In the constantly-shifting world of internet marketing – where content is the lifeblood pulsating through the digital channels we use on an hourly basis – lies a subtle relationship between SEO and content marketing.
I love live music. SEO – search engine optimization – is like the promotor that builds excitement around a new, up-and-coming band to get people in the door for their shows. Content is the music itself that keeps people at the venue, buying the band’s merch, and marketing their next show within a broader digital marketing strategy.
Together, SEO and content for the essence of content marketing.
Today, we’re going to get into the nuts and bolts of this relationship.
Defining SEO and Content Marketing
In this bustling digital marketplace we’ve created, SEO and content marketing are cornerstones to gaining online visibility and increasing audience engagement.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO, and its algorithm-based tactics, help content creators navigate the digital world and help them get noticed. SEO involves both a strategic and technical approach to enhance a website’s visibility within the search engine results pages.
It’s the art and science of fine-tuning various elements on and off of a webpage – including the content, images, and meta tags – to render it more attractive to search engine algorithms. The primary objective is to boost organic (unpaid) traffic to a website by elevating its ranking on the search results, increasing visibility, and drawing a wider audience.
In contrast, content marketing delicately embroiders stories, weaving a tapestry that enchants and captivates the audience’s gaze.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing game plan focused on creating, publishing, and distributing valuable content to a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive action.
Unlike traditional advertising, content marketing involves crafting materials, such as blogs, videos, and social media posts that are not overtly promotional – but are instead aimed at providing genuine value and information to consumers. It seeks to captivate an audience through storytelling to nurture a relationship beyond transaction-focused interactions.
The end goal is to create a community of loyal consumers who find genuine value and reliability in the brand’s offerings and communications.
A Brief Look at SEO and Content’s Interplay
The relationship between SEO and content marketing is a marriage between technical mastery and emotive storytelling. It is here that algorithms and narratives work together to build a pathway that guides audiences from visibility to engaged conversations and, ultimately, loyal patronage.
The Pillars of SEO
SEO is all about getting yourself noticed on search engine results pages and pulling in organic traffic to your website (without having to run paid ad campaigns). There are three distinct pillars of SEO, including:
1. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is all about craftsmanship in content that is both engaging and algorithm-friendly for search engines. On-page SEO starts with:
- Researching relevant keywords
- Optimizing header tags within your web pages
- Writing meta descriptions
- Using natural keyword placements with – a melodious flow of copywriting.
- Creating keyword-focused URLs
- Optimizing images
This is just the tip of the spear of on-page SEO. When you work with a specialist, these are some of the initial tasks they will tackle in your content marketing strategy.
2. Off-Page SEO
Off-page SEO leaves the home website to create relationships with external sites and entities to build a reputation within the search engines. It’s all about getting your name out there on OTHER websites. Some of the major off-page SEO tactics include:
- Link building (more on this later)
- Google My Business optimization
- Citation building
- Guest posting
- Social media marketing
In off-page SEO, content marketing plays the role of a charismatic diplomat, building alliances through collaborations to make sure your digital narrative echoes through the vast expanses of the online world.
3. Technical SEO
Technical SEO works in the backend of your website to quietly orchestrate a seamless user journey. It includes tasks like:
- Webpage speed optimization
- Mobile-friendly optimization
- Fixing broken links
- Updating website code
- Disavowing toxic backlinks
- Creating/submitting sitemaps
While not the most glamorous and exciting element of SEO and content marketing, technical SEO ensures that the engaging tales spun by your content creators are not marred by digital glitches or sluggish transitions.
You’ve got the coolest product the world has ever seen sitting in your store waiting to be sold. But if the front door is broken and most of the floorboards are missing, no one will want to come inside to look at it.
In this analogy, a technical SEO strategy would make sure the door works properly, the floor is pristine and shiny, and all the lights work perfectly.
The Key Ingredients of a Killer Content Marketing Strategy
A Strong Value Proposition
Navigating through the relationship between SEO and content marketing, the value proposition of your high-quality content is the North Star, guiding your storytelling endeavors. Ensuring that each word, paragraph, and headline both sings a song to your target audience AND resonates with the quiet, all-powerful search engine algorithms.
A Reason for Audiences to Engage
Content marketing and SEO won’t do you much good if there’s no way for people to engage with your company – and you need to create these opportunities.
This is what breathes vitality into relevant content, transforming it from mere information to a dynamic conversation. Engaging content cultivates a two-way relationship between brands and audiences, allowing not just the transmission of a message, but also the reception of feedback, insights, and emotional responses from the consumers.
Here are a few engagement-focused content marketing strategies to pepper into your approach:
Interactive Content: Quizzes, polls, and infographics can be used to provide value while also inviting audiences to engage actively, contributing their inputs and opinions, thereby creating a participative user experience.
Community Building: Establish forums, groups, or communities where your audience can interact, discuss, and share their insights or experiences related to your brand or industry, fostering a sense of belonging and engagement.
User-Generated Content (UGC) Campaigns: Encourage your audience to create and share their own content, perhaps through contests or campaigns, which involve them directly with the brand and provide you with authentic promotional materials.
Live Sessions: Host live webinars, Q&A sessions, or discussions on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn, offering real-time engagement and facilitating direct, humanized interactions between the brand and the audience.
Personalized Email Marketing: Implement email marketing strategies that are personalized and value-driven, offering content that is specifically tailored to the recipient’s interests and past interactions.
These are just a few ideas to get the juices flowing.
Keywords: Your Silent Promoters
In content marketing, think of keyword research as the cryptic map, revealing the treasures that match the audience’s interest in the tales we’re telling. Keyword research is the strongest link between SEO and content marketing.
The keywords are the terms and phrases your audience is entering into a Google search. For us, as copywriters, some of our best keywords would include:
- Copywriting agency
- Content writing agency
- Content writing tips
- Content marketing for small businesses
- Copywriting for email marketing
- Blog writing services
- AI-assisted content services
- SEO copywriting
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. Ahrefs is our favorite keyword research tool to help us understand which terms and phrases our audience is searching for – and the data behind it.
My honest take on keyword research: In this day and age, keyword research is THE most fundamental business intelligence tactic.
Strategic Keyword Placement
When you include keywords in your content, it needs to sound natural. Google is extremely smart. If it’s clear you’re cramming keywords into your content for the sake of SEO, it’s no Bueno.
Naturel keyword placement subtly infuses these linguistic keywords within the content effortlessly, gently guiding the algorithms while maintaining the organic ebb and flow of your digital storytelling.
Content’s Role in Backlink Building
We’re going to back up for a second and discuss backlink building – or just link building. In a nutshell, backlink building involves getting other credible websites to include a link to your website within their content. Think of it like an endorsement. This is a huge objective in any content marketing strategy.
Quality and Relevance
When you get a backlink from another website, not all links are created equal. If you’re running a content marketing campaign for a website that sells auto parts, getting a backlink from an online flower shop won’t be a big endorsement. On the other hand, a backlink from the Motor Trend Magazine website would be HUGE.
When you build backlinks in content marketing, it’s quality over quantity.
Garnering Organic Backlinks
This is where our content, rich, engaging, and anchored in SEO, becomes a magnet, attracting backlinks from other websites naturally. If you’re Motor Trend Magazine, smaller auto blogs will likely reference your content within their own website without you having to ask them – because you’re a bona fide all-star in the industry.
This is a later-stage part of the process of forging alliances in the digital realm, subsequently bolstering our domain’s authority and reliability. But it all starts with a killer content marketing strategy.
UX: The Quiet Contender in SEO
This is where technical SEO really comes into the content marketing picture. At a bare minimum, these elements need to be perfect in your content marketing approach:
Consumers today are using a plethora of different devices to absorb content. Mobile-friendliness is crucial for accessibility, ensuring your digital tales are not bound by desktops and are effortlessly enjoyed across a myriad of devices and browsers, thereby fortifying the user experience – and subsequently, SEO.
Mobile friendliness is a huge ranking factor for SEO. While it may not make your content marketing strategy – it can certainly break it.
User-friendly design is the silent narrator of marketing, enhancing content and SEO by providing a well-functioning stage where our stories are not convoluted by technical difficulties. When you work with a content marketing agency, getting your website up to par will be one of the first moves they make.
Analytics: Measuring Success and Failures
With the right SEO tools, you can navigate through the metrics and data to ensure your strategies are not sailing blindly into the vast digital sea. Here are some SEO tools that need to be in your arsenal:
- Ahrefs: keyword research, content analysis, competitive analysis.
- Surfer SEO: content optimization.
- Google Search Console: See what keywords your website is ranking for.
- Google Analytics: Understand how people are visiting your website
- Screaming Frog: perform SEO audits on your website/content assets.
Adapting to Data
Content marketing performance data is your compass, providing rich insights to steer your content and SEO strategies, ensuring they are constantly shifting to the winds of digital trends and audience behavior.
Google’s algorithms are famously mysterious about the finer details. The best we can do as marketers is stay in tune with all algorithm updates and their effects. Being algorithm-aware keeps our strategies agile, ensuring the relationship between SEO and content marketing remains harmonious amidst the shifting sands.
Local SEO and Content Localization
Geo-targeting strategies bring the local audience into focus, ensuring our content and SEO do not merely echo in the vastness of the global digital expanse but also talk directly into the ears of the local populace. Consider peppering in some local expertise within your content strategy.
The Next Step
The relationship between both SEO and content marketing is more than a strategy; it’s an art form. SEO and content are all about crafting a digital presence that is visible in the crowded marketplace – while also being emotionally and intellectually resonant with the audience.
At Razorcopy, we offer a full suite of SEO-charged content writing services. We specialize in helping brands and agencies create content for SEO blogging, websites, emails, sales copy, and everything in between.
Let us help you build out a winning content marketing strategy!
Get in touch with us today.