SEO and content marketing are two of the most important tools you have in your digital marketing arsenal. If you can manage to use both correctly, your chances of succeeding online are greatly increased.
Whether you are a blogger, webmaster or small business owner, it is important to understand the benefits of using SEO and content marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy. What is more important of course is to learn how to use them effectively.
What is SEO and what are the benefits from optimizing your website for Search Engines?
SEO is not a theoretical concept but it’s a set of rules you can apply to your website or blog so that search engines can understand it better. Your goal with SEO is to make it easy for search engine crawlers to ‘read’ as many pages as possible from your web property and include them in their index.
To simplify things a lot, the more pages they have in their index, the greater are your chances of appearing in their search result pages when someone enters a query in their search box.
There are many more parameters that play an important role when designing an SEO friendly website besides number of indexed pages but as a general concept this is the idea. For the sake of making a comparison between SEO and content marketing we will only take into account the technical part of SEO and not other factors.
What the benefits from SEO?
Other things being equal, an SEO optimized website is more likely to:
- Rank higher on Google
- Get more traffic from Search Engines (Yahoo, Bing, etc)
- Attract more targeted traffic (searches looking for specific things)
- Be easier for users to use which creates a number of other benefits (more sales, more conversions etc)
- Perform better than non-optimized websites (it will be faster, mobile friendly etc)
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a theoretical concept which explains how to use content for marketing purposes. Content can be anything that can be published online like text (articles, blog posts), images, videos, infographics, podcasts, banners, user comments, product reviews and many more.
The marketing part of content marketing has to do with how you can promote your content online in order to meet your digital marketing goals. For example: to get more traffic for your website or blog, to increase your sales, to get more people register to your email list and generally how to utilize content for the benefit of your business.
Some typical examples of content marketing are:
- Blogging – use a blog to create content
- Publish an image gallery to showcase your products
- Create an infographic to explain a process your customers should follow
- Create a video for reviewing and comparing products
The examples are endless and in reality anything that is published online can be associated with content marketing, in one way or another.
What is the difference between SEO and Content Marketing?
From the short explanations given above, it should be clear that the main difference between SEO and content marketing is that SEO is more technical and has to do with the website design, structure and behaviour while content marketing is how to get more exposure online with the use of content.
With SEO you will make sure that your website has the proper titles, urls and descriptions, loads fast, has an easy to use menu, images have the proper alt tags and many more (check our comprehensive SEO checklist for a complete set of SEO rules your website needs to follow).
With content marketing you need to decide what kind of content to publish, how to present it and how to promote it online so that it is appears in front of your target audience.
Why SEO and Content Marketing need to work together? Is content marketing the new SEO?
If you are still reading this article, maybe you started understanding why these two need to work together and that it is not a matter of selecting the one technique over the other. SEO and content marketing can generate fantastic results when utilized correctly and this is why:
- SEO can prepare your website and make it easily accessible to search engine and users
- When you publish new content, search engines will pick it up and use it in their index
- Gradually this will increase your organic traffic and then you can use content again to convert visitors into customers.
- Great content will also make your website sharable in social media and this will get you more traffic and exposure
- Great content will also attract links from other websites and this will have a positive effect on off-page SEO which means higher ranking positions and more organic traffic
Is Content Marketing the new SEO?
Content marketing is not the new SEO but it has become an important part of SEO.
Imagine that both SEO and content marketing are two different people who are working on the same team.
The SEO guy can identify the keywords that are important for your website and business and give that to the content marketing girl. She can then take this input, generate the right type of content and pass it back to him. The SEO guy will apply some optimization techniques on that content and publish it online. The content marketing girl will then start promoting the content using other digital marketing techniques with the purpose of bringing the content in front of the right type of people.
It’s difficult to achieve good results online if you don’t know how to utilize both SEO and content marketing. You need SEO to optimize your website for search engines and you need content marketing to load it with content that is unique and useful for your potential readers or customers.
Taking a closer look at any of the online success stories, you will realize that they are based on these two important pillars of digital marketing.