Three Reasons SEO Needs Content Marketing

Search engine optimization has fundamentally changed. While the technical elements of SEO are still incredibly important, they aren’t the only thing that matters. Quality content is far more important. Let’s talk about why that is the case, and how you can leverage content on your own site.

The days when websites could pull in traffic through a word salad of keywords are long behind us. For effective search engine optimization, your website needs content. It needs to create value for your users – to inform and educate, or excite and entertain.

At the same time, all this talk of SEO being made irrelevant by content marketing is woefully inaccurate. To say that SEO is no longer relevant is a gross oversimplification. Rather, the techniques and tactics required for SEO success have changed, with a far greater focus placed on quality content.

That content needs to be written with an understanding of what your audience is looking for, the kind of language that will resonate with them, and the ideal content format and length.

SEO Cannot Exist Without Content

From the beginning, SEO and content have been inextricably linked. The former exists to increase visibility for the latter. As such, you cannot have one without the other.

What brings people to your website? How do you provide your audience with value? What measures do you take to keep them engaged?

The answer to all of the questions above is content. As noted by marketing expert Neil Patel, there is no such thing as SEO without content. Whether it’s blog posts, white papers, videos, or simply product listings, content is essential.

Where SEO fits into the mix is that it guides your content goals. It lets you figure out what keywords to target with your posts and measure how people are engaging with your site. If it helps, you might think of SEO as the map, and content as the vessel it guides.

Google Prioritizes Quality Above all Else

Look at the last several algorithm updates released by Google. What do they all have in common? Simply put, they are dedicated to connecting users with the highest-quality, most relevant content possible.

This quote from Google’s Matt Cutts sums it up nicely:

“Just because somebody dots every i and crosses every t and gets all their HTML structure right, doesn’t mean that it’s good content. Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it…we try to make it so that sites don’t have to do SEO.”

Look at every update Google has released over the last several years in light of that quote.

Bug-fixes aside, every single change Google’s made to its algorithm was implemented with a mind for the end-user experience. Updates to punish duplicate or low-quality content. Updates to focus more on long-tail and conversational keywords. Updates forcing webmasters to cut down on aggressive advertising.

It all ties back to encouraging better, more relevant content.

More Content Means More Keywords

As I’ve already mentioned, keyword stuffing is on the way out. It’s no longer a feasible, viable, or accepted tactic. Modern SEO demands targeted content.

Generally, each piece of content you publish should focus on answering a single question. It should focus on targeting only a few keywords, with great care taken to avoid overusing them. With that in mind, publishing more content means the ability to target more keywords and bring in more traffic.

Never mind that consistent content production is incredibly important from a ranking perspective. One thing that hasn’t changed about Google is that it prioritizes fresh content. A website which regularly publishes new, high-quality stuff is going to rank higher than a site that’s more static.

This is the result of an algorithm rolled out in 2011, which for all intents and purposes appears to still be in effect today.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

SEO and content marketing are not distinctive disciplines, nor is the former made irrelevant by the latter. Far from it – modern search engine optimization and content marketing are now inextricably linked. If you truly want your site to succeed, you cannot have one without the other.

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  1. Alison on June 24, 2019

    Thanks for the great info! These are all things I keep trying to tell my clients, so it’s great to see someone else who gets it.


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