SEO Newb to Content Journeyman?
In my 18 short months as an SEO/content marketer/copy-writer/client-communicator and #RCS enthusiast I’ve had the opportunity to learn probably more about this industry than most newbies out of college.
I learned the finer details behind prospecting, outreach and generating winning strategies that drive rankings, traffic and business awareness for our clients. I’ve sat in on countless meetings learning new tactics, ways of thinking, and digging tunnels to client success reminiscent of Andrew Dufresnes’s Shawshank-esque escape to the free world. And like that character, I finally found an escape of my own.
After countless hours of honing my skills in several digital marketing realms, I came to love and appreciate the details of content marketing. I was excited about getting involved in the creation of blog posts, new landing page copy, and new opportunities to help our clients grow in ways I actually knew they could. This is when I realized that, although a majority of SEO success is strategy-driven, these strategies relied just as heavily on creating fresh, interesting new content that was just as (and in some cases, more) important to a client’s success as a content audit or internal linking plan.
Content Is Everything & Anything
I like to think of content as the paint that coats the pages of the Internet. What makes every client’s site different is the color we decide to coat those pages with. The layout, architecture, site map; that is all good, relevant and important, but a site can’t get very far without the words to create a more nuanced picture. Content is SEO’s backbone and if we want to be good marketers we have to trust the content we create.
We have to be sure content helps engage with users while informing their queries and searches. With the numerous shifts in industry standards and insights from Google Webmasters, we are constantly fine-tuning our digital marketing approach to best supply our clients with the necessary content and strategies to succeed in several realms.
Smarter Google = Smarter Content
As Google has evolved, so has the SEO industry and innovative marketers within it. When we realized that creating quality content would only help further our link building strategies and RCS initiatives, we began to understand that our content budget was increasing and that our clients wanted more and more content. Because with the creation and implementation of every carefully crafted site page, blog post or infographic, success was creeping around the corner, ever-so slowly. Success doesn’t come easy, as there is always a recipe for the reward.
Content marketers have been challenged to bridge the gap between SEO science and creative writing. This past February Matt Cutts released an article discussing the importance of writing content that readers can easily understand. No matter what industry your client or business lives within, the content you create should be comprehendible across the board.
From the industry experts to the ill-informed newbies, your site copy, blog articles, info graphics, videos and whitepapers should always find the appropriate balance to cater to each side of the user spectrum. By doing so, you will enable your clients business to appeal to a wide variety of internet users while also allowing your colleagues to approach different niches within the industry to build external exposure for new assets, graphics, insights and ideas.
Content, essentially, feeds SEO. Without creative, unique content, it makes it that much harder to bring more cohesive strategic and marketing efforts to fruition. Creating consistently solid content gives our digital marketing team’s an added degree of confidence when prospecting the internet for new and meaningful relationships. The words, graphics, and ideas fostered by content writers are purely the meat and bones behind what SEO makes look model-esque pretty. Find the proper parallel between the two and you just may have found Wonka’s “Golden Ticket.”
The Parallel Between Good SEO & Good Content
A colleague recently asked me a simple question that warranted a seemingly endless answer with numerous variables.
Why do companies use SEO?
To sit back and think about answering that question in a composed manner may take minutes, hours, or even days depending on your experience in the industry. When you can boil down your answer into a logical two- sentence statement, think about how important the ingredient of content is in that recipe.
In my opinion, and this will vary from business to business, but companies use SEO to grow in the digital space, manage and strengthen their reputation, create thought leadership , increase visibility and ultimately, make more money.
- Growing in the digital space requires you to create meaningful, engaging and relevant content for users to grow from. Content +1.
- To manage and strengthen a business reputation, you must care about what you create. If you care about your business’s reputation, you won’t achieve that goal by creating bad content loaded keyword stuffing and irrelevant material. For users to respect your brand’s product or service, you must be invested in the content you create. You also should confide in this content so your digital marketing team can take the ball and run towards client success. Content +2.
- Being a thought-leader means being an industry expert. There is no better way to market your expertise than by creating unique material that delivers new insights to users on a consistent basis. Content +3.
- Increasing business awareness and bringing in the green means that you’re promoting your products and services on external sites. This is where the SEO team comes in and where content creation feeds the hungry beast disguised as RCS and external linking strategies. Content +4.
You Can’t Fool Google, Invest In Good Content
Whether we like it or not, no one has the ability to fool Google. The best-oiled machine on the planet is our guiding eye, our north star, the voice that helps digital marketers create meaningful strategies, pitches, and content to help us to drive towards success for our clients. Since we are completely aware that Google is not to be fooled, it’s important to understand the importance of good content and building a team that can create it.
At the end of the day, content (good content!) exists in a harmonious and symbiotic relationship with SEO. While content has existed for a long time (think caveman and paintings!) and been used to great effect by more traditional marketing and advertising agencies, great content is essential to successful and well-informed SEO strategies. Good content is the link between the more technical aspects of SEO and understanding what Google---and its users---value and giving your client a voice in the vast Internet landscape.
Together, good content and SEO are the perfect marriage that flourished, resulting in rainbows, unicorns and a place where the beer flows like wine. See what I did there? Those words---that content---just created a picture for you. That’s what good content does. So When you’re drinking that beer sliding down a rainbow on the back of that unicorn, you will realize exactly why content is far bigger than SEO.