The famous author and filmmaker Nora Ephron used to say that “everything is copy.” She was talking about everything that happened to her being fair game to write about, but it often feels like this is how people see SEO and content marketing too.
Experts, however, agree on at least two things. They are two distinct entities and they are both necessary for successful digital marketing campaigns. Combining SEO and content marketing leads to incredible results as they complement each other very well. However, to use them well in conjunction with each other, it is necessary to understand each of them individually first.
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What is the difference?
While this may feel like very basic, highlighting the difference between the two lets us highlight the unique features that make this such a great marriage.
SEO would have nothing to stand on without content.
Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is a set of techniques which ensure your content and web page will reach your target audience and be visible online. If your target audience searches a particular query on a search engine, having optimized content will push your page as one of the matches. SEO’s main aim is to get your content in front of the right eyeballs.
Blogs are one of the most common outlets for content marketing.
Content marketing is the basis of all digital marketing campaigns. It is pretty much what a digital marketing campaign is made of, whether it is blog posts, product descriptions, articles, images or videos.
How are SEO and content marketing intertwined?
Even by describing them separately, it is easy to intuit how these two have to work together to achieve their goals. SEO is nothing without quality content. Firstly, it needs the content to function at all – its whole point is to match the content with the search queries. Secondly, the content has to be up to scratch. Search engines are getting increasingly better about categorizing content in order to serve the users better.
On the other hand, content needs SEO in order to reach an audience. In order for SEO to work its magic, the content has to be of high quality. It needs to offer something to the search engine users – whether it’s information or entertainment, or, ideally – both. The content also needs to be specific to your audience.
SEO and content are the two pillars of online marketing.
As you can see, these two are already highly dependent on each other by their very nature. However, it is through combining SEO and content marketing that both create the best results.
Strategies for combining SEO and content marketing
Create and organize content with search engines in mind
Since we have established that SEO and content marketing work best together, it is a good idea to combine the two from the very beginning. When you are creating and organizing your content, try to optimize it so it is more easily recognized and categorized by search engines.
Keywords are important, though they are not the only thing you should focus on. If you are unsure about where to start when it comes to keywords, you can use tools like the Keyword Magic Tool to get some ideas. Search engines will use those keywords to figure out what a page or a blog is about and then categorize it accordingly.
Another way you can make this easier for search engines is by being fastidious when organizing your content as well. Having clear distinctions between different areas that you are covering will be of great help. The more narrow the focus, the better. For example, if you are in charge of a moving company, you will want to separate the different services you provide as clearly as possible. Have one page for residential moving, one for corporate moves, another one for storage services, etc. Don’t bunch them all together.
Your leading principle for this should be to make sure it looks as natural as possible. Overstuffing your pages with keywords will penalize your rankings in the long run. Furthermore, by creating genuinely engaging content, you will slowly attract an audience with more than just your designated keywords. Search engines will also prioritize this kind of content, so you’ll be winning on both sides.
Keep the content ball rolling
Making sure you produce new content regularly is a great way of combining SEO and content marketing. For one, it is great for your website if you update it regularly. However, this is also important if you want to keep it optimized – search engines look at how often you update too. If you are just starting with publishing content or have hit a lull and are looking to get back in, setting up a regular schedule will be of great help. Publishing regularly ensures you stay relevant, but it also provides you with opportunities to expand your keywords.
SEO specialists from companies like Digital Dot New York will also highlight the importance of exploring new fields within the framework of your site and business. You’ll bring in more traffic while simultaneously strengthening your site’s authority and relevance.
Another useful strategy for combining SEO and content marketing is to make sure that the links you’re using make sense and are advancing your position. By using SEO, you can figure out what links will fit well with what you are doing. Furthermore, the higher your content ranks, the more backlinks you’ll get. This will get your page even higher in the rankings. It’s easy to see how SEO and content marketing are interconnected here.
Guest-posting and contextual links
Guest-posting on websites that have authority and relevance can be a great way of link building and pivoting traffic to your page. Contextual links, on the other hand, are those that fit into the sentence naturally.
Now that we have discussed the benefits of combining SEO and content marketing at length, it is also important not to disregard some of the smaller pieces of the puzzle. Social media is often treated as a content-producing zone. However, it is important for your social media content to be optimized as well.
As different social media platforms gain momentum, users will often turn to them to find the information they need. This is particularly true when it comes to reviews, which can often be the be-all and end-all for a business. Ensuring that your content is optimized so that it will easily pop up within different platforms will firmly plant you on the road to success.
Steps for combining SEO and content marketing
Poring over the details is all good and well, but how do you put this into practice? If you are just now finding a way of effectively combining SEO and content marketing, here are some easy steps you can follow to get you started.
1. Pick a topic
Remember the importance of narrowing things down when organizing your content? This is very important to bear in mind from the very beginning. You don’t want to be halfway or all the way through when the thought of optimizing your content first pops into your head. Plan what you are about to do. Find a topic and do your research. Learn what people are saying about it and find your own unique way into the conversation. This will ensure your topic is on point while also being engaging.
2. Pick a keyword
Once you have your topic, it is time to find the right keyword. As mentioned above, there are plenty of online tools to do just that. Finding the right keyword can often be the line between your page getting buried under a pile of similar pages and never reaching your target audience and hitting the nail right on the head. An important aspect of a good keyword is looking at the search volume.
3. How are people finding you?
In order to produce content that is relevant to your niche and which will interest your target audience, it is important to also consider how people might get to see this new content. Consult Google Analytics to see how people are discovering your content. Whatever you glean from this should inform the next steps you take. The format your content takes is often as important as picking the right topic and keyword. If your target audience clicks on every video you post but doesn’t linger on any of your other pages, you may want to turn to video content to boost your SEO ranking.
As you can see, combining SEO and content marketing is kind of a given. Neither works as well without the other, if at all. Understanding how they work individually and then together is key to being able to use these strategies and ensure the success of your digital marketing campaigns.