata, for example. You can move those fields out of the SEO tab and into the Main Tab just for the SEO editors.

Your SEO editors need to be able to read-write the SEO fields. They also need to be able to see the Body field so that they can read the content, understand it and add rich keywords to supplementary areas like image alts and captions. However, a newsroom or editorial team may not want them to be able to make edits in the body field, and with Brightspot it can be locked for them.

SEO can seem daunting for content marketers, yet there are simple ways for them to optimize content to help it rank better and drive overall marketing improvements. This job is made easier, both for digital and technical teams, by the right CMS technology to help with SEO optimization. Brightspot’s platform provides many best-in-class features for creating and collaborating on great content that shows up well in search engines to reach your ideal audiences.

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