There is a lot more to optimizing a page of content than just having an SEO research and throw in a bunch of keywords. The SEO “review” of content should be just one of the many steps in producing good, relevant, keyword-focused and user-friendly content for your website.
Personally, I like to make sure that all of our SEO content gets reviewed from five unique perspectives. Before any page is approved to “rollout” live on a site, it goes through these five eyes:
- Copywriter Eyes
- SEO Eyes
- Visual Eye Appeal
- Usability Eyes
- Conversion Eyes
Each set of eyes looks at the optimized page from a unique point of view. Sure, one person can technically perform a review, but he or she may not look at the content from each of the five perspectives. It’s easy for things to get “overlooked” if you’re not incorporating every angle into the review process.
Let’s look at each of these eyes individually.
Copywriter Eyes Ensure Well-written Content
There is nothing worse than having an “SEO” optimize your page by throwing a bunch of keywords on it, all because his or her job is to get the page ranked at any cost. Fortunately, this kind of keyword stuffing is easy to spot and can be combated.
But there is another, less nefarious type of keyword stuffing that happens. It’s what I call keyword creep. This is what can happen over time as a page gets optimized, tweaked and re-tweaked in order to keep inching those rankings up. Each time, more keywords are added in an attempt to boost page “relevance.”
Using a skilled copywriter to review each optimized Web page can help prevent keyword stuffing issues. It also ensures that the keywords work with the content and are optimized in as effectively as possible.
SEO Eyes Ensure the Right Keyword Balance
This may sound backward, but we usually have the SEO review and optimize content after the copywriter has done his or her initial job of naturally working in the keywords. If the copywriter knows the keywords that need to be integrated (and has a base understanding of good optimization content development), nine times out of ten the copywriter can produce a very strongly optimized page. The SEO, then, just has to look at it from a slightly more technical standpoint.
Once the SEO gets a hold of the content, he or she can review keyword usage, placement, iterations and phrase variations. If the copywriter missed anything, the SEO is free to either try to work that in or send the content back to the copywriter with further instructions. If the former, it’s a good idea to have the copywriter perform an after-SEO review as well.
This after-review is also helpful each time a page is tweaked for further SEO enhancements, ensuring keyword creep doesn’t destroy the content for the sake of good search engine rankings. Working together, the copywriter and the SEO create a well-optimized page that serves both visitors and search engines.
Visual Eye Appeal Ensures Positive First Impressions
Technically, it’s not the SEO’s job to worry about anything but rankings. But as Web marketers, we try to look beyond getting traffic to a website and try to help our clients succeed as a business, as well.
One thing we have to remember is that each optimized page is essentially an entry point to the website. It may be the first (or even the last) page a visitor may see on that site. That first impression matters. Therefore, the visual appeal of each page matters, too.
You can do a lot of things to improve the visual appeal of any page, such as adding images or using text headings, bullets, bolding and emphasis. All of these can add a visual dynamic that makes drab text look much more appealing and far easier to read.
Usability Eyes Ensure Visitor Engagement
If every page is a landing page, then getting the visitor to engage with the content and conversion options on the page is critical for success. Usability looks at how the content is arranged, where the call to actions are placed and whether or not the wording is action oriented (as opposed to passive).
Usability might also look at textual linking to other areas of the site or even suggest changes to be made on a global navigational level. In all, it’s these eyes that are responsible for ensuring that visitors like what they see, read what they need and move on toward the end goal of achieving the conversion.
Conversion Eyes Ensure the SEO Brings the ROI
In many cases, the best person to view the site through conversion eyes is the PPC/landing-page conversion specialist. This person looks at pages for more than the traffic it can deliver or even the engagement it produces. PPC also looks all the way down to the conversions the page produces.
While great ads are essential to the click-through-rate, it’s the page that is ultimately responsible for the conversion. Landing page conversion is a key element for PPC strategists, which makes them a prime candidate for this final review. They know what works and what doesn’t and can help improve any optimized page (PPC landing page or not) to be a better keyword landing page.
As before, calls to action are important here, but specific wording and placement of the calls to action can be a factor – as can font styling, image use, link text and more.
Only after a page has gone through each of these sets of eyes do we consider it “done.” But really, that’s just the beginning. Each validation must ultimately prove itself in readability, rankings, traffic, engagement and conversions. By going through these five eyes, you’re not just creating an optimized Web page, you’re creating a customer magnet.