Breaking down the silos that separate content marketers from other functions within an organization has been an ongoing theme on our blog recently. We’ve discussed content’s relationship with product marketing, demand generation, as well as sales and customer success. Next up? SEO.
The dynamic between content marketing and SEO is interesting. There has been overlap in responsibility and function between the two roles within the last few years as a result of Google’s growing emphasis on content quality for ranking rewards.
A handful of search agencies have either made an effort to market themselves as content experts or rebranded entirely to become content shops. But the rise of content marketing has not grim-reapered the role of the search engine optimization specialist. Actually, the two functions need to work very closely together to ensure that all content is discoverable via search and can benefit from the many bonuses that come with a first-page ranking.
Additionally, there are still key differences between the two disciplines. While some people believe that SEO = great content, there are many aspects that remain technical – URL structure, sitemaps, etc. In fact, great content will go unnoticed by Google if a website’s SEO foundation is lacking. Plus, content marketers are tied to many KPIs on top of search visibility.
These three tips will help content marketers and search engine specialists help each other.
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1. Evergreen Content Makes Everyone Happy
“Evergreen content” is always relevant. It’s content that doesn’t have an expiry date. It’s just as interesting and helpful to a reader who found it in January as it will be to a reader who stumbles upon it in November. Creating this type of content is great for both content marketing and SEO.
For content marketers, an evergreen asset will constantly bring in traffic and make website metrics look healthy.
In terms of SEO, the steady and prolonged popularity of a piece will catch Google’s (and other search engine’s) interest. Content that is original, contains helpful information, is highly engaged with and attracts links from third-party sources are valued when it comes to doling out rankings. All of these elements are much easier to achieve with content that has a longer lifespan than a topical news items that is here today but gone tomorrow.
2. Executing Keyword Research & Monitoring Goals Together
It’s of paramount importance that content and SEO counterparts are on the same page when it comes to keyword research, execution and success benchmarking.
Picture it: A content marketer spends hours upon hours creating an insightful, helpful, and eloquently-written long-form blog post that is perfect for a company’s target audience… but no one sees it. The content’s pageviews are disappointing because the intended audience could not find it on Google. This all could have been avoided if the content included the keywords that the intended audience uses in search bars when sourcing help and answers related to the blog’s topic.
SEO specialists and content marketers should work together to identify the search queries that target audiences already use in relation to a company’s offerings and the type of content that is being produced. SEOs can and should also instruct content marketers on proper best practices for keyword placement to help ensure that content achieves the visibility and accessibility that it deserves.
Once you have a list of priority keywords and execution is agreed upon, monitoring progress and success can be done together. Monitor changes in rankings and referral traffic from search engines. Together, you can identify which content and keyword combinations work for search engines and what shouldn’t be duplicated because of less-than-stellar rankings and page views.
Benchmarking performance together will ultimately result in better, more effective content and stronger search engine optimization.
3. Internal & External Link Building
Link building continues to be an important element of SEO – but only when it happens organically (Google caught on to the slimy ways of link purchasing long, long ago). People like to link to great content to either validate their own copy or to simply spread the goodness around. A healthy number of third-party links indicate that a piece of content is credible and helpful.
High-quality content will build up a network of external links without awkward solicitation emails or $$$. High-quality content + third-party links = a good chance of high rankings.
Content marketers can also help out SEOs by including internal links in their content (linking to an old blog post or product page in a new blog post, for example). Internal links make is easy for Google to crawl a website because the crawler relies on links to find and index pages. Using the right keywords for internal links also helps Google determine what a page should be ranked for.
Content marketers and SEO depend on each other for success. Content teams should be creating high-quality content while also being aware of SEO mandates and goals. In turn, SEO specialists should be working with content teams to make sure that they are employing the right keywords in the appropriate places while taking care of technical SEO responsibilities.