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Content Marketing and SEO: Why You Need Both

“Content marketing vs. SEO – the best choice”

“SEO and content marketing – which is best for your business?”

“Should you invest in SEO or content marketing?”

I’m sure you’ve seen tons of headlines like this. And I have and I decided I’ve had enough!

I’ve also heard this question from a lot of my agency’s clients during the onboarding process. “Yeah, content marketing sounds good, but I’ve read that SEO is better.”

Yes, that happens in 2017. Shoot me now!

Such questions and headlines have clearly shown me there is a serious shortage of education on the matter. More people need to understand that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. At all! Quite the opposite actually. I would go as far as saying that they are interdependent and crucial to a coherent digital strategy.

Much like peanut butter and jelly are for a really good sandwich.

Let’s see why.

Defining the terms

According to the Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”

Search Engine Land tells us that SEO (search engine oOptimization) “is the process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” search results on search engines.”

There is something that the two clearly have in common: “attract (…) a clearly defined audience” and “getting traffic” or attracting traffic.

Does this mean that they do the same thing and that you have to choose between them? Absolutely not.

A battle that’s artificially fueled

The type of headline cited above is only designed to “help” you allocate your resources where the publisher of the article needs you to.

For instance, let’s say your budget is $4,000 per month and you have the same dilemma: should you invest it in SEO or content marketing. When you Google your question you’ll get quite a few results. Each article you read declares a winner.

Some will tell you that you can get nowhere without SEO in this competitive world. Others will argue that all the recent Google algorithm updates killed SEO and you have to move your budget to content marketing.

Guess what? In most of the cases, the first ones are selling SEO services, while the latter are content marketers. There is an incredible scarcity of unbiased articles that advocate the need for the two to coexist.

The case for BOTH SEO and content marketing

Imagine this scenario: you put all of your $4,000 in SEO and you get lots of traffic. More than you’ve ever dreamed of. But no conversions.

You may have gained some brand recognition (and certainly some ego-massage from the vanity metrics displayed by Google Analytics), but what about cash? You know, the thing that keeps businesses going.

Enter content marketing.

The techniques used by content marketers are designed not just to keep users on your website and reduce your bounce rate, but also to turn them into paying customers. Perfectly optimized content is of no value if those who see it don’t make a purchase or an inquiry, as well.

In today’s world, the Internet-savvy shopper or client isn’t easy to convert. You need to provide him with relevant, valuable and informational content before you can convince him to even consider your brand. A poorly written, keyword-stuffed article doesn’t do that. It just annoys potential customers and scares them away from your website (and business).

Aside from valuable, informational content, good copywriters spend hours crafting the perfect call-to-action to complement your optimized copy so that your organic visits turn into actual cash. What good is a page that ranks No. 1 in all searches if it sells nothing?

The argument works both ways, actually.

What good is a perfect, stunning call-to-action if no one discovers the content it accompanies? This is why you need to pair up content marketing and SEO, not choose between them. If someone tells you to make that choice, run and never look back.

How SEO and content marketing can work together

Whenever I hire SEO copywriters for my agency, I make sure they have at least basic knowledge of content marketing. In fact, I’ve found that inbound and content marketing experience is much more valuable than SEO knowledge.

That’s because you can easily teach someone to optimize his or her content. You can tell them which tools to use to find relevant keywords, what density they should use and how to choose the right LSI keywords. But teaching them the importance of a proper CTA and a compelling headline from scratch is harder. Not impossible, but harder.

Experience has also taught me that there is such a things as the golden ratio between SEO and content marketing.

Let me explain that.

Of course you want all your texts optimized. Organic traffic is a gold mine for any type of business – no one can dispute that. But you don’t want to sacrifice your content marketing strategy for it.

You want to find the right balance.

In other words, don’t just write articles for the sake of boosting your page rankings. Write because you have something to say. Write because your buyer persona wants or needs that information. Make sure that everything you write has tons of research behind and that it’s in the right tone of voice for your audience.

Your potential customers love that. And, according to the latest Google algorithm updates, so do search engines. So, if you don’t believe me that content marketing and SEO should go together, take Google’s word for it. It has made it quite clear that websites that write for human readers will always rank higher than those that try to impress Google too hard.

Bottom line: SEO and content marketing have some value on their own. Together, they are unstoppable.

About the author


Adriana Tica

Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the Owner and Founder of Idunn. In October 2019, she also launched Copywritech, a digital marketing agency that provides copywriting, SEO content writing, and strategy services to companies in the tech industry.


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  • Such a very good article. I want to say something about your blog: both content writing and SEO is very important in every field. I am also an SEO expert without content no SEO can be a success because there are four main topics in seo, which can perfectly complete content.

  • Thanks for the update information. I quite agree with you that content marketing goes hand in hand with SEO. Without mincing words both complement each other and will always do so, but as much as possible the need for SEO consciousness should be valued in content marketing so that both human needs and search engine needs can be met.

  • Without good content SEO is useless. SEO is a technique how to write content, which makes it to rank enough high on Google to build traffic.

  • I think your article is very good i just want to know how i can check my site seo is going good or bad any tool or any way you can suggest.

  • SEO & Content Marketing both are essential for websites. Only SEO you can’t achieve ranking or generates traffic or doing only content marketing is not enough to rank higher. Both are essential.

  • Hello Adriana Tica, I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here frequently. I am quite certain I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!

  • Thanks Adriana for your article. I can almost hear your sighs and frustrations coming through the screen! One of the problems seems to be that many terms in marketing become ‘buzz’ words that people throw around without really understanding what they’re talking about. I’m sure it happens in other industries too but marketing, especially digital marketing, seems very prone to it. I agree that education is key, with as little hype about page rankings and free traffic as possible.

  • I have been blogging for quite a long period now from what I started. Though, I didn’t participate in promotion strategies until I realized the importance of doing it. Since then, I have visited many sources giving information on how to go about it. Many authors have many different views and I understand why it is so by reading your article.

    Wonderful insights and helpful tips on how to put them together and make best out of it. I really appreciate for sharing! Thanks!