On-Page Optimization in SEO: Fixing Existing Content
There’s a low hanging fruit opportunity for on-page optimization in SEO.
And it’s all about existing content optimization.
On-page optimization in SEO is the process of maximizing the results your content achieves from search engines, including improvements in rankings, organic traffic, and conversions.
Whether or not your existing content was SEO optimized when you created it, there’s an opportunity to make a few quick tweaks and reap the rewards of more organic traffic.
This post will cover how to do on-page optimization in SEO with a focus on optimizing existing content.
These existing content optimization opportunities tend to come in two scenarios:
- You did keyword research before creating the content
- Or you did not
Opportunity might look different depending on which of these two scenarios apply to you.
Scenario 1 – Improve content you already started optimizing
In the first scenario above, you created content around a target keyword.
Ask yourself these two questions:
- Did I follow all the on-page SEO best practices before publishing?
- Did I find the best keyword for my website?
Depending on your answers to the above questions, you have 2 options.
Option 1 – Finish optimizing your content
If you’re like me, you made a good faith effort to check all the boxes, but you probably forgot a few.
The quickest way to improve SEO optimized content is to use our on-page SEO checker to confirm you included your keyword in all the right places, optimized your images and meta tags, and more. It gives you a content optimization checklist of the items you missed.
Option 2 – Find a better keyword
It’s hard to predict which keyword will drive the most traffic. Results depend on a variety of factors, like:
- Keyword popularity
- Keyword competition
- How relevant your content is to the search intent
- How authoritative your entire site is on the topic
- And more
Sometimes you can get more organic traffic to a piece of content if you tweak which keyword you are targeting.
Google Search Console is a great source of clues as to which keyword will perform the best.
Here’s an example.
Rignite is a software startup that offers social media management tools. We’ll take a look into their Google Search Console.
Right off the bat, we uncover what seems to be a significant opportunity. By sorting the Pages report by Impressions, we see that /social-business-software is getting the most impressions of any page on the site. But yet, the CTR is extremely low at .09%.
What’s behind all those impressions?
So we click through to view the Queries report for that particular page. Again, we sort by Impressions to find which keywords are responsible for the largest number of impressions.
The top keywords with the most impressions are very relevant to the page and Rignite’s product. However, we’ll ignore the first one, “social media management”, because it is too broad in meaning.
Compare those top keywords to “social business software” which was the keyword for which they initially tried to optimize.
There’s a significant difference. And even though that page is not optimized for the term, the keyword “social media management tools” gets a few clicks and even ranks higher than the one they chose.
Imagine if we simply tweaked the content to optimize intentionally for that.
This looks like a great SEO optimization opportunity.
Scenario 2 – Optimize content that you didn’t initially optimize
This is a very common scenario. Many companies start SEO well after they start blogging.
If your site has content that wasn’t optimized for SEO when it was created, there’s an opportunity to pick a relevant keyword, make some tweaks, and start driving more organic traffic to those posts.
Again, you can look to Google Search Console for clues about the best keyword.
Here are the things to look for:
- Is there a keyword that has a significant amount of impressions?
- If yes, are you getting any clicks on it?
- Is that keyword very representative of the content on the page?
If you said yes to all of those, it’s worth digging a little deeper into the keyword’s popularity and competition score to see if tweaking your content to match that new keyword is worth the potential boost you might get.
Remember, the goal here is to send super clear signals to search engine crawlers as to what your content is about. Targeting a single, relevant keyword for each piece of content and supplementing that content with similar keywords is a key way to do this. As a result, search engine crawlers:
- Understand what your content is about
- Know how relevant it is to that topic
- Can judge how and where to rank your content
SEO content optimization tips
Regardless of which approach you take, here are a few tips for optimizing content to keep in mind:
1. Prioritize based on biggest potential impact
While optimizing existing content can offer low hanging fruit opportunities, it’s still important to choose your efforts wisely.
Focus on the opportunities that present the largest volume of potential traffic.
As you noticed in our example above, we looked at the pages with high impressions but low CTR. We start there because impressions can be a proxy for popularity and your site’s ability to rank for that term. The low CTR could be fixed by improving the page title and meta description, and by improving the rank position of that page.
2. Don’t change the target keyword to something too broad
In looking at your Google Search Console data, you are likely to find broad keywords that get lots of impressions.
Think about the “social media management” term we found in our example above. It had almost 4x the impressions of the new keyword we chose. But the meaning of that term is not specific enough to drive relevant traffic that has the potential to convert.
3. Don’t change the target keyword to something too different in meaning
If you created content around a target keyword, trying to target a new keyword that is substantially different in meaning can be much harder than it’s worth. You would need to rewrite portions of the content to make it relevant enough to the term to rank for it. In this scenario, it’s better to use that keyword as an idea for a brand new piece of content.
4. Update your internal links
If you do change your keyword, you will likely also need to change your URL. Don’t forget that you probably have internal links on your site pointing to that old URL. The anchor text of those internal links is an important signal for Google to know what you declare your content to be about. So you’ll want to update them to use the new keyword in the anchor text and the new URL.
5. Update your page title, meta description, images, etc.
If you change your target keyword, you’ll need to include that keyword in all the right places. For a quick list of action items to take care of, run a report using Alexa’s On-Page SEO Checker.
Sign up for a trial of our Advanced plan to get access to our On-page SEO Checker.
Put a content optimization system in place
It’s easy to forget about old content and move on the next new piece.
Make existing content optimization a part of your ongoing content strategy.
For example, if your content plan includes publishing four new posts per month, consider swapping one of the new content projects for one update to existing content.
Content optimization tools
On-Page SEO Checker – Get a content optimization checklist including whether you chose a keyword is within your site’s Competitive Power.
SEO Audit Tool – Get an SEO health check for your entire site. Discover technical problems that prevent search engines from crawling and understanding your content.
Keyword Difficulty Tool – Keyword research is the foundation of SEO optimized content. Pick the best keyword that your site will have the best chance of ranking for.
Looking for more info?
If you’d like to learn more about how to optimize content for search engines, we recently published a series about SEO content that covers the process of optimizing new content from the beginning.
Part 1 – 5 questions to ask when planning SEO content
Part 2 – 4 tips for effective SEO copywriting
Part 3 – How to rank on Google: 3 ingredients for reaching #1
Ready to start you on-page SEO optimization project?
Alexa’s Marketing Stack includes SEO tools to help you increase your organic traffic.
Sign up for a trial of our Advanced plan to get access to our keyword research, on-page, and on-site SEO optimization tools.
Kim has 12 years experience in demand generation, content marketing, and campaign management. Her expertise has helped grow user bases by as much as 7x year over year, and a startup from nothing to $1.2 million in revenue in just 3 years.
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