SEO & Content Marketing: What’s the link?

9 cards with terms related to internet marketing, written on them.


What is the relationship between SEO and Content Marketing? 

Are there any differences between SEO and Content Marketing? What are the similarities?

What exactly is the relationship between the two, if any? How are they both connected, really?

Did you ever find yourself pondering over these or other such questions? Does the relationship between SEO and Content Marketing bug you too? 

If it does, you are by no means among the endangered creed. Your creed, the MARKETING LEARNERS, is evolving now and is on the rise. 

These are the most searched for questions about the two by your creed so far, showing your interest in TRAFFIC and other marketing results.

 

Traffic and other analytics showed on the tablet screen placed over a brown table. The tablet has a pen in front of it. Blurred vision of a white cup over a saucer and a black phone placed in front of it, are visible on the far end.)

 

If years of plunging into businesses, all sorts of them, revealed one thing on us, it is *online world is all a game of traffic*. 

(Err….to your surprised look! We are digital marketers; plunging into businesses to learn about them and improve their online performance is our business.)

And why shouldn’t it be, when that’s how the businesses make their revenue? (Well, most of it.)

So, for your creed, we are about to make a HUGE CLAIM here.

It’s about time to bid farewell to those confusions! By the end of this post, you’d have no confusion about the relationship between SEO and Content Marketing.

The strings: Pay attention (or save the post for the time when you’re ready to learn)!

So, let’s take it from here, step by step, to answer all your questions. 

Prepare for the deep dive in 3, 2, 1….

What is Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the promotion of your product or service in an attempt to sell them using digital tools and technology, including internet, mobile, and other electronic devices. 

These tools produce the desired output harnessing the powers of digital channels and platforms like search engines, websites, social media, and email.

A hand with a red marker is encircling the term *Digital Marketing* against a white screen. Other relevant words, "Lead Generation, Content Marketing, Opt-in Email, SEO, CRM, Search Ads, Social Media, and Onboarding are already encircled on the screen.

 

The use of digital tech is evolving fast over time, creating new and better avenues for marketing your products and services and generating huge revenues. 

However, whether you make money using Digital Marketing or lose it depends on the effectiveness of the techniques and strategies you follow for your business promotion. 

Search engine optimization and Content Marketing are two such strategies helping you meet your marketing goals when done right (or vice versa). 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Let’s consider this scenario:

You want to buy new sunglasses. What’s your next move?

Unless you are a shopaholic who purchases anything right, at first sight, you’d ask Google for help. You’d look for the best place to buy the best sunglasses, customer reviews, etc.  

Even if you realize it or not, the first few results heavily influence your purchase decision. These could be sales pages, review pages, etc. or any other kind! 

But what influenced those top results to get there?

Ladies and gentlemen! Please give it up for *SEO*, the process that ensured the high ranking of these pages that influenced your purchase decision.

A magnifying glass depicting the "O" of "SEO," written as the main content in the center. The other relevant terms like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Tags, Http://, Authority, Links, Title, etc. surround the primary term, SEO.

 

What exactly is SEO?

The process that helps you increase the quality and quantity of the organic traffic that your website pulls is called SEO. It involves steps and measures to optimize your site to increase its visibility on search engines. 

As a result of your increased visibility to the target audience/prospects, that (digital) footfall  your website receives (dummy term: traffic) by the potential clients increases. Need we mention here that the Increase in QUALITY of traffic increases the conversion rate and thus the profits?

The process of optimizing your site for quality and quantity of your traffic (remember, it’s called SEO?) is, however, an in-depth process. It is best to involve SEO professionals if you are really up for anticipated results. 

The process involves a huge makeover of the technical aspects of the site for corrective purposes.

Content Marketing

Did it ever happen to you that you visited a website looking for something, and in a while (or when you planned to exit), a pop up appeared? The pop up might be asking you to share your Name and Email in return for more value (on the relevant subject that brought you to that page).

If you did share the requested details, you might have been receiving emails with the promised (and even the non-promised) resources.

If you continued to be interested in the subject, you would have observed the nature of emails turning from educational to promotional. Some of them take forever to change this nature, some sooner than you could think.

So, what is all this?

A classic example of Content Marketing!

This example here by Oli Gardner makes the idea (of such opt-in pop-ups) quite clear.

Thanks, Oli for such a precise depiction.

A sketch-guide showing 2 ways to get the leads to subscribe. 1- No form, just a button or a link; 2-A popup with a form in it.


Source: Oli Gardner via
Unbounce 

 

So, what exactly is Content Marketing?

By definition, it is the process of providing high value to potential clients in a successive manner to attract, engage, inspire, and convert them. The process is educational in nature and doesn’t sell directly (if done right).

Content Marketing, in essence, prepares the audience to take a specific action, such as filling in a form (sharing contact details) in return for your valuable, free services/products.

These free resources position you as an authority in front of your prospects that they can count on for solutions to their relevant problems. The ultimate goal down the road you want to achieve through this influence/authority is usually a sale.

What is the relationship between SEO and Content Marketing?

Content marketing and SEO are the two primary tools making Digital Marketing effective and driving results for businesses.

Talk about the past, and the former was considered good enough for the success of digital marketing. The latter is, however, relatively new but evolving fast, taking a prominent position and setting achievable yet challenging goals.

Both have their own strengths, but none is good enough on its own. NOT ANYMORE. Both the techniques are still dependent on many other tools and techniques to provide the results. 

And more than they depend on anything else, they now depend on each other.

Here’s the real story now.

The efficiency of one process boosts the other, and the results are amazingly huge when you integrate them both.

Here’s how Neil Patel has explained the idea:

In the first image, he presents how most marketers look at and practice both the processes.

2 circles far apart, one depicting SEO, the other Content Marketing

Source: Neil Patel 

In the second image, he has shown how we should look at and Practice content marketing, and SEO for the best results.

2 circles overlapping each other with some mutual area. One of the represents content marketing, the other one shows SEO.

Source: Neil Patel 

As you read on, the idea would get more explicit.

SEO Vs. Content Marketing

To understand the relationship well, we have to analyze and compare both the tools. Here’s a brief comparison between Content marketing and SEO to figure out the link between the two. 

Difference between SEO and Content Marketing

Definition

SEO is the name of a collection of techniques to boost your organic ranking on SERPs, so your content is visible to more audiences.

Content Marketing is the practice of strategically producing and distributing high-value relevant content to put the target audiences’ burning pain at ease.

Scope

SEO has a narrow scope

Content marketing has a broad scope.

Nature

SEO takes care of the technical aspects of ranking your website. It ensures that descriptions, meta-descriptions, tag, alt-texts, menu, links, and URL, etc. are all in place as per the rules. It also takes care of these factors such that none of them speeds down the site.

Content marketing is a holistic term. It includes the strategy of what content needs do you need to produce for what audience, at what time. It takes into account the most effective channels and ways of distribution.

Similarities between SEO and Content Marketing

Even though they are two different processes with huge differences, they are not totally apart. Entirely separating the two processes or damaging the integration results in disasters. That’s when your content and SEO take your website nowhere, leaving it to rot. Like, literally!

The two processes are linked; they overlap, so they are similar in many ways. Here’s what you’d find common between SEO and Content Marketing.

  • The efforts for both the SEO and Content marketing need to be consistent to ensure the up-gradation and time relevance of the content.

          Search engines prefer fresh, relevant, high quality, and regularly updated content or Evergreen content over the old, dated content or the one no more relevant.

  • Both processes regard backlinking high because backlinking makes them both better.

  • Similarly, both SEO and Content marketing heavily rely on titles of the content. Both have set rules they follow to make the material highly readable by making titles effective.

  • And most importantly, both the processes have keywords at their heart. The mission of both processes is attracting the target audience by using those keywords.

SEO and Content Marketing in the bigger picture: The link – the integration

  • Content marketing indeed produces high-value relevant content for the target audience they need. However, it is mainly the efforts of SEO that ensures high visibility of content (organically).

          So SEO prepares your site to be ranked high for the content that Content Marketing produces. Put another way; Content marketing converts the organic traffic that SEO brings.

  • However, SEO and ranking don’t reach their peak unless your content is excellent i.e., it fulfills these requirements:
    • It provides high value i.e., inspires, entertains or educates them
    • It targets potential clients
    • It solves a problem for the audience

          These SEO requirements are actually the goals of Content marketing. Therefore, SEO boost is strikingly visible if conditions are met i.e., Content marketing is done effectively. 

  • Link building is an essential step in Content marketing. Linking your content back to high authority sites and getting high authority sites to link back to you – builds your websites’ authority. 

          The quality and quantity of backlinks you build through Content Marketing impact a website’s SEO. Therefore, SEO efforts check and ensure high-quality backlinks for your site.

  • Above all, both the processes have a high regard for keywords. SEO gets you the relevant keywords that your target audience types in the search bar and is actively looking for. 

         Content Marketing designs a strategy to create content around those keywords and shares it with the targets via the most suitable platform/s to attract them.

The problem and solution

Now, there’s good news and bad news (and another good news!).

The good news is the best part.

Most of the marketing learners already know what the relationship is, quite well.

No kidding, they really do!

What is the real story? What seems to be the problem then, you’d ask?

The problem, now, is the bad news!

The problem is in the applicability of both the processes.

While most Marketers are practicing both the processes, they are taking them as two segregated processes. Unfortunately, the processes do not yield the best possible results when you haven’t integrated them. 

So, the other good news: there is no rocket science in finding the solution. Integrate the two processes, so they complement each other and enhance the output. 

The integration shouldn’t be incomprehensible for you now that you have seen how they perfectly fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

 

2 pieces of a jigsaw that can be perfectly integrated to give a complete look, like the process of Content Marketing and SEO.

 

Wrap Up:

In a nutshell, SEO is nothing without content marketing. Content Marketing, on its own, can’t survive the competition without SEO. 

To what would you like to draw traffic with SEO if there is no content? Even if you have content, but it’s not good enough, you’d lose all the incoming traffic before you know it! 

Conversely, If you have good content, but you have not optimized for search engines, how do you think your audience would find it from the second page onward?

Try answering the question, specially in light of the saying that goes:

 *The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google*. 

Your Take?

So, what is your key takeaway from this read?

Have you already integrated SEO and Content Marketing? Are you still in the process or have yet to think about it?

Did we make the relationship between the two and the need to integrate them any bit clearer?

Let us know in the comments 🙂

 

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