These days, it seems content marketing is often touted as an alternative to SEO. However, it is possible to create content that not only creates value for users, but also build and improve on SEO.
SEO used to be as easy as throwing keywords in the meta tags, and you could rank for anything, regardless of whether the content on your website matched the keywords in the meta tags. But as the web has evolved and search engines have discovered it’s important to treat their users as customers, the way you build rank has changed significantly. And the competition for that ranking has greatly increased. The problem was, most of the content out there wasn’t designed to help people looking for information – it was garbage written to game the search engines into higher ranking.
Content marketing became a way to provide the search engines with the quality content they wanted to serve to their users. It also became a way to educate your prospects about the products and services you offer, without directly being a sales pitch.
Content marketing and SEO became linked the moment we started turning to search engines to solve our problems, and the search engines started weeding out the poor content in favor of well written, informative content.
The Differences Between SEO and Content Marketing
While the two disciplines are interdependent and overlap, there are some clear differences between them.
- SEO is a narrower discipline that is more technical in nature.
- Content marketing is much more broad and holistic.
You must use Search Engine Optimization techniques when you implement your content marketing campaigns, or you’re setting the campaigns up for failure.
Still, there are some “experts” out there claiming that content marketing has replaced SEO – and the two are completely different. Yes, there are areas where they are different, but the idea that you don’t need SEO for content marketing is crazy – because SEO is necessary to ensure the content ranks in the first place.
You can get eyes on your content without it ranking highly in Google, thanks to social media and paid advertising, but the far better long-term pay off comes from organic traffic.
How SEO and Content Marketing Converge
Let’s look at it this way:
SEO is a guy named John. Content marketing is a guy named Adam. John makes demands of Adam – gives him requirements, over the course of a conversation. Adam steps in to meet those demands.
John wants content. Adam is the content. You can’t have SEO without content – you need the words and articles to create the substance and have a place for the keywords. John wants keywords. Adam uses them and gives them to John.
John wants backlinks. Adam provides the way to earn them. Quality content gets links – and makes it easier to build links.
Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy
Start with some basic keyword research. While it may be tempting to write a bunch of content about your products and services and how awesome you are, that’s not the right approach.
Keyword research will reveal what people in your target audience are searching for when they’re looking for information that you have to offer. You’ll be able to use keyword research to find pain points, questions, and other things you can use to create content that addresses your prospects concerns, and shapes your products and services as they ideal solution for them.
When you have keywords to work from, it’s time to brainstorm content that not only makes sense for those keywords, but helps the audience without expecting anything in return from them.
Ask these questions:
- What is your ideal customer like beyond their interest in your product? What else do they enjoy? What are their hobbies and interests?
- How does your product or service help them solve one of the key problems in their life?
- What are their concerns and fears, not just about your product or service, but in general? What can you do to ease those fears and build trust with your prospects?
- What are their hopes and dreams? What do they want from life? How does your product or service help them get closer to those goals?
The idea is that if someone finds your content and it solves their problem, while also being related to your product or service – they’ll come back to you when they are in the market for what you have to offer, because you’ll be at the top of their mind.
As today’s consumers are becoming more and more savvy – using ad blockers to avoid disrupting their online experience, your marketing has to become more sophisticated as a result. Content marketing provides value to your audience, while keeping your content and business in front of them without pushing a hard sell.
The bottom line is – SEO is about content marketing, and content marketing is about SEO. You’re not working as an SEO unless you’re also working as a content marketer. And you’re not working as a content marketer, unless you’re working as a SEO.
When you work with us at SEO Inc., we integrate content marketing into your SEO strategy, because you need both to succeed in today’s online marketing climate.
If you want more information about how we can help your business grow, get in touch with us today.