The truth is there is no such thing as SEO without content marketing. Without creating and distributing content you have nothing to optimize for the keywords you want to rank for (hence the “O” in SEO). Without content, you have nothing to attract (or build) links to which pretty much eliminates your chances of ranking for anything.
This battle that has been waged in the minds (and on the blogs) of marketers and business owners alike in recent times – the struggle over SEO and content marketing, and which is better or more important for that matter, is kind of moot. They ask: are these tactics at odds with each other, and which will overtake the other as the best strategy for my company?
The confusion starts when people think that these two marketing tactics are separate from each other. When in reality they are inherently tied together in a harmonious balance. One does not eliminate the need for the other – Nor is one better than the other. Each has its unique benefits, but we need to think more holistically and see the overlap and benefits of combining them.
In today’s online ecosystem you need both to succeed with your marketing – i don’t believe you can have one without the other. SEO can’t exist without content, you need words and articles to optimize and distribute for links, and content needs SEO to rank as well as it can to maximize its reach and effectiveness.
We need to look at how they can complement one another, and overlap, not jockey for position. To that end, here are some quick tips for making sure your content marketing and SEO play nice together!
SEO Tips for Content Marketing
- Use keywords naturally (but with SEO in mind!) – Write your content for people, but be sure you use your primary keyword in titles, at the beginning of your content, and other strategic places. Keyword stuffing will get you penalized, but having them strategically placed still plays a vital role in optimization.
- Do great on-page SEO – It’s still super important, perhaps more than ever, to make sure things like your page title tags, Meta data, image tags and heading tags are optimized properly.
- Give searchers what they want – Google (search engines) ultimately just want to make sure that they are serving the most relevant content to match the query. Which means you now should focus on writing great content entirely on-topic, and not worrying as much about satisfying the search engine as you do the person searching.
- Mobile Responsive – More than half of all web traffic is now served to a mobile device of some type, making it mandatory to ensure your pages are mobile responsive.
- Be social – Amplify and Cross-promote your content on social media and utilize social sharing and connection buttons on your site pages to boost engagement with your content.
- Use visual media – People process images 60,000 times faster than text, so it only makes sense to use as much visual content as possible. It also helps average time on site, which IS a ranking factor. Using video boosts engagement, and time on site as well, so take advantage of it.
- Speak With Authority – The more expertly you speak on a subject, and the more you speak about your expertise, the more favor you’ll find in Google’s rankings. They are after the best, most authoritative content they can come up with, and obviously you want that to be yours!
Ok, so how do we bring them together?
The easiest way to get around the dilemma of separating the two is to think of them as one strategy. Content optimization is a better way to think about it because a lot of SEO activity is based on producing strategically written content to target a keyword or phrase and to produce either organic discovery in search engines or to gain a link back to a piece of content to drive traffic and trust.
So marrying, or merging the two as one powerful strategy gives you a better picture of what the ultimate goal is. That is: effective, discoverable and valuable content people like and want to share.
When putting together your plan of action for marketing your business online, don’t just pick SEO or Content Marketing and focus your dollars there, rather consider an inbound marketing approach to your marketing and choose a holistic strategy to get the most value and return on that investment. You’ll be glad you did.