Things have always seemed to go better in pairs. Perhaps this is why we have two eyes, two ears, two hands, two feet and a partridge in a pear tree. Crispy chicken tastes better with fries and life goes better when Asterix and Obelix are together.
SEO and content - more precisely dynamic smart content - make a great couple too. Good SEO can lead to a blacklisting if content is irrelevant. SEO has no raison d’être, no right to exist unless you submit worthy content for Google consideration, and by extension, to your audience. If not, the search engine will see users clicking away and never returning. Bang goes our ranking, see you on page four or worse.
Stepping Back and Seeing What Inbound SEO Is Really all about
When I was at college an age or so ago, we had no keywords let alone computers. We got information from books libraries arranged on shelves according to a Dewey System only librarians understood. If I wanted a book with content on say places of interest in Gaul, a fearsome library assistant would take me to the travel section where the books were in alphabetical order of countries.
That’s all Google really is actually. A digital ‘Dewey System’ that arranges internet content by keywords instead of topics. In my example, these keywords might be ‘travel’, ‘Gaul’, ‘ancient Brittany’, and a few other attractions. SEO aligns keywords with web design using metatags and sitemaps. Content comes on board with on-page SEO that harmonizes with the design.
If an internet user searches for ‘travel’, and ‘Gaul’ and everything checks out, Google will say ‘aha this is worthy content’ and present the meta description to the user for their consideration. I’m afraid that’s all that SEO is about in headline terms. It provides the same service as the bespectacled librarian did, when I was a student at college looking for content to clone for an assignment.
How Context and Content Add Flavor to the Mix
SEO is all about Content Marketing, true, but that content must be relevant to the context of the user’s search. If I am in a department store and I ask the clerk where the light fittings are, I don’t expect them to direct me to where they keep the light bulbs. SEO and its keywords are useless in conjunction with a page of meaningless drivel.
If I were to write ‘SEO is all about Content Marketing because Content Marketing needs SEO’ I would lose my readers soon, long before I got to the point of telling them they need intelligent SEO support. What I write must be invaluable to the reader. David Halligan & Dharmesh Shah minted the term ‘remarkable content’ in 2010. The goal is still content people will remark about to their friends.
Google is picky about the freshness of content too, especially if the user searches for information written in the past day, week, month, or year. The search engine wants to provide its users with information contextual with their present moment. This is yet another reason why the SEO combine harvester is not much use at all without the Content Marketing key.
So Where Does Content Marketing Belong in This?
Content Marketing operates on the premise that people buy goods and services from people they trust, and who are knowledgeable about their product. If I wanted to add vooma to my motorcycle in college days, I shopped around the brick and mortar accessories stores until I found a knowledgeable salesperson with good tips on the topic. I usually purchased the upgrades they recommended. If they allowed me a good discount, we were mates for life.
I could purchase motorcycle upgrades on the internet using these selfsame techniques, if I subscribed to a blog written by a motorcyclist who knew what they were doing. If the company emailed me and said, “Hey Rich, we see you are interested in tuned motorcycle exhausts and we have specials on now”, they might just have a deal. None of this would happen if I did not find their blog thanks to SEO, and their blog content did not turn out to be relevant to my needs.
Quantity versus Quality, Is there a Perfect Potion Blend?
Did you ever go to a store where the assistants pestered you with offers to help when you were browsing? I’ll bet you did! I’ll also bet you know of retail outlets where there is no one to assist you anywhere you look. We need a perfect information and advice butler waiting patiently, but always ready to serve the information we want, the instant we need it, on a virtual silver tray.
Inbound-driven SEO and Content Marketing potentially make the perfect team. Users search for keywords ‘magic potion’, ‘recipe’ and ‘ingredients’ when they need the information urgently, perhaps instantly with a click. This is where SEO and Content Marketing can combine to deliver information seamlessly, in an instant. But only if everything goes together harmoniously.
In the first instance, we need to have already posted a blog about how to brew a strength potion. We probably would have, if we were selling potion ingredients. SEO should also have ensured the keywords were blended into the content like a good drink mix, and that it had arranged the metatags and other details to convince Google the overall offering was genuine. Instead we wrote about mistakes to avoid in content strategy. Still good chef's tips when you're brewing an inbound marketing plan.
However, this SEO effort would still not convince the lead that our magic ingredients were remarkable enough to order. That would be content’s job (although it would still need SEO to deliver it). That wraps up the case for SEO being all about Content Marketing. The potion is fairly potent. Drink in moderation.