Who Does Google Love More: SEO or Content Marketing?

Just a few years ago, many were saying “It looks like Google has tired of its old friend SEO and is instead cozying up to the new kid on the block, content marketing.” [1] When Google updates Penguin (which removes link authority from spam sites) and Panda (which penalizes keyword stuffed websites) were released, it became increasingly clear that search engine optimization (SEO) would require a much more varied skill set – specifically, high-quality writing.

Ultimately, these Google updates were meant to ensure consumers were receiving more valuable, usable content. They were not meant to scare us into thinking our “old friend SEO” is out, and content marketing is in. However, even as it’s becoming increasingly clear that stronger collaboration between SEO and content marketing might be the key to reaching the number one spot on Google, companies are still slow to marry the two.

Perhaps this slow adoption process is due to the fact that companies have yet to discover there are more benefits than increased keyword ranking, traffic and leads. When SEO and content marketing work together to build hubs around groups of search terms and interdependent content pieces, they’re nurturing cross-selling potential and forming loyal brand advocates.

Here’s a high-level example:

A user discovers your skin care product via a search term which your product page was optimized for. That product page included a link to a guide that detailed the proper skin care regimen for women with dry skin. Through the guide, the user discovers that the skin care product she originally set out for delivers best results when paired with another. She purchases both through your website. She is so delighted by the brand experience and the quality of the product that she visits your Facebook page to leave a comment and discovers several other helpful articles on how to improve her beauty routine. Now, she’s back on your website exploring all the latest fall lipstick colors, and brainstorming how she can start flaunting them on her own Instagram account.

Not only did you make a sale or two, but also you created a brand advocate – all because you created interdependent content using the appropriate search terms. You see, your best chance at reaching success in both SEO and content marketing is to create a synergetic relationship between their respective strategies.

The core of that synergetic relationship is based on these two truths:

  • SEO demands keywords, fresh content and links – all of which content marketing provides.
  • Quality content marketing pieces – whether they be blogs, whitepapers or infographics – demand SEO in order to avoid becoming buried in search results.

Let’s dive into these bullets a little deeper. Why does SEO demand fresh content? Because Google likes it. Google and other search engines more rapidly index fresh content over old content with seemingly lower value. Of course, websites with historic authority will see the greatest SEO gains from consistently publishing fresh content, because quality links are just as important as the quality content.

Now you’re probably thinking, well how do I reach historic authority status? The answer: create more high-quality content. Content rich sites generate 97% more links.[2]

So, we’ve established that Google still has the same amount of affection for SEO as it always has, only now it’s adopted another love, content marketing. And, it expects the two to work collaboratively in consistently producing valuable content for the brand advocates who are continually returning to your site looking for something new and exciting.

The easiest way to start the collaborative SEO and content marketing process is through the creation of a blog targeting long tail keywords. Long tail keyword searches have increased 68% since 2004. [2] The quickest way to rank for long tail keywords is through content marketing, and more specifically, through a blog.

Publishing blog posts every month will provide search engines with more content to crawl. In fact, websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages. There’s your SEO value. As you consistently publish helpful content related to the use of your product or service, your brand becomes more valuable and more trustworthy. There’s your content marketing value. And, as an added benefit, companies with active blogs receive 97% more leads. [2]


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Interested in learning more about the ROI of integrated marketing strategy? Check out this podcast for helpful tips on creating a community of brand advocates, developing customer loyalty and increasing access to ideal client profile data.




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