How SEO and content marketing work together

SEO and content marketing go so well together. They just work.

For the best results, you shouldn’t do content marketing without considering how SEO fits in.

Conversely, you shouldn’t do SEO without understanding how content provides substance and connection to what ultimately matters at the heart of it all: your audience.

With both content and SEO working together, you will hit two bullseyes:

To put it simply, SEO and content marketing have an incredibly symbiotic relationship. Let’s examine how they harmonize.

First, what is content marketing?

Content marketing is the creation, publishing and distribution of online content (from blogs and videos to e-books and podcasts).

This content is not intended to sell anything or promote the brand, but rather to educate, entertain or empower prospects. This nurtures their interest, engagement and trust over time so that they eventually become customers.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of optimizing and improving your website (and your website’s content) so that it is visible in search results where people are looking for information, answers, products and services.

It cannot be understated how important it is these days to show up in search engines, especially Google. Google Search, Images and Maps generate 92.96% of global traffic. If your website and pages rank high in the search engine, you will earn a good portion of it.

What are the major differences between SEO and content marketing?

SEO and content marketing are different but related.

To summarize, each supports the other.

But how exactly? In what specific ways do content marketing and SEO intertwine to benefit brands, search engines and the users who need them?

How does SEO complement content marketing? (and vice versa?)

SEO and content marketing are very much a yin and yang situation. One improves the other and vice versa.

With both in your strategy, the results will be much more impressive than using either alone.

1. SEO drives relevant traffic to nurture content

You don’t write content so it gets sucked into the black hole of the internet. You write content with the hope that some jaded reader will find it and walk away with giant light bulb moments.

They will associate these moments with your brand and expertise. It is formidable.

Content that is not read is useless. If you want it to contribute to the success of your marketing, you need people to read it so it can do its job of nurturing leads.

One of the best ways to make sure the right eyes land on your content? Use SEO tactics to optimize what keywords your targets are searching for.

68% of all website traffic comes from searches. This means that when anyone in the world opens a browser, they start their online session with a search most of the time. SEO helps drive the portion of people who need you to your nurturing content.

2. SEO and content boost visibility and brand awareness

Want more people to associate your name with key industry terms? Start showing up consistently in their searches for these terms with SEO.

Better yet, start popping up with great content that answers their questions and eases their specific pain points—ones that only you can solve with what you know and what you sell (or, if you’re a marketer or SEO specialist, what your customer knows and sells).

The better you do this, the higher your site and content will appear in results. Ultimately, earning a top 5 spot in organic (unpaid) results in Google promises the best chance that people will not only see your listing, but also click on it.

CTR or click-through rate is the percentage of people visiting a web page who click on a specific link. The best CTRs on a search engine results page belong to the top 5 positions.

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3. SEO and content work together to improve the user experience

SEO and content is not just about placing in a search engine and driving traffic and leads.

Together, they also help you provide a better user experience for your audience across your site.

SEO is full of rules and guidelines that govern:

It also prohibits misleading or manipulative behavior intended to trick users or game the ranking system.

Following the guidelines for your site and content doesn’t just ensure that you’ll rank better – it also ensures that your audience has a good experience when they find you.

And it contributes to everyone’s goals:

4. High-quality SEO content helps your pages rank better

It’s no secret that high-quality content will help your blogs, articles, and even your landing and sales pages climb the search rankings.

Content quality is actually one of the most important elements that will affect your SEO success – if not the most important.

As Search Engine Land’s What Is SEO guide puts it:

“Content should be your first priority when thinking about SEO.”

After all, the content on your website:

These are important signals to send out to your prospects, and they all begin and end with your content and its quality.

Don’t leave home without both SEO and content marketing working in tandem

Content marketing set up in a strategy by itself does not have the same power as when it is mashed together with SEO.

Content without smart SEO will get far less traffic, fewer reads, less engagement and fewer conversions.

SEO without high-quality content equals a thin, uninspiring, useless website that attracts no one and earns nothing.

The secret sauce comes together when you mix the two.

SEO draws in traffic and leads. SEO gets a brand seen on another level. SEO ensures that the user experience lives up to high standards and satisfies users.

Content engages prospects and keeps them on your site. Content feeds their interest, trust and loyalty. Content keeps them coming back for more.

Don’t leave home without a healthy mix of both in your strategy.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily those of Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

Julia McCoy is the founder of Content Hacker, 7x author and a leading strategist around creating exceptional content and brand presence that lasts online. At 19, she used her last $75 to build a 7-figure writing agency, which she sold ten years later. In the 2020s, she is dedicated to teaching founders and marketers the strategy, skills and systems they need to build a business through inbound content so they can create more lasting impact in the world.