SEO and Content are typically viewed in black and white terms, which can put them at odds with each other. Some might say that SEO is old and stodgy, considered outdated at best and illicit—e.g., black hat SEO—at worst. On the other hand, content marketing is fresh and edgy. It’s considered a more genuine and, ultimately, more powerful way of serving and connecting with audiences. In the eyes of skeptics, though, it’s thought to be too fluffy and, sometimes, not effective at all.
Over the past two weeks, I have fleshed out a similar division of marketing philosophies — Facebook Advertising vs. Google Adwords. Those digital giants are very real competitors (but the success gained from integrating them should not be ignored). With SEO and content, though, there is significant overlap. Enough so that it is downright silly to consider them opponents. Take, for example, the fact that both deal in words and that both are a long game. Unlike paid media, where results are immediate and clear, both SEO and content require marketers that are willing to stick with a strategy for the long haul.
Still, even when SEO and content are considered complementary, the conversation is typically taken from the perspective of what content does for SEO. For example, it’s common knowledge that great content will help your rankings because Google loves great content. Modern SEO is reliant not only on keywords but also on content production and new links.
Whether you consider it antiquated or time-tested, though, there is a worthwhile discussion to be had around the ways that SEO can enhance content marketing.
SEO Lends Visibility to Great Content
Of course, the primary advantage that SEO lends to content marketing is search engine visibility. Even the best of content can be easily buried without a solid promotion strategy. Brands are producing more content than ever, but typically aren’t putting as much thought into getting it out for their audiences to enjoy.
When considering promotion strategies, it’s easy to go straight to organic social media or paid advertising. As mentioned above, these channels are typically more easily measurable and show more immediate responses. Paid media is certainly powerful, but SEO is free. In addition, I have found that those who find content organically (i.e., searching for it) tend to stick around longer and be more engaged than those who you’re paying to get the content in front of. There is a similar effect with organic social. Though your audiences on social have opted to hear from you, they might not be looking for what you’re serving up while they’re passively scrolling through their newsfeeds.
After all, those searching for content are landing on something related to what they were actively seeking, while those who are being served ads or social posts are just fitting a demographic you think might be interested in your content.
SEO Contributes to Audience Insights
I’ve spoken with many content marketers that believe keywords are the downfall of content. When used correctly, though, keywords can not only help to get your content more viewers, they can help you connect with your viewers. Determining and appealing to audience interest is a constant concern of marketers. Keyword research can be the key to this if SEOs and content marketers can readjust their perspectives. Rather than a list of words to include X many times in a post, keyword research can be used to glean insights into what your audience cares about and how they’re talking about it. In other words, keywords can be your very own, audience-tailored content idea generator.
Determining and appealing to audience interest is a constant concern of marketers. Keyword research can be the key to this if SEOs and content marketers can readjust their perspectives. Rather than a list of words to include X many times in a post, keyword research can be used to glean insights into what your audience cares about and how they’re talking about it. In other words, keywords can be your very own, audience-tailored content idea generator.
Luckily, keyword research can be done even if your content team doesn’t have access to an SEO specialist for help. Tools such as Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io, and SEMrush are all user-friendly option for writers looking to gain insights on their readers’ search habits.
Pulling Together Your SEO and Content Marketing Strategies
Despite their overlaps, breaching the divide between SEO and content can be difficult. Help to facilitate communication between strategists and teams by setting up monthly meetings where each are trained in each other’s’ areas and pertinent industry news items are shared. Or, encourage your SEO specialists to work with content specialists on idea formation and editorial calendar creation. How you choose to bring these two disciplines together is less important that understanding why, though, and putting in the extra effort to make it happen.
Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Facebook vs Google: Choosing Between Digital Advertising Giants to discover why Facebook advertising gives marketers a better bang for their buck.