Jessica Lucnik / Posted 5.30.2017
Have you met the new power team: SEO and Content Marketing?
SEO: the process of maximizing the number of visitors to a particular website by ensuring that the site appears high on the list of results returned by a search engine.
Content marketing: a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.
Many people are under the impression that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Content Marketing are two separate components of marketing. They may be distinct, but one rarely succeeds without the other. I want to explain how these two components of marketing need to work together and that creating an excellent marketing plan isn’t a matter of selecting one technique over the other. SEO and content marketing need to work together and will generate incredible results when blended correctly. It’s similar to having a designer and a developer on your web team: they are both valuable, but even more powerful when working together.
Businesses are continuously modifying their SEO strategies to improve their search rankings. Ultimately, everyone is fighting for one of the first four spots on a search engine ranking page (SERP). The only way to get to one of those spots is with organic SEO, which means working on, testing, and improving your strategies and also producing fresh and valuable content that is optimized for search engines as well as visitors. SEO and content marketing go hand in hand and you can’t optimize one without the other. They are two of the most important tools to have in your digital marketing strategy. If you’re looking for an SEO or content marketing partner, it’s not safe to assume that everyone who understands SEO automatically understands content marketing and vice versa. When choosing a team make sure they have a healthy understanding of both services and can implement them seamlessly together.
Time to meet the power team
Let’s talk about how the power team works together by examining both services at a high level: SEO demands and sets standards for content, keywords, linkbacks, certain design features, and consistency. Content marketing is where you put your keywords, linkbacks, and technical features. Lastly, your content marketing should always be consistent.
Google has confirmed that the first two out of three ranking factors for organic search are links and content. So now let’s break down how SEO standards and content marketing work together on a deeper level.
In SEO, we research, use, track, and rank keywords. One of the biggest ways we can use keywords to their full potential is through content on a website. Each page should be optimized with keywords that your target audience will use to find you. However, you need to be careful and make sure you’re not adding too many keywords to every page or article. That’s called keyword stuffing and that will make your SERP ranking go down.
From the SEO side: you must use keywords in your content properly.
From the content marketing side: you need to know which keywords to use.
A linkback is when another website publishes something and includes a link that directs back to your website. This is incredibly helpful in building your digital footprint. Having a large, credible digital footprint is an important component of SEO. In order to increase your linkbacks, you’ll need to produce unique, amazing, and shareable content on your website.
From the SEO side: you want linkbacks.
From the content marketing side: you’re not going to get linkbacks if you don’t have great content.
Technical website features
Several technical SEO components below are taken into consideration when search engines crawl your website. They’re also in place to serve your visitors and promote your content.
Sitemaps – Google relies heavily on XML sitemaps to effectively crawl websites. When you create and specify a sitemap to Google, they’ll use it to keep your site content up to date in search results and give your site the authority it deserves. Your website visitor can use a human-friendly sitemap to help understand your offerings or to get to a page quickly.
Metadata– In addition to the contents visitors see on your website, search engines use your meta tags and page titles to understand what your page or piece of content is about. When someone is searching for X, Google goes out to find X. The only way for your website to pop up in the results page is if your page is consistently labeled X—in content, title, and other metadata. For example, if someone is searching the word “bass,” search engines need to know if your website fulfills the word bass as in the fish or as in the guitar. From the visitor’s standpoint, if your metadata is applied correctly, you’re serving them through their search.
HTML tags – Search engines uses HTML tags and attributes to identify images and other items. If you have an image of a blue whale on your website and the filename and ALT text have “blue whale” in their naming structures, you’re more likely to pop up under a “blue whale” search. As far as how this helps your user, many people use the image search functionality, especially when purchasing an item. Also, if your image doesn’t load for some reason, or if your user is using a screen reader or other assistive technology, they will still be able to understand what is supposed to be in that specific spot on your website or email. Properly formulated HTML tags are especially important if the image is a call to action or if yours is an ecommerce website.
Google likes fresh content, and they have for a long time. If you understand SEO, you know that fresh content registers higher in the SERPs than older content. When you add fresh content to a website with a large, credible digital footprint, you can be sure that it’s going to get a SERP boost. The more you add, the more likely you are to rank higher for your target topics.
Good SEO = consistent output of content.
Consistent output of content = good content marketing.
There isn’t any other way around this.
After reading this article, I hope you have a better understanding of how SEO and content marketing work together as a power team. It’s difficult to achieve good results online if you don’t utilize both SEO and content marketing.
Digital Marketing Strategist
Jessica Lucnik is the Digital Marketing Strategist for Q Digital Studio, a web design and development studio in Denver, Colorado. She is an innovative, solutions-oriented marketer with a keen eye for detail. Jessica believes digital marketing is part technology, part content strategy, part marketing-art and science. She leverages years of marketing experience and has worked with a variety of nonprofit and global organizations. Jessica manages marketing automation programs while building SEO and web performance optimization for some of Q Digital Studio's client partners, as well as supporting Q's internal marketing campaigns. For thoughts on digital marketing, social media and creative solutions, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter @jeslooch.