Perfect partners

The professional separation between SEOs and Content Marketers in some organisations never fails to stop intriguing me.

At one prestigious agency I was at last month, I learnt that there was next to no dialogue between their SEO core and their Content division.

I found this incredible. Hopefully, as content marketing continues to mature as a practice, agencies and in-house marketing teams will begin to see the value of co-operating and co-labouring with their SEO and content teams, for both strategic and commercial imperatives.

This is particularly important as creative, marketing and PR agencies shift to becoming the much-vaunted, all-conquering ‘Customer Engagement Agency’.

Marrying the disciplines of content marketing and SEO shouldn’t be a big ask, indeed it should be a natural partnership:

SEOs Are Perfectly Placed To Engage In Content Marketing

The skillset of SEOs matches extremely well with what it takes to win at content marketing. Both require similar processes:

  1. Researching & identifying influencers and communities
  2. Keyword research & analysis
  3. Competitive content research
  4. Creative content generation
  5. Outreach and promotion
  6. Analytics, measurement and tracking

Content Marketing is about utility. SEOs are the ‘good guys’.

Despite the efforts of Jeremy Shoemaker, SEO has never been sexy. In fact, most times it’s seen as downright nefarious – a dark art practised by digital marketeers which is pilloried and misunderstood.

Similarly, brands whose marketing and comms are interruptive, spammy and irrelevant have suffered the ire of consumers in many different ways.

Content Marketing reflects a different kind of strategy by brands – one where they’re only there when consumers need them or are purposefully seeking them out. In practice, this means providing relevant, educational, helpful, compelling or engaging content which meets a customer need. Brands know that branded content is not just to maintain visibility but also provide utility.

Content Marketing is revolutionising the idea of SEO – SEO is not just serving the search engines but the people who actually use the search engines.

Likewise, SEO extends this utility by making *relevant* content, *educational* content, *helpful* content, *compelling* content or *engaging* content for findable and searchable.

Content Marketing is making SEOs look like the ‘good guys’ of marketing.

Brands want to be publishers. SEO are their publicists.

Early 2012, Coke made a very public paean to content marketing:

But it’s not just Coke that have jumped onto the content marketing bandwagon, everyone is at it:

MakeUp from L’Oreal – a one-stop shop of tips, pictures and articles for every make-up enthusiast’s needs.

Or, Red Bulletin – Red Bull’s attempt at providing an engaging editorially-driven experience for the thrill-seeker

Or, Man Of The House, a phallo-centric offering from P&G to provide utility to the domesticated man-child

All these brands are taking seriously the need to produce interest, entertaining and useful content that meets their target audience’s needs and inspires a brand-driven lifestyle.

But it’s not enough to create content, people need to read it. And this is where SEO’s excel, because – online – they are the bridge between brand content and eyeballs.

Technologies are making it easier to do both

Technologies in the SEO and content marketing space are maturing and innovating rapidly. This should be a boon to the content marketer and search engine optimiser who are looking to systems to take away the heavy lifting.

This includes:

  • Content curation platforms

Amassing lots of content, whether new or republished will not guarantee high rankings alone, however content curation is a great way to gather information on a topic. For SEO writers, this information can be a source for generating original content. Websites and blogs need to be updated often to maintain viewer interest. Sometimes, however, good writing topics are difficult to come by.

Another reason to curate content is the possibility of building relationships with other people interested in your topic. As your site gains a reputation as a good source of content, more and more people will be willing to let you submit guest posts (and links) on their sites. Moreover, if your site gains enough credibility, sites may even begin referencing your posts and giving you free links.

  • Automated metadata generation

Metatags are not the ‘magic bullet’ that will skyrocket your site to the top of all search page listings – they are merely one tool (of many) that will help improve your standings in search engines that use them.

But by using the myriad other meta-tags available, you are presenting Search Engine Spiders with more relevant information regarding your web site and product(s). In addition, you are increasing your chance of obtaining a higher position within the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) for that particular product. Indeed, some search engines will even use the information provided within the meta tags of your page as a description of your page and display it on SERPs. This way, visitors, who are about to click your link know exactly which product they are about to view.

However, whilst meta-data can be created and structured manually, this can become massively burdensome when dealing with large amount of content being published each day, or dealing with potentially millions of categorisable keywords and topics.

  • Auto-summarisation

Auto-summarisation refers to the reconstitution of an original piece of text by a machine to become shortener whilst retaining all the key points. A great way to generate original content.

Still not convinced? Infographics FTW

In short, SEOs and content marketers need to play nice – you have a lot more in common than you think.