Content marketing is not SEO. While they might overlap, content marketing and SEO are two distinct types of digital marketing. They are, however, mutually beneficial.
Successful SEO depends on the relevance of your site to your target audience and specific search "keywords". With tailored and "insight-driven content" you organically create this relevance. However, having pre-defined keywords and SEO objectives driven by a sound marketing strategy will ultimately help you to create the content required to help your indexing on those particular search terms. Not surprisingly, good SEO and content strategy go hand in hand.
Content marketing attracts an audience to your brand by sharing tailor-made content across websites, social platforms, blogs, mobisites and apps. It's an ongoing process that involves updating your content, which could be anything from infograms to "how-to" guides, often to maintain and grow your following. It's here that content marketing and SEO campaigns intersect - the keywords and links that are among the tools that drive SEO are found in content. The difference between the two types of campaign is that, where SEO focuses on search engines, content marketing focuses on getting people to read content.
Search engines don't want websites to "cheat" their way to the top of their rankings using SEO. Panda, a Google update launched in February 2011, started using artificial intelligence to enforce Google's best practice guidelines, pushing sites with low quality content to the bottom of the rankings. Penguin, also designed to limit those trying to "trick" search engines into ranking them higher than the competition, launched in April 2012, and saw its third update on 5 October. Both of these updates require digital marketers to focus less on technology (on links and keywords) and more on people.
Creating targeted content
A content marketing strategy that crafts an empathetic user experience will ensure that your web real estate is perceived positively by those who visit it. This means creating targeted content designed to engage users and encourage them to share it across social media, to share your links and to visit your site again.
These signals trickle down to search engines and contribute to higher rankings over time as your content marketing strategy evolves. Unlike linking, keywords and the mechanical aspects of SEO, the effects of successful content marketing aren't affected by Google algorithms designed to thwart SEO campaigns.
Just like content marketing and SEO, content marketing and social media campaigns are linked, too. In an upcoming piece we will explore how.