Content marketing V SEO – What's the difference?

A member of my Twitter community posed an interesting question last week: Content marketing – Same old SEO with a shiny new name?

Good question. Here are some thoughts.

Content marketing versus SEO – What is SEO?

Search engines need to ‘know’ what your site is all about so they can deliver the most relevant search results to users. That’s what on-site SEO is all about. Search engines also look at the number and quality of back-links, using a site’s apparent popularity to help rate and rank it fairly in the search results. That’s where off-site SEO comes in.

On-site SEO involves creating your website with SEO in mind from the bottom up, looking at things like site architecture, the terms people typically type into the search box to find products and services like yours and the priority you give information. Plus basic common sense stuff like a sensible page naming protocol and carefully crafted meta data. It’s as important as ever when you’re building a site – the marketing logic behind on-site SEO still applies.

Off-site SEO often used to involve automated link building but these days, because search engine algorithms are more sophisticated and sensitive, it focuses on natural link acquisition through quality content. Which is where content marketing comes in.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves using various types of content – for example articles, blog posts, email campaigns, newsletters and video – to reach, communicate and interact with your target audience.

Hit the right note and you’ll attract attention, inspiring people to strike up conversations about your content and share it with others. Which means extra site traffic, better brand equity, better search positions, more visitors and extra sales.

Is content marketing a subset of SEO?

Google has made it very clear that it’s determined to provide users with the best possible search results, surfacing well written, relevant, unique, interesting and informative stuff that’s a pleasure to read and burying the crappy stuff. You could see content marketing as a subset of SEO, in that it still involves giving search engines what they want. They just want different things.