If you want to spend money, if you need to allocate budget, what do you do? Do you invest in content marketing or SEO? Or both?
Frankly, the lines between content marketing and SEO are constantly blurring and a greater number of SEO companies are focusing more on content and less on the conventional “SEO tactics”.
What is SEO these days?
After the various source code optimizations have been implemented, there is nothing much an SEO company can do on your website. After the on-site optimization process, 99% of SEO work involves getting you high-quality links.
So, conventional SEO has pretty much turned into getting you high-quality links. Of course, these companies have their own sources from which they can get you good links and if you try it on your own, it will be very difficult.
SEO also involves keyword research. An SEO expert can use various tools at his or her disposal to tell you which keywords and search terms you should target for.
Through ongoing SEO analytics, he or she will also tell you which of your keywords are performing better and which need more focus.
Content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin
A big difference between content marketing and SEO is that content marketing doesn’t always focus on search engines.
SEO, on the other hand, means “search engine optimization” so the entire essence of SEO is to improve your search engine rankings.
Content marketing gets you quality traffic from different sources. You can totally ignore search engines and still do well on the web by driving traffic from other websites, email marketing, and blogs and social media and social networking platforms.
In that sense, although SEO completely depends on content marketing, content marketing doesn’t necessarily depend on SEO. But that’s just an academic topic.
We need to be realistic.
Everybody needs search engine traffic.
In fact, 99% of our clients hire our services because they want to improve their search engine rankings.
Why they want to partner with a content marketing and content writing service rather than a full-fledged SEO company is based on the fact that more and more people are realizing that it’s primarily the content that has the greatest impact on SEO.
If, theoretically, content marketing can totally sidestep SEO, then why do I say that they are both two sides of the same coin?
Because just as SEO depends on content marketing, content marketing too has to apply the principles of SEO to be effective.
The changes in the Google algorithm in the past 5-10 years have been constantly shifting their focus on content quality and content relevance. Your search engines depend a lot on the quality of your content, and the sort of experience people have when they access your content.
Even your CTR can have an impact on your existing search engine rankings. Your current search engine rankings of your particular links can move up or down based on how many people click your search engine listings.
Further, how much time people spend on your website after finding your link on Google also has a direct impact on your future rankings.
Suppose you have good rankings now, but when people find your link, click it, go to your website, and then immediately come back to carry on with the same search, your rankings are degraded because Google takes it as an indication that you don’t have the right information for the search term your link is currently ranking for.
So, no matter what route you take, ultimately you reach content marketing.
How content marketing improves your search engine rankings
Let me explain it in points:
- Google gives lots of importance to quality, relevance, and context of your content.
- Although its ranking algorithms can analyze the keywords and phrases that you have used when writing your content, they cannot analyze the intent and the relevance of your content.
- This is why the Google ranking algorithm depends on the human feedback that your content gets.
- If more people share your content from their social media and social networking profiles, Google thinks that your content is valuable, useful, or relevant.
- If more people are linking to your content, then your content must be good.
- If, after finding your content in search results, people go to your website, stay there, and explore your website further, the Google algorithm thinks that you satisfy the search intent (why people are searching for that particular phrase?) and hence the keyword for which your content is currently ranking, is relevant, and consequently, may further improve your rankings.
- In fact, Google attaches so much importance to the human reaction to your content that even in its Google AdWords program, if your advertisement draws more clicks, you pay less, per click.
- The more content you publish, the more frequently Google’s crawlers crawl and index your content, sometimes featuring your content in the search results within seconds.
- If you publish your content using multiple platforms (guest posts, social media and social networking updates, news websites, other niche websites and portals) it becomes easier for Google to find your link and through that, reach your website.
I have used “Google” for every search engine.
You can see that for every SEO aspect, you need content.
Not just content, you need to market that content. You need to make sure that people are able to find your content, and not just find it, but, react to your content.
In some way it should change people’s behavior, only then Google thinks it’s good quality content.
SEO principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement a good content marketing strategy.
Content marketing principles, when you fully apply them, make you implement good SEO strategy.
What do you rely on then, content marketing or SEO?
I’m not advising you to pick one thing in favor of the other, but by the end of the day, if you have your content marketing strategy in order, your SEO is automatically taken care of.
Follow the fundamental SEO rules of thumb when creating and distributing content:
- Creatively use your keywords and targeted search terms in the title of your web page or blog post.
- Use your keywords and targeted search terms within the first 100 words of the body text.
- Use your keywords and targeted search terms after every 150-200 words, as exact expression or as individual parts (for example, “content marketing”, and then somewhere “content” and somewhere, “marketing”).
- Once or twice use your keywords within headings and subheadings – <h2> or <h3> tags (the <h1> tag should be used just once, for the main heading of your web page or blog post).
- At least once, use your keywords within the hypertext, linking to another relevant and related blog post or web page, from within the body content of your current blog post or web page.
- Try to use an image after every 300-400 words.
- Try to make every web page or blog post at least 1100 words.
- Use your keywords in the last 100 words.
All these steps are within your hand. You are in total control. You can keep these tips in mind and implement them when you are writing or creating content for your website or blog.
After you have created optimized content, you need to market it, distribute using all the available channels.
You can use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ to showcase your content in front of your followers and friends.
You can use your mailing list to send an update to your subscribers that you have published new content or when you have updated your existing content.
You can repurpose your existing content by creating slides, PDFs, videos and infographics, and short-form social media updates.
Also network with your other industry influencers so that they can easily discovered your good quality content and share it on their own timelines and even from their own blogs.
When you follow these fundamental content marketing steps, your search engine rankings automatically improve, and you don’t have to do your SEO separately.