I’ve said it before: content marketing and SEO go hand in hand.
No, you don’t have to choose.
No, you don’t have to prioritize.
No, you don’t have to separate them.
They’re like cheese on pizza: good separately, excellent together.
But (there’s always a “but”) you also have to master them both to get great results.
At Idunn, the digital marketing agency I run, I learned this early on. This is why I only hire SEO copywriters that have a marketing background.
SEO can be taught. You can easily teach someone the right keyword density and how to do keyword research and write meta descriptions. Marketing acumen, on the other hand, takes a lot of time to master.
Our clients already know this: whenever they come to us for copywriting services, the main thing we optimize for is cash.
Does this sound too harsh?
Maybe, but I believe that SEO, just like any other marketing technique, should be about boosting revenue. So we make content marketing and SEO work together towards business goals, not views, traffic or other vanity metrics.
However, all this requires balance. And sometimes, content marketers forget about that important balance. This is what happens next.
4 common SEO mistakes content marketers make
1. Over optimizing the copy
Because of this unholy separation between content marketing and SEO, even people in the trade get confused sometimes.
So they go overboard.
Don’t get me wrong. You should optimize your texts. Anytime, anywhere.
But you should definitely not sacrifice readability and conversion optimization for SEO.
In fact, even Google will hate that. Stuffing your texts with your main keyword is now rightfully considered spamming. All content marketers should know that. If they don’t, you should look elsewhere!
2. Not optimizing enough
Yes, the extremes are always the worst.
I’ve heard many content marketers say that a good text will catch wings of its own and that it doesn’t need SEO.
The first part is true.
The second, however, is most definitely not.
A great web page or blog post definitely has the potential to go viral via social media or other content promotion tactics.
But why should you give up on the chance to be found organically?
Bottom line: do keyword research and optimize for anything you write, but never sacrifice your human readers to please Google bots.
3. Optimizing for the wrong keywords
This is another topic that I spoke at length about. People with little experience in SEO tend to take keyword research lightly.
So we have a client in real estate? Awesome, let’s optimize for “real estate agent”. Or “home for sale”. As long as the text looks good in Yoast, we’re OK, right?
Well, no, we’re not!
It will take ages for any new website to rank for such competitive keywords. In fact, odds are it will never happen for the poor client.
But if you were to optimize for “real estate agent in Tampa” or “luxury villas for sale in New Hampshire”, then you would stand a chance.
70% of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords. With the rise of voice assistants like Alexa, search also got more conversational.
So it would make sense to optimize for “how do I find the best real estate agent in Tampa?”
Is it harder to write copy that sounds naturally when you optimize for long-tail keywords?
Is it worth it?
After all, the ability to play with words is what separates good writers from bad ones.
Last, but not least, even if it’s harder to optimize your content for long-tail keywords, the good news is that you don’t have to repeat the same phrase over and over again. This is what LSI keywords are for.
The comprehensive, in-depth approach to content writing isn’t just great for readers and search engines. It also makes happier writers, who can write naturally and still win the SEO game.
4. Forgetting about inbound linking
As content marketers, we tend to obsess over outbound links. We know that every time one of our articles is linked to by another website, it’s a validation of our work. And that’s perfectly true.
Outbound linking is great for both brand awareness, lead generation and SEO.
But this doesn’t mean we should forget about inbound linking. It’s a great way to shine new light on old posts.
Most importantly, it’s great for SEO.
Every time you link to an old post, make sure the anchor text is the keyword you want said post to rank for. This will tell Google bots that the article is relevant for that keyword.
The best part about inbound linking is that it is completely free and easy to handle. There is literally no reason to skip it.
The bottom line
If you outsource content writing, make sure you do it with the right people. The promise of a huge SEO focus may be tempting, but it can be hurtful for your brand in the long run. The same goes for the opposite approach: no SEO, just great content.
Find people who take the best of both worlds and put it to work for your company’s revenue.