By now, everyone should know the importance of creating content and its role in building your brand and business. We also should all be familiar with the basics and necessity of search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your website traffic, which can also lead to more business. But there’s one question many people still ask: Which should I focus on more, SEO or content?

In most cases, the answer is both! If you’re writing copy for the web, doing one without the other will make both underperform. When you create quality content and optimize it for organic search, you can potentially double or triple your resulting traffic.

Here are a few tips to help you strike the balance between SEO and content to get the most out of your efforts.  

1. Content Quality

A few years ago, the mindset was to just produce content, and a lot of it, regardless of depth or quality. However, Google and other search engines are continually modifying their algorithms. Now, websites with thin and repetitive content do not rank as well in organic search results as ones with substance. This means it’s time to embrace the creation of interesting, unique and relevant content.

From an SEO perspective, original and engaging content will set you apart from competitors, since it gives the search engines something to index that can’t be found elsewhere. From an audience perspective, original and quality content is far more likely to attract the readers – and potential clients – you’re targeting.

2. Title Tags and Headlines

When it comes to SEO, title tag length and quality are extremely important. When people see a title in their search engine results, they should be immediately compelled to click on the link to read the content. Writers can make this happen by optimizing with keywords, using power words to create interest and urgency, and – most importantly – making sure the content delivers on what the headline promises.

3. Keywords

Yes, good SEO still begins with a strategic keyword analysis. However, like #1 above, it’s now more about quality, not quantity. You can no longer stuff your content with a myriad of keywords and expect to get results. This means doing your research and ensuring relevant keywords are in your piece. Also, make sure your content matches the keywords you use; otherwise, you’re likely to increase bounce rates and create a lack of trust, neither of which helps your organic search rankings. For help with finding the most appropriate keywords, you can use a keyword generator when crafting content.

4. Internal Links

Most people include internal links in their content simply because bloggers tell them to. But it’s important to understand how these affect both your content marketing and SEO results.

First, internal linking improves the ability of Google web crawlers to map and index your website. Including internal links also can lead to an improved user experience by pointing visitors toward other relevant content, which can give new life to archived content. All of this can keep users on your site longer, which improves your chances to move the visitor through the sales cycle.

5. Analytics

Some marketers don’t know if their content marketing or SEO efforts are actually working. If you want to be successful, you can’t just say, “I think this is going well.”

Instead, you need to pick metrics to track. These metrics should reflect the results of your work and tell you what’s worth doing. If you don’t see that they are improving over time, you need to rethink your strategy. When it comes to both content marketing and SEO, you can choose metrics that correspond to each part separately and together.

  • Traffic (SEO and content marketing): One of your main goals for both SEO and content marketing is to increase the amount of traffic that is going to your website. When analyzing traffic metrics, remember to look at your traffic over a fairly long time to get a large data set. Select a period of time and then compare it to the previous year to get a better sense of traffic increases or decreases.
  • Keyword rankings (SEO): Keyword rankings can give an indication of how well your content is performing in organic search. If you’re developing interesting and relevant content, your website should be ranking for more keywords over time. Just be sure that your ranking keywords are related to your content marketing goals. Also, be aware that keyword rankings do not necessarily correspond to increased website traffic.
  • Subscribers (mainly content marketing): To judge the quality of your traffic, you want to see how many of your visitors turn into loyal readers through email marketing programs, client alerts or other subscription programs tied to your content marketing program. Subscriber rates are also good indicators of how valuable and persuasive your content and call-to-actions are, which makes this a good overall metric for content marketing.
  • Engagement (mainly content marketing): Subscriber rates aren’t the only way to measure how valuable your visitors perceive your content to be. You can also track other engagement metrics to help complete the picture. These include:
    • Average time on page
    • Pages per visit
    • Repeat visitors
    • Comments

Collaboration between content marketers and SEO specialists is essential to maximizing the success of your marketing efforts. Jaffe’s content marketing and SEO team have the expertise to help you develop the tools you need to increase web traffic and ultimately generate new business.

Want to learn more about content marketing and SEO? Contact me, Jennifer Faivre, at jfaivre@jaffepr.com.