seo vs content marketing

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You have a vague notion of SEO and content marketing but you don’t know which one you should focus on for your business? You’re in luck!

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the main differences between the two and why mastering both of them is important.

While SEO and content marketing belong to the same umbrella in the digital marketing space and both have similar goals – to drive traffic, generate leads, and sales for your business – they have very different approaches.

But the thing is without each other, you can expect very little to no results.

SEO Optimized Articles Services

What Is SEO in Digital Marketing?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it is a type of digital marketing aimed at increasing website traffic through search engines.

Search engine optimization is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engine results pages (SERPs) by increasing the relevance of the website or page content to search terms.

Essentially, SEO helps you develop and optimize both your site and content to ensure that potential customers easily find your business.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves creating, publishing, and sharing relevant and helpful content with your audience, encouraging them to take a specific type of action like buying a product or service, downloading an eBook, signing up for a webinar, listening to a podcast, etc…

SEO vs Content Marketing – Which One Should You Focus On?

In all cases, you need both SEO and content marketing in order to achieve consistent growth in your business.

While the ultimate goal of content marketing is to attract potential customers and convert them into paying customers, the main purpose of SEO is to tell the algorithm that your content is the best and deserves the highest ranking spot.

Thus, both SEO and content marketing are needed to build a stable and profitable business.

It’s also good to note that SEO works like charm when it has great content as its foundation. You can optimize a piece of content like crazy but if the content itself is crappy, your SEO efforts will pretty much go waste.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is pretty simple in the sense that you simply share your expertise with the world and share tips and ideas to help others.

Content marketing is also referred to as inbound marketing because you are creating content for your audience to come to you (inbound) as opposed to reaching out to people via cold calling, cold emailing, or traditional marketing techniques (outbound).

The common misconception is that you can get away with just one or the other. This simply isn’t true!

While SEO can boost your content marketing efforts, it is not enough to be effective and successful on its own.

Let’s take a look at the various types of content marketing that you can choose to create for your business or brand:

  • Blog Posts: Also known as articles, blog posts are basically the written content on your website. They should be well-optimized in order to gain traction, rank on Google and most importantly convert readers to customers.
  • Emails: Emails are a direct form of marketing in which you send someone useful and helpful information that they might find useful. Emails have proven to be successful in drawing attention to your business or brand. You can create email campaigns specifically for specific customer groups, topics, and offers.
  • Social Media Posts: As we all know by now, social media is another important and popular part of any inbound marketing strategy. You can share content on your various social media accounts and engage with your audience.
  • Videos: Video content is taking more and more ground in the digital marketing landscape and it is a very ROI-friendly form of content marketing for any business.
  • eBooks: eBooks are another very valuable form of content marketing. They can be useful and helpful to your audience in a variety of ways you may not have thought of.
  • Podcasts: Podcasts are audio-based promotional content with the average length being 1-3 minutes long. This is perfect for small and medium-sized companies as well as entrepreneurs.
  • Case Studies: Case studies are written form or video content that are used to demonstrate the results of a brand’s product or services.
  • White Papers: These are long-form, in-depth written content used in the digital marketing world to provide helpful information that can be used to solve a problem or educate readers about a specific topic.
  • Infographics: Infographics are used to present your long-form content in a more visual way and is also a means of attracting lots of backlinks from other sites.

SEO vs Content Marketing | The Differences to Know

1. SEO is Technical, Content Marketing is Creative

What makes SEO a technical form of marketing is the fact that it deals with optimizing your content, text, and other forms of data on your web pages to increase your position for the keywords of your choice that are relevant to your brand.

Simply put, SEO is finding search terms that your target audience is looking for and applying some practices that will get those search terms to Page 1 of Google and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo, etc…

Content marketing, on the other hand, relies heavily on creating high-quality content that you will use to market your products or services.

It is also important to note that SEO and content marketing are very closely related and both are equally important for your business.

2. SEO is The Fuel, Content Marketing is The Engine

As I’ve said before, both are meant to work together. If you want great results in terms of traffic, leads, or sales, you cannot just write content and wait for those results.

You have to implement SEO in order to achieve your content marketing goals. There’s no other way around it.

Content marketing is like a sports car and when you put fuel (SEO) into the engine, you can go wherever you want. In short, it is the SEO (fuel) that gives the content marketing (engine) its power.

3. SEO is For the Algorithm, Content Marketing is For the Human

Great content is and will always be King! However, it’s not enough to put out amazing content and wait for traffic to flood your site.

The truth is it’s the algorithm that will bring your content in front of humans, i.e, your readers. So what does that mean? Write for humans and optimize for the algo!

Content Marketing vs SEO – What Are the Types of SEO

Now that we’ve seen the basic concept of SEO, Content Marketing and the main differences between them, let’s dive deeper into these two digital terms.

In fact, the word SEO is usually broken down into 4 main categories and each of them is pretty complex, has a lot of areas to cover, and requires extensive knowledge.

Here are the main four types of SEO:

1. On-Page SEO

The easiest of all optimizations will be the On-Page SEO. It’s the process where you have absolute control compared to off-page SEO, which will discuss further down.

On-Page SEO is the process of optimizing specific areas of a page or an article so that Google sees it as a good, relevant resource and stands a chance to rank.

So, what should you optimize for a perfect on-page optimization score?

Title Tags

Title tags refer to the main headlines of your page or article in which your focus keyword should appear. Always aim at creating click-worthy headlines to increase your click-trough rate. A great title is the entry point to your amazing content.If no one clicks, no one gets to see your content.

Meta Description

The meta description is the small snippet that appears under your title in search engine results. Unlike the title, this is a free place where you can promote your article’s quality/value by adding a short description of the article. Include your focus keyword and make it enticing enough so that readers may want to click through.

Headings

Headings are used to break your content into sections so that users can skim through it easily. These are usually your H2 – H6 and here also you should try to insert your focus keyword and semantic keywords that are related to your main keywords.

URL

The URL is basically the web address of your page or blog post. According to Google guidelines, you should include your focus keyword and try to make it short and easy to remember.

Page Content

The body of your content, be it a service page or an article should always contain your focus keyword more than just one time. Of course, you should stuff your keywords just for the sake of including keywords but it should be natural.

Schema Markup

Also known as Structured Data, Schema Markup is basically a code placed in your website’s source code that helps Google better understand your content and rank it in rich results such as reviews, carousels, video, recipe and so on. Rich results or rich snippets more than basic results. See image below.

Internal Linking

Internal linking or interlinking is one of the best SEO practices you can apply for better results. It’s essentially connecting relevant pages or articles to one another. When link juice is passed from an authoritative page, the weak page gets a boost and ranks better. I can go as far as to say that when done properly, internal linking can be as effective as backlinks from authoritative sites.

Image Alt Text

Google does not rank written content only but images as well. So, if your content contains images, you should put your focus keyword in the alternative text section so your images can rank in the SERPs.

3. Technical SEO

The other type of SEO that is also crucial if you want to get higher rankings in Google is technical SEO.

Technical SEO will focus on optimizing the performance of your website for better results in the SERPs.

Core Web Vitals are pretty new to the rankings factors set by Google and this makes it an essential part of your technical SEO.

We will not dive too deep into this aspect of SEO but below is a basic checklist of the technical SEO elements you should always keep a close eye on:

  • Page Speed
  • Indexability
  • Crawl Status
  • Sitemap Verification
  • Canonical Tags
  • Keyword Cannibalization
  • Duplicate Content
  • Broken Links
  • Redirects
  • 404 Error Pages
  • SSL Certificates
  • Image Optimization
  • Mobile Optimization

4. Off-Page SEO

Like the name suggests, Off-Page SEO refers to the off-site/external activities performed in order to increase your website’s visibility.

The general term for this is link building or link acquisition. Having authoritative sites in your industry pointing to you has tremendous benefits as they will have a direct influence on your keyword rankings.

As a matter of fact, backlinks are one of the most essential ranking factors in SEO.

This is because when a reputable site links to you, Google starts to see your site as trustworthy. In addition, it also helps to push your content and brand straight into the hands of your target audience.

Here are a few link-building strategies you can implement for better rankings on Google:

Guest Posting

When you write an article on another site, it’s called guest posting. In exchange of this, you receive a link back to your site or several links to different articles that you want to rank.

HARO

Reply to journalists’ queries on HARO (Help a Reporter Out) and get linked to your site.

Link Insertions

This is a very common link-building technique for many SEOs. The idea is to build a relationship with someone and ask them to link to your site from a specific page with a specific anchor text.

Citations

Citations are mentions of your business contact details on other sites such as directories like Yelp, Google My Business, etc…These are mainly used to build trust in the eyes of Google. The more you show Google you are a real business, the more it trusts you.

Local SEO

Local SEO is the practice of ranking for keywords in a specific location. It is mostly beneficial for businesses with a physical location.

Social Signals

Links from social networks are all no-follow links which means these links do not pass on link juice. But they help establish trust and credibility in Google’s sight.

Is Content Marketing a Part of SEO?

Let us make one thing clear scope: content marketing is part of SEO and SEO is also part of content marketing. Doing one and neglecting the other won’t get you very far in your content marketing goals.

For instance, you can write the most exquisite piece of content, if you don’t get it indexed on Google, no one will see it, right? And the only way you can index your site is through SEO.

So, you see content marketing doesn’t produce results on its own. You need to pair it with SEO!

This is where content marketing can bring in a flood of traffic to your site and consequently, boost your business figures.

Here are a few ways content marketing paired with SEO can help your business:

and a lot more…

Final Thoughts on SEO vs Content Marketing

We’ve come to the end of our SEO vs Content Marketing debate. I hope by now you’ve got a better idea of the two concepts.

SEO and content marketing are like shirts and pants. They are very different but complementary. Your results on Google will be a direct reflection of both your SEO and your content marketing strategy.

It does not matter what your business is, who your target audience is or how big of a business you are trying to get.

SEO will always be as important as content marketing and vice versa. No matter the industry, no matter the competition, no matter how big or small your business is and no matter how deep into the search results you are aiming for, SEO and content marketing are two of the best digital marketing channels there are in today’s day and age.

Always remember that SEO can be the best way to drive organic traffic to your website but it will take time and patience.

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Nat Caesar is the Owner, Senior Editor & Head of Growth at Myndset. She is also the Founder of Caesar Media, a Digital Media Agency based in Mauritius. Since 2014 she has worked with more than 250 companies around the world including a few reputable brands like Adobe, Starbucks, Lacoste, and Pinterest Labs among others. Nat is also a seasoned SEO copywriter in the SaaS & B2B space. Feel free to reach out to her at [email protected]