In the world of digital marketing, there are two terms that are used perhaps more than any other: “SEO” and “content marketing.” In some contexts, the terms are used interchangeably. Yet, they are quite different from each other. And for small business owners who aren’t experts in this arena, trying to parse them out can be a challenge.
Though different, both content marketing and SEO are important aspects of increasing your brand visibility. By learning the ins and outs of both, you can ideally launch your business to the top of search engine results, giving you a greater edge over your competition.
The importance of SEO can’t be understated. Neither can the importance of content marketing. But is one more important than the other? To figure that out, we first need to understand what both SEO and content marketing really are.
What Is SEO?
SEO, or search engine optimization, is a set of technical tactics to help boost your site’s rankings when certain queries are made on search engines (for instance, coming up first when someone searches for “Korean restaurants near me”). Because you don’t pay search engines directly for these rankings, as opposed to pay-per-click advertisements that always appear at the top of Google results, SEO helps you target “organic” or “natural” rankings.
There are any number of ways rankings are determined. These may include:
- Domain authority
- Traffic data
- Internal and external link usage
And much more.
Essentially, by Optimizing your site for Search Engines, you can increase the number of visitors that come to your site and, ultimately, increase your sales.
So how do you actually optimize your site for search engines? That’s the trickier part. It’s generally broken down into off-page and on-page SEO. Proper off-page SEO techniques include:
- Getting backlinks to your site from trusted websites, such as directories and influencers
- Increasing domain authority (with how long the domain has existed, the history of the domain, the number of authoritative backlinks, etc.)
Sound confusing? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Off-page SEO can be one of the most difficult challenges of proper digital marketing. On-page SEO, on the other hand, is often a bit more manageable.
For on-page SEO, you’ll want to:
- Have fast page loading times
- Link internally to other helpful, related pages of your site
- Have title tags and headings that are the right length and have the right keyword
- Have URLs that have keywords in them, if possible
- Add alt-text to every image
- Have engaging, valuable content on every page
Then there are the really technical parts of on-page SEO, such as schema markups, having an XML sitemap, fixing crawl errors and more. If you aren’t experienced in this field, it may be best to leave the technical aspects to a professional.
So What’s Content Marketing?
At its core, content marketing is the creation and distribution of valuable and relevant information to attract more visitors to a website. While this most often comes in the form of writing page copy and blogs, it can also include video, infographics, and other visual pieces. Because of the importance of this aspect of marketing, you’ll probably hear more than once that “Content is King.” And because it’s involved in nearly every aspect of digital marketing, it’s one of the truest cliches you’ll ever hear.
There are quite a few ways content marketing can greatly help your business. When it comes to your website, you want visitors who are going to stay engaged. If you can provide informative, valuable information, there’s a greater chance they’ll stay on your site longer — and a greater chance they’ll end up as a customer. From your “About” page to your latest blogs, the content you provide should be something a visitor wants to read — not just a sales pitch over and over.
Beyond your site, content marketing should be integral in just about everything you do, including:
- Social media
- Public relations
- Pay-per-click ads
- Inbound marketing
Having high-quality content that is optimized with keywords and other components is one of the most important pieces of SEO. In this way, they go hand-in-hand. Both are vital if you want to attract more visitors and rank better in search engine results. However, there are some differences.
The Importance of SEO vs. the Importance of Content Marketing
Think of it this way: SEO and content marketing are almost going after different audiences. SEO targets search engines to get people to come to the site. Content marketing, on the other hand, keeps people on the site and, ideally, buying your product or service. Though keeping people on the site for longer periods of time does help with SEO rankings, it’s only one part of it.
To put it simply: SEO is for search engine algorithms. Content marketing is for user experience.
So which is more important? As we’ve discussed, they go hand-in-hand. You really can’t have one without the other; content marketing feeds SEO, while SEO directs proper content marketing efforts. But, as a small business owner, it’s hard to find the time to fully focus on both.
We get it.
One of the best ways you can handle both of these components is to hire a professional to handle one (or both) of them. That way, you aren’t trying to figure out the ins and outs of SEO and content marketing while you’re also trying to run your business. At the same time, you can rely on a professional to put their expertise to work to make sure everything is done correctly.
Let Company.com Handle Your Local SEO
At Company.com, one of our specialties is search optimization for small businesses. Let us handle this aspect for you so you can focus on what you do best: pushing your business to new heights. For more information about how we can help you with your SEO efforts, and to get a free trial of our premium software, contact us today.