In our current digital age, online marketing is king. There’s simply no escaping the fact that the best way to reach customers, both new and old, is by connecting with them via online content. 

This being the case, the digital marketing industry continues to grow each year, and there’s constantly new jobs and areas of expertise arising within the profession. Companies looking to connect with their customers and increase their online presence need to work with digital marketing tools and services to have a shot of standing out. 

Digital marketing offers businesses, both big and small, the chance to connect with the audience they are seeking through a variety of techniques. Two of the most prevalent digital marketing methods in the current online sphere are search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing (CM).  

Confusion Surrounding SEO and CM

When people first come into contact with the concepts of search engine optimization and CM, there seems to be a tendency to view them as competitors with one another when it comes to online marketing strategies. This, however, is a false conclusion. 

In fact, SEO and CM are like yin and yang. While they each work with different principles and are designed to connect with target audiences in very distinct ways, they are entirely complementary to one another. Much of what makes SEO so powerful as a marketing tool relies on the success of CM, and vice versa. In many ways, there is no one without the other. 

For those looking to make the most out of online marketing, it’s important to have a solid grasp on both SEO and CM and to understand how they work best when they work together.

Content Marketing: What Exactly Is It?

While a prominent feature of online marketing, CM is nothing new and has, in fact, been around for centuries. The basic principle of CM is to attract customer engagement by creating content that is not strictly advertorial. 

Many newspapers, blogs, and video channels are owned or operated by companies looking to increase their online presence. Companies seeking to connect with their customers and increase brand awareness often do so by creating and promoting work such as:

  • Articles
  • Newsletters
  • Apps
  • Games
  • Quizzes
  • Videos (long form/short form)
  • Competitions

By creating consumable works that customers are drawn to and appreciate, businesses create an opportunity to direct traffic towards their more commercial content, increase sales, and to raise appreciation for their brand.

This approach to marketing shifts the focus away from a company itself, and the particular services or products it offers, and instead focuses on the audience – providing the audience with content they will want and appreciate.

Search Engine Optimization: What’s It All About?

SEO is a digital marketing tool that has risen to prominence with the growth of the internet and the dominance of internet search engines when it comes to connecting businesses with potential customers. Search engine optimization involves employing a keen understanding of search engine algorithms in order to create content that is particularly appealing to its functionality, and more likely to be seen by customers searching for the goods or services that a company provides.

SEO most often works with keywords, deeming content that potential customers will find relevant based on the frequency and coincidence of particular search inquiries. This type of digital marketing is focused on connecting potential customers with the most suitable services for their needs by working with the technical components of search engine design and identifying patterns in user behavior.

Working Together

So, two approaches: one based on content creation and the other on technical design. How can they be used together by digital marketers looking to make the most of the tools available to them? Here are 8 ways that SEO and CM work together to produce an effective online marketing strategy. 

 1. Content 

Everything on the internet revolves around content. Whereas CM explicitly focuses on the creation of content that customers will find attractive and trustworthy, there is no SEO without content! In order for a page to be optimized for search results, the content it contains must be produced so as to connect with a target audience. 

“Great content that will please both audiences and search engines requires experienced writers who know how to work alongside digital marketing tools. Many businesses turn to writers that have studied with online services to achieve the qualifications, making them suitable for paid writing.”, as Jan Archer, one of the content marketing managers that helped me with Prepscholar review said. Businesses making the most out of digital marketing know that employing professional content writers that can help with the writing is the key to maximizing both content marketing strategy and search engine optimization.  

2. Keywords

While keywords are often considered to be the backbone of search engine optimization, they also play a highly important role in effective CM. Without the use of important keywords, it becomes less and less likely that your content will reach the right audience, regardless of its quality. 

Content marketers need to be aware of this when publishing their content, and an effective understanding of how to use keywords comes from having a keen awareness of your target audience and how they go about searching for content. 

Embedding links throughout the content is an important way to use both SEO and CM to your advantage. Linking to certain content will improve a webpage’s performance when it comes to visibility in search results, and linking to other relevant content is a surefire way for content marketers to ensure that their audience remains entertained and satisfied with the results they have found. 

Embedding links throughout your content is an important way to use both SEO and content marketing to your advantage. Click To Tweet

A good understanding of how to use links in the creation of digital content will ensure that your audience is being directed around content that is most relevant to their needs, and creates a network of relevant content for them to explore. 

4. Design

Any digital marketer, whether their area of expertise is content marketing or search engine optimization, knows the importance of good design when it comes to creating the user experience. Search engine optimizers use clear lay-outs and specific language to ensure that the audience they attract is able to find exactly what they are looking for as easily as possible. 

Content marketers, on the other hand, employ a wide variety of web design features, such as targeted pop-ups, chatbots, or even an AI in order to improve the user experience and create the level of content satisfaction that ultimately produces brand loyalty. 

5. Consistent Output

Both SEO and content marketing benefit greatly from consistent delivery of output and creation. Businesses relying on SEO strategies will see their performance boosted by the consistent production and release of optimized content, with each relevant page increasing their presence in search engine results. 

Content marketers know that to keep their audiences happy, they need to employ content creation strategies that will keep their audiences hooked and wanting more. One major driving force behind content marketing is creating loyalty towards a given source of content, and consistency and reliability is a major factor in achieving such. 

That’s why many companies opt to send out regular newspapers and update emails in order to keep a consistent point of contact with their audience. 

6. Recognizability 

Just as content marketing strives to boost brand awareness and trust among a target audience by producing valuable content, SEO benefits from a degree of recognizability and trust. Even if a web page is optimized to appear in search results, they are more likely to drive traffic if they have managed to create an image of reliability. No matter how optimized your web page is, wariness among your audience will drive away attention, and ultimately sales. 

7. Understanding your Platform

For both SEO marketers and content marketers, it’s absolutely crucial to understand the platform on which your content appears. Keeping up to date with the principles and algorithms behind particular search engines is key to making sure your pages appear as top results.

Content marketers similarly need to have a good understanding of the platform for which they are producing. Understanding how websites such as YouTube or Facebook choose to support and promote content is necessary for making the kind of content that users of those sites are looking for.  

8. Managing Traffic 

Any approach to online marketing needs to make a priority out of managing their online traffic. SEO is all about directing audiences towards a business’s content with the use of keywords and links, and if done right, can create a direct path for users to follow and find the services or goods they are looking for.

Content marketing similarly presents the opportunity for businesses to specifically design their content so as to direct their audience from one type of content to the next, therefore effectively managing the overall user experience. Ultimately, the flow of this direction will determine the user’s holistic experience of the entire brand and determine whether or not they form a sense of trust and loyalty.

Next Steps

Far from being opposites, SEO and CM can be viewed as two sides of the digital marketing coin that work together in order to direct traffic and impact consumer opinion.

Understanding the techniques that unite them is key to being able to use them to their maximum potential and connect with the customers that are right for you.