The Role of SEO in Content Marketing

Illustration of store front with search bar, magnifying glass, stars, targets and a map surrounding a laptop displaying the store.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the fuel that powers your content. It has become a non-negotiable element of all digital marketing strategies, particularly for brands that rely on website traffic for success. But we’re not talking about “keyword stuffing,” the unfortunate and unnatural practice of loading a site page with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site's search engine ranking.

Instead, SEO organizes and weaponizes content, helping your website rank higher than your competitors in search results. When deployed in tandem with thoughtful content marketing, SEO generates web traffic from organic and free search results.

Creating content that positions you as an authority in any field can be tricky, however. One could spend hours upon hours crafting content that is thorough, well-researched, and answers crucial questions posed by consumers. Imagine putting in all that time and effort only for your valuable content to get lost in the shuffle of literally thousands of other search results!

We put together this brief explainer of useful insights and tips about the relationship between SEO and content marketing to help you maximize this extraordinary symbiosis.

SEO vs. Content Marketing: Do I Really Need Both?

Let’s answer that question with another question: Is a sandwich still a sandwich if there’s no bread? No! What you have there is a stack of ingredients that might be tasty, but definitely do not constitute a sandwich.

Content marketing without SEO is a sandwich with no bread. Your content might be insightful, smart, informative, and incredibly helpful, but if users cannot find your content because it’s not showing up in search, what good is it?

There’s an undeniable synergy between SEO and content marketing. This is why the majority of digital marketing firms employ both content marketers and SEO experts—and oftentimes, it’s one individual tackling both tasks. But when it is two separate entities writing the content and conducting SEO research, you can bet there’s a lot of collaboration occurring between the two.

An oft-cited quote about SEO came from Dave Davies, co-founder of Beanstalk Internet Marketing, who said: “Content is what the search engines use to fulfill user intent.” In other words, we are all clamoring to get our content in front of the user via search engine results. And when that content is fine tuned for SEO, we stand a far better chance of accomplishing that goal.

How Do Search Engines Work?

You type a question or a random string of words into Google and milliseconds later, scores of links magically populate your page. Take your pick! But how does that even work? And is there a way for small businesses to find their way onto the more optimal search result pages?

When you engage with Google or any other search engine, crawlers are sent out to gather information from sources throughout the internet. The crawlers retrieve all of the data, bringing it back to the search engine, where it builds an index. That index is fed through an algorithm that hopefully matches the keywords in your search query. The results of the search—in the form of links—are delivered to you in a flash, organized by how well they answer your question.

As for optimization, that refers to the many different ways content is curated for users and made more likely to be picked up by Google’s crawlers. Search engine results are “optimized” through quality content and the inclusion of relevant internal and external links, title tags, and meta descriptions.

How Do I Incorporate SEO Tactics Into Content Marketing?

First and foremost, great writing is essential to any content marketing strategy, even when incorporating a healthy dose of SEO. High-quality content is the bedrock foundation—SEO swoops in to boost your organic traffic and ensure you rank well on relevant search engine results pages (SERPs).

To truly amp up your SEO success, implement these tactics:

  • Find your target audience: A successful SEO content strategy knows precisely who it’s targeting, and customizes content specifically for that group.
  • Conduct keyword research: You must identify what terms to use on your page so you can rank highly in search results and attract relevant traffic.
  • Integrate keywords into content: If you don’t use the keywords in your content, your SERPs will not improve. Naturally integrate your core keywords into body text, headlines, subheadings (H2s), meta descriptions, and title tags.
  • Post new content consistently: Frequency can be just as important as quality. The more you post, the more ranking opportunities there are for your site.
  • Create a user-friendly experience: It’s not only about keywords. Search engines are advanced, and now also rank web pages based on user experience and how well it understands user intent.
  • Include links in your content: Links to other sites and within your own site can greatly increase the search traffic your site receives.
  • Refresh old content: Freshness is one of the ways Google judges content. The more up-to-date and “fresh” your content, the higher your search engine rankings.

SEO Maximizes Your Content Marketing Efforts

Google’s algorithms are constantly changing, with crawlers becoming increasingly advanced as they endeavor to more accurately satisfy search queries. As such, the importance of SEO is a fact of digital marketing life. When you deliberately incorporate SEO practices into your content, you stand a far greater chance of breaking through the noise and finding a more optimal spot in the search result hierarchy.

Morey Creative Studios, a Diamond HubSpot Partner Agency, specializes in effective content creation that smartly utilizes SEO best practices to maximize organic traffic. Contact us today to learn more about how we create content that optimizes search engine results!