Content Marketing vs. SEO: What’s the Difference?


What’s the difference between SEO and content marketing, and which is right for your business? Before we get carried away and make you think we’re some kind of tease, we’ll just put it out there.

It’s a trick question.

In today’s digital marketing landscape, where black hat SEO strategies have fallen by the wayside, there is no room to think of SEO vs. content marketing. Instead, these are two faces of the same coin.

SEO vs Content Marketing: Nope!

As we’ve noted, SEO and content marketing should be employed together, not visualized as existing in opposition to one another. SEO is a practice that all effective content marketing teams should leverage to help ensure that content is visible and pulls relevant traffic to accomplish business goals—and vice versa.

Effective content marketing in the digital world should begin with a thorough analysis of relevant keywords and corresponding traffic to target areas that could draw in the most leads in the face of the competition.

Chicken or the Egg? Effective Content Marketing Strategies Start With SEO


For many businesses, the motive to engage in content marketing and SEO is to improve site and brand visibility online. The ultimate goal, of course, is to generate leads and make sales.

Boiled down (that’s an egg joke), the way to accomplish that goal is to boost search rankings for targeted keywords relevant to the business’s products and services.

While an engaging blog and an impressive range of other page content are great, they’ll do little for your business if your content doesn’t display amongst the first few items, let alone the first page of search results.

That’s why all effective content marketing strategies in the digital era should begin with SEO.

So, What’s Next?

Your content marketing *ahem* SEO *ahem* strategy should be simple, but it takes finesse to pull off effectively. Targeting competitive keywords for small businesses with little online presence can be tricky.

Your content marketing strategies should be driven by SEO, and vice versa. The first step is a comprehensive keyword analysis. Make use of a range of SEO research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Analytics, SEM Rush, Screaming Frog and more.


In addition to these tools, perform good ole’ fashioned competitive analysis. This means visiting competitors’ websites and manually inspecting page content, title tags, and meta descriptions.

This allows you to get an awareness of what has worked for others and to uncover opportunities for long tail keywords that can get you results.

Once the initial analysis is completed (this is really an ongoing process), start looking at long tail keywords to plan out page content and blog campaign strategy.

Rather than simply brainstorming excellent content in the dark, work to uncover opportunities to rank first; and then design and produce excellent content that targets those areas.

This way you aren’t wasting effort targeting dead end keywords, or using strategies that don’t yield results.

The next step is to draft up content. You want your content to be clear, straightforward, and valuable. Neither your sentences nor your paragraphs should be too long.

Give actionable instructions. Provide proof that your concepts work. Make case studies, share videos. All of these bring value to your reader and increase your authority.


Also, don’t be afraid to use images. Images make an article stand out, and give a pleasant break to our eyes. If you’re struggling writing good content, check out these 5 tips to writing better blog content.

Finally, once content has been drafted, optimize title tags and meta descriptions, and double-check UX and page speed.

Perform all of the other technical SEO best practices to ensure you are following Google’s standards and improve chances for the content to rank well.

With these strategies in place, you are sure to have success online. SEO and content marketing don’t have to be complex. Don’t overthink it. Stick to the basics.

SEO first, then kickass content. You will be unstoppable.


What are your favorite SEO and content marketing techniques? Share with us in the comments below.