Content Marketing Blog
Content marketing vs. SEO explained by the humble sandwich - Castleford

Content marketing vs. SEO explained by the humble sandwich

So – what’s the difference between SEO and content marketing? Are SEO agencies offering less of a service than content marketing agencies, or are the latter just trying to pump your website full of needless content when you really should be focusing on optimising your site?

Today, we’re going to cover the fundamentals of SEO and content marketing, plus why these concepts are different, where they are the same, and perhaps most importantly of all – where sandwiches fit into all of this.

What’s the difference between SEO and content marketing?

The basics of an SEO strategy

SEO is: Data driven.

The purpose of SEO is to help your website rank better in search. For instance, when Google scans the web, it compares pages against an algorithm of over 200 “ranking factors”, to determine which sites are the most relevant to a user’s query. It then places the best at the top of the results page.

A good SEO strategy improves your website according to these 200+ factors. For example, a consistent keyword strategy across landing pages helps Google figure out what you’re about, while a quick loading speed shows your website is well-made, and considerate of a user’s time. Combine these factors with many others, and Google will determine your website is relevant, quality and worth putting on page one.

To bring our sandwich metaphor into this, SEO is the fluffy white bread – it’s your foundation. Without a strong foundation to build on, a sandwich is just a soggy mess that falls apart the moment it’s tested.

The basics of a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is: Audience driven.

Content marketing is about talking with customers, not at them. It’s not just an opportunity to sell a product or build your brand, but to sit down with readers and educate them about a subject that is meaningful to their lives.

Blog articles, whitepapers, infographics, videos – these are all examples of content that agencies like Castleford produce for businesses every single day. They help build businesses as thought leaders, as well as drive sales, generate leads and populate social media with engaging material that the right people – and this cannot be stressed enough – actually want to read.

In our sandwich, content marketing is the filling. It’s exciting, fresh and above all, tasty. More so, it’s how you draw customers to your sandwich; a sandwich filling talks to your audience and says, “Eat me, I’m delicious.” That’s why it’s on the menu, and the bread isn’t.

SEO and content marketing are the same sandwich

Bread and meat are fine on their own – but put them together and good things happen. Best-practice SEO and quality content marketing work to improve each other.

For example, one tenet of content marketing – that you should publish regularly so your audience remains engaged – will also improve the SEO performance of your site. This is called “page freshness”, and it tells Google that your website is active.

Conversely, SEO best-practice – such as using well-thought-out keywords in everything you publish – won’t just give guidance to Google, it will also help focus your content for the audience you’re trying to speak to. It ensures your material reaches people who genuinely want it.

So do I need an SEO or content marketing agency?

A good SEO agency will look at your data and use it to improve your website, guide your social media, and optimise your paid promotion campaigns.

Meanwhile, a content agency can provide you with smart material that readers will find valuable and relevant.

But brilliant content that no one can find is pointless, and a finely tuned website that readers just don’t engage with won’t achieve your goals.

Ultimately then, you want a content marketing partner that can do both. A good agency will be an expert in content creation, amplification and strategy, which provides the perfect blend of SEO and content marketing. Strategic analysis drives content decisions, pushing the metrics that you want to improve. But a simultaneous focus on reader value means your content is also on-brand, engaging and genuinely interesting.

So that’s the verdict – according to us, anyway: SEO and content marketing are different, but they are part of the same sandwich. You can have one without the other, but why would you? Australia and New Zealand are growing marketplaces – we recommend going full sandwich.


Get updates from the experts - Castleford

Duncan Pacey
Duncan Pacey About the author

Duncan has hands-on experience developing and rolling out many of our bespoke search-optimised writing products, making him the perfect Castleford blogger. When he’s not writing about SEO, lead gen, and the art of entertaining people and Google simultaneously, he crafts prose for clients in hospitality, construction and building, and the software as a service field. Current clients include SAS, Altus, Epson - and of course the Castleford website.

Read more of Duncan's articles