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Is there a difference between content marketing and SEO?

Some people are saying that content marketing is the new SEO. What’s the difference? Is it right for your business?

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is using things you’ve written to promote your business. These assets could be articles or blog posts. They could also be infographics or white papers. It might seem on your website or someone else’s. These aim to offer content that your potential customers might find helpful as they journey down the buying path that leads to the services your company provides.

What is SEO?

The definition I use to describe SEO is “answering questions people are asking through the search engines.” When it comes to a business, SEO is connecting your potential customers with the answers your business has to the questions or problems people are taking to the search engines.

Content Marketing is Part of SEO

I think you can start to see how content marketing and SEO come together. An important part of answering a question is providing content. “Where can I buy a AX-21 Mark 2 Green Widget?” is a question a customer might ask. If your company sells that part number, you’ll need content on your website that states this, if you want to get that sale.

This is true when it comes to services, as well. When a potential customer asks Google, “Where can I find a logistics consultant near Atlanta?” the SEO campaign should make sure you have that on your website to show your company has that answer.

SEO is More than Content Marketing

There’s more to SEO than just publishing the right content on a website. SEO is an advocate for the search engine- and makes sure it can crawl and read your website’s content. SEO also makes sure other, relevant websites are linking to your website to build authority- this is often done with content but you could do content marketing and forget about the importance of backlinks.

Content Marketing is More than SEO

A successful content marketing campaign is able to do more than SEO. It’s able to build a brand. Content marketing is also able to generate interest in a new product or service (something SEO is very poor at doing). While SEO is about your website, content marketing extends beyond websites into social media and even e-books (or, heck, print books).

Good Content Marketing is Good SEO- and Vice Versa

  • Although you could make a strict distinction between these two marketing channels, the fact is: they both need each other.
  • Your content marketing team can write the best blog post ever seen in your industry but if they don’t talk with the SEO team to make sure the search engines can read it, it will fall on deaf ears.
  • Your content marketing team might be able to get the most-respected blog in your industry to talk about your company. If your SEO team is able to turn that into a link, as well, you’ll even more from that article (the best blog post can never drive as much traffic as ranking better on the search engines will bring).
  • SEO is great at introducing new customers to your business but, when combined with a positive brand experience from your content marketing team, you’ll be able to develop an excited customer base for repeat business.
  • SEO produces content for a website based upon how potential customers might search the web. Sometimes content marketers forget to use this data. Think about how much better the content marketing would be if it were written in light of search engine query data!

Will Content Marketing Help Your Business?

  • Do you have a long buying cycle? If so, you’ll probably want to engage in a content marketing campaign to help people through the buying funnel.
  • Do people know and trust your brand or do they just buy from the first, cheapest option they can find? Content marketing can help establish a credible brand which will encourage repeat customers- even if you don’t happen to be the least-expensive option available.
  • Is your service something new or niche? You might need a content marketing campaign to drum-up some interest or introduce people to a new concept.


How would you make a distinction between content marketing and SEO? Can you think of any other advantages or disadvantages of each? Leave them in the comments, below.

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Charlotte internet marketing consulting, specializing in search engine optimization, for B2B companies.

(704) 931-8801

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