What Is SEO Content Marketing and Why Is It Worth the Effort?

By Adam Greenwald  |  March 5, 2020

what is seo content

Adam Greenwald is a senior digital content analyst at MSPC. Here, he explores the topic of SEO content marketing and how it is a beneficial tactic to consider for an inbound marketing strategy.

What’s ahead:


What is SEO content marketing?

SEO content marketing is any piece of media intended to organically reach your target audience on channels they are already using at specific stages of their buyer journey. SEO content is a subset of content marketing that focuses on SEO best practices to increase organic reach.

SEO content could be a written blog post on your website, video on your YouTube channel, infographic on Pinterest or even copies of your print magazine (featuring headlines written with keyword data in mind) laid out in your office waiting room or takeaways from your trade show booth.

SEO content marketing answers and anticipates questions your audience may have and does it better than anyone else. Being better at SEO content marketing means your content is more comprehensive, smartly sourced, well-written, exceptionally edited, sharply scripted and professionally produced, all while bringing your unique brand and company to life.

Tools such as Moz, SEMrush and Ubersuggest allow you to incorporate accurate keyword data on specific phrases and terms to strategically include in your SEO content. This keyword data can be used for content strategy and planning on the back end and on the front end by including target keywords in prominent places like headlines, titles, descriptions and subheads.

Google and YouTube search algorithms want to satisfy search intent, and users are more satisfied with SEO content because it’s designed with their questions and search queries in mind.

As your SEO content satisfies more users, Google and YouTube will begin to showcase your content more frequently and higher up on search results pages for your targeted keywords. This increased visibility on search results pages drives additional brand impressions and exponentially more visits to your website over time.

What is not SEO content marketing?

  • SEO content is not keyword stuffing. Strategically use your primary keyword phrase in the meta title tag, H1, and pepper it throughout your content. Don’t overdo it. Use related keywords where they make sense in a well-written, comprehensive context.
  • SEO content is not product pages. It’s better to have an SEO-focused landing page for a bunch of products that are targeting the same keyword or category. A comprehensive landing page with plenty of text can capture that SEO goodness, all the while directing users to the products they need.
  • SEO content is not multiple individual pages on one topic. Better to have one super comprehensive page with lots of subheads and sections than many individual pages targeting small variations of the same keyword topic.
  • SEO content is not something to set and forget. Check in with your SEO content every two or three months to see what keywords the content has captured. Some may be unexpected keywords you hadn’t considered, which may be high value and easy to add to your existing content. Optimize toward what’s gaining traction, and check back in to see how your changes increased or decreased organic search performance.

The ROI of SEO content marketing

Audience growth is the biggest return on your SEO content marketing investment. Your core audience of loyal content consumers continue to care about what you have to say because you’re providing value and addressing their needs. The more people your content helps and engages, the more people will trust and turn to your brand or company for your thought leadership, products and services.

SEO content marketing is designed for specific intent stages of the buyer journey. You’re meeting people where they are, giving them the information they want, building trust and growing an audience by keeping them engaged and coming back for more. This trust in your content is key when your audience is ready to convert.

When SEO content marketing is done right, all stages of the buyer journey have been addressed, content gaps filled and natural next steps presented and cross-linked. The awareness, consideration and conversion pieces of SEO content marketing ultimately guide your audience to convert to your products and services when they’re ready.

Expectations for long-term SEO content marketing success

SEO content marketing is designed for the long haul, significantly moving the needle around the two- to three-year mark depending on how well your website, brand or company is recognized already. With more established websites, new pieces of SEO content can start to drive significant organic search traffic around the two- to three-month mark after first publishing.

You are building up an evergreen library of content that addresses the needs of your audience for years to come. As your audience begins to consume and share your content, the snowball starts to roll down the hill.

Search engines like SEO content marketing because it is well-researched and solves the needs of their ultimate end user.

As your content makes Google and YouTube search algorithms happier (can algorithms feel?), the more those algorithms start to feature your content higher in search results and featured snippets. You win with more eyeballs on your brand and consumers of your content, and Google and YouTube win by providing better answers and information to searchers.

Examples of SEO content marketing

Solid SEO content entails truly understanding your audience’s needs, opinions and behavior. Here are some great examples of SEO content marketing:

Notice how all three content pieces start with keywords, are written in an engaging way to hook human readers and the content itself is thorough and uses many related keywords in subheadings and body copy.

How to get better at SEO content marketing

Developing skills in SEO content marketing involves staying sharp by:

  • Reading the best industry newsletters. Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch are two of the best SEO newsletters.
  • Being aware of updates to ever evolving SEO tools and algorithm changes. Moz’s Whiteboard Friday weekly video series does a terrific job explaining sometimes technical SEO concepts in an engaging and digestible way. The official Google Webmaster Central Blog and newsletter is highly informative and timely, as you’re getting information and insights straight from the source.
  • Regularly examining your first-party SEO analytics data. Google Search Console is a super useful resource on its own, allowing you to see the search queries and landing pages that organically brought users to your website.
    • Search Console is especially killer when pulled into Google Data Studio reports. Aleyda Solis offers a solid plug-and-play Google Search Console Data Studio template for free.
    • A slightly slim-downed Search Console data set can be integrated in Google Analytics, although you won’t be able to slice and dice search queries and landing pages as you would in Search Console itself or a Data Studio dashboard.

Seeing how SEO changes actually perform on active pieces of high traffic website content is key to refining SEO content marketing success.

Tastes, trends and search queries change. Staying up to date on SEO content marketing best practices is a skill that takes continued experimentation and experience to master.

On-going maintenance, on-going success

SEO content marketing is an evolution. Your content needs to live and breath like the users searching for your brand or company’s products and services.

User needs and the words they use to find solutions change. Keeping your SEO content marketing up to date with a focus on the high-value keywords your audience of potential and current customers uses is vital for ongoing success.

Read next: Content Marketing KPIs Dashboard: Measuring ROI with the King

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