Now here’s an interesting debate: is content marketing replacing SEO?

You cannot have a website optimised for search engines unless you are producing quality content on a regular basis. And the emphasis here is on the word ‘quality’.

Search engines are smart to things like keyword loading, poor writing, and low quality content. But they are not human. This is important.

I like to think of content marketing and SEO as being married. Two different things that are closely aligned but work best when they are working together.

For people to get to your website, they need to be find you on search engines. If you load your page with key words or the content isn’t relevant for your audience when they get there, then they are going to leave as soon as they can.

ALL SEO AND NO CONTENT

An example of this is businesses that offer SEO services. They will want to show that they can rank in their local search terms. What they do is build a page specific for their local area and load it up with keywords. If I wanted to rank in my local area of Worcester, then I’d load a page up with keywords like ‘SEO services Worcester.’ And this isn’t particularly great to read and would sound forced, But with enough pushed at it, it would start to rank.

The problem is that a person coming to that page is slightly confused by the multiple appearances of the key phrase, SEO services Worcester, jammed into sentences and headers where perhaps it doesn’t sound so natural. Yes, your page has ranked but you’re probably turning people away because it just looks a bit weird. Go back and read through those last two paragraphs and image a page where that phrase appears a few more times.

You get people to look at the page but it isn’t exactly quality. Then what happens is your bounce rate increases. People leave your site in droves. And it leaves you with a bit of an icky feeling as though you’ve just been sold to.

ALL CONTENT AND NO SEO

The content marketing version of this is spending days and weeks writing the most amazing article ever. It is a masterpiece, it’s that great. Except no one will ever read it because your site is getting no traffic. And that’s because you haven’t got an SEO plan in place.

IF THE BLOG IS NEVER READ DOES IT REALLY EXIST?

I’m quite open about my battles with the SEO plug-in, Yoast. If you’ve not seen it, it has a traffic light system that lets you know how well written your article is and how well it’s optimised for SEO. It’s a nice short hand to give you a nudge in the right direction.

But…

It’s not a human. And my biggest battle with Yoast is that it doesn’t understand the holy trinity, three is the magic number. If you start three consecutive sentences with the same word then it flags it up. Thanks for that keyword loaders.

It never gives you a green light if you’ve used the dreaded three consecutive sentences. And I like the green light. I end up shouting at my screen that those sentences were done on purpose and changing them won’t make them as powerful.

But apparently Google doesn’t agree. And this is the problem with writing for Google or any other search engine. You are writing for a machine, not a potential customer.

There needs to be a happy middle ground between writing to be found and writing to appeal to your audience. It’s a symbiotic relationship. You can’t get one without the other.

There is a side of SEO that you should pay attention to and that’s the stuff that goes on at the back of your website and not the words you put on the page. Your metadata, links, tags, site structure and page structure are hugely important.

Get your head around this stuff rather than loading your copy with keywords.

Well written content that puts your audience first should naturally pull in the keyword terms that you aiming for. You’ll have done the research into them and know that’s what your audience is searching for on Google.

Content marketing cannot replace SEO any more than SEO can produce compelling copy to gets people to take an action. You need both of them to work harmoniously together to get the best possible results.