How to Integrate Your SEO and Content Marketing Strategies in 3 Actionable Steps
Are you still treating SEO and content marketing as two separate strategies? While they both deserve to be taken seriously, they are actually two heads of the same coin.
If the two don’t properly support each other, it’s your online presence and brand that will pay the price. Unfortunately, you might have been working this way for so long that you don’t know how to put it right.
In this article, we’ll help you integrate your SEO and content marketing strategy to achieve more with less.
What Exactly is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is all activities that involve the creation and sharing of online material to promote a brand or stimulate interest. Importantly, content marketing as we know it today is not typical direct marketing of a brand in the form of ads.
It’s more about creating relevant content that brings value to the reader while simultaneously trying to generate interest in the brand or its products/services.
Content marketing is used for a number of reasons:
- To nurture and guide potential through the customer journey with top, middle, and bottom-funnel content.
- To provide an opportunity to improve SEO by interlinking with on-page and off-page SEO.
- To help in building the brand identity and voice.
- To establish a brand as an industry authority and win the trust of visitors.
- To build a dedicated audience with relevant, valuable, and consistent content.
As such, your website content acts as the anchor for pretty much any other marketing activities you partake in. For example, PPC ads or inbound links typically take the user to a specific piece of content on your website. Often, social media posts are also links to entire articles.
Because they consist of so much content, they also provide ample opportunity to rank for search engines due to matching keywords and key phrases or trying to answer specific questions search engine users might have.
What Exactly is SEO?
Short for search engine optimization, SEO involves everything you could possibly do to make your website rank higher in search engines and get more organic traffic. As such, content marketing is often viewed as a subcategory of SEO, although it’s important enough to be regarded as a completely distinct discipline.
Broadly speaking, SEO is divided into 3 main categories, or disciplines:
- Technical SEO: This is to make sure that your website can be found, crawled, and indexed by search engines. It involves technical factors like creating an XML Sitemap, configuring your robots.txt file, installing an SSL certificate, and optimizing performance.
- On-page SEO: This is the SEO practice that’s most closely linked to content marketing. It involves all search engine optimizations that are physically visible on your web pages, such as keyword usage, URLs, structure and headings, optimizing metadata, and even comments.
- Off-page SEO: This is all other activities you partake in to drive more traffic to your website that doesn’t necessarily involve working on your website itself. For example, link-building, outreach campaigns, social media marketing, guest blogging, etc.
SEO is usually done with a few goals in mind:
- Higher search engine rankings.
- Attracting more qualified traffic.
- Save money on PPC advertising or paid links.
What’s the Problem With Not Integrating Your SEO and Content Marketing?
As you’ve probably noticed already, SEO and content marketing are closely linked. And, for most websites, both are crucial for success when it comes to generating traffic, building an audience, and ranking high in SERPs.
Because there is so much to do in both fields, many businesses choose to separate their SEO and content marketing into two separate teams. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can cause a number of problems if you treat your SEO and content marketing as two completely separate strategies.
Here are just some of the issues you might face:
- A misalignment of strategies between your SEO and content marketing teams. For example, they could be targeting separate keywords in the same niche or miss-time off-page SEO efforts with the release of content.
- Duplication of work by, for example, conducting the exact same keyword research for on-page SEO and content marketing.
When it comes to SEO, you typically want to maximize your efforts for a given set of keywords at any point in time. This is to quickly latch on to popular trends or topics that are relevant to users. If your content marketing is aimed at certain trends but your on-page and off-page SEO is aimed at others, you won’t get that maximizing effect.
For example, if your content marketing team is running a strategy around the primary keyphrase “dog toys” but your on-page and off-page SEO is focussed on “dog training,” you’ll only get 50% of results from each, instead of 100% from one of them.
Plus, SEO and content marketing are supposed to build each other up. Often, your on-page and off-page SEO is meant to guide interested parties to content that further supports their intentions or goals.
So, it doesn’t help that you excite your email subscribers with interesting “dog training” emails but then can’t back that up with valuable content on your site. You will just redirect them to your website, only to leave them stranded with no way to go.
You can also look at it the other way around. If you create extremely valuable content regarding “dog toys” but your SEO is focussed on “dog training,” your precious “dog toy” content won’t benefit from the extra exposure it could get from targeted and relevant on-page and off-page SEO. That means you get less value out of the content you spent precious time and energy creating.
The reality is that there are billions of websites and you probably have hundreds of thousands of competitors challenging you for prime real estate on Google SERPs. To get any organic traffic from Google at all, you want to feature on the first page of Google at least, and preferably within the first 5-10 results.
To achieve these prime-time rankings, you need to put a lot of effort into ranking or a particular set of keywords. That’s why it’s best to combine your efforts instead of running two separate strategies. Ranking low on the first page of Google or on the second page simply means neither of your two target keywords will get visibility.
So, what are the benefits you can expect from having a single, integrated online marketing strategy:
- More cost-effective.
- Less time-consuming.
- Simpler, due to having So, what are the benefits you can expect from having a single, integrated online marketing strategy:
- a single point of contact.
- Better SEO results, such as higher rankings and more traffic.
- Higher conversions thanks to more high-quality traffic.
Actionable Tips for Integrating Your SEO and Content Marketing Strategies
Now, you know what it’s important to integrate your SEO and content marketing strategies. You probably already have a few ideas of how to do it. However, if you’re still wondering, here are some concrete steps you can take to make it a reality:
- Start with a keyword strategy: If there’s one thing both SEO and content marketing have in common it’s that they are based largely on keywords. So, it will greatly help to keep the two aligned if you commit to a single keyword strategy. Using this approach, you will only conduct keyword research once and use the results to kick off both strategies. That will ensure that you are optimizing both for the same keyword and that they aim for the same goal.
- Bring your teams together: Secondly, if you have separate SEO and content marketing departments, make sure they know they are on the same team. You should have regular cross-team meetings where you discuss progress, challenges, and any changes to the overall online marketing strategy. There should also be open lines of communication between the two.
- Review effectiveness: Any serious SEO or content marketing efforts are based on testing. Whether it’s simple A/B testing or more metric-centered tests, you want to regularly compare the results of your SEO and content marketing activities. This will help you see which one is excelling and which is falling behind. In turn, you can use this to optimize future online marketing activities.
Don’t Forget About Link-Building
High-quality backlinks to your website are crucial for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s a top 3 ranking signal used by Google to rank your pages in SERPs. Secondly, it’s a great way to funnel more qualified leads to your domain. Thirdly, it’s a great way to get more value from your content by making sure that it gets the reach, impressions, and clicks it deserves.
As such, it’s crucial to your overall online marketing strategy and helps you get more out of both your SEO and content marketing. It’s easily the most important off-page SEO technique.
However, link-building can be extremely challenging and time-consuming. It takes a lot of experience and time to research and spot link-building opportunities, not to mention running outreach campaigns or creating a guest-blogging strategy.
If you work with a link-building expert, like Uprankly, they will take care of the entire link-buidling process for you. The best part is that you will get a guaranteed number of links from domains with a suitable authority score. It’s something everyone should consider if they’re looking to give their online marketing a boost.
There’s no question that an integrated SEO and content marketing strategy is the way to go. Not only is it more effective, but it will also save you time, money, and effort.
The key is to always keep your goals in mind and tailor your strategy accordingly. You might want to prioritize either content marketing or SEO in which case you need to ensure the one always supports the other.
Regardless, if you properly integrate the two and back it up with a link-building strategy, your SEO rankings and traffic will soar.