Rumours of SEO’s demise at the hands of content marketing have been greatly exaggerated
Over the past few years, speculation and negative forecasts have been rife over the future of search engine optimisation (SEO), with a growing number of people questioning whether it has any place in the digital world now that the practice of content marketing has soared in popularity and usage.
Those who are in involved in the marketing industry appear to be split on this topic at present. For some, the emergence of content marketing over the last few years, and its ability to capture the attention of a widespread audience across the globe, has meant that spending thousands of pounds on SEO is like spending money on buying followers on Twitter when you have already established a loyal audience; you simply don’t need it.
However, other parties have argued that the demise of SEO at the hands of content marketing has been greatly exaggerated; citing that content marketing cannot be done profitably and effectively without supplementary SEO.
The question which seems to be begged here is why exactly SEO and content marketing keep appearing in articles across the internet as adversaries; two distinctly different areas of digital marketing which businesses have to choose from in order to be intelligently and prudently using their cash resources.
In an era where optimisation of all areas of marketing campaigns is essential, it seems almost ridiculous that two proven ways to attain paying customers and build the brand of companies should be pitted against each other; particularly when the best companies mandatorily set out to make sure that they combine both effectively in order to attain higher levels of exposure and profit. The notion that one has to be used over the other seems to deny the evident truth that using both together is actually the best way to ensure success from both, and market your company in the strongest way possible.
Yes, we are now in a time where the quality and general usefulness of content is far more heavily scrutinised that it has been in the past, with the era of keyword cowboys loading their page up with relevant search phrases being brought to an emphatic end by Google over the past few years. The tech giants serial clamp down on poor link building practices has also meant that content marketing has soared in importance and general usage in recent times, with the companies 2013 algorithm update, Hummingbird, raising the necessity for marketing businesses to improve the quality of the content they release.
Moreover, the semantic inference that Hummingbird has brought with it has meant that search results are now arguably far more relevant to their users intent, unlike with keyword matching. This has had a monumental impact on the landscape of SEO, though the truth is that it has simply presented marketers with more opportunities to reach their audience than ever before, if only with a few theoretical changes into the manner they conduct themselves.
I also believe that recent assertions from the Guardian about the internet being close to peaking in content saturation is far off the mark, particularly because of the introduction of Hummingbird and the long-list of rewards that businesses stand to attain by regularly releasing original content. Google’s guidelines now necessitate that all content on the landing pages of businesses are valuable to the user, in order for it to uphold a high rating and position.
SEO and content marketing should be treated as one and the same
The best approach to take when pursuing SEO and content marketing success is to use a holistic strategy, which essentially amalgamates them both as different elements of a broader, identical aim.
At the end of the day, you could optimise the quality of your content so that it is the best in the world, but if you do not have the necessary SEO in place to ensure that it attains traction, then your content marketing will fail to succeed in its aim to attract business. Yes, keyword targeting and selection is still hugely important, but businesses should be cautious about focusing on this area too much.
The reality is that SEO is alive as ever, because in order for the quality of your work to be appreciated by the global audience, it has to first be optimised for accessibility, and this can only be achieved by maximising your sites presence on the world’s largest search engines.
At the same time, Hummingbird’s introduction has made the importance of marketing quality content paramount, and the reality is that your site will fall down the rankings if it contains poor quality and low mobile usability. As such, making sure that your site has a strong interface and is optimised to organically acquire clients is fundamental to garnering exposure for quality content, signifying the importance of both to crack the marketing world of today.
I’d like to add social media optimisation into this holistic strategy, because ensuring your content is put out in the right places is just as important as its quality and its search engine exposure. By maximising your contents exposure on social media platforms, optimising it for quality and taking the necessary SEO steps to ensuring your site pages landing pages are frequently visited, you stand to attain far more in rewards, and coverage and profits than you would have by focusing on either of these separately. Adopting the holistic approach in this area will provide hugely inflated rewards and the sooner that marketers learn that it isn’t a competition between these strategies, the sooner they’ll be bolstering their returns on investment in the future.