The Secret to Great Content Marketing? Great SEO

By Ian Blake on 24 November 2015 10:55:45 GMT


“SEO is dead! The future is content marketing!”

How many times have you heard that claim bandied about?

But is it true?

Of course, content driven marketing techniques are steaming ahead of conventional SEO. No longer are top marketers restricting themselves to stuffing websites with Google-friendly phrases that help them show up in search results. No longer is the focus purely on making yourself easily discoverable. Content marketing works because it gives you an opportunity to take the initiative, to push your brand and expertise out into the world and get people excited enough to engage with what you’ve created, share it and come back for more.

But that doesn’t mean that SEO is a dead duck. Quite the opposite.

If you want to meet your content marketing objectives, you need to do everything you can to make sure the right people stumble across your content. You need to know that your content suits the needs of your client base. You need to know that the language you use to express yourself matches the way your audience thinks and talks, too.

And the best way to do that? With SEO, of course.

Let’s look at how that works in practice.

For starters, there’s traditional keywording. As Christine Warner of Skyword explains:

Keywords are still the primary entry method to the search process, whether initiated by conversational or exact match searches. Keywords should not be the sole focus of your on-page strategy, but they must be integrated in the URL, title, body, internal links, and meta information of your content to align with search intent.”

If you want the first cohort of people to stumble upon that amazing blog post or how-to video you’ve created, the one that will be the first step in their customer journey, you still have to follow the same basic SEO rules to make sure they can find you.

The same, of course, goes for link-building.

While you should never engage in Google spamming or other manipulative methods, content marketing thrives on recommendations, influencer shares and credible backlinks. Not just because it pushes up your place in searches but also because it gives your content the credibility it needs to boost your reputation and win you sales.

In the past, generating backlinks was an arduous process. Persuading credible sources to link back to your website is tough when there’s nothing obvious in it for them, and jumping straight to the message of “Look what we sell! You should buy it!” is intrinsically pushy.

That’s where content marketing starts to shine. Instead of trying to get an influential figure to direct people towards your shop window, you offer them a fantastic resource that they can share with their followers or network. You give them extra kudos and add value for their colleagues, while indirectly promoting your own brand, emphasising your authority on a subject and putting yourself on your target market’s radar.  

That’s a far, far easier sell than “Hey, can you promote my product or service for free?”

In fact, instead of replacing SEO, content driven marketing is a kind of supercharged, next-level version.

Or, as Crazy Egg and KISSMetrics founder Neil Patel puts it in this awesome post, “SEO makes demands. Content marketing fulfills those demands.”

How so?

For your SEO to work, you need a constant, consistent supply of fresh, keyword-laden, properly tagged content with enhanced metadata. You need it to be mobile-optimised, you need it to be easily shareable, you need plenty of external and internal links back to it.

The most important word here? Content. None of this can happen if you don’t have great content on which to sprinkle your SEO wizardry.

Content Marketing means creating an ongoing source of high quality resources that you can work SEO magic on. Done well, it doesn’t replace it – rather, it solves the problems that SEO creates. It gives you a chance to do all the things you need for great SEO, without the awkward, spammy elements that give SEO a bad name.

SEO and content marketing: It’s a match made in (Google) heaven.


For more great tips and tricks to help you meet your content marketing objectives, download the ‘B2B Content Creation Masterclass’ below.