How SEO and content marketing should work together

Content Marketing

SEO and content marketing should be a perfect match.

SEO understands what people type into Google when they’re looking for answers.

It understands what questions they ask and what content they want to find.

And content marketing is full of talented writers, videographers and designers who are ready and able to create all kinds of content to answer those questions and match their content to search queries.

But somewhere along the way, it all seemed to go wrong.

The two kind of floated apart.

SEO went its way, and content marketing began flirting with other things like social media, paid advertising and even digital PR.


It’s time to reconcile SEO and content marketing

One of the reasons for the breakdown between SEO people and content marketers is down to a fundamental misunderstanding of what the other does.

Content marketers, especially copywriters, often viewed SEO as the department that gave it a load of things called keywords that they had to fill their copy with.

It was restrictive, it crippled creativity and it made the content creation process more like a math problem than a creative one.

Have you used the right keywords, have you used them enough times, in the right places.

Have you used enough variations of the keyword so you rank for those searches too.

As for what the SEO team thought.

Well they were the guys sat in the corner looking at data who would occasionally be asked “to SEO this content for us”.

You can see why the relationship got a bit strained.

The fact is, SEO teams are way better at understanding search and ranking than content marketers.

SEO is an extremely technical area to work in and it changes all the time.

Like, all the time.

Similarly, content marketing isn’t the mystically magic practice it used to be.

Now everyone is creating content.

It’s why content marketers went off in search of new partners because just creating blogs and eBooks stopped being enough.

Suddenly their audience wanted infographics, then social media, then audio, then video.

But the fundamentals of search haven’t changed.

For the most part, people still use Google to search for answers.

And unless your content has a good solid SEO foundation behind it, you’re not going to get found.


How SEO and content should work together

Creating content that attracts and engages your audience, and that is reliable, accurate and trustworthy is still the name of the game in content marketing.

Add some solid SEO framework around your content, and you can take it to the next level.

Google is way more sophisticated than it used to.

The days of including your keyword in the title, subtitle and a bunch of times in the body copy are long past over.

Some SEO foundations still apply like understanding your target keyword, but now you need to understand the search intent behind the word, rather than just filling your copy with a particular keyword or phrase.

The architecture around SEO and content marketing has also changed.

One of the problems with sitting down and bashing out a load of content around a keyword, is you end up writing a bunch of articles that are all vaguely similar in some way.

So you wind up cannabalising your own content.

Instead, today’s SEO is much more about creating longer form pillar pages on a specific key  topic, and surrounding it with articles that expand on the sections within the pillar page.

You can see some useful examples of successful pillar pages here on HubSpot’s website.

By getting SEO and content marketing talking again, you can start to properly understand what Google will prefer to show its audience when they make a search.

And then you can create the right content to get found for those searches.

There might be more to content marketing today than writing for SEO, but search engine optimisation remains a fundamental part of the whole digital marketing puzzle.

By getting your SEO and content marketing back onside you can properly integrate your search and content creation again and get way better results.

We’ve written a whole marketer’s guide to understanding SEO and content marketing here.

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