The words “Content Marketing” and “Search Engine Optimization” literally trip off the tongues of many search marketers, often in the same sentence. However, it’s essential that we don’t get these two very different disciplines confused. Yes, content marketing and SEO are often intertwined, but they are not the same. Just because someone “knows” SEO doesn’t mean they are the world’s best content marketer and vice versa. 

So what’s the difference between content marketing and SEO, and how can both strategies be deployed together to maximize your marketing success? 

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that involves creating and sharing useful, engaging and relevant content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience with the goal of driving profitable customer action.  

Content marketing can be delivered in many forms, including blog posts, articles, videos, podcasts, social media posts, eBooks, whitepapers, and infographics. The content should be tailored to the interests and needs of the target audience and provide value in the form of information, education, entertainment, or inspiration. 

The ultimate goal of content marketing is to build a relationship with potential customers by establishing trust and credibility, positioning the brand or business as a thought leader or expert in their industry, and ultimately driving conversions and sales. By creating high-quality content that resonates with their target audience, businesses can attract more traffic to their website, generate leads, and nurture those leads into loyal customers over time. 

What is SEO?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to a website or a web page from search engines through organic (unpaid) search results. SEO involves a wide range of techniques, including optimizing website structure and content, researching and targeting specific keywords and phrases, building high-quality backlinks, and implementing technical optimizations to improve website speed, mobile-friendliness, and overall user experience. By improving the visibility and ranking of a website or page, SEO can help drive more traffic, increase brand awareness, and ultimately drive more leads or sales for businesses and organizations. 

SEO and Content Marketing: Different Skill Sets

We can think of SEO as a highly technical role informed by analytics and data. Meanwhile, content marketing is a very human skill, creating an opportunity for engagement. 

While the “hard” technical component of SEO will initially attract visitors to your website, it’s the “soft” human skills of the content marketer that will keep those visitors engaged. 

Both skill sets are equally important and reliant on each other. Consider the following: 

  • SEO: Without a little injection of humanity, dry SEO-produced content risks alienating visitors and will result in little more than bounces — ultimately informing Google that your content needs de-ranking.  
  • Content Marketing: Without the technical foundation of SEO, your content will probably never be found in the first place. 

Failure to balance your content marketing and SEO strategy will result in the same problem — nobody is buying your products or services. Therefore, SEO experts and content producers must work together to ensure their combined efforts reach their objectives.   

Stronger Together: SEO and Content Marketing

Like any other marketing project, your combined SEO and content marketing strategy starts with an objective. Without that objective, your strategy will look more like an exercise in vanity rather than a sound commercial decision. 

Your objective could be something like: 

  • Driving more traffic to your blog to position individuals within your organization as thought leaders in a given topic and drive social media engagement. 
  • To promote an eBook, whitepaper, video or podcast to drive email subscriptions. 
  • To highlight a specific product or service and generate more inbound inquiries or direct sales. 

Once you have set your objective, the SEO team needs to ensure all the technical assets are in place. This includes making sure all the mechanisms required to deliver content and collect leads (websites, blogs, landing pages, etc.) are fit for purpose and all the competitive keyword research is in place. 

It is then time to brief the content team. A good creative brief will include the objective, a working SEO title, required primary and secondary keywords and phrases, expected word count, competitive examples, any contact details for interviews/quotes, and a deadline. 

Once the content marketing team has submitted their piece, it needs to be edited to ensure it matches the objective, is well written (Google likes this just as much as the human reader), and includes all the necessary keywords, phrases and links, without being “overstuffed” (Google doesn’t like this). 

Expertly Combining SEO Technology with Content Marketing Humanity

When their skills are combined, your SEO and content marketing teams will tick all the boxes to ensure your content is discoverable by the major search engines and engaging for your human audience. 

Well-written and expertly positioned content can drive profitable traffic into your business for many weeks, months and potentially years ahead. But competition for those eyeballs is fierce — so when people land on your content, you better make sure it counts. 

Learn More

To learn more about how the SEO and content marketing experts at emfluence can help you create and position content that Google and your potential customers cannot ignore, contact us today at

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