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Mention digital marketing and, within minutes, buzzwords like search engine optimization (SEO) and content marketing will be mentioned. Both are more than buzzwords. They are integral parts of successful digital marketing for most brands today.
Chances are, if you’re running a business that uses digital marketing, you’re already using both. SEO will drive traffic to your website, while using content marketing in your blogs and on your social media channels. But here’s the question: are the two tactics working well together? If not, you could be missing out on a great opportunity to help your brand grow.
Related: 7 Reasons Why SEO Matters to Every Startup
Making sense of the buzz: SEO vs content marketing
Before considering how SEO and content marketing can be combined in your marketing strategy, it is worth clarifying the differences between the two tactics. As digital marketing terms become more widely used, they are often used synonymously even though they describe different things.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “focused on the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience.” The overall goal is to encourage customer actions that benefit the brand, whether it’s through subscribing to a service or purchasing a product.
Unlike traditional marketing, content marketing works indirectly with the consumer and is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services, compared to specific brands. Instead of talking to customers about a specific product or service, content marketing helps the customer solve problems by providing information they may not have had before.
Brands that excel at content marketing and Search Engine Optimization build long-term relationships with their audiences. Customers come to rely on the brand as a source of advice rather than just a business pushing products and services.
What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Search Engine Optimization is a crucial part of marketing for businesses that rely on website traffic. It organizes and optimizes content from search engines, such as Google, and helps your website rank high in search results. The Digital Marketing Institute defines SEO as a process that helps brands generate website traffic from “free, organic, editorial or natural search engine results.”
As a brand, you can pay an SEO expert to improve your rankings, but there is no payment to the companies behind the search engines. This is what distinguishes SEO from Search Engine Marketing (SEM), which refers to paid listings. While SEO takes time to deliver results, SEM can increase product visibility in a short time.
Many brands use both approaches as part of their digital marketing strategy. But let’s just focus on SEO. SEO has become a non-negotiable part of any brand’s digital marketing strategy that depends on website traffic for its success. Without it, even the best designed website can never be found by relevant audiences.
Based on these clarifications, it is easy to identify the connection between content marketing and search engine optimization.
Related: 7 Ways Small Businesses Can Use SEO to Boost Customer Service and Growth
Making content marketing and SEO work together
To reach the full potential to benefit your brand, content marketing and SEO need to work together. As a new brand, you should create content with search engine requirements in mind. As a brand with an existing library of content, it’s worth reviewing your content to ensure it benefits your search engine.
Starting from scratch: how to develop SEO-friendly content
Just a few years ago, creating SEO-friendly content meant stuffing keywords into what would otherwise have been a well-written article. As a result, many websites have become unreadable and unhelpful to their users. Search engine operators realized that and started changing their algorithms. Today, search engines strive to deliver the most relevant content to users.
So, how can you tell Google that your content is relevant? The answer is simple: be clear with your content. Search engines crawl through websites, and the easier it is to identify the focus of your content, the higher your content will be ranked on search engine results pages. .
Staying focused is the key to successful content development. This may sound simple, but it can be surprisingly difficult to implement at times. For example, if you are offering separate online courses for languages and personal finance, avoid placing both types of courses on the same page. Instead, create a separate language course page and another personal finance page. You may even want to break the language courses into individual languages.
The same goes for blog posts. It is possible to blog about the benefits of online courses in general. However, creating individual pieces of content for online language courses and personal finance courses almost always drives more content to the relevant pages.
Creating content from scratch means starting with target keywords in mind and matching content to those keywords.
Creating brand new content can give you an edge with SEO, but it’s a time-consuming approach. Most established businesses and brands already have a library of content and should update and optimize that content to benefit search engine rankings.
Again, it helps to try to think like a search engine. Websites that are constantly updated rank higher than those with stagnant content. Updating existing content is an excellent way to meet that requirement while saving time.
Optimizing existing content is not complete without a review of internal and external links. Internal linking tells search engines about the structure of your website and reveals content that belongs together. Orphaned content, pages not linked together, struggle to be found by search engines.
Related: Why SEO Is Much Easier Than You Think
Take advantage of synergies
SEO and content marketing should work together to attract the most users to your website and generate sales.
To create synergies, start developing content with SEO in mind. Delivering great content that benefits users can easily be SEO friendly, especially if it’s developed this way from the start. Treating SEO as an afterthought tacked on to the end of content development simply doesn’t yield the best results.
Creating content with your audience in mind and a clear understanding of your topic will make it easier to optimize content for rankings. Regardless of the time investment, traffic optimization is useful for your business.