SEO and Content Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven
“Content is king.” This quote is famous among marketers who have long recognized the importance of high-quality, informative, and relevant content to engage, educate, and nurture lifelong customers. Content marketing is vital in any digital marketing strategy, especially if you consider it can get three times more leads compared to paid search advertising.
But many make the mistake of thinking that content marketing is superior to search engine optimization. The truth is, however, content marketing without SEO wouldn’t be as effective and successful.
Contrary to the prevalent belief of many marketers, SEO and content marketing do not exclude each other. Practicing content marketing won’t have to eliminate the need for SEO.
In fact, SEO and content marketing make a perfect match. Despite the differences, they fit together and can create amazing results if integrated into a digital marketing strategy.
But to understand just how well they go together, we need to get to know them first, take a look at their individual benefits, and consider ways to harness them as a whole.
What is Content Marketing?
Joe Pulizzi in his book Epic Content Marketing gives the formal definition of the term as follows:
“Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing valuable and compelling content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” (Pulizzi, 2014, p. 5)
They say it is the past, present, and future of marketing. Its history goes as far back as the 19th century, or possibly even earlier than that.
Many businesses have cultivated and nurtured their marketing efforts by creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and engaging content across different media channels. Content marketing has been incorporated in print, online, in-person, and even on video form.
The heart of content marketing lies in its unique approach of educating and informing first and selling second. While a sales copy might go straight for the sales pitch, content marketing aims to attract the customers by giving them the information that they need and help solve their current dilemma.
But you might say that other forms of marketing do exactly the same, such as email, video, and social media marketing. What, then, sets content marketing apart?
Perhaps this confusion exists because people consider content marketing as a separate entity. Any marketing tactic can be rendered useless without the interjection of content marketing. It is actually a big part of all forms of marketing.
Whether you are marketing on Facebook, doing PR strategies, or running inbound marketing campaigns, the common denominator should be great and relevant content that the audience seeks out, consumes, and anticipates.
Content marketing takes time. It is a long-term strategy that builds over time and results in lifelong loyal customers.
Take a look a look at some of its goals:
- Engage the right audience through valuable and relevant content that may answer their questions, solve their problems, or provide them with the information they are looking for.
- Forge a strong relationship with the audience by gaining their trust and nurturing it over time.
- Convince the audience of your value and converting them into paying customers.
In content marketing, it is important to remember that your audience is the stars, not you or your products. Your potential customers will only pay attention and listen to you if you have piqued their interest and touched on their needs.
The Benefits of Content Marketing
Like SEO, content marketing has numerous advantages. It includes the following:
- Foster trust and loyalty in consumers who often warm up to brands that they deem trustworthy and credible. You can do this by giving them valuable information.
- Reach an audience that avoids disruptive marketing. Often, internet users want to find information that can help them with their problems. This is not possible with ads and other marketing copies that sell first before anything else. Content marketing fills this gap and fills it well.
- Content marketing can support all your other marketing tactics, like social media, email, marketing, and SEO.
- It does not cost that much.
What is SEO?
Being one of the most important digital marketing tactics, SEO is a heaven-sent to many marketers and businesses aiming to expand their reach and get better exposure in front of millions of potential customers. The digital age demands this and more if you want to remain competitive and get one step ahead of the competition.
The modern world revolves around digital technology which puts information at the tip of our fingertips. If we want to find the latest product in the market, learn more about a certain event, or find some entertainment, we can simply go online and fulfill that need. This is where search engines come into play.
Search engines enable users to find the information they need on the World Wide Web by putting in keywords or phrases. Some of the most popular are Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Yandex.
Research shows how Google dominates all its counterparts, being responsible for 94% of total organic traffic across the web. With billions of searches per day, Google is the best place to put your content forward, create brand awareness, and acquire customers.
However, there are also thousands, if not millions, of businesses vying for attention. The competition is steep, and it can be difficult to penetrate, although certainly not impossible. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, especially Google, you will be able to gain lots of traffic without paying a cent.
SEO or search engine optimization allows you to rank on the first page of search engines with the use of keywords or key phrases that are relevant and relate to your business. SEO has some essential aspects that you need to take note of — the quality of traffic, quantity of traffic, and organic results.
How Does it Work?
Most search engines have bot crawlers that scour the web and gather information to create an index. The index is then fed into the algorithm which identifies the best data that corresponds to the query.
It can be affected by several factors, including the keywords used, the quality of content, the domain authority, and the number of links.
Keywords and phrases matter a lot in making a website or content SEO-friendly. You need to research the terms that your potential customers are most likely using when searching for your products or services.
It should not be too broad or too narrow. Finding the balance between the two will give you the edge since you will be able to reach a wider audience while, at the same time, making sure that they are the right target for your offerings.
One of the most common tactics in SEO is to ensure that the title tags and meta descriptions are in place. There should be internal links that point to the other important parts of your website and outbound links that connect to authority sites relevant to your content. The domain name should also be SEO-friendly, with keywords that are short and easy to recall.
Aside from that, the content should be of high-quality. This is what attracts the readers in the first place, so engaging their attention and fulfilling their expectations can do a lot for your ranking.
Every now and then, search engines tweak their algorithms to improve the user experience. Reading up on the common mistakes on SEO can help you navigate this marketing technique all the better and succeed in its implementation.
The Benefits of SEO
SEO is indispensable when it comes to digital marketing. Here are some of its many benefits:
- It helps you build brand awareness. Appearing in the top pages of search engine results can give you a wealth of exposure, improving your brand recognition.
- It reaches out to your target audience when they need you. It greatly differs from outbound interruptions that usually annoy internet users.
- It is great in growing your business and increasing revenue. Over 40% of business revenue is captured by organic traffic. SEO puts your website out there and attracts visitors which you can, in turn, convert into paying customers.
- It can be free, so you don’t need to shell out a good part of your marketing budget to gain more visitors and increase user engagement.
Content Marketing vs. SEO
Since many marketers tend to separate SEO and content marketing and consider them mutually exclusive, many debates come up to argue the merits and weaknesses of each of them. But should they be torn apart like that or are they better together working towards a common goal?
To understand this better, we need to look at their main differences.
SEO is more on the technical side of things, with many requirements dealing with the backend of the website itself and including factors like robots, links, site speed, and design. It has a narrower focus as well and appeals to the search algorithms.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is a broader concept. It can transcend other channels and fulfill their demands. It appeals to the emotional side of the human audience. Content marketing is the fruition of the goals of SEO.
When SEO asks for keywords, content marketing applies it to the content. When SEO asks for fresher and original content, content marketing is the best way to meet this demand.
Without content marketing, SEO wouldn’t be as effective and vice versa. They both understand each other’s needs. Good content would not be as useful and effective without putting it out there. Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) is the best place to display content, and it can only be possible with the help of SEO.
So, you see, there is no need to prioritize one over the other. How can you get the exposure that you need if you do not show up on search results? What is the use of ranking high in search engines when you do not convert?
Ways to Integrate SEO and Content Marketing in Your Strategy
Establish your digital marketing strategy goals. What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want to build brand awareness, acquire more traffic, or increase conversion rate? These questions are crucial in SEO and content marketing integration. They will also guide you in setting the key performance indicators that will determine the success of your strategy.
Understand your target market. Not all customers have the same expectations and motivations. They have different needs and wants. Knowing your audience and potential customers can help a lot in ensuring your integrated SEO and content marketing strategy can work seamlessly.
Find the most relevant and high-performing keywords that your target audience actually uses in search engines. This will give you the idea of the content that they want to see and how you can leverage it to your own content strategy.
Create content that uses keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. It is not enough for your blog articles to be excellently written and informative. It must also incorporate keywords that serve as the backbone of SEO, alerting search engines to the relevance of your site and pages.
Apply other good SEO practices in your content marketing strategy. This includes adding internal and external links that can improve user experience by guiding them to other relevant content and sites.
Diversify your content. Blog articles can work wonders in engaging your audience, but it is not the only form of content at your disposal. Videos, infographics, podcasts, ebooks, and webinars are quite useful as well. Video marketing is loved by search engines, especially when it attracts more and more users who prefer videos to educate, demonstrate, and inform them about the products they are searching for.
Measure the results of your efforts. There are numerous tools that can help you determine the outcome of your strategy. You can determine and analyze which keywords are used by your visitors and which pages attract the most visitors. This will help you refine your content and improve SEO tactics.
Do it consistently. Your SEO and content marketing integration strategy cannot be done overnight. It takes time and consistent effort before you can witness the fruits of your labor. You also need to adapt to the changing times by keeping up-to-date with the latest SEO and content marketing trends and applying them to your strategy.
Now that you have learned the wonders of integrating SEO and content marketing into one effective, efficient, and successful strategy, it is time for you to apply what you learned into your own marketing efforts. Remember, you can get the optimum results and achieve your goals by letting them complement each other.