When it comes to marketing your business in the 21st century, there are two key tools that are make or break for your business: search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing.
As of 2020, the SEO industry is worth over $80 billion in the U.S. This means that businesses, far and wide, see the value in investing in SEO — but content marketing cannot be overlooked, either.
Check out this guide on SEO and content marketing to learn the differences between the two, but how they depend on each other.
What Is SEO and How Does it Work?
SEO is an acronym for search engine optimization. This digital marketing tactic has been around for over a decade, but only in recent years have businesses begun to capitalize on its benefits.
Essentially, SEO is a type of strategy that concentrates on creating optimized web pages so that they rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs). Today, Google leads the pack as the search engine you want to be featured on.
The higher the rank of your business web pages, the higher your website ranks in search results. And you always want to end up on the first page of Google because only 0,78 percent of end-users search the second page!
Ultimately, all of this makes for greater visibility of your website and drives organic traffic — which is best for business.
The overall premise of your SEO strategy should be to optimize your website for your visitors. You want to create the best user experience possible. In short, the more time a customer spends on your website, the more likely their search will turn into conversions, i.e. sales.
Search engines such as Google are fully aware of how you optimize your website for your end-user. This is how search engines rank your website. Google and other search platforms take these key factors into consideration when ranking your website:
- Your level of keyword research and how they are integrated into your content
- Your website’s load time and page speed
- Whether your website is designed with responsive functionality
- The quality of your backlink network — both inbound and outbound links
Ensuring your website is user-friendly and accessible for your ideal customer means it’s also search engine accessible. The result is higher-ranking web pages on SERPs. With that, you are guaranteed better visibility, better website traffic, and sales.
The Different Types of SEO
Google and other search engines work with specific SEO algorithms. These algorithms are made up of ranking factors — over 200 of them to be precise! This means that there are literally hundreds of different factors that could affect your SEO ranking.
As SEO has evolved over the years, it now includes a huge variety of principles. Two of the most important types of SEO that businesses need to keep in mind include:
1. Technical SEO
In a nutshell, this is the most basic form of SEO. The overall goal of technical SEO is to correct and perfect SEO practices across your website in order to improve your website ranking. Some key aspects of technical SEO range from:
- Keyword and content optimization
- Optimized content headers (H1 and H2 tags)
- Your website’s backlink strategy and the quality of those links
- The speed load time of your website
- Image and keyword optimization
These are just a few of the technical aspects that this type of SEO should cover. Before you proceed with any other part of your SEO strategy, you want to get the basics right, first. No matter how great your content or imagery is, it will mean nothing without these optimized SEO basics.
2. Semantic SEO
When it comes to SEO optimization, content is always king. This is especially true for semantic SEO. This practice focuses on providing high-quality content to your audience for the best user experience.
Google and other search engines recognize this based on end-user search queries and how closely your content matches user intent. This is another factor that plays into your website ranking.
In order to nail your semantic SEO practices, you have to know your audience inside and out. You must have a good idea of the type of content they’re looking for, what they want to know, and where they could find this content on the internet (besides your website).
Semantic SEO is not as technical, so this means that you have a chance to intuitively connect with your audience based on your research of what they want. The premise of semantic SEO is to answer your audience’s questions and satisfy their user intent.
What Is Content Marketing and How Does It Work?
Content marketing is also known as inbound marketing. Its works on the same idea as traditional inbound marketing methods, only content marketing is done online.
Rather than marketing your business with a paid-for TV advertisement, content marketing focuses on attracting customers to your website with organic traffic.
But what is organic traffic? In basic terms, this is a type of traffic that has landed on your website via a keyword search result that matches their exact query. It means that you have not promoted your website or services not with money but with a smart content marketing strategy.
Content marketing ranges from blogging, podcasts, email marketing, testimonials, client reviews, how-to guides, how-to videos, infographics, and more.
Ideally, your content marketing strategy should focus on these key concepts:
- Outlining your business expertise and building trust in your brand
- Directly answering your target market’s questions and queries
- Building a steady stream of organic search traffic from leading search engines
- Optimizing your content with user intent in order to rank well on Google
- Associating your content with like-minded content
At the heart of your content marketing should be the type of customer you want to attract. If you are not attracting the right type of end-user or traffic to your website, your content marketing is not optimized correctly.
Good content marketing attracts those who enter search queries on Google that are directly related to the service or product you offer, i.e. organic traffic.
Organic traffic means that these people are qualified or verified leads. They are most likely to purchase your products or services, or they are comparing services or products for purchase. The bottom line is this: content marketing is one of the best forms of business marketing today.
SEO and Content Marketing: The Key Differences
Even if SEO and content marketing both have the same end-goal to drive traffic to your website which then turns into leads or conversions, the two practices are very different. Let’s take a closer look:
1. SEO Is Far More Technical
It’s no secret that SEO focuses on all the technical aspects of building and optimizing a website. This optimization takes place above and below your website i.e. on the front and back end. When it comes to front-end SEO optimization, these principles apply:
- Optimized and engaging headers and titles
- Smart content layout
When it comes to back-end SEO, there are key factors that dramatically affect your site ranking. Some of these principles include page speed optimization, website responsiveness, your backlink quality, and more.
2. Content Marketing Is Far More Subjective
When it comes to content marketing, there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Unlike SEO which comes with its own set of protocols that you should follow for the best results.
This being said, there are content marketing best practices that you should consider. Most of the time, your content marketing is formulated on intuition (and research) based on what you think your customer is looking for. In essence, it’s surface-level optimization and far less complicated or intricate than SEO.
As mentioned, content marketing focuses on user intent, and most of the time, you cannot control how your audience reacts to your content. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for content marketing, it’s all about trial and error.
SEO and Content Marketing: A Match Made in Heaven
If business leads and turnover are your end-goal, then there’s no point in choosing one over the other. SEO and content marketing should work hand-in-hand for the best chance at business success.
This is how it works: SEO assists people in finding your content. While your content marketing is what increases your site traffic, and ultimately improves your ranking. This creates a circle of lead generation that goes around and around to create conversions or sales, generated from your website.
You can’t have one without the other, so here’s how to combine these two strategies to work together:
1. Understand Who Your Target Audience Is
This is probably the most important aspect of both SEO and content marketing success. Do a thorough amount of research on who your audience is (demographics), what they’re looking for, and how they’re looking for it.
Research the online channels that your audience uses the most i.e. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and create content optimized for these platforms.
You want to ensure that your SEO and content marketing strategies focus on people who are genuinely interested in your service or product. In summary, create content for the right people and post it in the right place!
2. Keywords Are King
As we mentioned earlier, your website content is absolutely integral to the success of your SEO and content marketing. This is because Google algorithms assess how your content is optimized for user intent. It then ranks your web pages based on this.
The better your web page rankings, the better your content, and vice-versa. Take some time to learn how to compile, write, and layout your content across your website. While doing so, make sure your content is rich with keywords that your target audience could be using in their search queries.
You want to create a list of all the important keywords that relate to your services or product and match them up with user intent. Beware of keyword stuffing though — there is such a thing as too much!
3. Create High-Quality Content
If your website content fails to engage your customer’s attention, then you’re doing it all wrong. The higher your quality of content, the better chance you have of meeting user intent, ranking well on Google, and converting leads.
First of all, you want to ensure that your content is well-written. It must be easy to read and devoid of large blocks of text that can be very off-putting for even the most avid reader. But beware of making your content too short. Readers are looking for a decent amount of information that is well-considered.
Ensure your content is targeted to your audience and includes all the relevant information that they may be looking for — that’s why they’re on your website in the first place.
To add to this, the more relevant and helpful your content is, the more likely your audience is to share it with others. Shared content is extremely helpful in terms of boosting your page rankings and driving traffic to your website.
This is also a brilliant way to build up your site’s link network, attracting quality links from other websites, which helps to boost your overall website ranking. Remember to keep quality over quantity in mind when creating your content.
Does Your Business Need Expert SEO Help?
There’s no denying that SEO and content marketing work hand-in-hand to boost your business’s overall internet presence. Don’t make the mistake of prioritizing one over the other. They should work cohesively to drive website traffic and business success.
If you’re in need of expertise to tackle all the technical aspects of SEO, then you’re in the right place. Learn more about our services and how we can help your business find its place in the world of SEO!