While we’ve been talking about how to optimize content quite a bit, there really are no guidelines out there for more broad questions you should be asking when going through the process of optimization. Jenny Halasz from Search Engine Land realized this, and created a flow chart for the optimization process, complete with what questions you should be asking yourself.

Optimization Flow Chart

“What is the page about?” – This is a really simple question, and if you can’t answer it, you probably shouldn’t be building the site. For your page to have any value, you have to know what it is about, obviously.

“What is the purpose of this page?” – Are you trying to create a blog post? Or maybe a sales pitch? How about a press release? No matter what the purpose is, you certainly need to have one, and be able to identify it while working on the page. Thinking about this before hand will help you put your content into context.

“How long will this content remain relevant?” – Educational pieces stay relevant until more information is found. Depending on the field, this could be years or just a few months. Product pitches on the other hand, stay relevant until your next line is due to be released, which can last as much as a year or two. Either way, adapt your content to the time frame it will still be important.

“What makes sense for optimization?” – The previous questions should be considered when creating the page, but now we’re at optimizing the site for search. Are the keywords you’re using relevant? How are you handling linking? Make sure you actually consider these factors rather than “going through the motions.”

The flow chart and questions should help you focus your process to reflect your client’s needs. Every step needs to be planned, and every question should be answered. If you’re optimizing right, the answers should come to mind pretty quickly.