In the modern digital marketing world, there seems to be lots of confusion surrounding search engine optimisation and content marketing. Some say that SEO is better at ranking a website on the first pages while others believe that content marketing is the more effective way to rank higher on search engines. Experts are understandably divided on how effective the two processes are. Some even believe that there is a war going on between SEO and content marketing.

Based on a study conducted last year, companies and businesses have spent about $44 billion on content marketing. This shows the shift in preference of many businesses on how to promote their brands over the internet. There has been a large focus on content creation recently and there have been many case studies showing the return on investment of a content marketing plan and approach.

Over the past few years, there have been headlines about the definite death of SEO and content marketing taking its place. A few years ago, many SEO users were involved in black hat tactics to make a website rank higher in search engines. But with the algorithm updates that Google has made, these black hat tactics are being eliminated almost entirely. SEO experts and many businesses have felt the backlash of the updates thus they have made many changes to how they market their brands online.

If you’re familiar with how SEO and content marketing works, the processes can actually work together. Regardless of what many people might say, SEO has always been about content and content marketing has always been about page ranking even if the two processes work in different ways. There should be no contradictions between the two, however. The two processes should work together in order to boost your search marketing efforts more effectively.

SEO Explained

Search engine optimisation or SEO is the practice of positioning your website to make it rank well on search engines through relevant search terms which will bring traffic (the people that are important or relevant to your business or brand) to your blog or website. These people can be potential customers, clients or people that can help your business. It can also be said that SEO is about bringing the right people to your website using the right search terms.

SEO strategy can be approached in 2 ways:

  1. Technical SEO. This is about how your website will be structured and built so that it can be properly indexed by search engines.
  2. Content-strategy SEO. This is about what type of content you need to post on your website that will bring people in when searching for some information about a specific topic. It could be wikis, video tutorials or relevant articles that are within your field of expertise.
content marketing

Image credit:Thebigfactor

Content Marketing Explained

Content marketing is the process or practice of creating and generating content that targets your niche or specific market. The content should generate traffic and engage potential customers, clients or visitors to your website. This process also focuses on the mapping of the information needed by a specific target group during their journey from brand awareness to purchasing or brand advocacy. Content marketing is not just about creating articles, videos, blog posts or infographics; it is a strategic approach based on the target audience.

Which Should Come First, SEO or Content Marketing?

Let’s weigh these two strategies up. Without any content, there is nothing to optimise. If there is no SEO and optimisation, your content will just be sitting there without anyone knowing that your site and your content exists in the vastness of the world wide web. In theory, both SEO and content marketing should be important, but in order to get things rolling, create the content first and then optimise the content further to get the word out.

Image credit: www.bitrebels.com

Image credit: www.bitrebels.com

After the content has been published and gained enough traction, it’s time to go back to your content and make it work to your advantage. Drive traffic by adding tags, including essential keywords and changing the headers of your content. If you’re not driving traffic to the extent you expected or hoped for, optimise what you already have. Creating more content has its benefits, but also try to optimise your existing content to rank before getting ahead of yourself.

SEO can enhance content marketing by:

  • Researching on relevant keywords that people use when searching for services or buying a product.
  • Researching on your competitors by checking on what kind of content they rank for and the things they identify as useful to their target niche. From there, you can analyse and improve upon ideas for your own optimisation. This is simple business intelligence practice.
  • Researching related keywords and creating in-demand content, promoting it to engage your target audience.

Content marketing can enhance SEO by:

  • Knowing the interests of your target audience or what they do on different platforms when they are online. You can go to online forums, taking advantage of your social media accounts by directly responding to their inquiries. Find out the terms they often use and use them to optimise your website for these important keywords.
  • Checking how people perceive your service or product, or any other similar products on social media and authoritative review websites. By doing this you will be able to find out what things benefit your audience. You will also get direct feedback from your audience through your social media accounts. From this, you can optimise your site and your products associated with any content or long tail keywords.
  • Knowing which industry influencers your audience follows. If you have the chance to get in touch with said industry influencer, convince them to give your product or service a look. If the industry influencer promotes your content or brand, people will notice and will create traffic for your site.

Giving your target market the resources they need during brand awareness, purchasing and brand advocacy stages of engagement is the correct way to rank in the search results and to convince your target audience to recognise and choose your products over the competition. You will have a better chance of success if your SEO and content marketing strategy work hand in hand.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.