If you have a website, you’ve likely heard the SEO (or search engine optimization) being touted as an essential aspect of driving leads to your site. SEO is everywhere – it seems like you can’t read a marketing blog without someone bringing up the Google Search algorithm or talking about blog optimizations.
Similarly, you’ve probably heard the phrase “content is king” being thrown around by every marketing expert in the industry. Post after post has explored online content and how essential a content marketing strategy is for your online business.
As a digital marketing agency, we’re 100% on board with the fact that SEO and content marketing are both necessary to drive leads to your site long-term. However, we look at SEO and content marketing a bit differently. It seems like too many marketing experts and agencies look at content marketing and SEO as individuals instead of as a pair.
We’re here to end this siloing of SEO and content marketing. They’re BFFs, and they belong together. Here’s why content marketing is the most important thing that you can do for SEO.
SEO and Content Marketing: Same Same, but Different
You may be wondering why we’re trying to force content marketing and SEO to work together. They deal with different aspects of your site, right?
Well, yes, you’re right (kind of)
SEO is more technical, while content marketing is more holistic. With SEO, you’re looking at the all the things your site needs to rank in Google and get clicks – think things like backlinks, page titles, keyword targeting, redirects, and site indexing.
Content marketing, on the other hand, feels initially much more creative. Here, we’re talking about blog posts, creative assets, evergreen content, videos, and all the other content that you, as a consumer, search out on a daily basis.
But, no, you’re wrong (kind of)
While SEO and content deal with different aspects of your site, SEO simply can’t be done properly without content marketing. You want backlinks? Create an awesome creative asset that other high-value sites want to link to. You need to target some keywords? Write blog posts containing that keyword.
Think of it this way: SEO is the corporate office, and content marketing is the fulfillment center. When SEO needs something done to boost page rankings or drive users to the site, content marketing is generally the one to do it. But you can’t have content marketing without some SEO findings to drive it – a blog post is pointless if it isn’t targeted towards a keyword or optimized.
SEO can’t succeed without content marketing, and content marketing is desolate without SEO.
Why Content Marketing is the Most Important Thing for SEO
Now that we understand that SEO and content marketing aren’t two strangers passing in the night, but ultimate best friends, let’s look at the specific ways that content marketing is the most important part of your SEO strategy.
Content Marketing Gives You Links
An undisputed part of Google’s algorithm is the need for backlinks from high-quality sites. If your marketing infographic is linked to by Kissmetrics or the Content Marketing Institute, Google recognizes that you must have a high-quality page that users will want to see. Hello, page one rankings.
Similarly, internal links also signal to Google that you have an awesome site that needs to be seen. When SEO asks, content marketing answers. Creating blog posts that contain links back to other pages on your site – whether it’s a link to a related blog post or a relevant product page – will help boost your page authority for multiple pages on your site. Cool, right?
Content Marketing Creates Long-Term SEO Benefits
A lot of what we think as SEO deals with immediate, low-hanging fruit. Fix some 404 errors, and you’ll likely see a small bump in traffic as a result. However, content marketing is your long-term SEO strategy.
When you publish a blog post or share a webinar on your site, the visitors are going to keep coming as long as the content is live. The more people that visit your page and stay to engage with the content, the more that Google is going to mark your page as a high-quality site that deserves a spot in the top of the rankings.
When you boil it down, content marketing is like compound interest to your site. As long as you keep creating high-quality content, your site is going to see exponentially increasing page views (and hopefully) leads as your site authority
Content Marketing Captures Keywords
If you want your site to show up in Google, you need to include keywords that people are searching for in your content. The more content you have that successfully captures different keywords, the more your site will show up in Google search results.
If your site only has barebone content describing what you do, you’re missing out on some massive optimization opportunities. High-quality blog posts and creative assets will help you capture keywords specific to your company, as well as targeting long-tail, top of the funnel keywords.
Content Marketing Attracts Social Shares
A high-quality blog post, infographic, video, or other creative asset that you publish on your site will likely get shared across social media. Sure, you may need to share it across your own social media channels to get the share-fest started, but if you create a piece of content that is directly targeted towards your audience, they’ll want to share it with their followers, too.
How does this help with your site’s SEO? Like backlinks, Google views social shares as a sign of high-quality content. The more people that interact with your content on social media, the more Google recognizes it as a piece of content that is useful. Your content’s social shares will play in important part in what position it’s served in SERPs.
What V9ers Have to Say About Content Marketing & SEO
We asked some of our team of #SEOnerds about what they thought about content marketing and SEO, and how they play together. Here are their responses:
Natalie Henley, CEO
A few reasons why Content Marketing is so important to SEO:
- 72% of marketers agree that content creation is the single most effective SEO tactic.
- Content marketing creates an asset that continues to drive traffic and leads to your brand for years
- It’s a way to engage and connect with your audience and provide something valuable or entertaining to them, which in turn builds valuable brand signals that support your SEO (like earning links)
- Content marketing is the best way to build expertise and authority in categories that you want more visibility in
Ben Waymire, Account Director
In my opinion, “content marketing” is “marketing.” Without content, marketing doesn’t work!
Content is the single most important asset for any brand. Content marketing influences all other online marketing strategies: it drives traffic, it establishes (or builds) a brand’s reputation, and it’s the most powerful weapon in the arsenal for driving conversions and revenue. Content marketing has lasting power. While we watch channels and technologies evolve, content marketing stands resilient as the most critical element for a brand’s long-term strategy.
Barb Dittert, Content Director
No matter how brilliant your marketing may be, today’s consumer is savvy enough to know an ad when she sees it. And while your creative might go viral and put your brand in front of millions – it can only get you so far.
Just because Nike tells me to “Just do it,” it doesn’t mean I will. I want to know more about that running shoe that’s going to set me back $150. Even if I think it’s super comfortable when I try it on in Niketown, how I am going to like it in a month? I’m an experienced enough runner to know that sometimes that shoe you love in the store can feel like needles piercing through your foot after a few long runs.
What’s the return policy? What do other users think of the shoe? Does the shoe run big? Does it run wide? Will it fall apart in six months? How much does it weigh? Is it better for a treadmill, an elliptical, or for road running? Winter or summer?
There are dozens of things I take into consideration when making this type of purchase. And with bigger ticket items like a car, that list gets even longer. To get consumers like me to cross the finish line, you need to provide us with enough information to make an educated purchasing decision. When you provide this content in an SEO friendly structure, you find us as we are making their purchasing decisions. We will love you for it, and so will search engines.
So, What’s Next?
Now that you know the vital role content marketing plays in boosting your site’s SEO, it’s time to start putting together a content marketing strategy for your website. If this is the first content ]strategy that your company has put together, you’ll find useful tips in setting up a kickass plan in The Beginner’s Guide to Developing a Content Marketing Strategy. Whether you’re a newbie or blogging pro, you can give your efforts an extra boost by making sure every post is perfectly optimized – use our content optimization checklist as a resource!
If building an awesome strategy seems like too daunting of a task, the content team at Volume Nine is here to help. Drop us a line – we love to chat about all things content marketing!