Content Marketing

A Debate On The Need For Content Optimization

Rhoel Sta. Ana

Data-driven SEO Expert

Hi! This is the first of many blog posts regarding SEO. The world of SEO is extremely complicated and continuously evolving. Just when you think you’ve managed to unlock the key to SEO, the algorithm changes and you’re back to square one.

It is a constant never-ending battle between man and AI. Having said that, it wouldn’t hurt to know as much as you can with SEO. Together, let us debunk SEO myths, debate the newest trends in the SEO industry, and experiment on new SEO strategies.

  • Content Creation
  • Content Optimization
  • Content Promotion.

According to SEO Experts, these are the three important steps that you need to perfect to have a properly running SEO-optimized website. For years, this was considered the norm, the guidelines of SEO.

However, there seems to be a new trend that’s making waves among the field. An SEO Expert is now claiming that a website, despite not being SEO-optimized with “conventional” means can rank highly in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). This is clearly a hot take that, if proven right, could render an entire part of the industry obsolete.

Campaign Monitor defines Content Optimization as:

Content optimization is the process of making sure content is written in a way that it can reach the largest possible target audience. The process of optimizing content should include making sure associated keywords are present, adding meta and title tags, and relevant links. You should also optimize headlines for increased CTRs and visual images for increased user engagement.

To say that this is an unnecessary process would render a huge part of the SEO industry obsolete. Not to mention, this would save businesses and digital marketers a lot of money and time.

Below, I have created a comprehensive take on the question, “Do I Need To SEO Optimize My Content?” Statista reports that as of January 2020, there were 4.54 Billion Unique Active Online Users. By choosing not to pursue properly optimized content, experts claim that the website is basically isolating itself from the entire digital population.

However, is this truly the case? Or will Google rank you just for producing high-quality content?

There will be three parts to this resource. The first one would be a pro-Content Optimization stance. The second one is the belief that Content Optimization is unnecessary. And lastly, my personal take.

Without further ado, let’s delve into the business of things.

“Content Optimization Is A Must!”

It’s best to comprehensively discuss first the advantages, disadvantages, and the step-by-step process of Content Optimization. This is so you too can form your own thoughts about the issue.

Advantages of Content Optimization

Digital Marketers, when asked how important a process is, would always cite the benefits and let their clients decide as to whether the pros outweigh the cons. Appearing on the top results of search engine results pages (SERPs) is crucial to generating online traffic. It would be extremely challenging for your website to gain visitors if it does not show up on search engine results pages (SERPs). 72% of marketers report that after content marketing, the engagement to their website increased.

Here are the commonly cited benefits of content optimization:

  • Generates Online Traffic
  • Increases Brand Visibility
  • Establishes And Fosters A Positive Relationship Between Business And Client
  • Improves Customer Loyalty & Trust
  • Builds The Brand As An Authority Figure Of The Industry
  • Higher Conversion Rate
  • Value-Adding To Your Website

Disadvantages of Content Optimization

Unfortunately, no process is without fault. Optimizing your content will require a lot of time and effort. If it’s truly an unnecessary process, then it would be better to allocate such resources on other business operations. Here are the roadblocks that you may experience when dealing with content optimization.

  • Time-consuming
  • Expensive
  • Requires A Lot Of Manpower
  • You Need A Team Of Talented Content Writers, SEO Specialists, etc.
  • Hard To Understand

Perhaps, the biggest disadvantage of Content Optimization is that brands are now writing for the search engines instead of their audience. This sets up a three-fold problem. When brands write for the Search Engines, the quality suffers as quantity becomes their main priority.

According to SEO experts, relevant keywords must appear in the content as much as possible. Keywords are then forcibly stuffed into the content in order to trick search engines to rank the page higher. The writing quality then suffers as content writers are tasked to increase keyword volume even at the expense of  the primary tenets of writing i.e. grammar, diction and syntax.

At the same time, relevancy also becomes an issue. You can now see a lot of websites whose content is painfully stuffed with keywords, despite being irrelevant to their specific industry and niche.

Step-by-Step Process of Content Optimization

It is necessary that we also touch on the steps of Content Optimization so that we can have a clear view of the process and how it can lead to unnecessary work. There are multiple ways to do Content Optimization.

What I’ll be discussing is personally one of the best and easiest ways to do it without having to shell out any money on complicated tools and software. It is quite easy for starting content writers to follow and yet it has proven to be effective.

  1. Use an SEO tool (i.e. SEORulerSuggest, UberSuggest) to get keyword ideas.

The keyword ideas that you get can provide you with topics that you can write about for your blog.

  1. Decide on the topic from the list of keywords that you get. You may also use the “People Also Ask” section to get any FAQs about the industry that you can answer.
  2. Copy the keywords and use SOME of them in the article.

Avoid Keyword stuffing or the unnecessary addition of keywords into articles just for ranking high in Google.

  1. Copy the content of your article and test them with Google’s FREE NLP API test page.
  2. Choose any relevant entities and add them to your article.

Take note of any opportunities for internal linking inside your article.

“Content Optimization Is Unnecessary!”

Dave Glick, a well-known SEO expert and the owner of G6 Web Services, just published an article about an experiment that he did. His hypothesis was that content optimization on blogs is not exactly as necessary as everyone makes it appear to be.

Every day for two years, since January 25, 2018, Dave has committed himself to write one blog post. His blogging journey has led him to land at the conclusion that you do not need to exert SEO efforts on your blog for it to rank high in SERPs. He urges that everyone invest their time and resources on improving the quality of writing instead.

Here, I have summarized his 5 tips on how content writing should be done. You can read the entire article here.

  1. Don’t Worry About SEO
  2. Link Building Is Optional
  3. Write Things That Help People
  4. Length Does Not Matter
  5. Play The Long Game

This hot take has stirred up a lot of SEO experts. While many are shocked and slightly offended at this claim, the majority actually saw the logic in Dave’s experiment. His results also speak for itself. That doesn’t mean other things such as link building aren’t relevant. For example, we work with other agencies like this one and have seen the benefit of collaborating with others in our industry.

To The Top’s take: “It Depends.”

From these two extreme beliefs, we were able to form our own take. And that is to stay in the middle. No, it’s not because we’re trying to play safe. It’s just that we see the logic between the two.

Content Optimization and SEO helps you get noticed by Search engines, allowing your site to appear on SERPs, thus vastly improving your online traffic. However, this costs a lot of time and resources.

On the other hand, Dave Glick’s way asks you to play the long game. And while it may not seem as expensive, the time spent and the opportunities lost may say otherwise.

We believe that both must be done to improve your ranking. You exert a little bit of effort towards keyword research but not so much that it takes a lot of your time. Likewise, you incorporate them into a well-written article. The problem that we see with these two extreme views is that they constantly play tug-of-war as to who will get the lion’s share of the resources.

Gone are the days when keyword stuffing is an effective practice. For example, if you wanted to rank for the primary keyword “SEO Agency London”, all a website has to do is to spam their website with “SEO Agency London” 100 times. The search engine algorithm soon caught on and keyword stuffing became grounds for penalty.

Overstuffing the proverbial turkey, that is your website, will incur strict sanctions from Google, as with other SEO strategies deemed unethical.

To create the list of results for the search engine page, Google uses a complicated algorithm with over 200 known ranking factors. There is a high probability that it could be higher.

It is important that we try to follow the aforementioned Google’s set of guidelines for them to index our websites in SERPs. However, the user experience should still be the first priority of every company. Keep in mind that conversion is still the main goal of your website. If your online visitors find your website’s content to be of poor quality, irrelevant or even appear spammy, the chances of them trusting you as a brand and converting into a customer becomes slim.

We, at To The Top, believe in exerting efforts for both digital marketing strategies. You spend resources both for Content Optimization while also making sure that all published content is of high quality.

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