How to Combine SEO with Content Marketing to Maximize Traffic

merge

This post is a little different from my usual posts…

Typically, I write about one specific topic, e.g., SEO, content marketing, or social media marketing.

But often, when I read comments and emails from my readers, I see a big problem with their mentality.

It boils down to a question such as:

Should I focus more on SEO or content marketing?

And I get where that’s coming from, but it’s the wrong question.

You’ve seen the stats:

And these numbers can, of course, lead to some confusion.

If both SEO and content marketing are useful for a business, then which one is better for you?

The answer is both.

Although content marketing and SEO share some similarities, they are two different things that can be used at the same time to benefit a business.

Download this cheat sheet to learn how to combine SEO with content marketing to maximize traffic.

And while most of my posts talk about one or the other, this one is going to focus on how you should connect your use of content marketing and SEO in your business. 

Where SEO and content marketing overlap

The reason why so many people have trouble connecting SEO and content marketing is because they don’t have a clear picture of what each represents.

We can fix that with a few quick definitions:

SEO: Anything that is done to increase your organic search engine traffic.

Content marketing: Creating and spreading content to attract traffic.

Although you can get more precise with the descriptions, those simple definitions are all you need to understand both concepts.

They have a lot in common: Although they are separate types of traffic strategies, both content marketing and SEO often overlap…

…starting with content.

For SEO, content is a must. And for content marketing, well…it’s in the name.

In the past, they required different types of content.

You could get away with thin, 500-word articles around your target keyword for SEO.

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I’m not saying that you can’t rank 500-word articles, but it’s much harder to rank the same junk that you could rank before.

In the past few years, the content needed for SEO started to resemble the content needed for content marketing.

Quality and value are the top priorities for this content.

How do they fit together at a high level? Imagine being able to create one awesome piece of content and then use it to attract traffic from all of the biggest sources.

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When you use your content effectively (and optimize it for different channels), you can easily double or triple your resulting traffic.

Instead of just trying to get search engine traffic for an article, you can also use content marketing tactics and promote it on social media.

But there are differences: It’s naive to think that content marketing is exactly the same as SEO even though some over-optimistic marketers seem to think that way.

SEO certainly fits well into most on-page and off-page aspects of content marketing. However, technical SEO is pretty far removed from content marketing.

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Some parts of technical SEO will affect your search engine rankings (such as optimizing your crawl rate) but won’t have any affect on your content marketing results.

So, although they share a lot of similarities, know that there’s more to SEO than just the basic on-page keyword targeting.

They can also benefit each other in big ways: One thing that most don’t realize at first is how much SEO and content marketing complement each other.

Here’s a list of basic SEO tasks you might do:

  • optimize page load speed
  • make content responsive
  • fix dead links and bad redirects
  • ensure that your content has a clear hierarchy (i.e., heading tags)

All of those things can help your content marketing efforts.

A faster page load speed is good for the user experience no matter where they’re coming from. Same goes for responsive content.

By fixing dead links or bad redirects, you improve the reader’s experience as well as keep them on your site reading your other content (a very good thing).

Finally, a clear content hierarchy improves the readability of your content.

Content marketing is all about the user experience, and SEO has been heading in that direction for the past while, which is why they complement each other now.

1. Which one goes first?

Although both SEO and content marketing are compatible with each other, they are different in a few key ways.

For example, if you created a great guide, you’d still want to include certain keywords in the most important places.

So, do you find the keywords first and then build the content around them?

Or do you create the content first and then find appropriate keywords to use within it?

The answer is that either way can work, but they both have their own strengths.

The case for content marketing first: With this process, you’d focus on coming up with ideas for content that your target audience is interested in.

Once you create the content, you do some keyword research around that specific topic to find some keywords you think you could rank for. You add them mainly to your headings.

Finally, you find a way to get that content in front of as many people as you could.

There are two big benefits of this option.

First, if gives you a lot of flexibility.

If you choose the keyword first, you create the content around that specific keyword, so you don’t have much choice later on.

Here, if you’re having a tough time ranking for your keyword(s), you can just choose a longer tail keyword that will be easier to rank for.

Second, search volume doesn’t equal value to a reader.

This is actually really important.

That’s because depending on which approach you take, you generate content ideas in different ways:

  • content marketing first – you learn about your target audience and figure out what their problems are. You create content to solve those problems.
  • SEO first – you do keyword research and go after the highest volume keywords.

When you do typical SEO research, you find keywords searched for by the highest number of people. That means that it’s a common query.

However, that doesn’t always translate into value.

For example, a new business owner is likely to Google something like:

What is SEO?

Not surprisingly, that phrase is searched for a decent amount, about 10,000 times a month.

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But all they’re really looking for is a simple definition in most cases.

No matter how good your content is, it’s not going to have a huge impact on their lives (they won’t value it highly).

But after they learn a bit about what SEO is, they have a bigger problem: “How do I actually do SEO?”

So, they search for:

SEO plan for a small business

or something along those lines. They find a really detailed guide that shapes their SEO work for years to come. This is an example of something that is truly valuable to a reader.

But guess what? That search phrase (and other similar ones) gets a negligible amount of search volume.

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If you only create content based on highly popular terms, you’ll often miss creating content that solves your target audience’s biggest problems.

This is a big deal for two reasons:

  1. You have a limited usefulness – When someone comes to Quick Sprout, I want them to find everything they need about marketing. If they can’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll go to another site. I want to be the expert they come to for content, and later for business.
  2. High value converts higher – If your content solves a big problem for your readers, they’re going to remember it. That’s how you get loyal subscribers, who later turn into customers. Getting hundreds of thousands of visitors is nice, but it’s not if none of them turn into customers because they’re coming for low value content.

That being said, low volume searches aren’t necessarily high value problems, and high volume searches aren’t necessarily low value problems. You have to take it on a case-by-case basis.

The main takeaway from this is that if you rely on a keyword tool—like most SEO-first marketers do—you’ll miss some big problems and interests of your target audience.

Missing those will significantly lower the potential results of your marketing efforts (i.e., sales).

The case for SEO first: After reading the first case, you might be all set on focusing on content marketing first, but there are a few advantages of going with the keyword-first method.

First, it can improve your content.

When you create your content first, you do everything you can to make it as good as possible for the reader.

If you have to add a keyword for SEO purposes, you’re detracting from the optimal phrasing that you originally had. It won’t necessarily be awkward, but your new version of a title might not be as intriguing as the original was.

But if you know your keyword from the start, you’ll always keep it in mind, which will likely change the overall message you create (compared to content first).

The second main benefit is that you do find out what the common problems might be, but they might not be as valuable to solve.

If you only get topic ideas from observing or talking with your target audience, you’ll typically hear from them when they’re having a big problem (a high value situation).

You won’t hear them express small problems very often because they’ll simply try to find an easy solution by searching for it.

By creating content around keywords, you ensure that you find all of the medium to high volume keywords, regardless of the value they hold for your target audience. Ranking for these terms is still a good thing even if those visitors don’t directly convert as highly.

If you’re smart, you can direct those initial visitors to other more valuable content that you’ve created after you’ve solved their first problem.

How about a hybrid? To me, it’s clear that both approaches have their own strengths and weaknesses.

The obvious solution is an effective one: use both methods.

You should spend time researching good keywords to create content around.

You should also spend time researching your target audience to find out what their biggest problems are. Then, create content to solve those problems and add keywords after.

2. Focus on evergreen content for the best of both worlds

Although SEO and content marketing both aim to raise your website traffic, they typically do so in different time frames.

When you create a new great post, you typically promote it hard right away. This includes emailing your list and doing a lot of email outreach to other site owners in your niche.

This results in a few quick bursts of traffic to that post, and then it’ll die down.

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On the other hand, you’ll likely get no (or very little) search engine traffic right away unless your domain is very authoritative.

Over time, as you promote it and it accumulates backlinks, you’ll notice that the search engine traffic continues to increase.

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However, that only happens for certain posts.

On others, that are news-related, you’re more likely to get some search traffic right away, but it’ll quickly drop down to near zero as your content becomes irrelevant.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of spending the time and resources to create a great piece of content only to have it attract traffic for a short period of time.

I want it to continue to be seen for years after I create it. That’s how you get an overall traffic graph that keeps growing. Your content essentially builds on itself.

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To make sure this happens, you should focus most of your effort on evergreen content.

There are some exceptions, but for the most part, it’s your best option.

Maximizing traffic with evergreen content: Evergreen content refers to any content that will be just as useful in the foreseeable future as it is today.

Compare that to a story about Google’s latest algorithm change, which will be interesting for a few months at the most and then become useless.

Think about all of those link building guides from five years ago. Almost all of them are irrelevant in today’s SEO world.

The idea behind evergreen content is that you can get the short-term traffic boost from content marketing as well as the steady, long-term traffic from search engines.

In fact, the work you do to get traffic initially will speed up the time it takes to get search engine traffic.

Identifying evergreen topics: In most cases, you can spot evergreen topics with a bit of common sense.

Think about what you plan to write about:

Will it still be useful a month from now? A year from now? Five years from now?

Hopefully, the answers to all those questions are yes or, at the very least, maybe.

You can also search for a keyword and see how old the results are. If you see multiple posts that are years old, it’s likely an evergreen topic.

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Some topics are more evergreen than others: I just said that an acceptable answer to those questions is maybe.

That’s because in some niches, you’ll never be able to find enough topics to write a definitive guide on that will stay relevant forever.

Many topics evolve over time. So, just because you can’t guarantee that a post will be useful in a couple of years from now doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth writing.

A great example of this is Brian Dean’s complete list of ranking factors. As long as SEO continues to change, ranking signals will also change.

But instead of creating a one-time post and then letting it fall into obscurity, Brian continuously updates all his guides:

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Most of his content is evergreen because he doesn’t need to change it radically. Instead, he continues to make small updates on a regular basis to ensure that it stays relevant over time.

3. Pick metrics that represent both sides of the coin

Some marketers don’t know if their content marketing or SEO efforts are actually working.

If you want to be successful, you can’t just say, “I think this is going well.”

Instead, you need to pick metrics to track. These metrics should reflect the results of your work and tell you what’s worth doing.

If you don’t see that they are improving over time, you need to rethink your strategy.

When it comes to both content marketing and SEO, you can choose metrics that correspond to each part separately and both of them together.

Although you can choose whichever metrics make the most sense for your business, let’s go over a few of the most common.

Metric #1 – Traffic (SEO and content marketing): One of your main goals for both SEO and content marketing work is to increase the amount of traffic you’re getting to your website.

Quality of that traffic is also important, but in most cases, getting more traffic usually leads to more profit.

It’s important to look at your traffic over a fairly long time. Everyone is going to have spikes and dips depending on the day of the week and month.

Record your traffic data in a spreadsheet for each month. Then, compare it not only to the previous months but also to the same month in previous years.

You’ll want to start by recording your overall traffic numbers, which you can get from your Audience Overview in Google Analytics:

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But that doesn’t tell you very much about the results of your individual work.

That’s why you should also record both your organic search traffic as well as your referral traffic.

To find these numbers, just go to your acquisitions tab in Google Analytics, and select “by source”.

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Of course, some of your SEO work (like building links) may result in direct or referral traffic, but these are the best metrics you have. They don’t have to be perfect, just indicative of your success.

Metric #2 – Keyword rankings (SEO): In addition to being important for tracking your overall search engine traffic, keyword rankings are the most important thing to track from an SEO perspective.

If you’re doing good work, you will see rankings rise over time.

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It doesn’t really matter which tool you use—just find one that lets you look at your rankings over a long time frame.

Metric #3 – Subscribers (mainly content marketing): In order to judge the quality of your traffic, you want to see how many of your visitors turn into subscribers or customers.

But your subscriber rate is also indicative of how valuable and persuasive your content and call to action are, which makes this a good overall metric for content marketing.

To track this, you can set up goal tracking in Google Analytics:

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Or you can just look directly at reports provided by your email marketing service provider:

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Metric #4 – Engagement (mainly content marketing): Subscriber rate isn’t the only way to measure how valuable your visitors find your content.

You can also track other engagement metrics to help complete the picture.

Obviously “engagement” isn’t a metric you can track, but I’m referring to any metric that reflects engagement on your website:

  • Average time on page
  • Pages per visit
  • Visitor recency (how often people return to your site)
  • Comments

You want to track most of these over time, just like the other metrics. Measure them once or twice a month, and record the data (you should have an average for each time period).

After you collect data for at least three months, you can start to see if your engagement is increasing as expected.

For example, you can look at the number of comments your newest posts are getting:

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And compare that to your older posts:

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Since your topic will influence most engagement metrics, it’s important to look at averages over a period of time to even things out.

4. The best links for SEO are also the best links for content marketing

When you create a great piece of content (for your content marketing), what’s your goal for promoting it?

It should be to get large audiences to see it.

This might be in the form of direct traffic (like if you send it to your email list) or in the form of links on other web pages, which is even better.

Obviously, the best links are the ones that send the most traffic.

As it turns out, exactly the same links are some of the best links for SEO purposes (increasing authority and therefore rankings).

Type #1 – Guest-post links: One use of content marketing is to drive traffic back to your site by posting on other sites, i.e., using a guest post.

In these posts, you usually get one or two links back to your website in an author bio.

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As long as you’re guest-posting on highly authoritative sites (the ones with a lot of traffic), these links will not only send direct traffic but also improve keyword rankings.

In addition, sometimes you can add extra links to other content you’ve created in the body of the guest post.

Type #2 – Contextual links: When it comes to SEO, nothing beats the value of a contextual link on an authoritative page.

These links are a part of a sentence and are as natural as they can be:

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The better your content marketing is, the more of these links you will get, which will not only send you traffic but also improve search traffic over time.

5. Internal links serve two purposes

Most people include internal links in their content just because bloggers tell them to.

But it’s important to understand how they affect both your content marketing and SEO results.

Also, don’t forget that internal links include any link not only in your content but also in navigation elements on your site. They all affect your results.

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In particular, they have two main benefits.

Benefit #1 – Send link juice to other content to help SEO: If your site doesn’t have much authority yet, it won’t have a big effect, but internal links can still help you rank better.

They help you do this in two ways:

  1. Adding relevance – Google looks at the anchor text of the internal link, as well as surrounding content, to try to understand what your page is about in order to rank it for any queries.
  2. Passing through authority (“link juice”) – Many SEOs focus all their energy on ranking a page by getting external links (from pages on other websites). If you have a strong domain, you can often rank quickly for easy keywords with new content by adding a handful of internal links to that page.

It’s a good idea to schedule a bit of time each time you publish a post to add a few internal links to your new page from older (relevant) posts on the site:

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It only takes a few minutes to do and will help your rankings significantly.

Don’t use the same anchor text for all the internal links to the same post—use a variety of fitting anchor text.

To find those old relevant posts, use this search string:

(topic of new article) site:(your site name)

For example, if I wrote a new article about writing funny email subject lines, I would search for:

Writing funny email lines site:quicksprout.com

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This will show you the posts that Google thinks are the most relevant to your new one.

Benefit #2 – Expose your audience to more of your content: Remember those engagement metrics from before?

Two of them are probably more important than the others:

  • Pages per visit
  • Visitor recency (how often people return to your site)

The reason why they are more important and useful than the others is that if you’re creating great content, they should both go up over time.

They are also less subject to large variations like comments (which depend a lot on the topic) and time on page (which depends a lot on the length of content) are.

Often, when reading a particular post, a portion of your readers will want more information. A well-placed link can get a click-through rate of 1-5%.

Considering that you can have several internal links in a single piece of content, you can almost guarantee that most readers who like your content will find more topics to read about on your site.

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The more useful your internal links are, the more time visitors will spend on your site (if they like your content).

Additionally, if they run out of time before they can consume all of your content because they find so much of it through internal links, they will come back to keep reading.

Finally, other than the 5-10 posts on your home page, how many posts do your new readers see?

In most cases, it’s not many.

Which isn’t ideal, especially if you’ve created hundreds of posts. You want them to find as much relevant to their situation content as possible now. In order to do that, they need to find older posts.

The perfect way to show them those older posts is through internal links.

Conclusion

Both SEO and content marketing are highly effective ways to drive traffic, conversions, and profit for the vast majority of online businesses.

But you don’t need to pick one or the other. You can get the full benefits of both at the same time.

In fact, focusing on one will often increase the results of the other.

I’ve gone through five main areas that either affect or are affected by your SEO and content marketing.

If you understand all five concepts, you should be prepared to handle both sides in your future marketing.

Some of those concepts are more difficult to understand than others.

So, if you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. Another incredible article! Great work!

    I sometimes wonder why website owners are so focused on “just acquiring backlinks”, when it – as you point out in the blog post – can be an easy gateway to natural backlinks just to have a great and creative content marketing strategy. I mean, people love to link to remarkable content, right? 😉

    Thanks for the post – I’ll be looking forward to some more. 🙂

    • Christopher Pontine :

      Hey Rune,

      Dude, straight up:

      Why in the heck are they just about acquiring backlinks.

      You gotta create the awesome content then reach out to others. If it holds value they will see it.

      Thanks,

      Christopher Pontine

      • Christopher,

        I agree — the first aim of content marketing is to provide value.

        The second aim is to get people to link to you — naturally 😉

        • Yes, Neil i am agree with you that now a days people first come to see the site for the the value of information on the content after that they like to see other things like SEO.

    • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden :

      Well, I must say I love a good backlink and sometimes exchange with others for a backlink if I think they offer valuable content.

      But now, I’m learning to focus on content. content. content. Figure out what people want to learn about (I start by asking myself…..would I read this post? What if I saw this post on another blog, is it giving my the answers, info….I want? Or not. If not, I can it and move on.

      Thanks for another eye-popping post Neil. You always inform me =)

      • Christopher Pontine :

        Hey Laura,

        Yeah, no reason to really exchange links. If your content is valuable I get why they may use your link in the post.

        Thanks,

        Christopher Pontine

      • Laura, glad to help.

        As I mentioned in the other comments above you ideally want to provide value first and foremost and then focus on all the other fluff variables like backlinks.

        Thanks for sharing.

    • Rune, glad you found the post helpful.

      At the end of the day it’s more than just links — it’s about providing contextual value.

      Thanks for sharing — I see your thoughts have spurred a lot of healthy dialogue on the topic 🙂

      • Ha, yeah… Debate is healthy. I love a good discussion. 🙂

        I think I must have misspoken though, as I just wanted to use natural backlinks as an indicator that your content is good. No one links to bad content with their good will 😛

        Not that it’s all about links, it’s not! 😀

    • Rune Jensen, you are absolutely right that businesses must add values with contents to its audience’s or customer’s life first, to get something good in return. That’s absolutely true. But the problem starts with budget and the goal. A low budget content marketing is basically nothing but spamming and most of the small sized companies do not even bother if they are creating anything innovative or not, mostly they focus on short term sales.

      SEO is dynamic and you have to first understand what is your current stage and what do you need to achieve at this point, get it first (not talking about spamming) then develop more robust assets to achieve much higher values.

  2. Christopher Pontine :

    Hey Neil,

    Great post for sure:

    Interesting stat when you state “77% of marketers will increase their content production in 2015”

    Many are starting to see what content does for companies.

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • Christopher,

      The projections are based on the positive trajectory I have seen over the years. Content does amazing things for companies — everyone in the world is online now. Global audiences benefit when great content is available.

  3. Such an excellent answer.

    Content marketing has taken a whole new shift in the recent years. Where 2-3 years back content writing was all about educating the readers and solving their problems.

    Such ingredients are still same, but the evergreen nature of the article has become one of the must-have content writing ingredients these days.

    I have seen (including you Neil) big content writer bringing some innovative ideas in the titles to make them more shareable and evergreen.

    Having a calculated blend of SEO + content writing is the next big thing these days. After learning a lot of stuff from your blog, I have started implementing them on my blog and getting excellent search engine rankings, as well as my readers are loving it too.

    Thanks for bringing another masterpiece.

    • Christopher Pontine :

      Hey Kulwant,

      I’m curious:

      How often do you groom your old articles for updates?

      Thanks,

      Christopher Pontine

    • Kulwant,

      Glad you liked the post. Evergreen articles always provide the best value — primarily because they stand the test of time.

      I like that you’ve start implementing things on your blog — that’s why I make things actionable.

  4. Great article Neil!

    The way I approach content marketing and SEO is go for the highest quality I can whilst targetting a long tail keyword. This seems to be working, even without a big number of backlinks.

    I’m glad you mentioned evergreen content. As you say, this type of content has the greatest potential for ROI over time. The google analytics charts you show charting a gradual increase in traffic over many months is something I’ve experienced too.

    I actually wrote about my evergreen content strategy for Smart Insights.

    http://www.smartinsights.com/content-management/content-marketing-strategy/how-to-use-evergreen-content-to-drive-traffic-for-years-to-come/

    Clement

    • Clement, thanks for the share. I skimmed through the article and you provide a lot of great actionable information.

      Content marketing in a nutshell: context, value and ability to withstand the test of time.

  5. Truly its a killer post Neil, hope am not among the mentality people (hahaha!)

  6. Spin spin spinning, Your articles have become boring. Tell me something I don’t already know next time instead of spinning the same old stuff. Thanks

    • Tom, I am open to suggestions. Sorry if you don’t find them as valuable as before.

    • Frederik Faarup :

      I think Neil is trying to focus broader by writing articles that do not solely target the ‘tech savvy’.

      That’s why this article might seem a bit basic to some, however, as reflected in the comment section, a big handful of people find it useful.

      Personally, I skipped it, but that didn’t make me less excited for the (hopeful upcoming) October update of the 100.000 challenge. 🙂

      Regards.

    • Really you should not tell this line to the person who inspiring millions of people , this is also one of the best article i ever read.

      regard

      Vicky

      PS:Sorry neil behalf of tim ! Keep doing your inspirational work

  7. That’s a great piece of artwork heading this article. Have you ever thought about doing an article on how to find just the right art.

    On another topic, are you the same Neil Patel who heads the DC News Foundation? I know you’re a busy guy.

  8. As you know Google’s keyword tool may not show significant volume for a long tail, but their search prediction shows that people are searching that term. And you can catch potential clients in different phases of research, from “what is seo” through best seo firm”. Thanks, Neil

  9. Michael Howard :

    Great article Neil. How much new content do you recommend we write every month as opposed to repurposing old content? We generally post 1 blog article per week and generate about 1 piece of downloadable content per quarter (though I have been pushing for 1 per month).

  10. Sandile Nxumalo :

    Great detailed article Neil. Thanks for sharing this with us.

  11. Neil, I have been following almost all of your posts because they are so practical, with actionable items. Thank you. I agree that great content is crucial and targeting the right audience is also critical. I tried something different in a recent post on my new site…using video that I hosted with Wistia for free. I took some time to find some awesome ‘spooky’ music to go with it. The video included images of groups and people that I wanted to target, so I could easily reach out to each one and give them a link to the post. I’ve been emailing them, and posting on twitter and FB. Since the video is funny, I’ve already been getting terrific feedback. I don’t know if it will help anyone in the thread (they may be further along than I am), but here’s the video so you can get an idea of what I did: http://ilovecarmelcalifornia.com/spooky-carmel-by-the-sea-halloween/. Be sure to turn up the volume if you watch it.

    I have another, content rich, post getting ready to go out in a week (151 Things to Do in Carmel CA), so I like the idea of mixing up the type of posts. And I have spent a fair amount of time working on the SEO behind the post. Do you think that’s ok?

    • Heather, I am sure it will help plenty of people in the thread. Compelling content will always provide tremendous results. I checked out your video and I think it’s great and visually compelling. As you mentioned though — I would work on the audio quality.

      Thanks for sharing!

  12. Ifemidayo LayGiri :

    I have learnt over the last week exactly how this two should go together. I had previously been the type to focus all my efforts on SEO alone but I am learning a lot as I go along. A bit weird that u almost always post about stuff right when I am in the middle of experiencing similar things.

    Thanks a lot for another insightful post. Definitely one to bookmark.

    • Glad to help – once you figure out what works and how to leverage the right content it’s much easier. Keep up the great work!

  13. Quite an informative post Neil..Do agree that SEO+Informative, Unique & Interesting content marketing helps in improving website performance – keyword ranking >> traffic to website which in turn helps in improving in conversion. Don’t you think Neil, Paid and Social Media traffic contribute to SEO success. I’m not sure but does Facebook promotions or any Social Media promotion impact website ranking in Search Engines. As recently read a post station that website promotion in Facebook is considered as a ranking factor by Google. Would be great help if you can guide to find the Not Provided or Not Set data in Google Analytics indicating that the traffic has come from Organic / Paid / Other Resources. Also, it anything needs to be done to set-up Not Provided or Not Set please do share so that according changes can be done. Thanks Again

    • Yuga, I definitely agree. Great content will always provide tremendous results when leveraged correctly.

      As you mentioned I use my social channels and brand to really provide results — which is why it’s ever more important to focus on personal branding.

      If you need any specific help along the way please let me know.

      • Thanks Neil for the quick response :-)… Does back link from Facebook/Twitter/Social Channels posts counted as ranking factor by search engines? Would be great help if you could suggest how to find details about Not Provided and Not Set data in Google Analytics?

  14. Luke Fitzpatrick :

    Great post Neil. Often SEO and content marketing can be a gray area for many, you’ve cleared it up! The reality is, people should focus on both – but one might hold a higher priority depending on your goals.

    Neil, since, you don’t normally cover two topics at one time – It would be great if you do this for one week / month. This could generate industry cross analysis.

    • Luke, glad to help. I may just start covering two topics that are complementary more often — as you mentioned it can provide a ton of value!

  15. Hi Neil
    This post answer my question in mind. I will try to apply your thoughts. Other question for you.
    I blog with multi niche, like adsense stuffs and modifying blog etc and i do not get traffic like i wanted. I blog in bahasa, and hosted on blogger. My target is indonesian. I am currently monetize my site with adsense, could you help me to improve my sites traffic? I mean what should i do to make my sites grow bigger like yours. Am i had to deleted unrelated post or is there anything i could do.
    Thanks

    • Kandra, you can get rid of posts that aren’t relevant and do a host of other things to make your content and site more engaging.

      If you provide me with more information I can provide specifics…

  16. Orlando P. Figaro IV :

    You have said in previous articles that post length did not matter at all. If you could say something effectively in 200 words, use 200 words. What gives man?

    • Orlando, depends on your goal — If you are speaking about trending topics and looking for clicks 200 words may work. On the other hand if you are providing informative posts to niche audiences they should be more in-depth.

  17. Neil, I understand your emphasis on evergreen content. At the same time, I remember a few months ago you commenting that Mike was writing articles on topics that were too common and you thought it was creating articles that were less in demand.

    You seemed to have a pretty sharp idea of what made a topic both in-demand and novel. Care to say anymore about that?

    • Tim, we figured out a content strategy that works. You’re right the articles weren’t in-depth and informative enough so we changed our strategy and the results have been great! It’s all about providing the most value possible.

  18. Hi Neil

    Looked at the heading “How to Combine SEO with Content Marketing and then saw the absolutely knockout photo of the entwined trees.

    That really is making the whole subject really powerful.

    Where the heck do you get all your photos and graphics from.

    Any chance you could tell us as I can’t find something as good as you use. Each one stops you in your tracks and grabs your immediate attention to the subject at hand. I love em!

    • Joe, glad the image worked 😉

      I like to make them as compelling as possible to extra the most value. I have a designer and sometimes I just go to stock sites.

  19. Yes, evergreen topics will help you drive traffic consistently , so its important to have some posts like these with a mixup of trending topics .

  20. “Content Marketing is the Body and SEO is the Soul” am I right Neil? SEO is Invisible Yet Omnipresent!

    Here in this blog you have mixed the two streams perfectly

    1. Content Marketing
    2. SEO

    To create a great source, that is priceless.

    Few lines for you Neil!
    A river delta (QUICK SPROUT BLOG) is a landform that forms from deposition of sediment (BLOGS) carried by a river (NEIL) necessary to enters an ocean and sea (INTERNET MARKETING).

    Here is something more, I want to share – (http://candentseo.com/free-resources/) An Extensive and All-encompassing list of Free Web & SEO resources with links to ease your efforts while building online presence.

    Great work! Neil.
    Thanks Again.

    • Prash, you are absolutely correct. I love the metaphors too 😉 — no one has ever put it like that but it makes sense!

      I’ll let this self promotion of your slide because I loved how you framed everything. Very clever!

  21. A long read, but I have finished it with great interest. 🙂

    Gaining links by creating contents with value is always better than creating force linking. I always advise to solve a problem that people are facing, this will sure add value to your content.

    You see how the “How to…” topics keep getting visitors. Again, when this type of content has a long term value it’s like a super combo.

    • Delwar, glad you found it helpful.

      You want to do things as naturally as possible. When things are contextual you’ll find they perform better.

  22. Great ideas, will implement 🙂 But it seems you omitted what you anted to say about social media in this article.

  23. Another great post, with great ideas

  24. Well Neil .. This article is really very interesting and effective. Content marketing is the biggest benefit of engaging your audience with your content. Traffic is an outcome of audience engagement that you bring to your website.

  25. Very informative and long article with more than 4000 words. Thanks for the valuable post. But I am not clear about one thing. When we start to make any content marketing plan what should be our proper anchor text strategy? More specifically, have there any ratio for anchor text?

  26. Thanks Neil Patel for sharing this informative post. In this writing, you have focused on content. I agree with you that great content is the most effective way to add value to a person. I personally use content specially infographics & video for promoting my clients. Well, most of my clients are B2B. Thanks again for this great content.

  27. Content Marketing and SEO both has their own power. Content marketing can be turn business into brand and SEO can generate traffic which may increase sales. So both are similar to each other. According to Google, content is king in SEO. So it is proved that they both are the two faces of single coin.

    • Bharat, I like the way you worded that. They are definitely two sides of the same coin — you have to use one to extract value from the other.

  28. Nice article Neil! content marketing is act an important role in SEO point of view for these days. Thanks for your share

  29. Awesome Stuff Neil! Its easy to focus on one or the other and totally miss out. You have to think of both sides on every piece of content that you write.

    For me personally I am content marketing first, SEO second but that’s not to say that SEO is forgotten. Every Post is reviewed for on-page optimization and relevant link opportunities.

  30. Thanks Neil!

    Integration of online marketing fields is the name of the (winning) game, these days. When running the day-to-day, it can be a bit hard to look at it holistically again. You just provided me with a bunch of inspiration. Thanks a million, Neil.

    Do you plan on posting more of these type of articles? I’m a fan already 🙂

    Cheers,

    • Dirk, glad to help. I think consistency is key and what people value.

      I will definitely have a lot more on this topic to come 😉

  31. Priya Florence Shah :

    Why it matters that you choose your keyword first.

    If you write content that no one is searching for, you’ve just wasted your time and effort. On the other hand, choosing the keyword first helps you find the best angle for your content.

    Often I’ve written an article with one headline, then done keyword research before posting it, only to find that search engine users are using a completely different keyword, forcing me to change the headline and angle of the article.

    I often kick myself for not doing keyword research before I write an article.

    • Priya, as long as you know the value of good keyword research you’re on the right track.

      I often kicked myself for doing the same things years ago — now my strategy is pretty solid. Thanks for sharing!

  32. Karla Hoffman :

    As a freelance writer, this post made my day.

    I’ve written for over 7 years and started back when a Made for Adsense site was still a marketing strategy.

    Things have changed, thankfully.

    Still I find myself educating clients on how SEO & Content Marketing can join together in a beautiful partnership.

    When they do your audience finds you, is happy they did and tells their friends. 🙂

    • Karla, glad to help.

      I think providing context and showing real world results will always encourage others to be more inclined and listen in more.

      Thanks for sharing!

  33. These are not the most important stats:

    77% of marketers will increase their content production in 2015
    91% of B2B marketers use content marketing
    46% of marketers will increase their spending on SEO and SEM in 2015
    54% of marketers think that use of SEO will continue to grow in 2015

    What matters is the results.

    It doesn’t really matter if marketers are going to increase their spending on content marketing/social media/SEO unless they are getting results.

    The assumption could be made that they would only spend on things that produce results,
    but dvertisers spend money all the time on traditional media such as TV, radio, and billboards, with dubious results.

    • Mark, thanks for sharing these stats. Results definitely matter most — which is why you see people spending so much on radio and TV ads (as you mentioned) — sometimes advertising spend gets wasted but that’s what testing is all about.

  34. I liked. This will show you the posts that Google thinks are the most relevant to your new one tip.

    Q:?

    Would you use the top result if you had a number of posts related to the keyword you search ?

    Or would you use the second or third post in the result if they converted subscribers higher than the top result ?

    Thank you.

    • Marc, I’d always go for what converts best. At the end of the day keyword rankings are just indicators of success — conversions are like money in the bank

  35. Shafees Marikkar :

    Hey Neil,

    Another great post. Thank you.

  36. Rajesh Phatak :

    Incredible Article Neil! I think this was the greatest post I’ve ever seen before regarding to Link Building. I’ve read this post 2-3 times just now & I loved it. I’d also like to share it on my Social Media Account for more exposure, people to know more about how links are beneficial for SEO. Thanks a lot!

    • Rajesh, glad I could help. I think re-reading the content always provides a new view and context of things. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to hearing much more from you.

  37. Great post, main takeaway for me is scheduling time after each new blog post to create internal links to the new post from old posts. Have noted this down.

    Will keep this in mind for when I launch my new site next year,

    Sam

    • Sam, glad you found the post helpful. It’s important to have a good internal linking strategy. That is what will yield the best results.

  38. Hi Neil,

    thrilled to see you cite my PDF report on the Content Marketing vs. SEO study my company linkbird did some time ago. Keep up the good work!

    As for your initial question on what is more important, I would agree with the answer you arrived at: combine the two to reap more SEO benefits out of your content and for generating long-term rankings through your quality content.

    • Asokan, glad to share — you provided a ton of value.

      If your content marketing and SEO are aligned your results will be great!

  39. Content marketing is still growing. Today’s marketing content is intended elegantly to begin change and keep them going. If your content is good, it will connect customers in diverse ways and request them to contribute.

  40. Dan Kaufenberg :

    Hey Neil, not sure how you pump out these epic long articles on a daily basis. I do appreciate all the valuable info you bring to the table and your newsletter is one of the only that I have never unsubscribed from.

    Seriously though, you need to slow down, you are making it hard for me to find stuff to write about when you have done it all!

    Which ties directly into this article. People need to find a niche that they are passionate about and can write about daily, or it makes content marketing difficult.

    Thanks again for the article.

    • Dan, I am just trying to inspire and provide some help to others. Just because a topic has been written about does not mean you can’t write on it — just put your unique spin on it with great examples and the rest will follow.

      Let me know if you need any other help along the way!

  41. Hey !

    Need help..

    As a company, we host B@B conferences across the globe, i want to be able to write a blog about each of the conferences we host.

    Can you probably send me a sample.

    Regards,
    Soumen

    • Soumen, can you be a little more specific with your request. I would love to help but the more details I have the better.

  42. Great article Neil!

    I agree with you that great content is the most effective way to add value to a person.
    Gaining links by creating contents with value is always better than creating force linking.This article is really very interesting and effective.

    Best Regards,
    Rohan

    • Rohan, at the end of the day you want to make things look as natural as possible. That should be the ideal you go after.

  43. Neil, another great article! I learned so much! I am always surprised how you manage to produce such high quality and in depth articles every single day! Congratulations!

  44. Hi Neil, gret post and i am completely agree with you! Content marketing and SEO together is a winner strategy for any company type, little, medium or big! Today, inbound marketing strategy is the better choice! Best regards!

    • Francesco, it really is — once you have the right strategy down the rest will follow. Thanks for the feedback.

  45. This is so helpful. We’re currently combining SEO & content marketing. And somehow, it looks like it works, although the process could be not so fast. But still, at least we are trying 🙂

  46. Hey All,

    For me the two are deeply integrated into the long term marketing strategy of: creating value for my audience and making it easy for them to find that value.

    All my marketing efforts focus on this and it is slowly starting to pay off 🙂

    I love the diagram above with SEO, CM and SM, with that lovely little sweet spot in the middle…

    Thanks Neil!

    Tom

    • Tom, glad to help. Once you provide value to your audience you’ll have them hooked — keep up the great work!

  47. It is a great product, we have learned many things that did not drive.

    Their website is great, I considered adding it to my list of favorite websites.

    Cheers.-

    • Postales, glad to help. If you need help with anything else please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  48. I have learn’t much from your website. Not only this article but many others. You are great and will surely try out all ways.

  49. Hi Neil, You are spot on as usual. I’m a keen follower of your work. A problem I have however, is that some key stakeholders in the business are still holding onto “zombie” tactics and do not see the value in content despite showing data, facts, figures and hard evidence to the contrary. Any killer tips on how to win support for a content-lead approach in this situation?

    • Aidan, show them results. If you can’t get them started yourself find case studies and supplementary material to show them the value in investing in those tactics.

      Let me know if you need any help along the way.

      • Thanks Neil, need to work on attribution I think. Results are there for rankings, traffic etc, but they really just want “the phones ringing” as it were.

  50. Another great piece of content Neil.

    Just recently got myself into SEO again (after years of hiatus) and found that the game has completely changed.

    Thanks for a simple article like this. Really help me and my company to know where to put our focus in. :: Two Thumbs Up ::

    • Desmond, very glad to help. If you need help with anything else please let me know — the SEO game is constantly evolving for sure!

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  51. Neil superb post as always you had done. Detailed strategic overview by suing content that’s definitely brings better results for a long time and optimizing naturally.

  52. One of the best and well thought out blogs on the connection between SEO and Content Marketing. I am so sick of all the “SEO is Dead” junk all over the internet. Just like and other industry thing change, but SEO best practices have remained relatively the same. Make sure your site is built well and loads fast. Optimize pages for the users and the engine and create content that earns links.

    I love what Brain Dean does. There is such a huge benefit to updating older posts to keep them relevant. Going to save this post in my pocket for sure.

    Thanks!

    • Ryan, SEO is alive and well it has just evolved into something all together. Now more than ever your content matters — that’s why it’s important to repurpose your old content thus making it “evegreen” 😉

  53. Hello Sir,

    I am new to SEO things. I wanted to know about how to plan SEO Strategies ? Steps etc. Please give me correct direction.

    Regards,
    Surendra Soni

  54. Jaikee Jaiswal :

    I am good with Content creation and Topic Modelling. But I see people always take my content, spin it and beat me with SEO.

    I understand that its hard for Google to understand who is Genuine, they think that sharing and link are votes toward a better site. But sometime you have an audience that does not share or link naturally. You will need to create link manually which is very cumbersome for people like us who are more into writing then into link building.

    • I’m sorry to hear your content keeps getting taken and respun, that must be frustrating. Jaikee, I think you will succeed in the long run as the people who do that usually have sites that are short lived.

  55. Jaikee Jaiswal :

    I can take Care of Topic Modelling and Semantic Connectivity. A bit of on Page SEO is fine too. But its hard to create links and people these are beating me with their SEO tactics.

  56. @Neil Patel

    I can deal with Topic Modeling and Semantic Connectivity. A touch of on Page SEO is fine as well. Be that as it may, its difficult to make connections and individuals these are beating me with their SEO strategies.

    regards
    pooja

    • It’s part of the game Pooja. Everyone is competing for this terms around the world at the same time. Fortunately or unfortunately, most people quit and the ones who are most consistent are the ones who achieve success.

  57. Nikhil Aggarwal :

    Hi Neil,

    I’m Nikhil Aggarwal, Digital Marketing Head at Adreno Technologies India. I’m following your blog from quite a long time and learned a lot from various tools and tactics that you share.

    I’m currently leading a team of 18 people under various sub-domains of Digital Marketing. I really want to know how can I integrate social media, content marketing, online reputation management, and SEO in such a way that they all complement each other and maximize overall performance of online campaigns.

    I searched hard for related blogs, but didn’t find anything convincing. If you can help. It would help me and numerous other digital marketing personnel to better craft their online campaigns and improve ROI.

    Looking forward to your communication.

    My email id: 23nikhil.blogs@gmail.com

  58. Symond Wilson :

    Another great work Neil Bro! Most of the people are just looking into thousand of tricks to acquire back-links to their money site rather focusing on content marketing strategy. Great contents are easy gateway to natural backlinks.. Thanks Bro!

  59. Magento_oCodewire :

    Hello Neil,
    I really like the way you work with the content, you really put all your efforts to make content alive.

  60. Shoppingpak.com :

    Dear neil.
    I’ve seen lot of article on SEO but in your case i am really surprised.
    how could a person think a lot like you and how can you put it online in 1 post.
    its really hard job my friend.
    i am highly motivated.
    Thank you

  61. Daniel Fantay :

    Dear Neil Patel.

    I came across your blog and I must say you have a very
    nice blog and great contents.

    Thank You

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