Difference between Content Marketing and SEO

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There’s a trending interest in content marketing over the years

There’s no doubt about it: content marketing is the future of marketing. Today, as marketers, we need to know how to adopt its best practices and learn to “Sell without selling.” And yet, there are still so many unanswered questions around the content marketing niche.

Lack of proper knowledge and experts in this field leave marketers doubting if it will work for them. They’re asking questions like, “Do I need to spend a lot? How much effort do I need to invest in this? What am I doing wrong?”

Moreover, other disciplines that cross over with content marketing are also confused as to where their job ends and a content marketer’s job begins.

Having said that, one way for marketers to educate themselves is through reading industry blogs:

Outbrain Blog (of course), Moz, CMI, SearchengineLand.com  or even a simple search for “news,” to stay updated with all latest trends or best practices. Additionally, it is important to learn from content marketing case studies.

News search for content marketing

Content marketing versus SEO? Really?

One big unanswered question when it comes to content marketing is how it intersects with SEO. Data shows that the number of questions linking the two disciplines are growing month over month:

SEO and content marketing growth

And then there’s this great (and so true!) video that imagines if content and SEO were in couples therapy together. This is a must-watch video for anyone from either discipline:

As this hilarious video suggests, SEO specialists and the content marketers may not always see eye to eye. However, the truth is, that despite the squabbles and points of difference, SEO simply cannot live without content. And not just ANY content. SEO specialists need GOOD content — valuable content that provides solutions and answers users’ questions. Meanwhile, content marketing is useless without SEO optimization. It is like having a good chef meal without a plate to serve it on. SEO and content marketing both need each other.

What’s the difference between SEO and content marketing?

As an SEO specialist that works daily with content marketers, here are some key differences in the way I see SEO specialists and content marketers approach to content creation:

SEO will want the content to be focused and narrower. It is about giving the right answer to the right users, so you can catch them when they are searching. SEO specialists also like enjoyable content — the kind that users would love to share, as this type of content improves search rankings and earn backlinks easily. SEO will also make sure the page will load faster and will compete well in search results with other content using the same keywords.

Content marketing is usually broader. The focus is less about catching the right users through search and more on the quality of the content itself and the exposure the content gets, whether it is a blog post, video, product review, infographic, earned media, or podcast (See here all types of content you can promote). If the goal, for example, is for a brand to be a thought leader or the most entertaining in its category, a content marketer’s focus will be on crafting the best and most appropriate story using the best and most appropriate medium.

SEO’S Growing Focus on Content

Google loves fresh content. As a result, SEO specialists have been increasingly more focused on content, as you basically can’t have SEO without a content strategy. SEO needs to have a consistent content output. Similarly, so does content marketing. This means that it is more important than ever before for SEO and content marketers to work more closely together.

How to combine SEO with a content marketing strategy?

Make sure they follow these steps together and are aligned:

  1. Benchmark Research: What niche are you aiming to become an authority in?
  2. Search Volume: Are your desires worth the effort? Do users search for this information through search engines?
  3. Reach: What is the best way to reach this audience? (i.e. video, social media, blog, influencers)
  4. Business Goals: Does your combined SEO and content marketing strategy meet your business goals?
  5. Content Creation: Make sure the SEO expert and content marketer are working together to strike the right balance between high quality and SEO optimization
  6. Discovery: Beyond your owned channels, are there other opportunities for your content to get discovered?
  7. Measurement: What lessons did you learn? Successes? Failures?ֿ

Key Takeaways:

Content marketing and SEO are not two siloed practices. They need to work together to create synergy and maximize results.
Good SEO is also good content marketing. And vice versa.

The blog post originally posted on Outbrain’s Blog

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