Optimisations are a lot of fun. This is where we get to take content that already exists and optimise it for SEO.
The purpose of an optimisation is to ensure that already-existing content is SEO-friendly and continues to/starts to rank well. This is the standard process that you will go through to complete an optimisation.
Important Parts of an Optimisation
- Google Search Console Data – this is where our most valuable data will come from.
- Keywords – we’re aiming to optimise the post using keywords in strategic places.
- Title – this should be optimised to be SEO-friendly with the target keyword.
- Headings – all headings in the post should be checked and optimised.
- Links – these should all work and be SEO-friendly, add, remove, and change as needed.
- Metadata – when posts are originally written, the metadata may not be as SEO-focused as it should be. This is the perfect chance to change that.
Step By Step
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do optimisations.
You will get a post/page to optimise. This may be ranking on the first page already, but needs a few SEO tweaks. Although we prefer not to optimise anything ranking higher than 3rd in Google search.
- Go to the post URL (e.g. domain.com/post-to-be-optimised) and copy the whole post into a google doc. Keep the images in the doc.
- Then, select ALL and go to format – > clear formatting. This will take away colours, bolding, italics, and any other formatting in the text. This is important when re-uploading the post to the site.
- Also, make a note of the word count in the post (this will be essential when you have to say how many words you added to the post.)
- Make a copy of the post before you start editing it. If you change structure etc., having a duplicate can come in handy. It’ll also keep the original word count, making it easier to see your words added at the end.
- Next, click on the optimisation checklist sheet and make a duplicate, renaming it according to the client and post you are working on.
Now, we’re going to find our GSC keywords.
- Login to Search Console (you will be given details – if not, ask).
- Find the website that you’re working on in the ‘search property’ menu tab.
- Open Search Results Report under the ‘performance’ heading
- Add the post/page URL to the filter
You can now see the page queries – these are keywords entered into Google by users that come across this particular page. These keywords are not necessarily in the post itself, but Google identifies the post with these keywords.
- Adjust the date to a longer time frame if the data isn’t presenting a lot of information
- Do an export of your queries.
- Add this exported CSV file into your google drive, and open it with Google Sheets.
- Then, copy this sheet into the GSC Keywords tab of your checklist sheet.
Next up, we’re going to sort through the queries to make them easier to use and figure out which ones can help us optimise this post.
- Sort your search queries the same as you would with your keywords. Use conditional formatting to show high impressions and clicks – sort Z-A for impressions.
- Next, check your highest keywords for impressions to find a ‘target keyword’. This will not necessarily be the top one but should be high up there. Make sure your target keyword also makes sense with what the post is actually about.
- Once you have your target keyword, you’ll check the title and URL of the post. If these do not contain the TK, rewrite the title using the keyword, and mention in your notes section of the checklist how the URL should change.
- If there are not enough GSC keywords, or they are not great for the post, take your main keyword into ahrefs and do normal keywords research to use AS WELL AS GSC. GSC first, always.
Now, you need to cross-reference your keywords and the post. Check your keyword sheets, and decide where these keywords should be placed, if at all. If they are already in the post (use ctrl+F to find them), make a note of where (h1, h2, p, etc.)
Add a column labelled ‘already in post’ and use it to mark all the keywords that are already in the post with an ’x’ or a checkbox.
Add another column labelled ‘used’ – this is where you’ll mark any keywords that you add.
- Make sure you make note of if and where the keywords are already being used.
- Use AS MANY of the keywords as you can. Naturally. So long as it doesn’t sound keyword stuffed.
During this process we’ll be adding between 50 and 250 words to the post.
Now that the keywords are out of the way, we’re going to look at the structure, internal/external links, word count, and backlinks of the post.
- Structure – ensure the paragraphs are not too long, sentences flow nicely, and the headings are in order. Change any major heading issues (like an h4 following an h2).
- Check all links used in the post, and add if you can. Internal links are always good to add, so even if there are some in the post try to add another 2 or 3 (relevant ones of course).
- For external links, make sure none are broken, none of them are linking to competitor sites, and that they are good authority links. Read through the post and if you think anything should have a link to it, find another 2 or 3 authority external links.
- To check the average word count of competitors, you can use SEO Quake, a word count extension, or simply take the top 3 ranking posts and paste their content into Google docs. Then divide by 3 and you’ll find the average word count. Check this against the client’s word count.
Rewrite the Meta Description using the target keywords. Make it enticing and to the point. Click here for a guide on writing meta descriptions. Use this tool to make sure your MD is not too long or too short.
- Check off each item on the sheet.
- Fill out the notes section with comments on each checklist item, as well as anything else you did to the post, or things you think the client needs to know. Examples would include heading structure changes, link changes, affiliate opportunities, etc.
Once your checklist is complete, and your post is thoroughly optimised, send the post to be edited & checked.
Do this through Asana, as we would with any post – folder link in the comment, asana task link pasted into the Slack #Editing channel.
When you get the post back from the editor, make all necessary changes.
Ensure your folder has only the checklist sheet (with GSC tab and ahrefs if applicable), your image folder, a copy of the original post, and your optimised doc with images in the doc.
Lastly, post the folder link into the content master sheet and the client sheet. Your post should be done. Notify the team in the content channel and mark your Asana task as complete.
Watch this video to see how to export data from Google Search Console.
Over To You
Now try it yourself. Speak to your mentor about an optimisation you can pick up and try your hand at it.
Make a duplicate of this optimisation task template and follow the steps there.
Once you’ve completed your first optimisation, you can click ‘Complete’ and go on to the next lesson.