Is Content Marketing the New SEO?

cms-265127_640If you’re working to grow your business, you know that an online marketing strategy is absolutely necessary. Today’s consumers use the Internet to find businesses to meet all of their needs, and if you want to reach them, you need to be there. That being said, it can be difficult to determine exactly what that entails for your business. There are many different options, and considering that popular tactics and channels shift on a daily basis, you may not know which ones are best for your specific goals. And although SEO has been the go-to method for most business owners looking to grow their businesses online for the past few years, you may have noticed another strategy gaining attention: Content marketing. But before you abandon your optimization efforts entirely and start writing novel-length articles, here’s what you should know.

What is content marketing?

First, let’s look at what exactly content marketing is. Basically, it’s creating content (blog posts, articles, infographics, guides, videos, etc.) that’s somehow valuable to your potential customers, and offering it for free in order to build your business’s brand awareness and trust. The content you create depends heavily on your industry, and so does the way you present it. In fact, you may even have multiple ways of offering content within your own site. Written how-to style articles may be housed in a knowledge base section of your site and freely accessible, while longer, more in-depth guides and PDFs may be gated and require that a user enter their email before accessing. Regardless of how you set it up, a content marketing strategy ultimately means using original content to attract traffic, links, and ultimately – leads.

The overlap between content marketing and SEO

Now, let’s look at the relationship between content marketing and SEO. Of course, there’s the obvious connection that written content can be optimized for specific keywords and phrases, meaning that the page it’s housed on will have a chance to rank in search engines. However, there’s also a less obvious connection that’s arguably even more important. When you create great content, customers aren’t the only ones that notice – other companies and news sites may, too. And if they choose to link to your content, that means improved visibility, authority, and ability to rank well, regardless of keyword choices. This means that the content you create can have a huge impact on your overall SEO, even if it isn’t optimized.

The differences between content marketing and SEO

Although the two can work together extremely well, it’s important to note that they should still be treated as separate tactics. On one hand, SEO requires diligent monitoring of analytics, user experience, and trends in search. Content marketing, on the other hand, often allows for much more creativity and freedom. And while we don’t recommend that you go too out on a limb when creating content, many companies have seen success with content that doesn’t on the surface seem directly related to their industries. This kind of outside-of-the-box thinking can pay off when it comes to infographics, videos, and other customer-focused content, but we don’t recommend that you carry it over into your SEO strategy. When it comes down to it, content marketing and SEO are two sides of the same coin – but still two separate sides.

Do your content and SEO work together?

The bottom line is this: Content marketing isn’t replacing SEO – it’s adding to SEO. So instead of abandoning your optimization in favor of writing and designing content for your visitors, continue to improve your site – and use the reputation you build through content marketing to do it. If you’re interested in using both content marketing and SEO to improve your company’s online visibility but don’t have the in-house time and resources, we know of a few people you can call. Take a look at our 2015 rankings, and we’re confident you’ll find the right company for the job.

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