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Content Optimization vs. Content Analysis: What's the Difference?


Whether you're new to content marketing or a seasoned veteran, all the industry jargon that gets thrown around is a little confusing sometimes.

We know how it is, you're in your marketing meeting and someone throws out the term “content optimization,” and another person starts talking about “content analysis” and you sit there thinking “aren’t they the same thing?”

Spoiler alert: not exactly.

They are two different terms and having a good understanding of what each of them means can help you communicate more effectively with your team and communicate your message more effectively.

Inevitably, this understanding will enhance your overall content marketing strategy.

What is Content Optimization?

Content optimization is all about reaching the largest, relevant audience possible.

Devices Using an Ad-Blocker

Source: Search Engine Land

As business learn that consumers want content and not ads, with roughly 40% of laptops having ad blockers installed, they have been producing content at an accelerated rate. But what use is creating great content if your intended audience never gets to see it?

Through content optimization you ensure that your content has the essential elements that search engines need to determine what the topic of your content is, and therefore display it in the SERPs for relevant search terms.


How Can You Optimize Your Content?

Search engines can only read text and part of the way they determine the topic of page content is through keywords.

Including your keywords in certain elements of your page is a vital part of content optimization and can also help with user engagement by increasing click through rate and user experience.


Content Optimization Example


Page Titles

Titles are an important ranking factor to search engine algorithms. They are used as the link text for the search result they display and often used when someone shares your content on social media too.

Include your focus keyword here but also think about creating a descriptive and creative title that will make users want to click on your result.

Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are usually displayed under your title in the SERPs and give a quick description of what the user can expect if they click on your result.

It is a key piece of information and can often be a deciding factor in whether a user clicks so make sure it is optimized with your keyword and persuasive copy.

Top Tip: Use a full-length (1840px) meta description - SEMRush found it improves CTR by 36%!


Search Engine Crawlers can’t “see” images, you might have some great information in a graphic or chart that helps support the content of your page but a search engine won't know that.

To tell a search engine crawler what the content of your image is displaying you can use alt tags.

Including your keyword in here helps confirm to search engines that they have established the correct topic for your page.

They are also great for user experience as any visually impaired visitors who use screen readers will then be listen to the description of the image as well.


What is Content Analysis?

A content analysis examines all your key content marketing metrics to establish how well (or poorly) your content is performing. You can also do a comparison to your competitors content within your analysis to give your marketing team further insights.

To conduct a content analysis of your site you must first create an inventory of all your (and possibly your competitors) content, which can be done in a simple spreadsheet. Include all types of content such as blog posts, ebooks, infographics, podcasts, webinars, videos and presentations.

Once your inventory is complete it’s time to evaluate it. This can help you establish where you are focusing your content marketing efforts and how well it is being received by your audience.

Add in some information about the following (including and adding metrics relevant to your business):

  • Content frequency
  • Audience demographics
  • Number of visits
  • Time on page
  • Traffic source
  • Keywords
  • Search rankings
  • Social shares
  • Backlinks

Collecting this data can give you a clear picture of your content and either confirm that your content marketing efforts are working or uncover you that you need to rethink your strategy.


Is there a difference?

The key difference between content analysis and content optimization is that the first is for diagnosing problematic content and the second is a process that can help you fix it.

The insights you gather from your content analysis can greatly affect your content optimization. For example, you might find that your content is not ranking for the keywords you want it to, this can tell you that either you are not effectively optimizing your content or that this keyword is too competitive and you need to look into ranking for either long-tail keywords or less competitive variations.


Is there similarities?

Both content analysis and content optimization are part of an effective content marketing strategy.

They can both be a lot of hard work but can be made easier with automated tools like Atomic Reach, and the more content you create the more analysis you will need to do.

But, the quality of your content is something you should not compromise on and using both of these processes will help you maintain your top-level content marketing game.


Which is more effective?

Neither content analysis nor content optimization can be deemed more effective than the other. They are two parts of the content creation process that compliment each other perfectly.

Without content analysis you would be going into your content optimization blind, just stabbing in the dark hoping to hit the keywords your audience are searching for.

Your content analysis allows you to put together an effective content optimization process and create data-driven strategies that will produce the best result and save you time in your content creation.

Without your content optimization, your content analysis is a waste of time. What good is having all this data if you don't action the insights you've gained from it?

It gives you the opportunity to put the hypothesis you've gained from your analysis into place and hopefully see positive results in rankings, click-throughs and traffic from the changes you've made.

These two processes go round in a cycle you will want to regularly conduct a content analysis, action its insights in your content optimization and then repeat the whole process over again so you can establish whether the changes you make are effective and continue to refine your content until your ranking top for all your keywords.

Analyzing and optimizing your content can be time-consuming, but it will help you create engaging content in a saturated marketing instead of just pumping out content because “everyone else is.”

It will help ensure you create valuable resources for your audience and become an established knowledge base for your industry creating a good reputation and building trust with your audience.

These two processes are different but both essential and now you know what they are you can effectively incorporate them into your content marketing strategy.


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Published on January 22, 2019

Topics Content Marketing Strategy Content Optimization