With many business transactions now moving online, digital marketing is no longer merely a “nice to have” addition to your company.
Both SEO and content marketing are essential components of a digital marketing strategy. While some may consider the two terms interchangeable, they are both different types of digital marketing.
This article will explain in more detail about content marketing vs SEO. We’ll also discuss what makes them different and how you can combine them both to have maximum effect.
For businesses that are just beginning to focus on digital marketing, you’ll also find tips on making your content marketing efforts gain maximum results.
What Is Content Marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is a marketing technique to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract a defined audience.
Like any other form of marketing, its end goal is to drive customers to take action and gain more profit for your company. However, content marketing specifically focuses on crafting high-quality content.
With content marketing, you don’t have to promote your products or services excessively to make your audience interested in your brand.
Content marketing strategies are about providing informative and helpful content that solves your audience’s problems.
The quality of the content is crucial because, with this type of marketing, this content will have to be compelling and valuable enough for the audience to take action.
This action could be visiting the company’s website if it aims to increase brand awareness or to make a purchase if the goal is to drive sales.
Different Types of Content Marketing
There are several types of content that marketers can utilize for content marketing.
The most common type of content is blogging. Once your business has a company website, it can be utilized to publish blog posts as well.
Most companies’ blogs contain articles that provide helpful information in their area of expertise.
These blog posts are useful for attracting visitors who are interested in the industry, as well as helping the company establish thought leadership among its competitors.
Blogging is also closely tied to SEO, which will be explained later in this article.
To include a blog on their website, businesses can build their website using a CMS (Content Management System). A CMS is a software that is specialized to create, manage, and modify content. A popular example of a CMS is WordPress.
Another type of content that businesses often share on their websites are eBooks. Like blog posts, the eBook is primarily composed of written content, although some may incorporate visuals like infographics too.
Unlike articles, eBooks are aimed towards people who are further along in the sales funnel.
Your audience may visit your website from a blog post and want to know more about a certain topic. From there, you can direct them to download an eBook about this topic.
Like eBooks, case studies are also more in-depth than articles. Through case studies, your company can show its expertise in the field by sharing how it helps its customers or clients solve their problems.
Another popular type of content marketing is video. Considering its visual form, videos can be more entertaining and interesting for the audience. They are also particularly useful when making how-to guides.
However, most websites host their videos on another platform. One of the most popular platforms to share videos on is YouTube.
Other than video, an emerging platform for content marketers is social media. From Facebook to Instagram, each social media platform differs in its type of content and ways to effectively engage with the audience.
For example, Twitter is great to connect with your customers and respond to their questions, while Instagram is better to share short infographics and a sneak peek into your company life.
Last but not least, podcasts are a relatively new form of content marketing compared to the others.
To put it simply, podcasts are an online talk radio, which usually comes out in series and focuses on a specific theme. Listeners can find online podcasts that talk about virtually every possible topic out there, from startups to relationship advice.
In content marketing strategies, podcasts are useful to bring in people who are interested in your business’ area of expertise.
By sharing insights and creating a discussion that establishes your brand’s authority in the subject, your business can draw in new prospective clients.
Benefits of Content Marketing
Here are some of the many ways content marketing can benefit your business.
- Connect with your audience better – A great content strategy helps you create content that resonates with your audience. By sharing advice, tips, and answering questions, your brand can build a better relationship with them.
- Increase social media traffic – Consistent, high quality content on social media will help you gain more visitors and followers. It allows users to share content they find interesting with friends, therefore expanding your reach.
- Build brand awareness and reputation – Sharing relevant, fresh content often will increase familiarity of your brand among your target audience. It can also help your brand establish a reputation as an expert in its field.
- Improve lead generation – With the right content marketing strategy, a content marketer can gain leads solely by sharing relevant and informative content.
- Boost SEO on your company website – While it differs from content marketing, SEO will also benefit from high quality content. Delivering great content regularly will keep your website ranking high on search engines and drive organic traffic.
What Is SEO?
While content is part of a website’s search engine optimization strategy, SEO is more specific and covers more than just content strategy and creation.
Google’s SEO starter guide defines SEO as the process of making websites better for search engines.
The term SEO is also often used to refer to SEO experts, or people who are knowledgeable in optimizing a site for search engines.
These experts can help audit your website to see what needs to be improved to optimize it. They will then create a customized SEO strategy for your website based on the audit result.
Most search engines, like Google, have a set of criteria that they consider when choosing which sites should be in the first page of a search result. Search engine optimization helps your site meet these requirements.
Boosting the search engine rankings of the company website is a part of content marketing strategy, as it increases organic traffic and makes the site easier to find by your target audience.
Types of SEO
There are several types of SEO that you can implement on your website. The two types that are related to content strategy are on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page optimization refers to what you have on your website, which includes any type of content there. The SEO strategy for this kind of optimization involves creating unique, high quality content that other websites can’t provide.
For articles, this also includes optimizing keywords to match what people are looking for through search engines. It matches the article with the search intent of the audience to make sure you’re providing the most relevant content for them.
The off-page SEO strategy is about building a good reputation and authority by connecting with other websites.
Search engines will consider websites that have a lot of backlinks, or links from other websites that point to them, as trustworthy.
Link building by commenting on other blogs and networking with bloggers and journalists is a great way to improve your off-page SEO.
You may also share content from your website on social media. With more people talking about your content, your website will gain more traffic and in turn rank better on search engines.
There’s also technical SEO, which optimizes elements in the website according to search engines’ guidelines that are unrelated to content. Some examples would be implementing responsive web design, improving page speed by minifying code, and optimizing images.
Benefits of SEO
Like content marketing, SEO has lots of benefits for a company’s digital marketing efforts. Here are some of the best known benefits of SEO.
- Increase traffic to your web pages – SEO strategy ensures that your website will rank high in Google’s search results. As new visitors usually find your website through Google, SEO will boost the traffic to your website.
- Consistently promote your website – High promotion efforts through paid ads will bring in spikes of traffic, as long as your promotion is persistent. Once it stops, you can only depend on organic traffic that will only improve through SEO.
- Generate leads and sales – An SEO strategy that specifically focuses on prospective customers through the use of targeted keywords will bring in more sales to your business.
- Adds competitive edge to your business – While most companies now have a website, not all of them utilize SEO. A good strategy will boost your website’s ranking and therefore put you above competitors.
- Build brand visibility – People are more likely to click on websites that rank higher on Google. By ranking high on many keywords, your audience is likely to be more familiar with your website.
Content Marketing vs SEO: Which One Is Better?
SEO and content marketing are both part of inbound marketing, or a type of marketing that draws people in through a content strategy.
They both depend on high quality content to attract prospective customers. Instead of pushing out your brand and products, inbound marketing creates helpful and educational content that invites people in.
By making this content, you’re able to increase your brand visibility and establish authority and build trust between you and your audience.
When talking about choosing SEO vs content marketing, both are useful marketing methods that have their own purposes.
Compared to SEO, content marketing is less structured. Content marketing relies on the marketer’s understanding of their target audience. Defining your audience’s purchasing behavior is much less predictable than a search engine’s algorithm.
With its technical aspects, SEO has more defined ways for optimization, for example by speeding up the site and implementing responsive web design. These are proven ways to improve your website’s site rank on Google.
SEO is the right type of marketing to widen your website’s reach and increase the number of first time visitors. Once the visitors start coming in, you can utilize content marketing to keep them interested and make a purchase from your business.
Ultimately, content marketers should include both of them in their marketing strategy to gain traffic and convert more visitors into leads.
What Is the Connection Between Content Marketing and SEO?
There may be some confusion about whether SEO and content marketing are the same or two separate marketing methods.
In truth, a good marketing strategy is never about choosing SEO vs content marketing. SEO and content marketing are best included in your strategy to work together, so you can achieve the best results from your campaign.
Here are some of the ways they work together in your marketing strategy.
Create High Quality Content
Content creation may be an essential part of content marketing, but it benefits SEO as well.
Creating quality, informative content will bring in new visitors and help you retain customers, when viewed from a content marketing perspective.
However, great content is also good for your website’s optimization. When you put out informative articles with content that can’t be found elsewhere, you’ll have repeat visitors on your web page.
If your content receives a consistent amount of visitors, Google will consider your site as relevant and will put your site rank higher compared to your competitors.
If you want to make content that is informative and relevant, you can start by checking out user comments and reviews in your previous articles and social media, and then use them as suggestions.
Research and Monitor Keywords
Keyword research is one of the key points of SEO. While creating informative content is crucial, you also need to make sure that it’s what your audience needs.
To optimize your website, you’ll need to figure out what keywords your target audience are searching for on Google and include them as content topics in your website.
By including relevant keywords in your content, Google will rank your website higher in their search engine results pages (SERP), which will drive organic search traffic to your site.
However, you should not stuff your content with too many keywords.
This is where content marketing also comes into play. You need to create content that does not only include the relevant keywords, but also answers the questions your visitors may have about the topic.
Once you have started sharing content according to keyword research, you also need to take a look at what keywords your visitors searched on Google to find your website.
A great tool to monitor your website’s performance is Google Analytics. This tool helps you find out how people get to your site, which platform they use, and what keywords they searched for when they found your site.
Post Content Regularly
Having a consistent schedule to post your content is also where SEO and content marketing combine.
In a content marketing perspective, sharing fresh content on a regular basis is a great way to retain customers on your site.
Updating your site regularly will keep them coming back to get new information, be it about new products or insights you’ve shared through your blog.
Since this means you will be attracting more visitors to your site, Google will also rank it more favorably. More visitors means your site is more relevant for the keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Gain Links to Your Site
Link building and getting backlinks will improve your website’s SEO.
Backlinks are links to your website included on other websites, and it’s an important factor that’s considered by search engines if you want to rank higher.
To gain backlinks from other websites, you can reach out to other bloggers or site owners and promote your content. However, your content has to be interesting and relevant so others are willing to share it.
If your content is useful and unique enough, you don’t even have to connect with other bloggers.
Articles, infographics, eBooks, and whitepaper research with original content that can’t be found anywhere else are easy to be quoted and shared by other websites.
Build a Positive User Experience
Lastly, a positive user experience from an SEO viewpoint is more about the technical aspects, but content marketing comes into play as well.
For example, tagging your content, optimizing the URL, and choosing responsive web design are all part of technical SEO. It’s also crucial for the experience of your visitors.
Including clear, relevant tags in your content will benefit not only your SEO, but your users as well. Tags make it easier for your visitors to find relevant content on your site, and search engines can index your content for better search results.
Responsive web design, or web design that matches the layout of your user’s gadget, is also favored by Google. This does not only improve your user’s experience of viewing your site, but also makes it easier for Google to crawl the page.
URL optimization also benefits users and SEO. Keep your URLs short and include the title of the content to make it easier for search engines to categorize your site.
Some aspects of content marketing are very closely related to technical SEO that improves your user experience.
Without a layout that’s easy to browse, tags that are easy to look up, and articles that are easy to read both on PC and mobile, you will not get enough readers visiting your site.
SEO and content marketing are both essential parts of digital marketing. Content marketing is targeted more towards retaining repeat visitors by providing interesting and helpful content, while SEO is useful to attract new visitors to your site.
When speaking about SEO vs content marketing, none of them should be used without the other. Without content marketing, SEO is ineffective because it has no great content to optimize. Without proper SEO, you’re creating great content that no one will end up seeing.
In the end, you need to create content while considering its SEO, and vice versa. By combining both of them to work together, your marketing strategy will work more effectively.