Here’s Why an SEO Strategy Is Nothing Without a Content Strategy
“I have an SEO strategy; do I need a content strategy?”
“My business can get leads with SEO’s. I don’t think I need to invest in writing about how my company does things.”
“I have a content strategy. Do we need an active SEO strategy?”
Common statements that I get to hear adopting an either or approach.
Before we jump into the debate, let’s just understand what SEO is and what a content strategy is to be aware of the clear distinctions.
What is Search Engine Optimization?
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a collective term used for all methods one uses to ensure higher visibility of one’s website and its content on the various search engine result pages. It’s basically everything you do to ensure that your website gets the top ranking organically.
SEO methods can broadly be divided into technical and promotional. Technical refers to the best practices one adopts in building and managing one’s website and is generally referred to as ‘on-page SEO’. Promotional refers to all other external ‘off page’ practices like link building and social media marketing practices that help raise your website rankings.
For the sake of simplifying our discussion, we will keep paid search out of the equation.
What is a Content Strategy?
Content Strategy is the process of planning, creation, delivery and sustenance of content. This content can range from blog posts to infographic images to multimedia. It is about creating useful, well structure content that can be easily found and improves the user experience.
We will keep content marketing, which is the promotion of the said content across out of this discussion for now.
While there are many distinctions, let me summarize it down to the basic distinction:
- SEO: more technical and narrow.
- Content marketing: broad and holistic
SEO demands keywords to increase your search rankings. Content strategy is about using those keywords.
SEO demands relevant content. Content strategy creates the relevant content. SEO’s need linkbacks. Content strategy introduces the linkbacks.
SEO requires a certain amount of website technical optimization. Content strategy needs a great UX.
You get the drift? They often overlap a great deal but are meant to work together.
Like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. SEO is peanut butter and content marketing is the jelly. You need both to make a delicious sandwich. They complement each other.
So why is content strategy so important to your SEO strategy?
Well, the answer to that lies in the fact that search engines have become increasingly more advanced. They have started focusing on giving search results that are more relevant, authentic, multi-device compatible and have the right keywords. They have moved on from just focusing on the keywords to being a mix of several factors (I will discuss these factors in my next post)
1. Content strategy determines your website sections
These days’ search engines pick up your site extension like your contact us page, your clients page etc. to give more relevant search results. A clear content strategy will ensure that you have clearly defined each section and also filled them with relevant content. Remember, your rankings improve if the landing page is optimized and has relevant, original content with the right keywords.
See snapshot below:
2. Content strategy is determined by your brand and marketing objectives
While keyword planning, SEO and content strategy are all important, it is important to take a step back and think what is it that you want to be found for or known for? Relook at your brand objectives and then align your content strategy and SEO strategy with it.
Like, do you want to be known as a specialist in automobile customization? Work on SEO keywords and content – images, videos etc. around that specific objective.
3. Content strategy impacts user experience
While a great SEO strategy will ensure the audience will come to your website, it’s the content strategy that will make them stay or take a specific action. For example, if you have optimized your website for Italian food and as a user I land on your website but I don’t see anything that is relevant to Italian food or has a call to action for reservations or bookings, you have lost out on all the effort that you put for a great SEO strategy. Content strategy helps you map a user journey on your website and guide them to the action that you want them to make – be it a sign up form or making a call.
4. Quality over quantity
Let’s be honest, there are quite a few publishing companies out there and your content cannot compete in terms of frequency with the likes of a news agency or magazine. Your content needs to build credibility and have a unique voice. The SEO strategy needs to support this by improving the quality of the backlinks and make it more relevant to your business. Having 100 good backlinks are better than having 10000 bad or below average ones.
If as a business, you haven’t yet focused on your content strategy, now would be a great time to start. After all, who doesn’t want a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
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