The Changing Tides Of Content Marketing And SEO

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The modern business landscape is full of buzzwords that are constantly thrown around in most offices and boardrooms. Since the early days of the technology boom, the term SEO (search engine optimization) has gained more and more pertinence as the importance of company websites has spiked, and with it, so has the need for websites to attract consistent traffic. Entire companies have been created to help other companies increase their website traffic while SEO consultants have launched careers solely by helping companies enhance their presence on prominent search engines. Recently, however, the business landscape has seen another aspect of digital marketing have some unforeseen effects on SEO, both as a practice and as an industry.

Content marketing is one of the hottest terms in the business world right now and for good reason. We are currently living in what can only be called the content boom – an age in which the demand for digital content has skyrocketed. This content started out as a basic necessity for websites. As the blogging trend became more and more popular, companies began to see the benefits of adding a company blog to their site--regarding such an element as an easy way to attract potential customers to their webpage. Thus began the trend of what would become known as content marketing.

While most early digital marketers likely did not foresee that creative content alone would do so much to change their industry, no one paying attention could deny the all-too-apparent benefits of adding quality content to a company website. Web traffic is critical for any industry and became even more so with the progression of online advertising and creation of platforms such as Google AdSense. Other platforms like Google AdWords did even more for SEO, showing companies other tactics to appear in Google searches. Websites needed to appear in more and more relevant web searches and figuring out the best ways to optimize them to do so was absolutely essential. As the age of digital innovation progressed, the rise of startup culture continued to grow. Millennials, both creative and technically-minded, were finding it was quicker and more affordable than ever to create their own companies. 

This is where content marketing comes into play. 

Early stage SEO was primarily technical and data-driven, but as the tides of business have changed, so has Google’s algorithm for ranking websites. As content has become increasingly more important throughout digital media, keywords have become more and more significant in all matters involving SEO. Most websites that show up quickly in Google searches do so due to keywords, and needless to say, the more written content a site features, the more opportunities there will be to include valuable keywords that can bring even more people to the site. It doesn’t stop there. Content allows companies to take their website viewer far beyond the basic written copy found on any homepage and show them what their organization is, often adding a lot to the typical user experience. Quality content has become so important to the digital marketing world that it has created its own division of marketing. Today we see larger companies employing entire content marketing teams and smaller companies focusing almost exclusively on content-based strategies in their marketing campaigns.

Adam Spera, founder of social media agency, Next Trend Social, spoke to Modern Treatise about the intersection of content marketing and SEO and the effects that both elements have had on each other.

“I think SEO is becoming less and less important,” Spera said. “Websites are less relevant than ever. Content is king. All focus should be on creating value generating content.”

This is absolutely not to say that either SEO or general websites are being rendered completely irrelevant. So long as there are search engines, there will be a need for search engine optimization. More to the point is the fact that SEO has been revolutionized by content marketing, and the way companies reach new customers and connect with a wider audience is continuing to change.

It should also be noted that, according to a study conducted by serpIQ, the web pages that consistently rank the highest in Google’s search results are those with that boast the highest amount of content. This does not necessarily mean articles with the highest word count. Experienced content marketers know that often, less is more, as readers tend to tire of extensive articles outside of the news sphere unless the article they are reading is particularly informative. Too many visitors leaving a site too quickly –referred to in the industry as a site’s bounce rate – can easily hurt a platform’s rankings on search engines. The type of written content that Google primarily favors is that which is most sustainable, primarily due to a detailed and informative nature. 

Overall the success of a company’s SEO strategy can be gauged by two key elements; how high is the rate at which the site is appearing in keyword searches and how low is its bounce rate? Good content marketing can easily prove essential to driving up the keyword search rate while lowering the bounce rate at the same time. Poor content, by that logic, can easily do the opposite. Monitoring a site’s content to be sure that it is working is an essential part of employing content marketing as a way of improving SEO. When paired together successfully, these two products of modern digital innovation can take a website to incredible heights and with it, the entire company. While both are functional enough by themselves, together they can do things that benefit any business or organization with an online presence.