What’s the Difference Between SEO and Content Marketing?


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Writing effectively for Google. Creating content that will get your website found. There are thousands of pages of advice like that online. They tell you how to create content that Google will like. They talk about two types of online content creation, writing for users and writing for Google. They are all wrong.

It’s not that they’re giving bad advice. A lot of these articles are well researched, well written and contain some useful information. But the idea that you should write content for search engines is outdated and dangerous. You should write content that will improve your search standing, but that doesn’t mean you should write with Google in mind.

The key to content marketing is creating content for users. That’s also become Google’s target. They want their search to lead to the most relevant, most useful content for users. Creating content with Google in mind misses the point, for a number of reasons. With the rise of social media, content marketing can be effective without increasing search ranking. But that’s a topic for another day.

The main reason creating content just for Google is missing the point is because that’s not what Google wants you to do. Google doesn’t want you to spend time optimizing your website just for them. They want you to optimize it for users. Each Google algorithm update this year has been pushing websites towards ‘quality’ content.

Which means that SEO and content marketing are actually becoming the same thing. Quality content can drive sales and increase search ranking. Which means you should always try to create quality content first, the rest follows naturally.

Always Answer the ‘Why’

There are many questions to ask yourself when creating a content marketing strategy or building website content. The most important of these is ‘why are you here?’ You should have a clear purpose for every piece of content. True content marketing is about creating content that users find useful and want to share. Every time you create a blog or infographic, you have a clear idea of why someone would look for it and share it.

You should be just as clear on the purpose of each web page. Neither Google nor users want to find themselves on a page they don’t understand. They need a reason to visit a page and they need to understand its use. The only person who can define that is you. If you can’t answer the ‘why’, the page needs work.

Provide Information

Since Google’s Panda update earlier this year, the focus on quality content has had two key factors. The first is relevance, which is taken care of by the ‘why’ above, and the other is usefulness. The key to making a page useful is to fill it with relevant information. That’s what content marketing is built on anyway. You wouldn’t share out content that wasn’t information rich.

Website content should be similarly informative. Obviously you may not want to give everything away on a single page, but you shouldn’t scrimp on information either. Users, and Google, want information that’s easy to find and useful. If you only offer the bare minimum of info on a page, why would a user want to read it? And why would Google want to send them there?

Think About Links

Content marketing is all about spreading content that sends users back to your website. Links are good for two reasons. They send people back to your site and Google loves them. The more your page is linked to, the better it looks to Google. Or at least that’s the way it used to be. These days, that sentence comes with a massive asterisk.

The links have to be high quality and they have to be natural. Google doesn’t just rank websites in terms of relevance; it also ranks the inbound links. Each link counts as a vote for your page, but quality links count higher than others. Low quality links can have a hugely detrimental effect, particularly if Google think the links have been purchased or obtained ‘unnaturally’.

All of which means that you should create content that is likely to gather links, for natural reasons. Which really leads you back to creating relevant, useful content. Content marketing is sometimes called link-bait. It’s about creating shareable content. Your website content should take on a similar target; it should be as ‘linkable’ as possible.

Content marketing, SEO, online or digital marketing; there are many terms used to describe different aspects of promoting your business online. When you break it down though, they all have very similar requirements. In truth it doesn’t matter what you call it. Quality content makes all the difference.

Creating quality content marketing to engage prospects and transform them into loyal customers is important for the success of your business. With that in mind we developed a whitepaper to guide you on the creating of Winning Content for your business. Download it Now!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Eoin Keenan
Media and Content Manager at Silicon Cloud. We help businesses to drive leads and build customer relationships through online marketing and social media. I blog mainly about social media & marketing, with some tech thrown in for good measure. All thoughts come filtered through other lives in finance, ecommerce, customer service and journalism.


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