While SEO is somewhat older, that doesn’t mean that the two practices can’t function in tandem. In fact, when you get into the details, you realize that SEO and content marketing work together to create amazing results.
There are plenty of ways in which content marketing and SEO overlap, as anyone with even a passing experience in the industry will tell you. However, you need to understand two crucial differences between these disciplines before we get into how they work together.
For one, SEO is the more technical side of digital marketing — in the metaphor of a beautiful sports car, this is what’s under the hood. Search engine optimization pertains to stuff like the proper utilization of ALT tags, headings, URLs, and the like. And this technical stuff is important because it props up your online marketing strategy.
Conversely, while content marketing is always a part of an SEO strategy, it’s a broader field than that. In other words, there are content marketing strategies that have nothing to do with SEO — you can find plenty of content creators for whom SEO is merely an afterthought if even that.
So, now that we know the basics, how do SEO and content marketing work together? The first and foremost thing is; search engines and their ranking algorithms compel webmasters and website owners to provide high-quality content. After all, the search engine’s end goal is the best possible user experience.
At first, this wasn’t necessarily the only SEO strategy out there; keyword stuffing and subpar websites that gamed the system were abundant in the early days of Google. However, as the search engine giant perfected its algorithm to favor better quality content, having unique content became the way to success.
Apart from pleasing SEO algorithms, high-quality content is crucial because it allows for greater user retention. Sure, you can get someone to visit your website even by accident. However, how long they stay there and whether they keep coming back is another matter entirely, and it’s dictated by your content quality.
SEO and evergreen content
There are other ways in which content marketing and SEO are interlinked to mutual benefit. For instance, the holy grail of content creation is evergreen content — something that's unique and not generic but somehow permanently relevant so that it always drives traffic to your website.
For example, businesses can thrive on adhering to topical news and looking at what people are Googling for at the moment, then creating content that matches these keywords. However, the reality of the matter is that this can only be a temporary increase in your marketing stats. Soon enough, the "hot new topic" gets outdated and becomes irrelevant to people that you want to attract to your blog.
That's why plenty of content marketing strategies revolve around evergreen content that doesn't become outdated. Whenever people search for its keywords or come across it, this blog or video will still provide value, increasing your website's authority in the process.
As we've already mentioned, content marketing and SEO are beneficially co-dependent in many ways. For instance, a content marketing strategy may exist without SEO ranking as its primary goal. However, be fooled — everyone who creates a successful online presence with their content adheres to the minimal SEO norms to attract people organically, from local artists to major corporations.
Keyword research is an excellent example of this. Sure, it doesn't have to be as in-depth in your content marketing strategy as it would be with SEO at the forefront. But let's face it — the best piece of content in the world won't be meaningful if no one sees it. That's why minimal keyword research is necessary when you make a content plan; it needs to be in tune with what people are searching for at the moment.
As any 101 digital marketing class will tell you, there's no content visibility without link building; once more, an integral SEO method of achieving better results online. Naturally, a great content marketing strategy that produces fantastic content will also attract links to it organically. But you still want to make sure that it gets you as many links as possible, which is why having informative blogs people will link to is also necessary if you wish for your website to thrive.
The same goes for internal linking on your website as well. After all, you want your content to be more than a great piece of writing or video production; you want it to be an essential piece of the larger puzzle of your overall content strategy and website. That's why internal linking matters — it allows people to see that your website is an authoritative source on a particular topic or area, containing all the needed pieces of information.
At the end of the day, everything you do on your website, including your content marketing strategy, is designed to increase its exposure to your target audience. And you can't update or optimize your content marketing strategy if you're not sure if it's working. You can probably see where this is going; proper SEO tools are pretty much the easiest way to see if your content marketing strategy is fully paying off and attracting as many people as you want.
In the end, perhaps one of the most important things that SEO does for content marketing is that it gives it the needed tools for measuring success and failure. As you can see, with the right tools and advice at hand, SEO and content marketing can work together to bring your website to a vast audience.