Content marketing and SEO are often seen as synonymous, but this is not the case. Although in some cases it may be difficult to distinguish between the two, the truth is that they are two different marketing methods. However, they fuel each other. And when strategically integrated, they can maximize your results, including increasing traffic and conversions. The Best Way to Combine SEO and Content Marketing.
This article will teach you when to combine the two and follow the exact structure to get the desired result. Let’s start by understanding content marketing and SEO first.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of creating and delivering valuable and relevant content to attract, convert and retain customers so that you can increase revenue and ultimately grow your business.
Here is an example: At Ahrefs, we create content that teaches users how to solve various problems and increase their website traffic using our tools. That is content marketing.
What is SEO?
SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website to increase the amount and quality of its traffic from search engine organic results. It involves keyword research, content creation, technical auditing, and link building.
Since searching for information in search engines is one of the top ways for users to discover web content, SEO is important if you want to increase your website traffic organically.
When should you combine the two?
SEO as a distribution channel for content marketing is a no-brainer if your audience is looking for solutions to help solve your business.
For example, many of our potential customers are searching on Google for terms like “keyword research,” “link building tips,” and “SEO basics.” So we target these keywords to create relevant product-led content and optimize them for ranking on Google to attract and convert these users.
This blog that you are reading, for example, is an excellent example of this. As you read, you will understand how we are using this article to market our products.
How it started
Now that you have a clear idea of when to combine SEO and content marketing, let’s follow the exact step-by-step framework.
We will cover the right topic ideas, tips for creating informational content optimized for SEO, and much more.
Let’s dive into it.
1. Find the right keywords
Marketers make the common mistake of creating content around keywords that lack informative intent or worse, creating content without first researching any keywords.
Before you can create anything, you need to find informative keywords that your audience is searching for that represent a problem that could help solve your business. These are keywords that can drive profitable customer action.
You can find informative keywords using Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Here’s how:
- Enter your seed keywords
- Go to the Matching Terms report
- Add keyword modifiers like a key, who, guide, how, and tips to the “included” filter and select “any word”
- You will now see a list of keyword ideas with informative intent to create potential content.
2. Analyze and match search intent
Writing a guide to a helpful article or a specific keyword is not enough to rank. You need to analyze the purpose of the search and match it. Although often overlooked, this is important for SEO.
For example, when people search for “bounce rate”, they want to understand what a bounce rate is and how it can be measured.
However, when searching for something like “Bounce Rate Reduction”, users already know what a bounce rate key is and looking for advanced tips to reduce bounce rate.
Therefore, the content format and angle must be different in each case.
An effective way to match search intent is to analyze search results, which we call the three Cs of search intent:
- Content format
- Content angle
Content-type refers to the overall type of content in search results. In the case of informative keywords, you usually see blog posts or videos.
For example, in “email marketing”, the results are blog posts:
On the other hand, a search for “how to set up a shelf” yields mostly video results:
Content layout refers to the overall layout of the top search results. It is usually as follows:
Guide, for example, is an effective format for “content creation”.
The content angle refers to the unique selling point of content. Since it largely depends on the subject, it is difficult to “bucket” in a few ways as we did for type and format.
To understand the content angle, you should analyze the top results.
For example, the dominant angle of “content strategy planning” focuses on development initiatives.
3. Prioritize according to “business potential”
To attract the right audience and increase engagement, you need to focus on keywords, including “business prospects.” In other words, keywords represent problems that help solve your product or service.
For example, we recently wrote a guide on “Keyword Cannibalization” because the topic has both traffic and business potential for us. The keyword gets 600 monthly searches according to Ahref’s Keyword Explorer and our tool helps to solve the problem of keyword cannibalization.
So when we saw that researchers were looking for guidelines on how to solve keyword cannibalization, it became clear that this was a high “business potential” for us.
7-Keyword-cannibalization for snake-overview
Here is the scale we use to score topics in Ahrefs:
4. Craft valuable product-led content
Now that you’ve figured out a great content concept, the next step is to start working on it. A great part of the content is relevant, original, product-led, and resonated with your target audience.
For those who don’t know, product-led content strategically talks about the product and uses it to create an argument, solve a problem, or help readers achieve a goal.
In our opinion, the three essential elements make content great. The Best Way to Combine SEO and Content Marketing.
Whether you are creating in-house content or with the help of outside agencies, you need to make sure that the content is written by someone who is an expert in the niche and has a good idea about your product.
Without it, it would be impossible to weave your product or create compelling arguments in the article.
Here are some helpful tips to add credibility to your article:
Collaborate with different people in your organization, such as the product and technology team, to gain unique perspectives and gain knowledge. Talk to influential people in your niche and get their insights by connecting with them via email and LinkedIn (example). Never hesitate to write your own opinion, because you don’t have to agree with everyone (example)
Create content deeply
Part of your content should focus on answering all the questions a reader might have when searching for a specific topic.
You can find important sub-topics to include in Ahref’s Content Gap Tool in Site Explorer. Paste a few top-ranking pages for your target keywords and leave the field below blank. You will then see the keywords for which these pages are ranking:
In the example above, we write a few top-ranking pages for “mobile SEO”.
A glimpse of the report shows these posts talk about the following sub-topics:
- Mobile SEO Strategies
- Mobile SEO best practice
- Including an article about mobile, SEO is probably worth it.
Content knit your product
The maximum critical part of any content advertising strategy is to force worthwhile consumer action. Writing in-depth guides or blogs that don’t talk about your product until the conclusion drives the expected engagement or conversion.
Therefore, you need to focus on product-led content writing.
In our articles, you will always find multiple examples of how our tools can help you solve a specific problem (as you have seen more than once in this article).
A direct benefit of this is customer acquisition and retention.
Remember that the idea is not to sell the product but to educate users about possible ways to solve the problem (with or without your product).
5. Update the content as your product develops
In order to get the most engagement and conversions from parts of your content, it is important to update them according to your product improvements and features.
Depending on how drastic the change is (whether it’s a product update or a complete product redesign), you may need:
Update step-by-step instructions for using the tool for a specific use.
- Add a new product screenshot.
- Add a new section explaining a new feature.
- Update a product tutorial video.
- While these may come as small changes at first, doing them consistently will help you extend the life of your best
- Blog content and increase its results over time.
For example, let’s take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to Link Building, which was first published six years ago and has been updated regularly ever since.
If you examine the organic traffic of the page over time in Ahref’s Site Explorer, you will notice a gradual increase in traffic since 2020:
In fact, the blog ranks # 6 for the term “link building”.
However, this increase would have been impossible if we had not updated the content with the latest trends and covered how our new features could be used for link building.
6. Create a proprietary audience through email opt-ins
Even if you rank # 1 on Google and drive a lot of organic traffic to your content, the reality is that most readers won’t sign up for your product or service right now. If they are not ready to make a decision, no pop-up or banner can affect them.
But you can encourage them to subscribe to your newsletter or weekly blog updates. At Ahrefs, we have a simple, non-intrusive form in the sidebar. There, our readers can enter their email addresses to receive our weekly content updates. The Best Way to Combine SEO and Content Marketing.
This approach allows you to build a proprietary audience through SEO-centric content marketing.
Instead, you can now:
- Instantly drive traffic to your new content piece.
- Nurture readers before they become customers.
- Conduct surveys to improve your content, gain new content ideas, and gain insights for data-driven studies.
- The latest thought
Using SEO as a distribution channel for your content marketing efforts is a smart move if people search for topics with “business potential”. This is the bread and butter of our content marketing strategy here Ahrefs, and it worked well for us. The Best Way to Combine SEO and Content Marketing.