There’s a lot of confusion surrounding content marketing and SEO. Are they the same thing? Are they different? Is one more valuable than the other? Which should I prioritise?
The truth is: content marketing and SEO overlap, a lot.
To be successful in your SEO and improve your search traffic, you need to be producing quality content. If you want more people to read your content, then getting it to appear in the search engine results is the perfect way to do so. The two go hand in hand.
However, it’s quite common in businesses for the two areas to be completely segregated. They are often portrayed as separate entities, but this can be dangerous for these businesses. They’re likely to struggle to get to the top of Google, and will probably not see high levels of engagement with their content.
Of course, the two areas are different things: SEO is made up of strategies to increase the amount of visitors to a website, and the end goal is to get a high ranking in the search engines; while content marketing is a form of marketing that you will use to achieve this. SEO is narrower, and more technical; while content marketing is broader and more holistic.
Yes, they are different areas of marketing, but when they work together, they give each other a fantastic boost. So how exactly do content marketing and SEO fit together?
SEO demands quality content
There is no such thing as SEO without content. You need articles, blogs, keywords, webpage copy, and more to actually be indexed by Google. More importantly, you need quality content to really power up your SEO efforts. When Google started out, you could create any kind of keyword-heavy content and get thousands of clicks, but now, Google’s algorithm is able to understand what content is good quality, and of interest to users, and what isn’t.
SEO improves the visibility of your content
It’s no good spending your time and resources on creating brilliant content if nobody gets to read it! Search marketing is a great way to get your content seen; but if the content doesn’t rank well it’s unlikely to help. After all, people very rarely progress to the second page of the search results, if they even manage to get to the bottom of page one in the first place. So by implementing SEO best practice, you drastically improve your chances of your content being seen on Google and read by a much larger audience.
SEO needs keywords and themes
Keywords are a fundamental part of SEO. But how do you apply the use of keywords and themes? Well, with content of course. You may have conducted all of your research and know exactly what keywords you want to rank for, but unless those keywords are present in your web content, search engines can’t know that that’s what you’re trying to do.
Note: It’s important not to overstuff your content with keywords; this can get you penalised.
SEO wants backlinks
Back linking is another important part of SEO. A link to your site from an authoritative website can do wonders for your rankings. But you’ve little chance of getting links without some high quality content to actually link to. By creating insightful and helpful content, that users actually want to read, you hugely improve your chances of getting some good quality back links.
Google loves fresh content
We know that the Google algorithm likes it when you publish regular, fresh content. New content gets rapidly index, and ranks better than older content. Good SEO then, will come from the consistent output of new content. So to be successful at content marketing, you need to view it as an on-going process. It’s not enough to write a load of content and then leave it; you need to make sure fresh content is being published regularly.
It’s as simple as that, really; content is an integral part of SEO. So how do you integrate them to make sure you’re getting the best results from your marketing? Here are some tips on how to combine your content and your SEO.
Write content based on keyword data
A great place to start is to have a look at keywords. Use your data to figure out what your website visitors are looking for, as well as the keywords you want to target. Then use this information to help you write content strategically; make sure your targeted keywords are included in your page titles and H1s, and write content based around your findings.
Create content that will gain press coverage
There’s a slight crossover into PR here, but content that gets press coverage will get you good quality links. You could try coming up with a new angle on existing data, or collect your own data; create a quiz or game that will get people talking; or create a piece of content that’s unique and original, and of high interest to your target audience.
Don’t forget about your local trade press here, either. They’re more likely to pick up your content than the nationals, and their audience is made up of people who are already interested in your industry.
Consider Guest Posting
Guest blogging is essentially where you write content for someone else’s site. By appearing on another company’s blog, you tap into a whole new audience. You’re basically showing off your content to an already established community who are interested in what you’ve got to say. If they like what they read, they’re likely to head over to your website to check out your other content. You should always include a link back to your website when guest blogging. Not only will it directly refer traffic back to your site, but being referenced on reputable, quality sites is a big factor in how search engines rank your website.
You could also host guest bloggers on your site; it’s a great way to get new, fresh content (which Google loves), and the guest will probably start sending their own followers over to your site so that they can promote their own content. Win-win!
Yes, content marketers and SEO’s should have different skill sets. A content marketer might not have an in-depth knowledge of Google Analytics, and an SEO might not be able to create engaging content. And that’s fine – but it doesn’t mean that the two should work separately.
By combining the two skill sets, you’ll find that you’re able to boost your search traffic, and as a result your content will be viewed more. Hey, they might even learn something from each other, which is never a bad thing!
For help using content marketing to drive your SEO, get in touch with one of our content marketers – we’d be happy to help.
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