SEO Review: Get Multiple Perspectives on Content

It’s commonly said that any piece of writing should be put aside for a while after it’s finished so the author can come back to it with fresh eyes. For the same reason, many writers show their work to others, to get advice from a new pair of eyes with a fresh perspective. With any content to be optimized for search engines, you need to do this big time.

Stoney deGeyter explained in an article on Search Engine Journal that you really need five different pairs of eyes to look over any piece of content: the copywriter, the SEO, someone who can consider its visual eye appeal, someone who cares about usability, and a conversion specialist. Each of these individuals will bring their own perspective to the content, fixing problems and bringing out the best it can be.

Can one person look at a particular piece of content from five different perspectives? Perhaps, but I don’t recommend considering all of them at the same time! Let’s take them in order so that you’ll understand why I say that.

The copywriter makes sure that your content is well-written, not just a plethora of keywords thrown together to get rankings and lure visitors to your website. Yes, the keywords need to be there, but those visitors will want to read your content and learn something from it. The copywriter can tell you if your optimized web pages aren’t suffering from serious keyword stuffing, and fix it.

The SEO take a look at the content after the copywriter to ensure that it includes the proper balance of keywords. According to deGeyter, “he or she can review keyword usage, placement, iterations, and phrase variations.” The SEO will either work in corrections or send the content back to the copywriter with rewriting instructions. If the SEO sends it back, the copywriter can also check the content at this point for “keyword creep,” that oh-so-subtle danger of content that has been overly tweaked for rankings.

You’d think that would be all you need, but no. Have you ever clicked on a link and landed on a web page that just looked so visually repulsive you clicked away as fast as you could? The third pair of eyes looking at your content strives to prevent this from happening with your website. In fact, the idea is to produce the opposite effect: give your visitors a lovely page that they’d enjoy browsing for a while.

Remember, thanks to the search engines, a visitor can enter your website from ANY page, so they all need to look their best. “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,” deGeyter notes. “All of these can add a visual dynamic that makes drab text look much more appealing and far easier to read.”

Websites aren’t just for reading, though; users interact with them, even if it’s just to click to the next page or navigate to another part of your website. That’s why you need someone to look at your content while wearing a pair of usability glasses. “Usability looks at how the content is arranged, where the calls to action are placed and whether or not the wording is action oriented (as opposed to passive),” deGeyter explained. I’d add that usability eyes ought to look at the content and see if it “works” in getting its point across. Is the infographic you hoped to use clunky rather than smooth? Do you make it easy for your visitors to share interesting content? These and other questions fall under the heading of usability.

Finally, we’re up to the eyes of the conversion specialist. If you have a PPC/landing-page conversion specialist working with you, deGeyter recommends that they look at your content at this stage. How well will your content work as a landing page to convert your visitors? That’s the question this pair of eyes will keep first and foremost. “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,” deGeyter notes.

I hope by now you can see why I said one person shouldn’t look at the same piece of content while trying to keep all five perspectives in mind at the same time! I don’t know about you, but when I’m reading an article to make sure it’s well-written (the copywriter’s perspective), I’m not thinking about how the piece looks as a whole (visual appeal) or details such as font styling (conversion). Think of each review as the opportunity to polish yet another aspect of your content, so it looks like a gem with sparkling facets that will delight the eyes and minds of your visitors. Good luck!

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