I was recently talking with someone about content and SEO, and they told me, “Oh yeah, I don’t worry about SEO when it comes to my blog; I just write content that my customers will find interesting.”
“Content and SEO aren’t mutually exclusive,” I wanted to respond. “And in fact, very much work together and rely on each other.” But the person quickly moved on to talk about something else. It made me realize that the link between SEO and content may not be as obvious for some people as it is for those of us who spend every waking moment thinking about it.
As a copywriter, creative writer, and SEO manager, I think it’s important to juggle the various aspects of content writing and digital marketing. You want to write interesting content, you want to optimize it so it reaches your target audience, and you want to appease the Google gods.
At the end of the day, it’s all about balance.
Content and SEO: An Overview
In the world of digital marketing, the words “content” and “SEO” come up in lots of conversations. In fact, it’s safe to say that most of my professional conversations revolve around one of these two subjects.
But what exactly does “content” mean, and what does “SEO” mean?
What Is Content?
According to Margot Lester, CEO of The Word Factory, “Content is information presented with a purpose distributed to people in a form through a channel.”
In the most basic sense, content refers to any words, images, or videos that appear in physical or digital form.
Currently, a lot of the content we interact with appears in electronic forms. Some popular types of digital content include:
- Website pages
- Blog posts
- News articles
- Case studies
- Social media pages
Content isn’t limited to these forms; it can also include videos, memes, and other visual and written styles of communication. However, these are definitely some of the types you’ll see on websites.
What Is SEO?
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is “the practice of optimizing a website or webpage to increase the quantity and quality of its traffic from a search engine’s organic results,” according to Ahrefs.
In a more straightforward definition, SEO is the process of making a website, landing page, or piece of content more likely to rank on a search engine, such as Google.
The relationship between content and SEO exists in many forms on a website. Some of the most popular places to use SEO are:
- Landing pages
- Blog posts
- Pillar pages
- How-to guides
Now, what’s the point of this?
Google ranks content for every search query. The higher your piece of content ranks, the more likely individuals will find it and click on it. Since 91% of users don’t go past page 1 on Google when searching for something, you want your content to rank in positions #1-10 (page one) on the Google SERP (search engine results page) so users will find your site.
By using SEO to optimize your content, you are demonstrating to Google that what you’ve written is relevant and accurate and is the best piece of content for this particular topic. You want to show how it will help users find the answer to their question, and therefore deserves to rank higher on the SERP.
Content vs SEO: What Are the Differences?
Now, while content can exist without SEO, the opposite isn’t true. Including an SEO strategy is an important part of producing quality content, but if there isn’t anything to optimize, you can’t really use SEO. The process of optimization can only exist with some type of written or visual information.
For example, if you have a blank webpage without words, images, links, or anything else, you won’t have anything to optimize. However, if you have a landing page with a heading, an image, a few paragraphs, another image, a subheading, some links, and a call-to-action with a button, you have a ton of written and visual content to optimize.
Sometimes we have a tendency to separate the aspects of digital marketing into buckets, even though they go hand in hand. This is true of content and SEO.
SEO improves visibility and drives traffic, while content is important for the accuracy and relevance of your site. They work together to bring users in and keep them on your site.
SEO and Content Tips
Optimizing your pages and pieces of content can help you reach a wider audience. If you sell a product or service, this is helpful for many reasons.
For one, having helpful and accurate content on your website can help demonstrate your credibility to current and prospective customers. If you have a prospective client or customer who wants to know more about why they should choose you over a competitor, having well-written content on your site helps cultivate trust and build relationships.
Additionally, paying for advertisements can be expensive. Using SEO techniques to rank organically is an alternative to paying for ads.
For example, if you work at a digital marketing agency in San Diego and want potential clients to find your website, you would want to rank for keywords such as “digital marketing agency” and “San Diego digital marketing” throughout your website pages. If you want a specific blog article to rank really well for your SEO services, you would want to strategically include keywords such as “SEO agency” or “SEO digital marketing” throughout the piece of content.
However, you also want to avoid stuffing keywords throughout the content in an inorganic way.
Once again – balance is key.
SEO at VSSL
While this isn’t a comprehensive guide to all things pertaining to SEO and content, I hope it helps demonstrate the relationship between the two.
If you’d like specific recommendations about implementing more SEO-optimized content on your website, our team at VSSL would be happy to work with you. Drop us a line and let us know how we can partner for success.