5-ways-content-can-improve-your-websites?-accessibility-?-and-overall-ux

But the reality is that there are tons of relatively simple things you can do to make your websites more accessible. And they’ll not only make your websites more accessible to the disabled, but also significantly improve your user experiences for everyone.

But first, let’s be clear about our terms:

What’s accessibility?

Here’s accessibility expert Jennison Asuncion’s definition of accessibility:

Accessibility refers to designing and developing user interfaces that everyone, including people with disabilities, can independently consume and interact with.

Note that the stress here doesn’t fall specifically on “people with disabilities,” but everyone. That makes accessibility a natural concern for all of us involved in user experience design, regardless of discipline.

Now, on to the tips!

1. Use unique, meaningful button and link names

A page from Google's Nexus site—the link copy reads

Pretty easy to tell where that link will take me.

I can’t tell you many times I’ve had a mockup or prototype hit my inbox (or Slack) with 16 “learn more,” “read this,” or “see more” links scattered across it — and groaned.

Why? Because it’s horrible for users of screen readers, which typically allow people to skip from link to link on a page, ignoring the content in-between. It’s a highly efficient mode of navigation that helps screen-reader users quickly get where they want to go.

But how easy do you think it is for a blind or low-vision user to figure out which of those “learn more” links leads to the “more” they want to learn about?

And it’s actually not that different for sighted users. Think of all the times you’ve fired up a website knowing exactly what you’re looking for, but not quite sure where to find it. Do you read through all the content? Or do you simply hunt around for the right link?

You might scan through the headings and subheads first — after all, they’re bold and eye-catching — but you still have to live with the cognitive load of connecting those headings to the links below. But links tend to be pretty visually loud too, so wouldn’t it be even easier if every link told you exactly where it would take you without demanding I read all the other copy?

Writing accessible links and button copy

Do

  • Embed links in clear, specific language that tells people where the link will take them and why they might want to go there
  • Indicate if a link will open high-bandwidth media like a PDF or video within the linked text

Don’t

  • Use generic link or button text like “learn more,” “read this,” or “see more”
  • Embed links in even more generic terms like “this,” “this page,” or “here”
  • Link to “naked” URLs (i.e., www.thewebahead.net) unless there’s context that clarifies why that link is there

For more, check out the WebAIM article on links.

2. Add clear, useful alt tags to images

Alt tags also play a key role for screen-reader users on the web. Without these invisible bits of copy, there’s literally no way for low-vision and blind users to understand the content of images, data visualizations, and infographics. With alt tags, we can ensure that no one has to miss the information conveyed in our pie charts, hero photos, and infographics.

Back in the bad old days of black-hat SEO madness, alt tags were abused as just another method of stuffing a page with keywords. Which was horrible for users of screen readers. Just imagine reading through a blog article and hearing:

“CSS layouts let us CSS HTML tables table-based layouts tables web web design code markup floats inline inline-block block W3C web consortium…”

All in a screen reader’s eerily robotic tones.

Because of that abuse, search engines quickly moved to punish such “keyword-stuffers,” freeing alt tags up to do what they were always intended to do: provide useful information.

As with links, the key here is to make your alt tags clear, descriptive, and natural-sounding.

Closeup of blueberries

Simple enough to alt tag appropriately.

With many photos, this is a simple matter of succinctly describing the content of the image: “Closeup of blueberries.”

If your image contains text — and seriously, don’t do that — include the text verbatim in the alt tag.

Let yourself be stupid. Ignore everybody. Trust your gut. Be a jack of all trades. Stay busy.

For this image, your alt tag should include the text verbatim. (Which I created after seeing Tobias Van Schneider’s talk, “Side Projects Are Stupid.”)

If your image contains useful data, such as a bar graph illustrating mobile usage patterns, make sure the alt tag contains the same data: “95% percent of smartphone users view the same website on multiple devices.”

And I can’t pass up this opportunity to briefly rail against infographics: these massive images full of copy are horrible for accessibility, not to mention SEO.

Making graphical content accessible

Do

  1. Write image alt tags that succinctly describe the content of the image
  2. Use keywords/keyphrases that are relevant to your content, but only if they’re actually helpful in describing the image, and stick to one keyword/phrase
  3. Include the key insight of any data visualizations (such as bar graphs, pie charts, etc.)
  4. Build infographics with real HTML text, or a text-based alternate (i.e., a long-form post explaining the data)

Don’t

  1. Keyword-stuff your alt tags
  2. Publish infographics without a text-based alternate

3. Write clear and actionable error messages

A Google Docs error message, which reads:

What are these “megapixels” you speak of!?

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re building accessible forms. (As you’ll see in this article on building accessible forms.) But a key element for any content strategist—and your users—is error messaging.

As WebAIM notes, error messages:

Should clearly describe the errors that are present and, optimally, include cues or instructions for resolving them. For example, ‘Course number is not formatted correctly’ is not as helpful as ‘Course number must be a 3 digit number’.

When writing error messages, don’t just describe the problem, but focus on how to fix it. In most cases, you don’t even need to belabor the point that there was an error: just focus on the fix, and do it clearly and succinctly.

All your users, sighted and otherwise, will appreciate the clear guidance on what to do next.

Writing accessible error messages

Do

  1. Indicate that there was a problem (implicitly or explicitly, though implicitly is generally more efficient—see below for more on that)
  2. Explain how to fix it

Don’t

  1. State that there was an error without explaining how to fix it
  2. Refer to an entry as “valid” or “invalid” — this may seem perfectly acceptable in the abstract, since you’re simply stating that an entry doesn’t fit the requirements you’ve defined for a field. But in the concrete, you’re calling someone’s name or gender invalid. And that’s just … well, do I have to explain?

Error message for a last name field that reads

‍However you write error messages, for the love of humanity, don’t do it this way.

Implicit vs. explicit error messaging

As I mentioned above, all error messages should do two things:

  1. State that there was an error
  2. Explain how to fix it

But you can easily achieve both goals in one message by implying that there was an error. For example, we could state an error message in the following ways:

  1. Explicitly, without direction: Course number formatting is incorrect.
  2. Explicitly, with direction:Course number formatting is incorrect. Please enter a 3-digit number.
  3. Implicitly: Please enter a 3-digit course number.

Option 1 explicitly states that there’s an error, but doesn’t make clear how to fix it. Option 2 is also explicit, but adds a way to fix the problem, so it’s an improvement. Best of all is 3, which implies that there was a problem by explaining how to fix it.

4. Write clear, descriptive headings

Just as a screen reader allows people to skip from link to link, they can also skip between headings, ignoring the copy between.

Now, imagine that experience with the majority of websites out there. Do you think you could clearly infer the topic of every section of a given web page without referencing the body copy or links?

The Square website, with body copy removed.

Square’s homepage, stripped down to headlines.

Personally, my answer’s “sometimes?” To quickly run through the Square page above:

  • “Start selling today” — super clear. I get that this is where I’d get started if I wanted to.
  • “Start, run, and grow with Square” — clear … ish. Clarifying the object — your business — would’ve helped a lot here. Without context, it’s not obvious what you’re starting, running, or growing.
  • “Accept every way your customers want to pay” — Clear … at least until I get to “Stand.” What the hell’s that?

Write clearer headlines and subheadings

As an exercise, I’d suggest turning off all your non-headline copy layers (if you’re using a desktop app like Sketch or Photoshop) or briefly turn your

tags to your page background color (if you’re using Webflow).

Now read through all your H tags, asking yourself with each: am I being clear enough with this headline alone?

If your answer’s no, it might be time for a rewrite.

Sometimes, you have to embrace length

Note that aiming for clarity in headlines often means using more words. I realize that might run counter to your impulse to create “clean” websites, but it’s worth asking yourself:

Is it more important that this site look clean, or that it give people all the info they need?

5. Optimize your form content

Two form designs, one with labels above the fields, the other with labels within the fields

From Andrew Coyle’s excellent article, “Design Better Forms.”

Forms may not be sexy, but they are the heart of product design, and the right content can make them vastly more usable — and accessible — for everyone. Here’s a few ways to do that:

Do

  • Indicate which fields are optional in the form label (so screen readers will transmit that information in-line). I know we’re more used to marking required fields, but you should really only be using required fields, so there will typically be fewer optional fields to mark, and hence less clutter.
  • Make button copy specific to the action taken (don’t use “submit” — unless that’s actually what a person is doing, which is often the case with literary magazines and blogs that take external contributions).
  • Display basic helpful content. E.g., if a password has to be 9 characters long, use an uppercase letter, and a special character, tell people that! And don’t hide it in a tooltip.
  • Group related information. You’ve seen the standards: email and password, physical address, credit card info, etc. If it all comes together to form a greater concept, group it.

Don’t

  • Use in-field / placeholder labels, unless they translate into a persistent label on click (rather than disappearing), a common technique on Google sites.

A more accessible web is a better web for all

Making your website more accessible to the disabled has a fringe benefit: It can actually improve everyone’s experience of your websites.

After all, a screen reader skipping from heading to heading, or link to link, behaves a lot like we all do the on the web: not consuming everything, but scanning for the specific info we need.

If you’d like to learn more about accessibility, look for an accessibility meetup group in your area, check out The Accessibility Project, and follow Jennison on Twitter.

content-recommendation-rivals-taboola,-outbrain-to-merge

Digital content promotion platforms Taboola and Outbrain announced that they have entered into an agreement to merge into a single, unified company Thursday.

The combined resources of both companies have the potential to expand advertising reach for media publishers and advertisers globally, with the potential of helping digital properties scale in years to come.

The consolidated company will retain Taboola’s namesake, with Taboola founder Adam Singolda serving as CEO. According to the agreement, Outbrain shareholders will receive 30% equity in the new company and a $250 million cash payout.

Combined, the companies say they’ll serve ads across 20,000 online properties, reaching an audience of 2.6 billion.

Why we should care

For Taboola and Outbrain stakeholders, the merger has been a long time in the making given the comparative capabilities and customer bases of the two platforms. A newly consolidated Taboola platform could provide the scale and resources to better compete with the dominating powers of Google and Facebook.

The merged resources of the two companies could enable growth in ad serving capabilities, including e-commerce, AI, and video advertising.

More on the news

  • Both companies are known for providing content recommendations in the form of text or image-based ads, using algorithms that aim to predict reader preferences.
  • Taboola said it is on track to hit $1 billion in revenue by the end of the year, while Outbrain declined to share financials.
  • Combined, the company will have more than 2,000 employees and approximately 20,000 customers.
  • Eldad Maniv, president & COO of Taboola, and David Kostman, co-CEO of Outbrain will work together on post-merger integration.


About The Author

are-these-5-content-marketing-myths-holding-you-back?

Nowadays, most marketers understand the essentials of content marketing: know your audience, provide value, don’t sell aggressively. 

But content marketing is evolving quickly – and success is not always cut-and-dried. As a result, it’s easy for old ideas to outlive their usefulness, or for marketers to overreact to changes in the landscape. And when that happens, myths and misconceptions creep in. These myths may include a grain of truth, but ultimately they stand in the way of content marketing success. 

With that in mind, let’s clear away five myths that continue to haunt content marketing. 

#1: Your content speaks for itself

Myth: If your content hasn’t truly broken through with your audience, either your content isn’t good enough or you’re not producing enough of it. 

Reality: Content remains the heart of your marketing efforts, and there is no substitute for brilliant content. But it’s easy to fall into the cult of “more” or the cult of “better,” and fail to examine the role of amplification and distribution in content marketing success. Without support and validation from other marketing channels, even the best content can fail.  

#2: SEO is dead

Myth: Old-school SEO tactics – such as keyword stuffing and amassing low-quality backlinks – no longer work. Therefore, competing for organic rankings is impossible and a waste of time. 

Reality: SEO is as important as it’s ever been. It’s true that search engine algorithms have evolved, and there are no tactical shortcuts to the top of the rankings. As algorithm updates make search engines better at gauging whether content has value to actual humans, the focus has shifted to creating unique, rich and engaging content – while still optimizing so search engines can crawl and interpret content properly.

#3: RIP Facebook 

Myth: Young people are abandoning it in droves, “organic reach” is an oxymoron, and Mark Zuckerberg is seemingly in front of Congress every other day. The targeting tools might be nice for advertisers, but organically Facebook is over. 

Reality: Despite the bad press, Facebook is still the world’s largest social network. While it may not be the main social channel for every business, a decent Facebook presence is still a necessity for most well-rounded organic social strategies. An abandoned-looking Facebook page is a missed opportunity and may lead visitors to think less of your brand. 

#4: More content is better content

Myth: The more you throw at the wall, the more likely something is to stick, right? 

Reality: There is some truth to this myth. If you sink all your resources into one content masterpiece, you can’t iterate and learn – and if your piece doesn’t perform, you’ve got a problem. But the trouble with turning on the content fire hose is that your audience is already inundated – they’re seeing vast amounts of low-quality, unmemorable content every day. The soundest content strategy is a happy medium – a series of strategically chosen bets rather than trying to be everywhere at once.  

#5: More martech, more money

Myth: Technology solves problems. Therefore, marketing technology solves marketing problems. 

Reality: To be clear: great tech, used well, is a massive advantage. Martech solutions become problematic when you lack a clear strategy, or don’t have strong executional foundations. In those cases, you’re adding a whole new set of costs – in money, implementation time and ongoing effort – that can divert resources from doing the basics well. Also, marketers often underestimate the difficulty of mastering the new competencies that technology enables. Technology can help you personalize content, for example, but personalization is not a switch you can flip – it’s a capability that needs to be developed and nurtured over time.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

It’s 10 pm – do you know where your competitors are?

Like the effect those PSAs had on parents in the 80’s and 90’s, this message likely brings up feelings of concern and uncertainty, especially if you’re a brand fighting for your spot in the marketplace.

Competitor analysis is an integral part of running a successful business and this holds true for online brands as well, particularly when it comes to search marketing and SEO. While it may take quarterly or even annual studies to discover when you’re losing market share to the competition in terms of positioning or share of mind, you can see your competition start to outrank you in the search results immediately.

Since search engines largely rely on algorithms to determine the results they show searchers, these results are constantly updating, and if you’re standing pat with SEO, you’re losing ground.

To mitigate these losses – as well as find growth opportunities – you need to monitor competitor strategies, and one of the best places to start is with their content.

Analyzing competitor content to identify content gaps

Keeping an eye on the competition is important because it can help you find gaps within your own content strategy and where your pages might be missing the mark.

Start by identifying your competitors’ top pages. One way to find these pages is to use a tool like Screaming Frog to see which pages have the most internal links pointing to them. Internal links signal importance to search engines, so these are the pages your competitor has flagged as their most important. Review these pages to see if there are any relevant pages you need to add to your site.

Another great way to find missed opportunities through competitor content is to identify which pages are driving organic traffic to competitor sites. Tools such as SEMrush or Ahrefs make it easy to identify top pages based on what percentage of organic traffic they earn. 

If you see a page that is responsible for a substantial percentage of your competitor’s traffic – and you don’t cover that subject on your site – it may be worth exploring what it would take to create your own page on the topic. Furthermore, if your competitor’s content is thin, poorly structured, or you are otherwise confident you can create something equal or better, you’ve just found a prime opportunity to capture more search visitors.

Analyze your competitors’ top pages, and the keywords associated with those pages, then examine your own content to see if there are any gaps you could fill to create new sources of organic traffic.

Competitor content analysis for content improvement

Analyzing competitor content can also empower you to improve your existing pages.

As you analyze your competitors’ top pages, don’t just focus on keywords – scrutinize the structure and organization of the page to understand why it might be performing so well.

Does the page go in-depth and perhaps it’s ranking based on thoroughness? Or is the page answering a specific question quickly and succinctly? Or does it do both?

These are important questions to answer if you want to understand why their page is ranking, and more importantly, how you can improve the performance of your pages.

You should also pay attention to the formats and types of content used. Is the content broken up with images or screenshots? Do they use bullet points and sub-headers to make the page easy to scan? Is video or audio present on the page? Again, these are your competitor’s top pages, and that short video they’ve embedded on their page might be the difference between their content’s performance and yours.

However, don’t stop at your competitor’s page. Go examine the corresponding search results where they rank and analyze the other pages featured there. While these pages might be from brands you don’t consider traditional competitors, these are the pages you’re competing with for visibility in search. Also, these pages can provide further insight into how you can tweak and improve your existing content.

Other information you can glean from competitor and current ranking pages includes:

  • Primary intent that search engines associate with the given topic.
  • Relevant and related sub-topics or questions.
  • Associated SERP features (rich snippets, knowledge graph, local packs, etc.)
  • And credible external sources and relevant citations.

With this information, you will have all the tools necessary to update your page to best answer the query you’re targeting. 

At this point, the only thing standing between your content and page one rankings might be backlinks. However, with backlink tools like Majestic and Moz you can identify the sites linking to those top pages – if you work to improve your page to the level of quality of the ranking pages, it’s likely these sites would be open to linking to your page as well.

Leveraging competitor content for linkable asset ideation

Speaking of backlinks, analyzing competitor content can help you generate ideas for link-worthy content too.

Before, you were scrutinizing competitor pages based on organic traffic, but many of the tools I’ve discussed here will also help you identify your competitors’ top pages based on backlinks. Just as you analyzed their top trafficked pages to understand why they rank so well; you can analyze these top linked pages to understand why they attract so many backlinks.

This analysis provides you with a host of topics that generate links and interest within your niche. You can also dig into the backlink profiles of these pages to learn how they are linked to gain insight into what types of pages and websites would want to link to this content.

For example, your competitor may have executed an original study that produced one interesting statistic that is being cited by numerous websites. It’s likely you won’t be able to replicate that study – and if you do, other sites are more likely to find your competitor’s site when searching for a citation – but you can analyze their study and identify what made it interesting to springboard ideas for tangential or supportive research.

Of course, improving on their idea, also known as the skyscraper technique, is an option as well, but this approach typically requires significant investment.

The key to this analysis is identifying linkable topics and pivoting them to be unique while maintaining the attributes that made your competitor’s pages link-worthy.

Benefits of competitor content analysis

Content marketing continues to be an integral part of successful digital marketing and SEO as search engines constantly provide the advice to “create good content.” However, consistently generating quality content ideas and executing them well is difficult, particularly if your goal is to rank your content in competitive SERPs.

Fortunately, your competitors are here to help! Through competitor content analysis you can learn:

  • Which pages and topics your competitors identify as important.
  • How your competitors earn organic traffic from search.
  • Where gaps exist within your current content marketing strategy.
  • Which low-investment content opportunities are available.
  • Ways to improve existing content for better search performance.
  • Which topics generate interest and backlinks within your niche.
  • And how and why websites link to content within your space.

Understanding your competitors’ content strategies will help you outperform them where it matters most, in the search results.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.



About The Author

Page One Power. Along with his column on Search Engine Land, Andrew also writes about SEO and link building for the Page One Power blog, Linkarati. When he’s not reading or writing about SEO, you’ll find him cheering on his favorite professional teams and supporting his alma mater the University of Idaho.




content-accuracy-is-not-a-ranking-factor

Google’s systems cannot verify the accuracy of content; instead, it relies on signals that the company thinks aligns with “relevancy of topic and authority,” according to Danny Sullivan, Google’s search liaison, in a tweet posted from his personal account on September 9. This attracted attention from SEOs and kicked off a conversation.

Here are the tweet and the question that prompted it.

It’s not a popularity contest. When Bill Slawski, director of SEO research for Go Fish Digital, cited Google’s own explanation of how search algorithms work, interpreting them to mean that popularity determines confidence scores for content, Sullivan replied, “No. It is not popularity.” He then elaborated that popularity would be too simple a signal and possibly inapplicable to new queries, which constitute 15% of Google’s daily search volume.

In pursuit of more authoritative search results: Some history. In an attempt to improve the quality of its results, Google announced Project Owl in April 2017; the project placed more emphasis on authoritative content and enabled users to provide feedback for autocomplete search suggestions and featured snippet answers.

In November 2017, Google also teamed up with The Trust Project to bring more transparency to news content and combat the distribution of misinformation. One of its first steps was to enable publishers to add up to eight “trust indicators” to disclose information such as who funds the news outlet, the outlet’s mission, the author’s expertise, the type of writing and so on, via structured data markup.

In September 2019, the company updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines to emphasize vetting news sources as well as YMYL content and its creators. It also expanded the basis for which a rater might apply the lowest ratings to content that may potentially spread hate.

The reaction. Sparktoro founder Rand Fishkin disagreed with the basis for Sullivan’s explanation, countering that machines can assign levels of accuracy to content, citing Google’s “fact extractions ranging from calculator answers to filmographies to travel info.”

Judith Lewis, founder of DeCabbit Consultancy, highlighted the complexity of the issue, adding that machine learning does “enable a degree of assessment of the accuracy of anything not related to personal experience.” Lewis also suggested that Sullivan’s answer may be meant to give Google a bit of leeway on the matter.

Jenny Halasz, president of JLH Marketing, echoed a sentiment that may be shared by many SEOs when she tweeted, “YES, a thousand times YES! Thank you @dannysullivan. This is a myth that will not die.” Halasz also pointed out the irony that Google itself provides search results with content claiming that accuracy is a ranking factor.

Why we should care. Content accuracy is important for users, but, as Sullivan explained, it’s not a Google ranking factor. Topic relevance and authority — not to be confused with popularity, which may result from the two — are the signals Google’s systems rely on to rank content.



About The Author

George Nguyen is an Associate Editor at Third Door Media. His background is in content marketing, journalism, and storytelling.

finding-content-marketing-opportunities-that-influence-search-performance

Content marketing is a broad term that can be interpreted in multiple ways within the greater marketing spectrum. For some, content marketing is a blog post, for others, it could be large, interactive pieces. For John Deere, content marketing took the form of a print magazine all the way back in the 1800s!

Regardless of the format or type of content being marketed, presenting useful or entertaining information to your audience – in a way that speaks to them – has always been an important part of good marketing. Things are no different within search, where content marketing equates to promoting your webpages (content) to relevant audiences online (marketing via social media and other websites).

Today I want to walk through the process I use to help clients identify and capitalize on the content marketing opportunities available to them. Let’s dive in!

Start with existing content

The best place to start when searching for content marketing opportunities is with your existing pages – these are the opportunities that will take the least upfront investment as the content already exists.

You can easily identify your top pages – in terms of organic traffic – in Google Analytics. While it’s important to understand how your site is earning traffic, we’re looking for new opportunities – your best pages are already performing, and to achieve growth you need to capture new opportunities.

Find new opportunities with existing pages

To find fresh content marketing opportunities, start with Google Search Console. In GSC, you can analyze which keywords or queries are associated with your website and see how many clicks and impressions they’re earning in Google search. You can also analyze clicks and impressions for your individual pages. 

Compare queries and pages to ensure you have pages that are good matches for your top queries. Are these the pages you would expect to be earning clicks and impressions? Do you have a better page that isn’t showing in Google Search Console? Ask yourself these questions as there may be an opportunity to optimize and promote an existing page that could rank better and earn more clicks than the page Google currently associates with a given query.

If you have the budget, there are also some great tools available that can help you identify your top pages and those that are barely missing the mark. Tools such as Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMrush all offer various ways to analyze your content.

These tools will help you find your most successful content, but more importantly, you can find pages ranking on the first page. Often, some light optimization (tweaking titles, header tags, etc.) and updating can be the difference between page two rankings and appearing on the first page. 

It’s much easier to update existing pages than create new content, so you should always start by analyzing current rankings to see if you have any of these opportunities available.

Updating, repurposing, and promoting existing content

Once you’ve identified new content marketing opportunities for your existing pages, it’s time to execute.

Most, if not all, of your content marketing opportunities for existing pages will require some level of updating or reformatting or both. In some instances, you might find a page that was simply underpromoted and needs more links to perform better, but for the most part, you will need to do some on-page optimization as well.

Updating content

Updating your pages means more than changing the publish date.

To improve search performance for an existing page, you need to make substantial updates in terms of depth and recency of the information on the page. For example, I recently found that a guide I had written that was ranking for a few keywords. To help push it onto the first page of the search results, I updated the post. 

These updates included:

  • Restructuring the content for improved scannability and a clear hierarchy of information.
  • Deeper research into the topic to provide more actionable information.
  • Rewriting outdated sections to offer more accurate information.
  • Adding relevant links to authoritative external sources.
  • Fixing and updating broken external links.
  • Adding internal links to related pages.
  • Adding fresh, high-quality images.

Making these updates was a significant time investment, but still took less time and effort than generating a new content idea and writing a post from scratch. And best of all, the updates helped push the post at the top of the results I was targeting!

Repurposing and reformatting content

Along with updating your pages, repurposing or reformatting content can also improve rankings.

Converting content to a new format or adding new formats to an existing page can often help that content perform better in search. For example, if you notice there are multiple video results for the term your page is targeting, chances are your page could benefit from adding video content. Some other reformatting options include:

  • Adding a concise definition or bulleted list at the top of the page for informational queries to optimize for rich snippets.
  • Creating complementary interactive elements such as a tool, quiz, game, etc.
  • Converting long-form text into an easily digestible infographic.
  • Developing high-quality, original photography and imagery.
  • Transcribing video or audio content into a blog post.

Repurposing content not only breathes new life into a page, but it can also improve that page’s performance in organic search if it creates a better user experience and better answers searcher intent.

If you have pages that rank well but not on the first page, consider analyzing the current top results to see if you can identify trends in formatting – if your page is missing these elements, adding them could help your page rank better.

Finding opportunities for content creation

While optimizing existing pages is the path of least resistance, to sustain long-term success in organic search you will also need to create new content.

Content inspiration can come from a variety of sources, but if you want to build content that performs in search you should focus on niche analysis and competitive research.

Niche analysis

Niche analysis for content marketing involves researching how your audience is searching online and which topics they interest them.

You need to understand how your audience searches for topics related to your business and the language they use. Subtle differences in word usage can equate to large differences in search volume and you want to optimize your content for the terms your audience is using.

For example, look at the difference between the search phrases [coffee mug holder] and [coffee mug rack] (using Moz’s Keyword Explorer):

here.



About The Author

Page One Power. Along with his column on Search Engine Land, Andrew also writes about SEO and link building for the Page One Power blog, Linkarati. When he’s not reading or writing about SEO, you’ll find him cheering on his favorite professional teams and supporting his alma mater the University of Idaho.