It is very common in the marketing world today to hear about SEO and content marketing. In fact, we would even go so far as to say these two things have become the bread and butter of the marketing strategy of many enterprises.
However, we often hear about these two things spoken about in separate contexts, when in fact, each complements the other. I could even go as far as saying SEO is all about content marketing. In this post, I will explain the relationship between SEO and content marketing. This way, you can understand better how both should work together to make your company’s marketing strategy more effective.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
SEO is what businesses do when they want to improve their ranking in search engines. Search engines like Google have algorithms that determine the best possible result based on a user’s search query. These algorithms are ever-changing and always being updated to take more factors into account. Historically it was keywords and phrases that were the key to improving visibility but now there is a multitude of factors that equate to a “good” SEO strategy, not just using keywords (although those are still important). Some of these include:
- A secure website
- Fast page speed
- User experience on the website/page
- Mobile responsiveness
- Quality of information;
- and more
An effective SEO campaign uses a host of various tactics to climb the search page so the website and its content become more accessible to a larger group of people. To get ahead, companies must not only optimize the technical aspects of their website to comply with search engine rules but also build a reputation as an expert on a certain type of subject matter. This is where content comes in!
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing refers to the content generated by a company to attract potential customers, identify leads, and (hopefully) turn them into sales. Content can also be used as a retention strategy for existing customers.
Content is often used in the structure of a “funnel” where different kinds of content are used in certain parts of the process. The funnel is a term used to refer to where the buyer is in their journey with a brand. Different stages of the funnel can look different from brand to brand. Generally, the idea of a funnel is like this:
Stage 1: Top of the funnel
The buyer has a problem or an interest. Is not aware they have a specific need yet.
Stage 2: Middle of the funnel
The buyer knows they have a need and are actively looking at different options in the market (i.e. agency vs. in-house marketing, best agencies in Chicago, etc.)
Stage 3: Bottom of the funnel
The buyer knows what they want so now they just need to be persuaded why a certain brand is their best option (i.e. a blog highlighting the benefits of working with a brand, a webinar on why a buyer should choose your company, etc.)
This funnel should lead to a “conversion.” A conversion could look like an eBook download, a webinar sign-up, filling out a “contact us” form, or even a purchase.
If a company wants to truly succeed with content, their focus must be on producing materials (videos, informative articles, downloadable handbooks, etc.) that are valuable to the market they’re trying to reach. No matter the industry, content should always be:
Why is content marketing important for SEO?
Your business can’t fully reap the rewards of a good marketing campaign without effectively employing both SEO and content marketing.
SEO and content marketing are inextricably linked, and the success of one depends on the other. You need to produce original, fresh content to be the driving force behind your SEO campaigns, but you also need to understand the mechanics of how search engines work and how you can get the most out of this marketing technique.
Once you and your team have done this, you can then turn your attention to improving sales processes to move the customer along through the funnel.
With content, businesses should make sure their content abides by E-A-T. E-A-T is what a company needs in order to be considered a reputable leader in their field.
What is E-A-T in SEO?
Unique thoughts and contributions in a specific field. Content should be well-written and laid out (headers, bullet points, etc.)
This means recognition as the expert in a specific subject or field.
People go to your brand for the best advice and expertise and others want to feature you in their own content (backlinks).
How SEO and Content Marketing Work Together
So how do SEO and content marketing work together? Any successful SEO campaign will have high-quality content behind it. While both SEO and content marketing have parts that work alone, there is a lot of overlap in the middle. You also have to have good SEO in order to get your content noticed!
Content is actually the only asset that helps you appear and rank on Google. That means you need a portfolio of high-quality content to be successful when it comes to SEO and get more organic (free) traffic to your website.
On the other hand, you can’t have 100% useful, quality content, without making sure it’s optimized for SEO. Your strategy should be driven by your Google Analytics data and the keyword opportunities you have discovered.
Developing an SEO content marketing strategy
Here are all of the most important steps in building out the SEO content marketing strategy of your organization:
1. Target customers in all stages of the buyer’s journey
Think about your customer: who are they, what do they do, where do they live, and what would they be looking for? Then, target and develop content for your different customer “segments”. You also want to be sure to identify which types of content are appropriate for different parts of the funnel (i.e. top-level vs. mid-level)
2. Perform a keyword research
Once you have mapped out the type of content you want to create (or even before to help guide you in subject matter) do some keyword research. Tools like Screaming Frog and SEMRush are very helpful. You can even use your Google Ads account to reverse engineer your keyword list based on what is already bringing people to your website.
3. Write great content
It’s so simple but so true. Create concise, high-quality content that helps your reader solve problems, written in clean, easy-to-understand copy. Search engines can detect good content from bad, and so the aim should be to be as authentic as possible.
A good way to do so? Get the current results on the first page of Google for the keyword you’re targeting and create a better, more informative piece of content. There is a reason they are ranking on Page #1. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel, you just need to share your own unique angle to something that’s already out there.
4. Optimize your content for SEO
When you have created your content, it’s time to optimize! Make sure your post title and meta descriptions abide by search-friendly character limits, contain keywords, and ensure your article has structure (i.e. headers, bulleted lists, etc.). If your brand uses WordPress (like many others), Yoast is a great plugin for optimization. Also, try and identify opportunities on your page for ‘featured snippets’ aka, the brief descriptions that appear at the top of the front page of Google Search.
Another thing you should be sure to implement is links, especially for blog posts. You should have a good balance of links to other content on your site as well as external links.
5. Build links
When you’re ready to take your SEO content marketing strategy a step further, you can try different public relations (PR) strategies to try and get your content posted on high domain authority websites. An example could be getting someone at your company who has a lot of in-depth knowledge on certain subject matter to be featured on the website, podcast, or blog of a prominent publication with a large following.
6. Promote on social media (and anywhere else you can)
Lastly, when you’ve got your content all plugged in and published, make that stuff visible! Post on your social media channels, use affiliate links, get influential people to post about it, plug it into some of your Google Ads. Make every effort you can to get the content you worked so hard on out there, and start attracting potential customers!
After reading this article, is your SEO content marketing strategy currently where you want it to be? Visit our services page and see if our SEO Management Service is the right option for you.
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