Two Guys Walk Into A Bar...

By Tricia Allenson

They both take seats on bar stools and appear to be arguing over whose job is more important.  The wizened bartender listens to them for a couple of minutes and then interjects with this question.

“Do you know who the most successful singing duo on earth was and still is? I’ll give you a hint,  “Maneater”……what, nothing? How about, “I Can’t Go For That”? ….still nothing? Last hint, they broke up briefly in the 1990’s to pursue solo careers but each failed miserably, now they continue to tour worldwide together and sell-out wherever they appear. What each of them brought individually and uniquely to their music was a perfect compliment to what their partner brought to the relationship. One wrote the music, the other the lyrics, and then they both collaborated on the orchestral arrangements. Now, do you get it?”

Both the specialists (quite confused by the question) looked at each other, shrugged their shoulders, and asked the barkeep if they could have a bowl of salted nuts.

He had been talking about Hall and Oates of course and even though the relevancy of the example seems to have eluded the two marketing experts, it’s actually not surprising at all when most marketing departments or well-intentioned solopreneurs see SEO and Content Marketing as mutually exclusive. Years of confusion about Google’s constantly changing algorithms and an overabundance of information written on both topics have likely hurt more than they helped, but consider the following:

  • SEO is about fiddling with the right words to make you attractive to search engines and you do this by selecting the words or phrases you suspect your customers would use to find you. An SEO expert ensures those words end up in the proper behind the scenes places to be found by search engines.  You can do a search for the words that will give you the best results on Google Adwords Keyword Tool

  • Now you need to know the ideal density of those keywords in any content you create. Too many, you get punished by Google, which determines what page you end up on in a search; too few, and you’re not even in the game.

  • Google further indexes words from your website and how you’ve used them to determine where (what page) you show up on in a search, so word selection is really important.

  • Now, armed with the key words you will use, you can start planning your social media content and marketing strategy.  Remember, be careful not to over do it with keyword optimization (stuffing) or Google penalizes your chances for a good page ranking. Low quality, irrelevant content can make you look like one of those content farms and that’s going to hurt you also.  

So, can SEO and Content Marketing together work better to reach the customer’s goal of driving more traffic to their website and coming up higher in search engine results?

It’s not a simple process but the answer is YES.                       

Quality content will always matter and will be picked up in organic search results but it should never be created at the expense of SEO best practices like Meta data optimization.  They are equal partners just like John and Daryl.