As a business, your goal for your website is to be visited by as many people as possible, not only to gain visibility but to ultimately, convert those people into paying customers. It is not enough to just have a website though. The first challenge lies in knowing how to make people find your site. The second is in knowing how to keep them coming back.
How do you then achieve these goals? Some marketers would say that Content Marketing is the key. Others would argue that SEO is the more effective option. Then there are those who say that they should work together.
If your business has a limited marketing budget, which one would you prioritize then? A Content Marketing expert or an SEO specialist? How do you know which option will yield the best results for your business?
Before you decide which one to choose though, let’s first understand what they are in the first place.
What is Content Marketing?
Content is what you use to achieve your marketing objectives. It comes in various forms, including blog posts, videos, photos, infographics, whitepapers, and podcasts, as well as the words you use in providing information on your site.
You might have heard about Bill Gates saying that “Content is king.” This refers to the important role that content plays in attracting people to your site. It is not enough to just have content though. You need to produce high quality content that is valuable, relevant, and consistent, to attract and retain a target audience.
What is SEO?
The goal of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is to increase your site’s visibility in organic search engine results by using tactics that increase your relevance and authority. Customizing your content to appeal to certain users increases your relevance while creating better content and link building increase your site authority.
This means you need to optimize several aspects of your site, usually using relevant keywords on your titles and content, to improve your ranking. The challenge here is to increase your visibility without being penalized for unethical back-linking practices.
Similarities and Differences
Content Marketing and SEO are similar and different in the following ways:
Content Marketing and SEO share the same goal – to get more people to your site faster.
The scope of Content Marketing is wider and more holistic because it involves a lot of different types of content. On the other hand, SEO has a narrower scope and is more technical.
The focus of Content Marketing is user experience. People who consume your content need to feel that it is valuable and relevant to them to encourage them to keep coming back. The more appealing your site is to users, the higher it will rank, which helps SEO.
SEO, on the other hand, focuses on appealing to the search engines. The more appealing the site, the higher it will rank on the search results, increasing the chances of people finding your content.
Content Marketing and SEO both require the same thing – content.
There is nothing to market if there is no content to consume. SEO also needs content wherein which specific keywords can be included for optimization. Further, adding more pages of content to your site gives search engines another page to index.
Aside from the quantity though, the quality of content also matters. High quality content attracts more inbound links thereby increasing your site’s authority. This, in turn, helps improve your search rankings as well.
The most fundamental part of SEO is the use of keywords. Relevant keywords must first be researched, used, and then tracked. But the only way to apply all this is by placing the keywords strategically into your content.
Keywords are, therefore, useless without content, which is precisely where Content Marketing comes in the picture. Content Marketing creates and distributes content using the keywords that you are targeting.
In terms of link building, you would think that this is just a job for SEO. However, this is far from the truth. The best way to build links is to create better content. The higher the quality the content, the more sites will be interested to link back to you and blogger outreach will be easier.
Now, considering all these points, it’s safe to say that Content Marketing and SEO can both provide tremendous benefits for businesses. But which one is better? Is there even a better option?
Consider the different options again and you will realize that there is really no reason why we should pit Content Marketing and SEO against each other. While they are different in some ways, they both work towards the same goal of making your site more visible to people. So, why not just use both?
If you think about it, Content Marketing and SEO should both be utilized because they work better together. They should not be treated as two entities working separately. While it is true that they provide benefits on their own, your marketing strategy stands a better chance at success if you marry these two tactics together because it then becomes more comprehensive.
SEO practitioners must learn about Content Marketing in the same way that Content Marketing professionals need to know about SEO. The key now is in striking a balance between these two tactics. How? By doing the following:
- Learn to create great headlines and write high quality content. Then optimize them with the most relevant keywords so that it gets discovered easily.
- Learn how to leverage the different technical aspects of SEO, such as creating and submitting XML site maps and finding crawl errors among others, to create a better user experience for the readers consuming your content.
- Use SEO to attract visitors to your site but once they are there, you must keep them there using your content for better conversion.
- Provide consistent content. Fresh content gets rapidly indexed, helping your site rank higher.
Simply put, your high-quality content needs to be found and read. SEO helps people find it.