How is Content Marketing Different From SEO?
While content marketing and SEO often go hand-in-hand, it’s also important to know the key differences. Keep reading to learn how content marketing and SEO vary from one another.
Business leaders understand why having relevant content is important for their company, but some do not fully understand how SEO and content marketing work together. Increasingly, SEO, or search engine optimization, is a key pillar of any successful marketing campaign. However, it takes a skilled marketer to be able to distinguish and understand both content marketing and SEO. In this article, we discuss the differences between the two, how a skilled marketer must work with both, and how to outsource your content and SEO needs ensuring you have tactical expertise and soul for your marketing efforts.
What are the differences between content and marketing?
For any beginner, when you first learn about content and SEO marketing, it can be quite confusing to understand if there is a difference between the two. They are both types of digital marketing and both must deal with the website’s language, and both have the goal to increase conversions, such as requesting more information, signing up for an email list, or making a purchase. And the reality is that one cannot have one with the other. In marketing, we like our acronyms. So, one way to understand the difference between content and SEO is marketing is to think of these two acronyms: EAT and SEO.
EAT or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is the cornerstone of content marketing. Successful content marketing uses storytelling and information sharing to increase brand awareness. High-quality content must show expertise in their subject matter, be an authority that someone goes to and be trustworthy. If the content does not show EAT, then a customer has no incentive to enter or return to your site.
Search engine optimization ensures that your target audience can find you on the web. By using keywords and phrases that target specific audiences and relate to your business, good page SEO content will ensure that your customers will find you when doing an online (primarily Google) search. SEO is a booming digital marketing industry.
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Considerations for your website
When developing your content marketing and SEO strategies for your site(s), there are several considerations that need to be made. Within search engine marketing (SEM) strategies, keywords, user experience (UX), quality content, and trends will help elevate your site for quality EAT and high SEO.
Keywords and phrases are the bread and butter of SEO. Search engine rankings are important in the search engine results pages (SERPs), one must have relevant keywords. What do relevant keywords mean? It means using words that are commonly associated with your business that potential customers will use when searching for a business online. For example, if you own a coffee shop, then your website and online presence should use words like “coffee.” Keywords are not stagnant. Continuing to use the same example, while “coffee” will never not be a term to use, you will want to update your site with more trendy words or phrases, like “fair trade coffee.”
However, it is important to strategize your keyword approach. Keyword strategies are imperative for effective SEM. You should never stuff a page with keywords for the sake of it, over-optimizing the site. Constantly repeating the same keywords also has a negative impact on SEO. Be sure to create and follow a reasonable strategy within your SEO, using the main keywords in the title and body section.
Having quality SEM ensures that a web page is appealing to a search engine (e.g., Google) and as a result will be found higher in search results. Relevant keywords, blogs, and articles are not the only way to do this. It is imperative to ensure that the user experience is easy and inviting. If a website has broken links, inappropriate backlinks (hyperlink citations), and error codes, then your site will not rank high in search engine results.
As part of the user experience, SEO experts will look at how their customers arrived and moved around the site. They do this via slugs (everything after the .com), and by ensuring the website is appropriately built and categorized. If a user is confused about how to find the information they need, they will not stay on your site long and your bounce rate will be high, leading to poor SEO.
SEO can be as technical as ensuring the site’s index, header tags, page speed, and title tags are relevant for the site and are easy for crawlers to go through your site. A crawler is a program used by search engines to gather online data. Additionally, quality tags and metadata ensure a great user experience because the visitor can recognize the relevant information from a site before they click on it.
Having relevant keywords and phrases and ensuring the metadata is tight on your site is important, but none of it will make any sense to a customer if it is not written into quality content. At the end of the day, great SEO is about getting your customer to your site, but quality content is about keeping them there.
The best content includes unique points of view, products, perspectives, and brands. One can certainly write a case study for their business that isn’t much different from a competitor, but then why would someone go to your site to read it? Creating something different from your competitors ultimately will help with your SEM and SEO efforts.
Updated, unique, and well-written content gets quickly indexed and ranks higher than low-value, repetitive content. Google, for example, ranks websites higher if the site uses appropriate keywords to target customers to drive traffic to the website. When writing your content, brainstorm new and creative ways to communicate your message and product, then use that in your content. Types of content include blogs, videos, and podcasts. A quality SEO or content marketer will help you with this.
While there are certain keywords, phrases, ideas, and concepts that will not change much over time, every industry is constantly changing. For example, while customers will always want to save money on any product, they are now more willing to spend more money if it means it may help a small business owner or that the service provider is an important backbone to the community (e.g., black-owned businesses). It is important to stay on top of trends and marketing campaigns in your industry and maximize them for your company, where appropriate.
A quality SEO and content marketer will tell you that keyword research is key. Google’s Keyword Planner or a similar tool will help your SEM. This keyword analysis tool analyzes the most popular keywords in your industry, then ranks them high, medium, and low. This tool helps to figure out what words are most important to use in your content strategy.
How your clients find you is important too—via organic traffic or ads. Ads or specifically AdWords, are a tool on Google, where you can boost your presence via SEO via short paid ads. Organic is when someone finds you via a search query, on social media, or any way which does not include advertiser payments. It is a good practice to have a mix of both of these efforts in your content marketing strategy.
Hiring a Content marketer or SEO expert
SEO and Content marketing constantly go hand in hand. One cannot really have one without the other. However, it is possible to have an excellent SEO specialist who is not great at writing quality content and vice versa. SEO requires someone who is a left-brain thinker and quality content requires someone who is a right-brain thinker.
It is certainly possible to find someone who can do both, but it is also fine to hire SEO experts and content marketers separately. If you do hire them separately, it is key to come up with a strategy for your site, using the technical skills of an SEO professional to find the keywords that are necessary. Then you can work as a content marketer to build out the copywriting and point of view you want to portray. From here you can connect back with the SEO consultant to tie it all together.
Regardless of how you approach hiring the consultant, keep the following things in mind:
- Google Analytics certification—key to successful SEO.
- Portfolio—look at the content written previously by the content marketer. Take a look at how they write their content as well as the visuals they use (e.g. infographics).
- Transparency—Look for marketers that keep you abreast of metrics and ensure that the content is unique.
As you can see, SEO and content marketing are part of a greater whole of successful digital marketing – driving your business to convert leads to sales. While having the technical and algorithmic piece of marketing is important, it means nothing without meaning, because customers want meaning behind their purchases. With quality SEO and EAT content marketing, you can be assured that your business will maintain its greatness and succeed.