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Just 5 years ago Google forever changed the way SEO works with the major algorithm update known as ‘Panda’. 4 years ago Google took it a step further with ‘Penguin’. These two major changes flipped the world of SEO on its head.

What was considered ‘smart SEO practice’ by many in the industry was suddenly being punished by Google. Sites that were top of the ranks plummeted overnight. Other sites which had never seen page 1 before suddenly found themselves top dog.

The changes that drove Panda and Penguin weren’t the work of madmen. They were driven by the sound, simple and still pervasive logic that Google cares about content.

While content marketing and SEO have always been interconnected, the very term ‘content marketing’ is still unfamiliar to many people and has led to some unfortunate myths that lead businesses to do themselves more harm than good.

Here are 3 of the most common misunderstandings about how content marketing and SEO work that you need to get right.

Myth 1: SEO is technical nerd wizardry

Yes, there is a technical side to SEO.

But does driving good SEO results rely solely on those with legendary code-hacking, back-end-meta-data-manipulating mad l33t computer skillz?

Short answer? Hell no.

Before Panda and Penguin, having a technically optimised website was basically the long and the short of SEO. The formula for SEO success was essentially a few solid pages with decent structure, keyword-rich page titles, heavy keyword saturation on your main pages and then a bit more keyword stuffing in the content for good measure. Boom! SEO victory. Strong rankings followed by lots of traffic.

No more.

Of all the things SEO is not, ‘just technical’ is top of the list.

In fact, technical SEO no longer does anything to win traffic.

That’s right: technical SEO does NOT bring in leads.

Why? Essentially, because ‘technical optimisation’ is the new normal minimum. And an important minimum as well! Your website needs to comply with basic SEO best practices and web standards.

But that’s not enough.

With everyone (or nearly everyone) following the technical SEO rules, you have to go beyond the technical basics in order to differentiate yourself and gain traffic.

Myth 2: Content marketing is really just fluff

Content marketing is not a ‘nice-to-have’. Content marketing is not an ‘optional extra’. Content marketing is not something to do ‘if you have the time’.

Content marketing is the key to gaining traffic, creating leads and winning sales.

Content marketing is what experts like Neil Patel call the core of SEO. Quality content marketing is what Google’s own guide to SEO recommends for all sites.

Consistent output of great content is how you win at SEO today.

Offering content (and I’m talking awesomesauce content here) is the best way to stand out from your competitors, connect with your prospect and keep your customers loving you.

While it is often confused with it, content marketing is not advertising. In fact, content marketing doesn’t need to cost very much at all. The whole point of content marketing is to offer something of value to your prospects and customers. In other words, give them something they want; something they would seek out; not just shove an ad in their face. And since there are literally dozens of types of content you can offer, there is just no excuse not to have content at the core of your digital marketing and SEO efforts.

Myth 3: SEO victory through content marketing is all about quantity

When it comes to content, quality trumps quantity every time.

As I write, there is a legal battle being fought between Google and a publisher called e-ventures Worldwide, which had many of its sites banned by Google.

Why did Google ban the sites?

Well, Google claims that e-ventures was practicing what it has dubbed “search engine manipulation” practices which Google claims are against the rules. Some media coverage of the case has gone a bit crazy, even claiming Google is trying to kill SEO (spoiler alert: they aren’t).

While all the details aren’t public, most SEO experts agree that what Google is trying to kill isn’t SEO and it isn’t true content marketing: it’s spam and spammy behaviour.

Creating an endless supply of random drivel isn’t content marketing. It’s spam. (And seriously guys, EVERYONE hates spam.)

Done right, content marketing is less about the ‘content’ and more about the ‘marketing’ side of things. Just like all good marketing, it needs a solid content marketing strategy to ensure that you’re creating the right content on the right topics for the right audience.

Developing and then following a content strategy will not only help you to create quality content but will help you to plan out your content so you have ample quantity as well.

Content marketing and SEO are friends, not enemies

Perhaps the biggest misunderstanding about content marketing and SEO is the idea that the two are mutually exclusive things.  They aren’t.

SEO relies on quality content.

And content needs SEO consideration to help it (and you) get found.

Want to learn even more about SEO? Looking to take your content marketing up a notch? Baker Marketing are here to help! Learn more about our content marketing and SEO services or contact us now to get started!

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