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In a World Where Content Is King, Where Does SEO Fit?

By on May 2, 2016 in How To
In a World Where Content Is King, Where Does SEO Fit?

Web Content without SEO is noise. Marketing should convey a signal, not noise. It must focus on a target market. To those individuals, it should provide rational, actionable, and practical information.

SEO also prevents noise that both humans and search engines resent: spam! SEO is no longer about tricking the index to consider your content more popular than it really is. SEO is about marketing data, and understanding the terms the market uses to frame questions and discussions about your products and services. SEO is getting inside the hearts and minds of your readers, just what a writer wants to do!

How SEO Works

When SEO is well-executed, your content (and its message and offer) is presented by search engines. Thus, SEO guides your content to enjoy the most effective, efficient form of online marketing: search!

SEO essentially precedes content creation. Content created randomly, without a strategic plan, is ‘noisy’. Such content may be invisible in search and will lack the ability to trigger transactions.

Marketing writers must have a profound understanding about matching their semantics to search data. SEO offers some control over the potential audience size or number of market impressions. That control is based on knowledge of how frequently a particular term (keyword, keyphrase, long-tail term) is ‘queried’.

Keyword data is priceless because of the predictability it lends to reaching one’s readership, or market. The value can be applied to both natural search marketing and paid advertising. Competitive intelligence can offer incredible advantages to those using content to market.

The Link Between SEO and Content

Content Marketers know that content and SEO are intrinsically linked. Users search the Internet for the right content to answer their interests and needs. Effective SEO helps your gold content to stand out from the noise in reaching your reader. Readers credit good content with helping them make purchasing decisions.

Creating Targeted Content for Lead Nurturing

According to research firm MarketingSherpa:

  • 82% of prospects say content targeted to their specific industry is more valuable
  • 67% say content targeted to their job function is more valuable

The value of using SEO to guide content grows over time. Optimal content brings more visitors who are looking for just what you offer. That success, in turn, attracts still more readers thanks to signals such as social sharing, mentions and traffic.

Increasing Market Share

Continue to deliver valuable online content and you’ll build awareness and market share. The targeted, motivated readers you attract will become customers and then your quality message will spread to other observers and experts. The more valuable your content, the better the potential return on investment. Content really is king!

Focusing useful content effectively to the right topic by using the right keywords makes the most sense, when you consider that methods of optimization applied after-the-fact—interlinking, some metadata, link-building and so on—are not only less effective, but also are more likely to trigger Google penalties.

Start With SEO

Don’t be afraid to start your content planning with SEO. Do your keyword research. Try using some free Google tools (Google Trends, AdWords Keyword planner, etc.) or conduct some research of your own, using Consumer Barometer, Five Second Test or SurveyMonkey.

Post by Michael Stricker, SEMrush US Marketing Director
SEO graphic by serkorkin

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  1. SEO is becoming harder and harder these days with keyword data being hidden. We see in the automotive industry that dealers are now being pushed down below the fold, as where before the most recent algo change dealers were sitting at around position 1-3. Now car aggregators are getting the top positions, it's beyond ridiculous, especially considering Google was always against middle men but now they are catering to them. This has to do with these aggregators influencing googles business decisions because they spend so much money through adwords. Search is no longer about the best content when it comes to businesses who are throwing tons of money via PPC. You will also see that ebay is getting top position a lot more often as well, leaving small and medium size businesses struggling to make an impact within their industries. Something has to change, if not, the world will be ruled by big corporations...

    FYI, we use SEM Rush often, the new platform is very slick! Keep up the good work guys!

  2. Nice article @Josh Johnson

    What I really like about this article is you point out SEO helps eliminate noise in content. Which helps you reach the hearts of your customers.

    I never thought of SEO this way! SEO has a reputation for being confusing and reserved for a select group of SEO geniuses (in my personal experience).

    I think if more people thought of SEO this way it would be much less intimidating.

    Great article!

    • Staff

    This is a great resource. I'm pretty much a newbie in SEO and have a lot to learn. Your opening statement about noise was pretty helpful to visualize the whole concept. Thanks for sharing! If I have a blog on wordpress.com, do I have to worry about SEO?

  3. Thanks a ton for the article Michael! SEO has always been a huge thing for me, but I too never thought of it this way. Definitely going to look into creating content catered specifically for the heart of my audience. Thanks again! :)

  4. Well I think it is quite tough to achieve higher rankings of your website in any search engines. When Google latest update has launched that is humming bird and from that time search engine strategies has drastically got changed. Now Google is mainly focusing on long tail keywords and your content should be unique that contains key words as well. Therefore in order to optimize your website easily you can use CMS like WordPress with its SEO plugins and themes which you can download from http://yoctotemplates.com/category/wordpress_plugins/seo/ where you will find enormous list of SEO themes and plugins as well that too at no cost.

    • Staff

    I agree completely, create content for the consumers that read it, and not for the search engines.

    The days of tricking search providers into giving you higher rankings than you deserve are rapidly ending, and now those who really produce quality content that people actually care about are being rewarded. The SEO industry has a reputation for being a bit slimy for good reason - I've heard of so many people getting scammed with broken promises and false claims (guaranteed first page of google, anyone?). Hopefully those companies start to go away, and great content producing ones rise in its place. The internet will be better for everyone involved. =)

  5. > Dustin Lee - thanks for the compliment. The best kind of SEO is the most natural and selfless - in the words of Tron, "I fight for the users"! (OK, so I geeked out for a moment)! Aligning one's efforts with Google is certain to yield better long-term results than fighting the behemoth.

  6. > Beth Ruefner - we often talk about quantity of content vs. quality. Like most things, having a plan is crucial. "Well begun is half done". So, identifying topics that appeal to your target market is a key. Keywords are a key to help them find your content in the first place. A great headline may get them to actually read it.
    Yes, WordPress is wonderful as a Content Management System (CMS) but consider some add-ons for security, caching performance and SEO. (I like Yoast.) Hope that helps! Love your stuff!

  7. > Filter Grade - thanks for reading. Your products seem to capture the essence of a particular moment in time, a feeling. Creating content that represents in words something so fleeting can be a challenge. Fortunately, you can use tools like SEMrush to examine the keywords that are being used by big filter sellers, markets and subdomains and directories. Less-explored competitive info like that is what the new 'Position Tracker' is built for. Tell our crawler where to go so you can discover how others win, and emulate success.

  8. > Maxx Pitmann - I beg to differ, Hummingbird had very little effect on SEO activities, except to improve the speed and accuracy with which Google parses queries. Now, Google can make its searchers happier by sending them to a greater variety of pages and sites that are better suited to their needs, wants and their intent, whether to buy, or learn, or commune.

  9. > Matt Borchert - hear, hear! Thanks for voicing the concerns of many. As an SEO, I am sensitive to our image as an industry - it can be poor, sometimes!
    Thanks also, to all readers and commenters, for giving me a much better understanding of the depth of this marketplace! Very nice, makes me want to be an artist and designer, again!

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