Content Marketing vs. SEO – Which Strategy is Best in 2019?

March 8, 2019

When speaking to a lot of business owners, there seems to be a confusion between SEO vs. content marketing.

From our experiences at PoofNewSales, the owners who understand the difference between the two, and how to use high quality content to improve their SEO are usually far more successful with their digital marketing strategy.

  • So what do you need to know about content and SEO in order to make the most out of your online marketing budget?
  • What are the core principles of both, how should you combine them, and what should you be looking for in an agency when hiring?

We’ve got you covered with the answers to all of these questions and more. Let’s get started.

content marketing vs seo which is best

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. This is a study based on the idea of optimizing your website in order to make it easy for search engines to find it, read it, and understand it. Essentially, the main goal of SEO is to rank your site higher than the competition in the search rankings.

Types of SEO

As you can imagine, there are a lot of ranking factors that go into Google’s algorithm (well over 200). As a result, SEO has evolved over the years to embody quite a wide variety of techniques and principles.

As a result, a few different types of SEO have emerged in the online marketing world. The most important type being Technical.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the most basic type of search engine optimization which aims to fix any type of errors or poor practices that your site is utilizing which may hurt your rankings. Technical SEO includes things like:

  • Backlink Strategy
  • Optimizing Headers
  • Backlink Strategy
  • Site Load Speed
  • Keyword Optimization
  • And more…

You want to make sure that your Technical SEO is optimized before anything else, because even if you have really high quality content, your rankings will never improve if your basic SEO is not tailored to Google’s preferences.

Pro Tip: To learn more about Technical SEO and how to optimize it for your website, check out this comprehensive guide we created.

Semantic SEO

Semantic SEO is the practice of providing value to your audience through the actual content on your website. Most of the time, this involves an in depth understanding of what your audience is looking for, and what the internet has to offer them.

With semantic SEO, the practice is much more open, and does not depend on attention to highly technical details. Instead, it focuses on your content’s ability to answer audience questions and satisfy their user intent.

For example: Say you search the term, “content marketing for small businesses” and are displayed the top 10 results on Google. You click on one, and it has all of the answers to the questions you had not even thought about yet. Chances are, not only will you stay on this article longer, but when you leave, you will likely not have a need for more information because this content was comprehensive.

A less comprehensive piece of web content may have caused the user to leave once their original question was answered. This can send bad signals to Google if they leave too early. After this, they could easily go to another article that is more comprehensive and stay there longer, then leave to not open another page related to this search. This would then send Google signals that perhaps your article is not as good at satisfying user intent than the second one they clicked on.

This is the idea of Semantic SEO. Answering your audience’s questions and providing them with guides that walk them through each and every step of the process in order to make your content the best source for anyone with related searches.

content marketing vs seo

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the act of creating high quality web content in order to inform your audience. The goal of content marketing is to build your brand and organic search traffic over time, as well as improve conversions rates from paid campaigns.

Content marketing works because regardless of the industry, people want to learn about something before purchasing it. This is true for both services and products, as well as B2B or B2C commerce.

Content marketing strategies typically include many different types of content in order to reach their target audience. These types of content include but are not limited to:

  • Blogs
  • Video
  • Infographics
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars
  • White Papers
  • E-mail Newsletters
  • E-books
  • And more…

Why Content Marketing Is So Important In 2019

In 2019, consumers now have more control over information than ever before. With over 50% of people using ad blockers on the internet, and over 60% of the people who don’t say they are bothered by internet ads, it is no worry why marketers are having to find new ways to reach consumers and establish brand awareness and trust.

Pro Tip: For more information on why content marketing is important for your company in 2019, check out this comprehensive guide.

So How Does Content Marketing Work?

Content marketing focuses on the idea of inbound marketing, vs. traditional outbound marketing methods. For instance, rather than people being exposed to your brand on a paid advertisement on TV or YouTube, content marketing focuses on attracting visitors to your site via organic search traffic.

So, as in the example above, imagine someone types in “best ways to remove mold from my home”. If you are a mold removal company, your content marketing strategy would aim towards answering this question, along with countless others that are similar in nature for your audience.

By answering these questions in depth, you are achieving a few things:

  • Building organic search traffic from Google
  • Demonstrating your expertise and building brand trust
  • Answering target customers’ questions
  • Associating your website with this type of content for Google

On top of all of this, think about the type of leads this will attract to your site. While traditional outbound marketing may target a wide audience in order to reach just a few people who may actually be interested, content marketing targets the people in your audience who are searching for queries related to your service.

This means that:

  • People arriving on your content from Google are highly qualified leads
  • They are looking to make a purchase soon
  • They are likely comparing services or products to purchase
  • They are looking for more information before making a final purchasing decision

So, while one piece of very specific content may only attract 90 leads per month from Google, every single one of them is highly likely to convert. Making the best of this can yield a much higher ROI than most other types of marketing. In fact, content marketing has been shown to yield 3x more leads than traditional marketing, for just 62% of the cost.

This is why content marketing is so important for building a brand, and why it is essential to succeeding in online marketing in 2019.

Pro Tip: To learn more about content marketing, check out this comprehensive guide we created to answer all of your questions.

content marketing vs seo strategies

SEO vs. Content Marketing: Which One Is Best For My Company?

So, now that you understand more about content marketing vs. SEO, you most likely see the value in both. Now you are asking, which one should I be using for my online marketing strategy?

Well, the answer is both. SEO without content marketing is great, but it will never allow your site to rank first for any relevant and high converting keywords. Content marketing without SEO will not be successful either, as you will waste lots of time, energy, and money producing high quality content for your website without ever being able to optimize them to perform as best they can.

Combining SEO With Content Marketing

Don’t worry, it’s actually not as hard as you think to combine content marketing with SEO. In fact, if you do it right from the start, you will not produce a single piece of content that does not fit into your SEO strategy for your website.

So, how can you combine your SEO strategy with your content marketing strategy to get the most out of both of them? Let’s go over a few pro tips which can help you make the most of both strategies.

seo vs content marketing which is best

1. Create A Content Calendar

A content calendar is simply a document that keeps track of all your content marketing efforts. This includes:

  • Blogs
  • Writers
  • Notes
  • Keywords
  • Competition
  • Publishing Schedule
  • Edits
  • Etc…

If you are serious about content marketing, you absolutely need a content calendar to keep everything in order. Otherwise, it all gets chaotic very quickly, and you will probably not get the most out of your content marketing strategy.

Pro Tip: Want to learn how to make the best content calendar for your company? Check out this awesome guide we made for you!

seo vs content marketing

2. Research Your Competition

One of the biggest mistakes that we see business owners make when it comes to their website content is that they do not take the time to understand what types of content their competition is producing, how well it is performing, and how to outrank them by filling content gaps.

So, as a result, they often waste a lot of time producing content that could never possibly hope to rank in the top 10 because it is not specific enough, or they create content that offers no additional value over the competitors, but rather just repeats and echoes what their content says.

This means it is extremely important to research your competition in order to make sure that your differentiate your brand through the value you bring in your content. This does not mean that you should not make content that covers the same subject matter as some of your competitors. But, what it does mean is that if you do not, you should have a good reason for it, and if you do, you better make sure it is much better than theirs in terms of both content and SEO.

Pro Tip: Want to learn how to research your competition in order to make better content than them? Check out this helpful guide we created just for you!

seo vs content marketing strategies which is better

3. Understand Your Audience

You can produce the best blog content in the world, but if you do not understand the people who are arriving on your site because of it, it really won’t matter.

There are a few reasons why understanding your audience is essential to content marketing:

  • Knowing what to write about
  • Understanding what their problems, interests, and objections are
  • Knowing what stage of the sales funnel they are in
  • Properly pushing them, through your funnel

In order to best understand your audience, you should first understand how to find out exactly what they are looking for. The best way to do this is to read this comprehensive guide we created.

Pro Tip: Want to know how to understand your audience in order to make the perfect content for each one of your users at each stage of the sales funnel? Check out this blog.

content marketing or seo which should i choose

4. Make SEO Friendly Blog Content

Chances are, if you are doing content marketing, you are blogging for a solid amount of your content.

Understanding how to make SEO friendly blog content is essential in order to rank for the keywords you are targeting and maximizing the ROI of your content marketing campaigns.

This is where content marketing and SEO meet head on. When creating your content, a few tips that can help you keep your content on subject in order to focus on ranking for the best keywords are:

  • Research first
  • Make the title for your content first
  • Keep a list of keywords and questions to use and answer in your content
  • Put users first
  • Understand how Google determines rankings based on SEO

It may be a lot to understand at first, but learning this skill set is very rewarding, and can have a massive impact on the successes of your content marketing campaigns.

Pro Tip: To learn more about how to optimize your SEO for your content, check out this guide we made.

seo or content marketing

5. Measure The ROI Of Your Content Marketing Strategy

At the end of the day, you should always be measuring the return on investment of anything your company invests in. Content marketing is no different.

So, how do you measure the ROI of your content marketing strategy and your SEO? Well, Google has made this fairly simple with Google Analytics and Search Console. These are pretty much the only two tools you will need in order to make sure your content is hitting the mark and performing well.

From here, you can measure things like:

  • Click through rate
  • Average position
  • Time on page
  • Behavior flow
  • Bounce rate
  • And much more…
Pro Tip: To learn more about how to optimize your SEO for your content, check out this guide we made.

content marketing vs search engine optimization

6. Continually Upgrade Your Content

Once you have the analytics data from Google, you need to use it in a constructive way to make sure that your content will continue to climb up the rankings and be more relevant for both users and search engines.

This is actually easier than it sounds, and mostly involves implementing slight tweaks such as adding a few sections, improving keyword density, answering a few more questions, and changing titles and headings.

Over time, you can make small tweaks, and then come back to revisit your analytics to find out how these changes influenced your content’s performance.

Pro Tip: For a full guide on how to upgrade your content for SEO purposes, check out this complete guide that we made.  

search engine optimization vs content marketing

7. Work With A Content Marketing Agency

Another huge mistake that we see business owners make is that they try to hire an SEO agency, and then handle their content marketing themselves, when realistically they should be doing the exact opposite. As a result of how SEO has evolved over the years, outside of the super technical SEO such as improving load time and making sure that you do not have any code errors on your site, the majority of your search engine rankings are determined by the actual content on your website.

So, it is really not beneficial for your company to hire an SEO company, unless they are working on a backlink strategy for you, which helps improve your rankings and domain authority over time.

Other than that, SEO companies are just wasting your time “improving your onsite SEO”, which really means doing the same research and making the same changes to your existing content that a content marketing agency would, minus the production of new high quality blog content that will help you rank better for important search terms in your industry.

Working with a content marketing agency allows you to have the full power of an SEO company, on top of a publishing company. Content marketing agencies help you to reach a wider target audience, build a brand, build organic search traffic, and convert this traffic into paying customers or clients.

Pro Tip: For more information on what a content marketing company can do to help your business, check this blog out. Also, for more about what to look for in a good content marketing agency, check out this guide.

PoofNewSales Free Content Marketing Tools

How Can You Learn More About Content Marketing?

Want to learn more about content marketing and SEO, how they work together, and what you can do in order to implement a content marketing strategy into your business model?

At PoofNewSales, our goal is to make sure that you have all of the resources you will need in order to succeed at bringing the value of your business to your audience.

For this reason, we have constructed a ton of super helpful and actionable content marketing learning resources for you.

To get started, check out our Content Marketing School, which contains free daily video and blog content.

We also have a comprehensive Content Marketing Masterclass designed to take people from beginners to winners in the content game. It has everything you need to market your own company online in 2019, become a content marketing manager, get a job coming out of school, or get real world education that actually applies in the market.

Check it out and become a better content marketer today! Learn and grow with us. Together, we will master content marketing and dominate the web.

content marketing school

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