You’re familiar with content marketing and SEO. You know they matter to your website and you know they matter to your business. You might even know how to perform these activities on your brand’s website.
You’d be surprised at the number of business owners (and, in some cases, even digital marketers!) who mistakenly assume content marketing and SEO are happily married.
As a result, SEO strategies and content marketing strategies become intertwined into one digital marketing approach that unlocks the full potential of neither avenue.
That’s why, today, we’re exploring whether content marketing and SEO are really meant to be, or whether it’s time they took a break to get the proper attention they both deserve.
Why swipe right?
First off, let’s find out a little more about both content marketing and SEO to understand why they’re both integral to your digital marketing plan.
Here’s why your business should always be swiping right on both…
Looking for: page one Google rankings
About me: my name stands for ‘search engine optimisation’. I apply a variety of digital best practices to improve the online visibility of web pages in organic search results. My goal? Get websites ranked as highly as possible in search engine results for as many relevant keyword searches as I can.
Looking for: community engagement
About me: I focus on the creation, distribution and promotion of content...obviously! While my goals and formats vary, my content always places the customer before the sale. Why? It’s simple: this builds greater brand authority, expertise and recognition, strengthening consumer loyalty and trust.
Both SEO and content marketing have one shared passion: the love of leveraging content.
It’s for this reason many believe the two live in marital bliss. Allow us to explain.
Content plays a vital role in content marketing…duh. But it also plays a key role in SEO.
By strategically enhancing your website’s content, you can showcase your website as high-quality and high-value. This will help you climb up through the ranks for relevant search terms (AKA keywords).
This is achieved by creating SEO-friendly onsite content and metadata for a website’s various pages. To attract even more organic visitors, this is often paired with a keyword-driven SEO blog plan.
This is where things can get slightly complicated.
A blog strategy is a staple of both SEO and content marketing - it’s for this reason many believe the two to be synonymous.
SEO-driven blog plans tend to target long-tail, top-of-the-funnel keywords and, as such, are more concerned with providing value than securing the conversion.
Google places high emphasis on value, too. This means that keyword optimised blog posts must be rich in relevant, high-quality information that serves the needs of the user.
Oh, and let’s not forget about guest posting. Guest posting entails creating custom features for relevant third-party sites and publications.
While the primary aim here is to secure a backlink that will contribute positively to your site’s SEO, this can also be effective in securing some extra referral traffic and brand awareness.
In short, SEO best practice encourages the leveraging of high-value content that places the needs of the user first in order to build visibility, authority and trust.
Sounds pretty similar to the goals of content marketing, right?
Maybe the two are meant to be after all…
However, like all relationships, what’s simple on the surface is a little more complicated behind closed doors.
While there are similarities between SEO and content marketing, there are also a whole lotta differences.
Let’s start with SEO. While high-quality content is important to your search engine optimisation, it isn’t the only factor at play - far from it.
Instead, there are numerous contributing factors Google considers when determining an organic ranking. Take a look at this chart from our pals over at Moz, for example:
What does this mean for the relationship between content and SEO?
Well, although high-quality content will strengthen a page’s ranking potential, that alone will never be enough to ensure successful performance.
Technical considerations, including site metrics, link profiles and site mapping, are all just as important to SEO and, as such, SEO strategies should never focus solely on content creation.
Likewise, content creation should never focus solely on SEO. Instead, improving keyword rankings should be just one of many content marketing goals you set out to achieve with your strategy.
In fact, improving keyword rankings shouldn’t even be the sole focus of the blog content you create.
Knowing when to move away from high-volume keyword optimisation helps you to build a creative and varied blog plan that builds and engages your community (as we proved in this post).
For a comprehensive content marketing strategy, blog post creation should be complemented by other forms of content, too.
Remember: the aim of content marketing is to establish brand authority and expertise to strengthen consumer recognition, loyalty and trust.
So, venture out into other engaging content formats, including:
A multi-pronged content marketing strategy is a strong content marketing strategy, reaching a wider audience and achieving a variety of business objectives.
Of course, your goals will vary with each format - meaning increased organic visibility is just one of many content objectives you’re likely to pursue.
Whatever the purpose of your content, the overarching goal of your content marketing strategy should remain the same: engage audiences by demonstrating value.
“It’s not you, it’s me…”
With the pros and cons evaluated, it’s clear that SEO and content marketing are more Ross and Emily than Ross and Rachel.
While the two complement each other when unified by shared goals, SEO and content marketing aren’t inherently synonymous. Sure, content marketing can improve your SEO and a good SEO plan can contribute to your content marketing, but the success of each is dependent on many additional factors.
Instead, they should be used in tandem as part of a more comprehensive digital strategy. Essentially, they should break up but remain friends…because that always goes well.
Breaking up your content and SEO strategies shouldn’t leave your content marketing crying over Ben & Jerry’s to Taylor Swift. Instead, use it as an opportunity for your content marketing to flourish and reach its full potential.
Get in touch to learn how Paragraft can help content work harder for your brand.