Content and SEO are two broadly and frequently used terms when we talk about inbound Marketing. While most know how content marketing and SEO work individually, how they fit together can be less clear.
Long answer short: you need content to support your keyword strategy and you need to understand what people are searching for to create meaningful content that will resonate with your audience. Diving into the relationship between content and SEO can improve your inbound strategy, boost visibility and traffic to your website, and move prospects through your funnel.
Differences between SEO and Content Marketing
Before we discuss how SEO and content overlap, let’s understand how these two concepts stand on their own:
SEO: SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a narrower and more technical approach than content marketing. It involves using a series of techniques in order to improve a website’s search visibility and rankings in SERPs. These techniques include creating a mobile-friendly website, optimizing title tags and meta tags, using keywords to inform content, creating backlinks for generating inbound traffic and more. According to Search Engine Journal, 80% of a website’s traffic begins with a search query. That’s why SEO is so important.
Content Marketing: Content Marketing is a broader and more holistic approach, thought with a strong SEO strategy, it can get very granular. It involves creating valuable content for your website and other platforms in order to attract, inform, entertain and engage your audience. The type of content can be in the form of articles, blogs, infographics, videos, podcasts, whitepapers and more. The goal is naturally to move your potential customers through the marketing and sales funnels. According to Aberdeen study, conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters. That’s why it forms an important part of digital marketing strategy.
How Content and SEO Overlap
As mentioned above, SEO is all about understanding and playing to Google search algorithms in order to have your website rank higher in search results. Because Google determines the relevancy and the authority of your page by analyzing the content and the number of links pointing to that page, content plays an integral role in your SEO efforts. SEO without content is like a hand without a thumb.
On the other hand, if you are writing content just for the audience without keeping SEO in mind (aka without keeping Googlebot in mind), it may be more difficult for Google to identify the relevancy and authority of your page. As a result, search engine crawlers won’t be able to push your website above the search results. The best bet to ensure the success of your inbound marketing strategy is to tightly couple your SEO and content strategies.
Here are some additional thoughts on how SEO and content are complementary:
1) SEO creates demands, content fulfills them
Link building is one of the most important skills in an effective SEO strategy. Creating a great amount of trusted backlinks (incoming links to a webpage) helps pages on your site rank higher on all major search engines, including Google. The force behind creating solid backlinks? Compelling, shareable, interesting and relevant content. When you produce and amplify killer content, other sites are more likely to link back to your high-quality content. Another strategy is to create guest posts for placement on external high-domain-authority sites with a bio, including a link back to your website. Both of these strategies can improve the rankings of your website.
2) SEO uncovers which keywords to deliver, content is the vehicle
Keywords are a critical component of SEO. Keywords are the important words and phrases found throughout your website and content that allow people to find your site through Google and other search engines. While each site’s keyword strategy will be unique, businesses largely use keywords and keyword groupings throughout title tags, meta descriptions, and URLs to make it easier for people to find the business via search. These technical optimizations are important, but also not the only application of a keyword strategy. Keywords should also be used to guide and inform content strategy for landing pages and blog posts.
3) SEO demands consistent efforts, content is the story that never ends
SEO success is neither fast nor permanent; it’s a marketing technique that demands consistent effort because Google demands fresh content. In fact, the pages that have been recently updated with quality content are rapidly indexed and get a higher position in SERPs. This is the reason why 72% of B2b marketers are producing significantly more content than they did a year ago. As a content marketer aiming to educate and help inform your target audience, you should naturally shoot to produce a regular cadence of content that continuously feeds your key personas.
Same Coin, Nuanced Applications
Content and SEO are two different sides of the same coin. You’re not really doing one if you’re not doing the other. Implementing an impactful SEO strategy means creating content that is aligned with your keyword research. Similarly, content marketing requires quality content that engages audiences using the insights you garner from SEO analysis. Finding a groove that balances the best of both worlds can significantly boost organic traffic, improve your site’s rankings, and keep your target audience compelled to come back for more.