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Google's continuing moves to penalise marketers ‘chasing the algorithm’, and to reward those who produce useful and valuable content, is one of the principal reasons why content marketing has emerged as a hot topic over the past 18 months.
The majority of marketers surveyed in our Content Marketing Survey Report (produced in associated with Outbrain) agreed with the statement that “Content marketing is becoming its own discipline, like SEO or email marketing”.
The question remains to be seen as to how content marketing and SEO will change, integrate and evolve over time, with some predicting the demise of SEO and others insisting that it will remain as its own discipline.
To find out more, and following last week's post on the expert view on content marketing, we asked a selection of marketers how they "see the relationship between content marketing and SEO evolving over the next few months?” Their answers, some of which do conflict, are below…
Simon Edelstyn, European Managing Director, Outbrain:
Content and SEO are of course explicitly linked, but we’ve moved away from the notion that content created purely for SEO purposes is effective, acknowledging that content needs to be created to be read and enjoyed by humans.
This has led to huge leaps in terms of quality and authenticity and has a positive SEO impact. Good content = happy readers and improved SEO too.
Robin Bonn, Business Development Director, Seven
The reality is that if you create something great, people will share it; online, offline, wherever. That content marketing improves SEO performance is just a reflection of this simple truth, acknowledged by changes to the way search engines calculate listings. The better the content, the more people pass it on. And sometimes, where the content is good enough, it even goes viral.
There’s talk of SEO and content marketing being merged or even being one and the same. This is a red herring. There’s enough distinct expertise required around both disciplines to maintain a distinction.
From a content marketing point of view, if clients focus on producing world-class content marketing, created with their audience firmly in mind, and combine that with a smart influencer and distribution strategy (across offline as well as digital and social media) they will find and excite the people that matter.
Doug Kessler, Creative Director and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners
Other than the on-page, hygiene side of things (which is pretty commoditised), SEO has essentially become content marketing. As it should.
James Gurd, Owner, Digital Juggler
Content marketing is not SEO but it is complementary and should be integrated. For me content marketing is the process of delivering your content plan. Your content plan comes from your business/trading plan. They must be aligned - all content should work towards business goals (note that these goals will be hard and soft, such as increasing social sharing). And SEO can help identify content opportunities, though it shouldn't be the sole driver of your content plan.
So for me content marketing doesn't replace SEO, or vice versa. They are both part of the same whole - marketing. The skills mix is interesting as well. A good content marketer doesn't necessarily understand SEO enough to do SEO, but should grasp how SEO can benefit their content marketing plans; for example, by knowing how to optimise content to be keyphrase relevant and optimising landing pages.
Does a content marketer know how to do technical SEO, such as site audits, handling crawl errors, site architecture etc.? Unlikely. Does a specialist SEO know how to use marketing channels to maximise the reach of content? Also unlikely in my experience. But their skill sets are complementary.
Let's not confuse what SEO is and does with the latest buzzword. Content marketing has always been a core part of marketing, offline and online. However, since the Panda/Penguin updates, there has been a realisation that content quality/frequency/links are more important than ever, not just to SEO but to your overall digital marketing.
James Carson, Freelance Content Strategy Consultant
To me, content marketing and SEO have become interchangeable and will remain so – I’ve previously written about this and really think the ‘outreach’ part of SEO is now dependent on good ideas and good content. I wouldn’t approach SEO without great content anymore – previously many more people (including me) felt they could.
What are your views?
How do you think content marketing and SEO will evolve? Should SEOs become content marketers? Or will content marketing fade from importance in the future?
Please share your views in the comments below.