Brad Shorr

Double Dip — Pro Tips for Blending SEO and Content Marketing

SEO and Content Marketing TipsIn combination, content marketing and SEO create a brand-enhancing, lead-generating monster greater than the sum of their parts. If you’re not mixing your content marketing and SEO, you’re missing out on tremendous opportunities to get much more out of both campaigns.

SEO and Content Marketing Are Close Relatives

  • Both drive relevant website traffic
  • Both drive conversions
  • Both build brand awareness and affinity

Brand awareness and affinity, you say? Since when has SEO been interested in that? Since Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, that’s when. SEOs have always used content to generate backlinks and optimize keywords; Panda and Penguin forced SEOs to use high-quality, relevant content to get the job done. Content marketers, who specialize in creating and marketing high-quality, relevant content, are SEO’s new best friends forever.

How to Blend SEO and Content Marketing

Here are actionable tips to get more mileage out of both SEO and content marketing campaigns.

  • Involve SEO in the topic-generation process. SEO keyword research identifies content themes of interest to a company’s target audiences. Keyword research provides solid data points for a communication strategy and editorial calendar. Keyword volume, in particular, is quite helpful in content marketing, as it helps prioritize themes and settle on specific phrasing for fundamental descriptions of the company’s business, products, services and benefits. By using terms to describe these things that the target audience also uses, content becomes far more authentic — and becomes visible to far more Google search engine users.
  • Keyword-optimize all textual content and meta information. In the content creation phase, content marketers focus on originality, persuasiveness, brand consistency, newsworthiness and other stylistic considerations. But keyword optimization only enhances those things (when done correctly), and makes the content more visible in organic search — finding new, relevant users and driving new, relevant traffic to the content. It’s a no-brainer, and as simple to accomplish as having the two teams communicate with each other.
  • Repurpose content to generate multiple links from one piece of content. This is a big one. For instance, if content marketing has produced evergreen content on the company website (a very good idea!) as an HTML page, re-format it into a slide presentation, and publish it along with the embed code. Now, the SEO outreach team can find relevant publishers who want to grab the embed code and display the slide presentation on their websites — along with a link back to the company’s website. In this fashion, one piece of content can generate multiple links, possibly hundreds. This is much better for SEO and brand building than toiling over hundreds of one-off articles.
  • Have SEO and content marketing review Google Analytics data together. SEOs are great at spotting problems in Google Analytics, such as when a Web page has too high a bounce rate, or too short a page view time — but not as great at knowing how to fix them. Content marketers can better evaluate the qualitative issues with a problematic Web page, and make creative changes to reduce the bounce rate or keep visitors engaged on the page. By collaborating, the teams will steadily and more powerfully improve conversions. 

Double Dipping Keeps Google Happy

It’s incredibly important to realize that Google deeply desires a world where content marketers collaborate with SEOs. Google’s search engine users want to see high-quality, authoritative and relevant results when they submit a search query. The last thing Google wants is its search engine to serve up results cooked up by SEOs that lack all of those attributes (something all too common in the early days of SEO).

By adding sophistication to its technology and updating its algorithm, Google is becoming more and more adept at recognizing and rewarding well-written content. This does NOT, however, mean that companies can ignore technical SEO considerations and instead focus 100 percent on qualitative, creative content execution. Brilliantly written content must still have a proper technical foundation (keywords, proper meta tagging, and a number of other on-site and off-site components) to maximize its organic visibility.

By now, you can see the value in having these two teams work together. This merger isn’t just a nice idea, it’s profitable and lends itself to an efficiency and effectiveness that would otherwise be missed. This one step adds richness, depth, and another measurable element to your value proposition. By combining SEO and content marketing, a company gains a big advantage on both fronts over competitors handling the functions in silos.

Are you already blending SEO and content marketing? If you are, how is it working? If not, why?

Brad Shorr

With more than 30 years of experience, Brad Shorr is Straight North’s Director of Content Strategy. They are a B2B SEO, PPC and web design company headquartered in Chicago. Throughout his career, Brad has wrote for publications such as Entrepreneur, Forbes and the American Marketing Association.

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