In this post, I’m going to debunk some of the myths surrounding content marketing and SEO.
Let’s start with some definitions:
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action. Content Marketing Institute
What is SEO?
Search engine optimization (SEO) is “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines.” Moz
As you can see from this, these are 2 very different disciplines. They do, however, have one thing in common, they are both intended to drive traffic and sales.
The changing landscape of SEO
SEO has changed beyond all recognition in the 8 years I have worked in the industry. When I started out as an SEO copywriter in 2008, SEO (specifically link building) was all about article marketing – creating crappy, keyword-stuffed content and throwing this mud at the wall in the form of article directories. Much of this content had little editorial integrity and was never read by anyone.
Google’s algorithm was not sophisticated enough to detect this rudimentary tactic, and as a result, it was reasonably easy to get a website to rank.
Fast forward to 2016, and it’s a very different story – to get results you need to produce quality content that earns genuine links due to the value and insight it offers. There are no short cuts and no easy answers.
The rise of content marketing
Content marketing has exploded in popularity over the past few years, as demonstrated by the Google Trend graph below.
Meanwhile, many prominent SEO agencies have rebranded, losing any mention of SEO from their names. This reflects both the shift in mindset of those within the industry and the growing demand for more holistic online marketing, which encompasses a range of services, including not just content marketing and SEO, but also CRO and social media.
One of the biggest drivers of this growth and shift in focus from SEO to content marketing has been the diminishing, or in many cases negative impact of traditional SEO link building tactics such as article marketing. These have now been largely replaced by content marketing.
Myth: Content marketing has replaced SEO
This argument is flawed for a number of reasons:
• If there is no consideration of SEO, specifically keyword and link placement in content, there will be no tangible SEO benefit to even the best content marketing.
• The impact of content marketing without any thought to SEO will arguably have much less of an impact than it might with SEO.
• Content marketing cannot fix technical SEO issues with your website.
Myth: Content marketing is the new SEO
SEO as a discipline has been around for less than 30 years, Content marketing has been around for over 100, so how can content marketing be the new SEO?
Content marketing is an important part of the savvy SEO’s playbook, but it is not a silver bullet and is certainly not the new SEO.
Myth: SEO guys should do SEO, content marketing guys should do content marketing
The mistake that many people make when considering SEO activity is to treat it in silo, rather than as a key part of the whole marketing mix. We’ve seen brands historically do this with copywriting, social media and PR.
To be successful, you need all departments to work together, as Copyblogger’s Brian Clark explains:
At Copyblogger, we don’t have sales, social, marketing, media, or SEO departments. We have an editorial department, and editorial makes all of those things happen (and more) as part of one seamless process.
Myth: I should spend my entire budget on content marketing
As great as content marketing is, it can’t be denied that the ROI from it can be difficult to measure. You should spend a decent chunk of your marketing budget on content marketing, but don’t neglect other areas that can also drive traffic and sales.
Myth: SEO is dead
Google processes over 1 trillion search queries every year and 15% of these are queries it has never seen before. SEO is definitely not dead!
If done correctly, content marketing and SEO can be complimentary, but they are not one and the same, you need to do both. Content marketing has not replaced SEO, SEO is, and will continue to be as important as it has ever been.