Content marketing and SEO are digital marketing strategies that guarantee optimal online visibility, engagement, and overall success for any B2B company. However, some content marketers and B2B companies are confused about the similarities and differences between the two strategies and which to devote the most effort to.

Three key questions remain:

  • Is one of these strategies superior to the other, or do they function better when integrated?
  • Should B2B companies focus on one or leverage both for overall company success?
  • What’s the best way to approach SEO and Content marketing?

Understanding the distinct attributes of each strategy and the potential synergistic power of both remains the only way to determine the answers to these questions.

Content marketing and SEO complement each other, and research has shown they work best when integrated. B2B companies that resolve how to complement both strategies make the most of their powerful synergy and stay ahead.

What Is Content Marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable content in the form of blogs, videos, eBooks, and podcasts to educate or inform an audience. Companies leverage it to educate and inform their audience about their products and services, helping them understand how the company stands out from their competitors.

By consistently publishing and distributing valuable industry information, B2B companies present themselves as reliable go-to resources for industry thought leadership information. This helps the company build trust and authority, enabling them to convert their prospects easily.

To excel with content marketing, you need an efficient content marketing strategy that includes plans for audience research, content planning, creation, distribution, analytics, and others.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to the strategies and techniques used to improve a website and its pages to rank at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Ranking high on SERPs increases a website’s visibility, as research has shown that most people don’t go beyond the first page of a search engine when seeking information.

The increased visibility generates more traffic, increasing the website’s leads and conversion rate. The primary aim of SEO is to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to a website from search engines.

Companies adopt SEO to increase their company’s, product’s, or service’s awareness, improving their revenue generation chances.

To execute SEO successfully, you must have a robust SEO strategy that includes plans for keyword research, link building, competitive analysis,on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and technical SEO, amongst others.

Difference between Content Marketing and SEO

While content marketing and SEO are similar or complementary, they have differences in their goals, scope, and the role search engines play.

The Goals of Content Marketing and SEO

Content marketing aims to build brand awareness, establish industry authority, and build solid and beneficial relationships across all marketing channels with potential customers. To achieve this goal, companies create relevant and educational content that resonates with their target audience, depending on the marketing channel.

However, SEO aims to increase a website’s visibility and rankings on search engines, enabling it to attract high-quality leads. Companies achieve this goal by optimizing various elements, such as website load speed, meta, and title tags, HTTP status codes, mobile friendliness, backlink structure, etc.

SEO significantly increases the chances of success on one vital content marketing channel – search engine marketing.

The Scope of Content Marketing and SEO

Another difference between content marketing and SEO is their scope. Content marketing focuses more on content creation in various formats and distribution through multiple channels, such as social media, blogs, search engines, emails, etc.

On the other hand, SEO involves all technical, on-page, and off-page activities in helping a website achieve the most content distribution and visibility on search engines.

Role of Search Engines in Content Marketing and SEO

This is a more subtle difference between content marketing and SEO. Content marketing emphasizes creating high-quality, relevant content that addresses the target audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. When content marketing involves website content, the content might help the website rank on search engines.

However, SEO is more direct in helping websites rank on search engines. It focuses on the website’s technical sides, content structure, and other on-page and off-page elements like keyword research and integration, quality backlink building, user experience, etc. All these help search engine algorithms understand a website’s relevance and rank it at the top of SERPs for those searching for related information.

Content Marketing and SEO: How They Complement Each Other

Content marketing vs. SEO shouldn’t be the question. The better question should be how can both work together for optimal results. SEO and content marketing complement each other, from keyword optimization to brand and product visibility, user experience, and link building.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword optimization is one of the most vital ways SEO helps actualize content marketing goals. When users seek information on search engines, they do so with keywords. Identifying and optimizing for these keywords is only possible through extensive keyword research, an SEO activity.

To rank high and generate traffic from search engines where prospects actively use these keywords, companies create relevant content that addresses prospects’ needs and pain points and integrate these keywords naturally into them.

Improved Visibility and Brand Awareness

Content marketing and SEO work hand in hand to improve a company’s website’s visibility on search engines, creating awareness for its products and services. SEO is used in content marketing to help search engines identify and index well-written content that addresses customer needs.

The more readers find the content useful, the more search engines will help push it to a larger audience. Content marketing efforts are more fruitful when the content reaches a broader audience, and SEO helps achieve this by pushing the content higher in search rankings.

Quality and User Experience

Content marketing and SEO also work together to improve content quality and user experience.

By conducting extensive keyword research and SERP audits, companies gain more insight into their target audience’s expectations. They can then create content that addresses those expectations.

The quality of a piece of content depends a lot on how relevant it is to the readers. And the more relevant the content is, the better the user experience.

Engaging, informative content improves a website’s search engine rankings. It keeps readers hooked on your website longer. And the more people stay on your website, the greater the odds they’ll contact you.

Increased Link-Building Opportunities

Great, informative, and exhaustive content attracts backlinks from other websites. The more backlinks content receives, especially from authoritative sources, the more search engines recognize the content and website as relevant and trustworthy. And this makes the search engine algorithms push the content higher up on the SERPs.

Great content and SEO marketing strategies lead to more organic link-building opportunities. In turn, this increase a website’s ranking, visibility, traffic generation, and ultimately lead generation and conversion.

Integrate Your Content Marketing and SEO Strategies and Achieve Optimal Results

Undoubtedly, optimal online marketing results come with integrating SEO and content marketing strategy. An extensive content marketing strategy without a complementing SEO strategy is ineffective. You can miss out on many organic leads and leave a lot of money on the table. Similarly, a robust SEO strategy without solid content marketing backing it up is almost futile.

The ideal approach is to develop a complementary SEO content marketing strategy that includes content marketing and SEO plans. Smart B2B companies integrate both strategies to give their brand, products, and services much-needed organic visibility, ultimately increasing revenue-generating opportunities.