When it comes to content marketing vs SEO, the biggest question is which is more important for increasing traffic and getting found.
The truth is, content marketing and search engine optimization aren’t mutually exclusive. While creating content is the best way to rank higher in search engines and make sure your audience is attracted to your site, it doesn’t replace the need for SEO.
According to Content Marketing Institute, only 77% of marketers consider their content marketing approach most successful. For those that struggle, a lack of SEO and content marketing integration could be the reason. Attempting content and inbound marketing without SEO marketing is one of the biggest reasons nobody cares about your content. On the flip side, the importance of content in SEO shouldn’t be ignored.
Improving your content marketing through better SEO practices requires more than simply adding meta tags to your blog posts. SEO needs to be integrated into your content strategy AND your content creation.
SEO Content Strategy
Getting your content found isn’t always a problem of promotion and on-page SEO tactics. The biggest reason nobody cares about your content is usually because your content topics and overall content strategy don’t align with your buyer personas and meet their needs. Make sure to include these in your SEO content strategy:
The term search engine optimization can sometimes lead marketers to prioritize algorithms and machines over the audience they are actually optimizing for. SEO research and analytics should be used to help determine what your audience is most interested in and how you can best deliver content related to those topics.
For this to work, make sure your buyer personas are an integral part of your SEO strategy. There is no point in ranking high for search terms that your audience has no interest in.
The way search engines identify content that best fits their users’ needs is changing. It is no longer enough to stuff your content with lots of keywords and expect Google to rank it high in their search results. Instead, Google prioritizes content that covers the overall topic people are searching for.
Pillar pages involve creating a single, long-form piece of content that thoroughly covers an entire topic and then creating additional, shorter content pieces that cover related subtopics and link back to the main pillar page. Creating pillar pages is a great way to provide your audience with a comprehensive information source on a topic they are searching for, while also creating a high amount of authority for SEO purposes.
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make when performing keyword research for content marketing is not using the results to inform their overall content strategy. Your research should help identify topic clusters and search terms that you have the best chance of ranking for. This information can then be used to determine what your highest content marketing opportunities and strengths are. Use this information to come up with pillar pages and other content ideas to make sure all of the content you create is supporting your SEO goals.
On-page SEO: How to Write Content for SEO
Once your SEO content strategy is highly targeted to your buyer personas, you can begin content creation. The basics of SEO for successful content marketing should include:
- Keywords added to all titles, headers, image alt text and meta descriptions
- Internal and external links that include links to your pillar pages from every piece of content included in your topic cluster
- Mixed-media content such as blogs which include pictures or videos which rank higher in SERPs and create a better reader experience
The most important thing to remember is there is no difference between SEO and content marketing. The two should be one and the same. Make sure your inbound marketing includes a strong SEO strategy that is powered by high-quality content and that your content is conceptualized and crafted with SEO in mind.
If you want to learn more about developing a successful content strategy, read the Chief Packaging Officer case study. See how Kodak launched a lead-generating industry portal by marrying up brand publishing with thought leadership and ROI.