We could have titled this blog “Clickbait: The Bane of Everyone’s Existence”. We know that regularly feeding the blind beast (Google) is a touted marketing tool, and a necessary evil. And there are two main ideologies behind the practice: Content Strategy and SEO. So which way is the right way? Let’s dig a little deeper…
When it comes to SEO, the theory is simple: want more people to see your stuff? Make more stuff. Tailor your content to optimize visibility with keywords and tons of pages. Those who subscribe to the ideals of SEO will research exactly what Google likes, and deliver it in bulk, ensuring high visibility and a top search engine rankings. “Search engine optimization will make your organization successful. SEO should be your focus when building your web presence; content comes later.”
And then, there’s content strategy. You may or may not have the manpower to churn out clickbait after clickbait article for Google to spit out, so people will tell you that CONTENT IS KING. The belief is that content strategy is the way to go, not SEO. “Make your content pretty, pithy, and useful. That’s how you can show off your content; focus on making your content great rather than making more of it.”
So what does the tug-of-war between content strategy and SEO mean for you? Do you need to write more or write better? Do you need to bow to the altar of quality or quantity?
Before we make a decision, let’s break down these tools.
Content strategy relies on understanding the goals of your organization and your target audience.
Know your organization’s web presence goals. Do you want to be known as an expert in your field, or do you want to provide the best product in your industry? Are you planning to expand worldwide, or are you a local business? Before putting pen to paper (or, rather, fingers to keyboard), you need to reflect on the goals of your organization. That way, when you create a governance plan for your content, you can create content that connects to your goals.
Not everyone is an amazing writer. Luckily, you don’t have to be Shakespeare to write content that people want to read. You just need to know the people your organization is targeting. Don’t use market jargon when your audience is not used to that kind of language. Effectively communicate with your audience. Listen to your audiences. What do they find important, necessary, and useful when they interact with content online?
Why is SEO important? One word: visibility. Search engines bring relevant, sought-after content directly to your target audiences as needed. Google is either the best friend or the biggest block to an organization’s success in the modern world.
Search engine optimization is often seen as the technical powerhouse. SEO, with regards to content, involves a website-side effort on researching appropriate keywords, organizing content, dynamic URLs, and creating offsite links to content (e.g. social media). The sole purpose of SEO is to allow search engines like Google to crawl through your content quickly and easily. The goal is to give search engines a clear picture of your organization’s content and what content should be most visible. An unorganized “content hierarchy” will obscure this process.
Basically, SEO has less to do with how people read your content and more to do with appeasing “blind” search engines.
Mutually Assured Instruction
Let’s be honest: one cannot live without the other in this digital warzone. Violent metaphors aside, your website needs both content strategy and SEO in order to succeed, creating content that is both easily accessible by search engines, while also being attractive to readers.
And, yes, that means you might need to create more, better written, and better organized content.
Invest in a robust plan for your content. Use what you know about your current SEO and content strategy. Maybe your SEO rankings are high and people are clicking on those links, but people are not sharing your content or staying long enough to read it. Content strategy can help you close that gap and make what you have to offer more attractive. Alternatively, maybe your marketing team churn out amazing content, but it’s not being picked up by Google. SEO provides tools to make your awesome content more visible to your audiences.
The Web Development Group might just have the Shakespeare-meets-tech-genius team you need. We integrate SEO best practices with tailored content strategy. Interested in learning more? Check out the rest of our blog or contact us.