As search engines and the internet user base continue to evolve, understanding the difference between SEO and content marketing becomes increasingly difficult. In fact, the lines have become so blurred that you can find an abundance of articles and reliable sources using the terms synonymously.
We’re here to lay this problem to rest and clear the fog over SEO and content marketing once and for all. Before we can look at the ways they’re different and similar, we need to first have a firm understanding of what SEO and content marketing are respectively.
What is SEO?
Short for search engine optimization, the term SEO has been quite the buzzword for the last few years. In a very broad definition, SEO is a strategy used for getting websites and pages to rank highly in search engines. Easier said than done, growing organic visibility in search engines is a complex process that involves numerous moving parts.
An effective SEO strategy utilizes a combination of different tactics. The most popular and widely talked about are keywords, but everything from website optimization (especially for mobile devices) to backlink building also play a large role in any SEO marketing strategy. At the end of the day, it’s all about making your site more relevant to search engines.
What is Content Marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is creating genuinely valuable articles that are relevant and useful to readers. This kind of marketing is strictly geared toward drawing readers to your website by delivering the information that they want, getting them to stick around, read more, and eventually become a sale.
If done correctly, a strong content marketing strategy will attract a lot of readers, create loyalty with high-quality, informational articles, and even result in social media sharing which will draw in more targeted traffic (huge plus). Without worrying about appealing to search engine formulas, content marketing is free to cater directly to the actual consumers and their needs.
Key Differences Between SEO and Content Marketing
What They’re Focusing On
SEO is solely focused on appealing to the search engines in order to rank higher and increase visibility and organic traffic. A lot of SEO work is based around tweaking existing content and making sure that sites are optimized and user friendly across all formats. It’s not so concerned about the actual consumer experience, but the action of getting seen by them.
Content marketing is all in on the consumers. It’s entirely about creating the content that your readers want to see. This creates value in your website and can even help to establish you as an authority in your field. Content marketing is focused on getting readers to stick around and become repeat visitors.
The Conversion Factor
SEO by itself generally won’t convert very well. This is because it’s not about the creation of conversion based content, but the act of getting more visitors to the site. Due to this, SEO works best when coupled with other marketing strategies that are more conversion focused.
Content marketing has great conversion potential. It’s the job of the content to educate and convince readers that they need whatever product or service it is that you’re offering. That being said, content marketing won’t do any good if readers aren’t finding your website and articles.
The Power of Using Them Together
The reason that the terms SEO and content marketing have become almost interchangeable over time is because they’re so frequently used together. They have a great synergy that, when fully exploited, can result in a powerful marketing strategy. Let’s take a look.
Combining for a Single Focus
What good is SEO going to do if you don’t have anything great on your website for consumers to read once they get there? Vice versa, what good is great content going to do if it never gets seen by consumers? This is the main reason why both marketing strategies are most effective when used in tandem.
If your website is chalk full of great, high-conversion content that’s ready to be devoured by information hungry visitors, it’s time to employ SEO to not only boost your brand visibility as a whole, but to also increase the organic search volume of your most important and popular articles. This is when you really start tapping into the power of SEO and content marketing.
Boosting the Conversions
No matter how great your landing page copy is, you’re not going to get any sales if you don’t have consistent (and hopefully increasing) traffic on a regular basis. Once your SEO and content marketing strategies begin working together to draw in some sizable traffic, it’s time to look at the conversion side of things.
Employing an SEO strategy is one of the best ways to funnel targeted traffic toward your pages with the highest chance of converting consumers into loyal followers, subscribers, and eventually, paying customers. Since SEO by itself has little to no effect on conversion rates, using it in conjunction with content marketing is a great way to skyrocket your leads and sales.
Becoming an Informational Authority
Search engine formulas are more and more looking for authoritative content that’s of great value to users. As a result, informational articles that fall into the realm of content marketing have higher chances of ranking better in searches.
High-quality, accurate articles that give readers what they’re looking for have a better chance of being linked to in other articles and websites. As we’ve covered above, what happens when you build links? Your SEO will naturally increase and boost your brand’s search engine visibility.
A Quick Recap
Hopefully, by now you have a clear understanding of the differences and similarities of SEO and content marketing. While they both clearly have their own territories, as search engine formulas continue to evolve, they’re becoming more intertwined.
With your newfound understanding of these previously foggy terms, you can effectively implement both SEO and content marketing into your current strategies to maximize your organic visibility, traffic volume, and most importantly, sales.