For content marketers, SEO can be a problem. Are they the same? Is SEO at odds with content marketing? Can you force them to work together?
It’s easy to get lost in the way they work together. In some blog posts, they sometimes even seem to disagree with each other and no one has ever really drawn the line between the two.
The simple answer is that SEO and content marketing do go hand in hand. They are mutually binding in the sense that SEO is all about content marketing and vice versa.
But in reality, the answer is much more complex. Even though they overlap, the main problem between SEO and content marketing is that they are not integrated.
To understand the problem, let’s break them down separately.
So how does search engine optimization work?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of techniques that ensures that all web content is visible to a specific audience that a marketer wants to target.
Simply put, SEO is all about getting the right pair of eyes in front of the right content. This is done through regular targeted optimization adjustments and technical tune-ups.
An SEO expert would then use these techniques to help drive traffic through organic sources, such as search engines.
Hence, search engine optimization.
So without content, such as webpages, blogs, product descriptions, images, or videos, SEO wouldn’t work.
Because it needs content to match search engine search with specific keywords.
So what is content marketing?
Well, the name is self-explanatory: marketing using content. What you are reading right now is content marketing.
It is the basis of any digital marketing campaign. For example, let’s say I’m writing this specific blog post on intermittent fasting for Company A.
Company A is a company specializing in intermittent fasting programs. He’s sharing it on his social media platforms, he’s gaining traction, driving traffic, leads, and maybe even sales.
But the real magic of content marketing happens behind the scenes. SEO is what gives content marketing its potential to drive traffic with organic sources. So, in a way, content with good SEO can drive traffic without paying for ads.
But make no mistake about it. Good SEO won’t make up for bad content, he thought. It’s not a magic potion that can turn garbage into gold. As a content marketer, you always have the responsibility of creating good content.
So how do they work together?
First of all, it’s important to understand that SEO and content marketing are not at odds. The main problem between the two is that they are not integrated.
This means that you need to be aware of how a search engine works. It determines what your content is and then catalogs accordingly.
How do you do that, then?
You break down your content into individual topics. The more your content is narrowed down to specific areas, the better.
Because they overlap.
Even though there are differences between the two, the most important is.
SEO is narrower, focusing on the technical side of the content.
The content is broader and focuses on a holistic approach.
They overlap in this way.
SEO is integrated by applying its technical features to channel it more widely.
Conversely, the only way to ensure the success of an organic content marketing campaign is to use SEO techniques in its implementation.
So how do you get them to come together?
A good way to look at the problem is to do it like this – SEO makes a specific request. Content marketing responds to this specific demand.
Think of it as a conversation between two people.
SEO defines the requirements that content marketing fulfills.
Let’s specifically look at how SEO and content marketing complement each other.
SEO requires content.
It would be quite difficult to make SEO work without any written content. You need words, articles, blogs, landing pages, keywords, and verbiage.
And as cliché as it sounds, this is the basic truth: content is everything.
It’s unmistakable and a truism of the SEO industry. So what is content marketing? Well, happy. It is, paradoxically, the practical application of SEO.
And this is due to the keywords.
SEO requires keywords. Content marketing is all about using keywords.
This is the most fundamental aspect of SEO – look for them, using them and tracking their ranking in the SERP.
So how do you cram keywords? How to channel all your research towards practical applications?
This is content marketing. The only way to use keywords correctly is to use them strategically throughout your content. Content marketing is, after all, top-notch content designed and produced by and for humans.
SEO requires links and content marketing offers links.
If SEOs could dream, they would dream of links – a big, juicy DA 98 linked to your site. Or an influential .edu linking to your blog post.
But that dream can only come true if you publish phenomenal content through content marketing.
You can also build links at a link building agency. Some are great, some, Not so good.
Even then, the best way to link is to post content – good content, that is, people can link back to it. This is the real key to continued SEO success.
If you want this crucial element of SEO, you will need this must have element of content marketing. The hanging SEO carrot is having content worth linking to.
So how do you balance technical SEO optimization with UX content marketing?
Designing your content with a search engine in mind can be tricky. Still, that doesn’t mean you have to fill your content with keywords to the brim.
No one wants to read the same word in every sentence. Your content will look like a bloated keyword mess rather than logical continuity.
Instead, you need to be aware of how a search engine works. From a content marketing perspective, this means dividing your content into an individual topic, reduced to a specific point.
Why? Because SEO is more than links, blogs, or keywords. It’s about optimizing the robots.txt file, improving metadata, using the right tags, and creating the right sitemap. Technical stuff like that.
Whether it seems overkill or not, it is tangentially related to content marketing.
Technical SEO is actually set specifically for the user – whether it is the user who searches, selects, or reads your content.
It’s okay to think of these technical optimizations as improvements from a user experience (UX) perspective. They are there to serve the user and promote your content.
The link between SEO and content is inseparable. For example.
- Why would you want a good sitemap? To make it easier for people to find and access your content.
- How Can Optimized Robots.txt File Benefit You? So that search engines can better write your site and readers can access your content.
- Why would you want the right tags in the right place? So that your content is cataloged and indexed accordingly, more accurate search results and ultimately more readers.
Consistent and continuous output.
Even though this is partly a content marketing strategy, SEO is still there. Why? Because Google loves fresh content and has had it for a while.
If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ll notice that new content gets indexed quickly, and catalogs are higher in SERPs than older, lower-value content. If new content appears on a site with a high historical authority in a topic, you can bet it’s going to get a SERP boost.
Then SEO means the consistent output of quality content. Consistent output means you are doing content marketing and you need to do it right. There are no two ways to get around this.
I could go on and on about SEO and content marketing apps, but I hope the point is clear: SEO is about content marketing and content marketing is about SEO.
To wrap up in style, there are two important takeaways that I want to highlight.
- You are not an SEO without being a content marketer, and you are not a content marketer without being an SEO.
It is not a moral or normative judgment of any kind. If you call yourself exclusively “SEO” or “content marketer”, that’s absolutely correct.
The point is, content marketing needs SEO, and SEO needs content marketing. They are no longer separate departments with disconnected efforts. An SEO should be aware of content marketing, and vice versa.
- An SEO campaign will fail unless it integrates content marketing and a content marketing campaign will fail unless it integrates SEO.
Logically, content marketing can only be successful if it incorporates SEO components. After all, if not, how else can readers access your content if it is not properly integrated.
Alone, they will fail. United, they will stand.