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Content Marketing Completes the SEO Puzzle

Puzzle Piece

Content marketing and SEO are often approached as two separate departments or skills. If you segregate these two entities, you’ll find that your content performance tends to fall just short of the mark. SEO skills are often more analytical and technical while writing and ideation are heavy on creativity and right-brained thinking. However, it takes both skill sets to develop and implement a successful marketing strategy. Pull your content team into the SEO strategy session, and watch as everything falls into place.

Connect Content Marketing and SEO

Image via Flickr by manoftaste.de

To address content marketing and SEO as though they’re independent of one another is to deny the core features and functionality of each. SEO is a suite of tools and strategies you can use to increase your page rankings, while content marketing is the field in which those tools are employed. You can’t utilize SEO techniques without a piece of content to place them in. Likewise, your content marketing won’t achieve your desired success rates if you’re not implementing SEO strategies within each piece.

SEO and content marketing rely on one another to succeed in any campaign. If you’re addressing the two separately, you’re fumbling through with a disorganized approach to a very cohesive concept. SEO requires keyword use, link placement, metadata, and tagging, all of which you can easily incorporate into the content creation process for your marketing campaign. The connections between SEO and content creation are impossible to ignore.

Understand What’s Performing

The first step to connect your SEO and content marketing strategies is to analyze how the two have performed together in the past. Whether intentional or not, your content marketing has relied on a slew of search engine optimization strategies to achieve page rankings. If you’re not using an integrated marketing strategy, you might have ranked for keywords that aren’t necessarily central to your marketing plan, and you might have garnered or utilized links that are similarly haphazard in their choice and placement.

Evaluate the links and keywords that have performed most successfully in your previous content mix. Regardless of whether you were optimizing for these at the time, they will give you a wealth of useful information going forward. Determine what SEO was at work in your best-performing content so you can lean on those same concepts and approaches for future content.

Evaluate the Competition

Once you’ve identified the top-performing keywords for your existing content, step back and evaluate the competition in these and similar areas. If your page is ranking well for “fairy gardens,” then you might want to consider working with similar keywords, such as “fairy doors” or “whimsical gardens.” See how the competition stands for these and other related terms and topics, and identify areas where you have a solid chance of climbing to the top.

Building on your previously published content that’s currently performing will help you develop smart strategies for both your SEO and content marketing. Don’t try to force your way into an overpopulated SEO space. Instead, see where the content trail leads you, and begin formulating your SEO strategy from there.

Ideate for Keywords

Rather than ideating for a predetermined content marketing strategy, begin your ideation with top-performing SEO strategies in mind. Start with keywords that have garnered the most attention in recent pieces, and use those as the starting point for your content creation. If a keyword is performing well, it’s clueing you into a trending topic or essential area of interest. Expand upon that, and explore ways to build on the trend, creating similar pieces that dive deeper into the topic.

When you start with your keywords in mind, you can ideate for a content marketing strategy that will have strong SEO built in naturally. Don’t let your SEO sneak in by mistake. Fear of being penalized for keyword stuffing might have you hesitant to take this approach, but when you work with the keywords from the ideation stage, you’ll find there’s no need to stuff them in later. These terms and phrases will find their way into the piece naturally and meaningfully.

Write to Fill a Content Gap

With your SEO leading the way, conduct a search for areas where there’s a notable content gap on the internet. Look for topics that aren’t covered as clearly as they could be or those that have a laser focus on one aspect of an issue with little attention paid to other approaches. If you can find a sweet spot that your competitors have largely ignored, you’ll be operating in a valuable gap that has outstanding performance potential for both SEO and organic content marketing.

Develop your content marketing strategy to funnel great content rich in SEO into that gap. Build your publication schedule around consistently pouring original and informative pieces into any hole that might exist in your niche to maximize your entire content’s performance.

Streamline Content Creation

Implement a seamless content creation strategy that pulls together individuals from both your SEO and content marketing teams. Train your writers to incorporate white hat SEO practices in their pieces. Include technical specialists in the content creation process between the writer and editor. Add the necessary technical SEO elements to the piece early on, and empower editors or project managers to request changes from both the writing and SEO teams to facilitate a more cohesive approach to content.

Rather than segregating SEO and content teams, you should pull them together. Allow each specialist to enhance the content in his or her own way, but encourage cross-communication that allows everyone on the team to take a certain amount of ownership over the piece, so the final product is a truly collaborative effort.

Understanding and nurturing the connection between content marketing and SEO strategies will help you complete the puzzle you’ve been struggling to put together. Keep the two disciplines close, and encourage professionals in both areas to collaborate together for a streamlined approach to great content that gives you rich pieces packed with both SEO and informational value.

About the author

Megan Tilley