INFOGRAPHIC: SEO and Content Marketing: A speed date
Search engine optimisation (SEO) and content marketing have both had their moments in the sun over the past decade. But while neither tactic is as new and shiny as it once was, both continue to play leading roles in the digital marketing mix.
As a content marketing agency, we get a lot of questions about SEO from clients and prospects. How has it changed? Does it still matter? What role should it play in my content marketing strategy? One question we’ve never been asked is: What would happen if SEO was sat opposite content marketing on a speed date? So, we asked that, and wrote this. Scroll to the bottom to see an infographic summarising the debate!
SEO: Look, full disclosure here. I did some stuff when I was younger that I’m not particularly proud of. I pushed out duplicate content or pages and pages of lightweight editorial stuffed with keywords. If you wanted to walk away right now, I’d understand.
Content Marketing: Don’t worry. I haven’t always been squeaky clean myself. Remember article marketing? I used to post the same piece of content with five different headlines in a bunch of article directories, just for the links.
SEO: Really? Now I want to leave. Just kidding. I remember those days. Anything for links, right? Because it worked. Until Panda.
Content Marketing: Changed my life. After Panda everyone needed original, better quality content for their websites. I guess that’s when I started to go mainstream. Panda killed most of those article directories overnight. When was that? Like 2012? Makes me feel old.
SEO: You wanna feel old? Check out Rand Fishkin’s earliest Whiteboard Fridays. Those were a decade ago now.
Content Marketing: Kinda surprised you’re bringing up Rand. I thought that would be a sore point. He was like the face of SEO back in the day, but he’s moved on. Even changed the name of his company to get away from you.
Content Marketing: Sorry. That was a bit mean for a first date. Let’s change the subject. What are you into these days?
SEO: I’ve got a lot of interests. Speed, mobile and security are all really big for me right now. Pages that take too long to load, look awful on a smartphone or don’t use the more secure HTTPS are all losing traction in search results. But I still care about some of the old stuff: a URL structure that search engines can understand and follow; original and descriptive title tags and alt tags; the domain authority of the website. Sorry, I can tell I’m losing you.
Content Marketing: Lucky for you I’m into the whole nerd vibe.
SEO: I’ll take that as a compliment, but here’s something that won’t make you glaze over: 10x content.
— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) November 14, 2017
Content Marketing: You just cannot let Rand go, can you?
SEO: Listen, 10x content is SEO.
Content Marketing: 10x content is content marketing. Clue’s in the name. It’s about creating content that’s 10 times better than the competition. It answers the question more directly or does it in a cool and unique format. It’s longer, more in-depth or uses original research. You can’t do 10x content without me.
SEO: Sure, but SEO has always been about content. When I was a kid hanging out in bad neighbourhoods trying to score easy inbound links I still needed something to link to. And 10x content doesn’t work without search. You mentioned competition, that competition is the other pages ranking for your keywords. If you’re not analysing the search results before you start – to figure out where you should compete and how you can win – you’re creating content for a very small audience: you and whoever has to edit it. You know what “10x content” looks like without me? “How [insert your industry here] is like Game of Thrones.”
“You need a blog to do well at SEO!”
“You won’t get traffic without content!”
“When was your website built, the stone age?!”
We walk you through the basics of how to do #contentmarketing for #SEO
— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) November 28, 2017
Content Marketing: Okay, you got me there. I’ve jumped on plenty of bandwagons over the years. Remember Hummingbird? I was churning out question-and-answer content like a machine after that first dropped. When I look back now I cringe at a lot of that stuff. It was so, “you don’t say”. You know, “Check out these 5 public speaking tips that are a) kind of obvious and b) already on 2,000 other blogs. “
SEO: And it’s me that kept you honest.
Content Marketing: How so?
SEO: Well, you might have got a brief bump post-Hummingbird with that question-and-answer binge, but Google’s search algorithm is getting smarter all the time, especially when it comes to differentiating between so-so and really great content. It’s SEO that makes you up your game.
Content Marketing: Maybe, but there’s a lot more to content marketing than search. You’ve got social media for one. You know I saw a study recently that said we’re spending 50 minutes a day on Facebook. Content marketing is about getting at your audience wherever they’re spending their time.
SEO: Yeah, but most online experiences still start with a search. If you like stats how about this one: 89 per cent of B2B buyer journeys begin with someone typing a query into a search engine. You must be into the whole buyer journey, right?
— Think with Google (@ThinkwithGoogle) March 17, 2015
Content Marketing: For sure. I am obsessed with creating content that resonates with users at different stages of the buyer journey. I get that right, I can hook them in early before they know what they want and then start building a relationship with them. That’s all about understanding your audience and leveraging email and remarketing.
SEO: The buyer journey is a big deal for me too. Those people doing the early stage research are using different search terms to the people ready to make a decision and thanks to the algorithm understanding searcher intent they’re more likely to find the content they’re looking for. Face it, we need each other.
Content Marketing: Need each other, stuck with each other. I guess that’s enough for a second date.