Content Optimization: Managing the Gap

We’ve been discussing how to get your head around building a content optimization strategy for your Web site over the last 11 weeks. While you’ve had time to start laying a solid foundation of interconnected SEO (define) tactics to support your content optimization strategy, there are a few more dots to connect. Mostly, you must figure out how to manage the gap, in more ways that just understanding fundamental gap analysis processes.

Building an online marketing strategy around words is a natural part of SEO. Gap analysis is also rooted in nature. That is to say, biologists use gap analysis processes to identify and classify components of organic diversity to determine which components already occur in particular geographic locations and which aren’t present or are underrepresented in other areas.

Wikipedians define gap analysis as a “business resource assessment tool enabling a company to compare its actual performance with its potential performance.” As it applies to content optimization, gap analysis is all about growing your understanding of two things:

  • The difference between what words are required to make your site’s content optimal for search results and what words are actually used in search queries to comprise the keyword marketplace

  • The difference between where you are with your site’s current search positioning for particular keywords and where you want to be

When preparing a master keyword list, volume differences between search referral traffic for particular words and phrases will be revealed. You’ll notice the different levels of potential traffic for singular and plural phrases, as well as extended queries around the same terms and phrases, among other trends. It’s recognizing the gap between optimal theme-centric search query traffic and suboptimal phrases that can drive a content optimization strategy toward success.

You will also grow your understanding about what words and phrases search engine users actually query when looking for particular goods and services, ideally goods and services your online business can deliver. By the time you finish preparing your master keyword list, you will have broadened your understanding of semantics and recognize that the search engines require strong contextual signals to determine the difference between top positioning of “bass fishing,” “bass shoes,” and “bass guitars,” for example.

Once you know which words are used to expand your content’s context, it’s a relatively simple process to bind particular themes around your content. Recognize opportunities to amplify the contextual signals the content sends to the search engines by way of title tags, heading tags, page placement, navigation, alternative navigation such as breadcrumbs, image labels, alternative attributes, and the like.

When you manage the gap between what words and phrases searchers use and what contextual themes you can naturally build into the site, you make your site’s content optimal for search. The process actually makes some of the most popular words and phrases revealed by your keyword research into the most prominent words and phrases signaled by your content.

Remember, your content must be friendly for users first and search engines second. If you amplify the keyword signals sent to search engines and they don’t genuinely reflect your core goods and services as offered, you might be raising your search engine visibility — along with your bounce rates. It’s not an optimal content strategy if targeted words and phrases fail to convert.

Successful search engine strategies embrace content optimization tactics that impact your bottom line. If you lose sight of conversions or fail to measure desired actions taken by visitors on your site during the content optimization process, all is lost. Managing the gap is all about taking your content from page-10 positioning to page-one positioning for words and phrases that help you achieve your search marketing goals. When you optimize your site’s content, always be mindful to manage the gap.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

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