I have a lot of experience in this area. I’ve been running an SEO agency for a number of years now and I’ve had a lot of success with content marketing and SEO for myself and my clients.
SEO vs. Content Marketing: Which Is the Best?
This is actually a really good question.
I think many business owners are confused about the differences between the two.
For starters, they don’t know which one to use. They don’t understand the benefits or the downsides either.
At other times, they wonder whether or not they are mutually exclusive. And business owners often wonder if they can combine the two to achieve better results.
There are many different factors to consider for sure.
At times, SEO is definitely going to be the gold standard. And there are also times when content marketing is going to be the gold standard.
Guess what? Have you figured it out yet?
Sometimes a hybrid approach is the gold standard!
We’ll take a look at some examples below.
An Example of SEO as the Gold Standard
Without a doubt, most local businesses will do fantastic with just using SEO.
However, SEO has become increasingly competitive.
At this point, every business owner understands SEO. And many businesses have a lot of money to invest in this opportunity.
They recognize the value of spending big bucks for high quality SEO.
As you have probably noticed, Google has raised the bar for SEO over the past four or five years.
You know what I mean: Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird. Everybody’s favorite animal updates! I’m surprised Google hasn’t opened up a petting zoo! LOL
What this means for local businesses is most of them can probably still get the job done with just search engine optimization, and most local businesses are not investing in content marketing.
A successful content marketing campaign that really drives a bunch of traffic and many backlinks will absolutely annihilate anybody that’s still stuck in the SEO paradigm.
As a local business, you have the opportunity to decide to just stick with SEO and do nothing more. And more than likely, you should be fine.
Or you have the opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
Not only will you take advantage of SEO, but you can also apply the best content marketing practices to SEO for that added extra something that will help put you over the top.
How Local Businesses Should Focus on Content Marketing
And when I say content marketing, I don’t mean writing content specifically for your neighborhood.
I mean create content so that you become a national thought leader. You’ll become a true authority in your market.
Just trying to tell people about your local community or the few things that you do in your business, it’s just not big or compelling enough. And the honest truth is that nobody is really going to care.
But they do care about certain things.
Your potential customers want to see that you’re an expert in your market. And by teaching your expertise to other people, you will show your target audience that you absolutely know what you’re talking about and you’ll become a true asset in your field.
And let’s not forget about the huge SEO bonuses that you’ll get when you share quality content.
When other websites find your content – by you sharing it with them or if they come across it on their own – they may find it very valuable and even link to you.
And before you know it; your website gets attention from national websites. And as you start driving more links, your domain authority goes higher and your search rankings improve tremendously.
Meanwhile, your biggest competitor has focused on only building citations and some cheap, crappy private blog network (PBN) postings while you’re getting links from some of the top publishers in your industry.
Which scenario do you think is going to be better for SEO? You already know the answer, right?
SEO is still the gold standard for many local businesses and content marketing isn’t cheap, but if you’re willing to invest a little bit more in content marketing chances are you’ll cement your place in your local community on Google for a long time.
SaaS: An Exploding Industry
Okay, right now we’re going to talk about SaaS. This stands for software as a service.
It’s a monthly subscription software model, and they are popping up everywhere as this business model is continuing to grow.
In general, most SaaS companies do better as they niche down.
They are catering to a specific type of audience that has a specific type of need.
For these types of companies, doing straight SEO is usually very difficult because there are already tons of competitors that are established in this market.
They have really high domain authority. They have many referring domains. And it’s hard to bridge that gap.
It makes more sense sometimes to do content marketing, although I would never say to just do that as a search engine optimization expert because I’ve seen the power of SEO when it comes to SaaS.
And this holds true even in hypercompetitive spaces. So it would really be a travesty to just recommend straight content marketing.
Truth be told, content marketing just isn’t that powerful for driving up domain authority.
Content Marketing & Link Building: A Hybrid Approach
For most SaaS companies, this is the strategy that I would recommend.
On the SEO end, after you’ve optimized the site, you should begin building links to the company’s homepage and the company’s service pages.
Your goal is to power of the main internal pages of a website.
As far as content marketing goes, your focus is to expand the size of your website. You’re adding relevant content that your audience wants to consume.
And if you’re doing content marketing the right way, you are also promoting this content in the right channels.
To help you with your content marketing efforts, I wrote another detailed post on the anatomy of content marketing. I highly recommend checking it out.
When it comes to content promotion, I use a six point blogger outreach program that has been incredibly effective. It converts like gangbusters.
To learn more about that, please click the following link:
The Overall Benefits of the Hybrid Strategy
After this whole content marketing and SEO ball gets rolling, you’re now building authority to your main pages. Plus, you’re increasing the size of your site with relevant, high quality, unique long form content.
And you’re promoting many of these new blog posts amongst other bloggers in your industry and on social media. You’re even starting to generate some social traffic, your content is generating some buzz, and because of this you’re getting more backlinks to your blog posts.
Meanwhile, while all of this is happening, hopefully this content topic is compelling enough that people are beginning to sign up to your email list. Because as we all know, a huge part of content marketing is list building.
One of the key indicators of the success of content marketing is how quickly you grow your list.
You put a lead magnet on your page – the more irresistible the offer the better – and you use it to build your email list. This is another powerful metric to track.
The nicest thing about content marketing is that it’s very flexible. You can have different goals and different objectives.
As you do all of this, your domain authority becomes higher and you become more relevant in your industry.
Your thematic relevance gets a boost and you become a brand name and a major player in the space. And before long, you even become somebody that’s recognizable and become somewhat of a celebrity in your industry!
When Is Local SEO the Better Play?
If you are a local franchisee, SEO is more than likely the better play.
Remember, you still have to rank locally, so local SEO definitely plays an important role in your overall strategy.
Yet again, you can compound your efforts with content marketing.
What about E-Commerce Sites?
With e-commerce, Onsite SEO is huge. And link building to your product pages is also huge.
If you build a high quality blog that drives a lot of traffic and backlinks, and then you add internal linking going to your product pages, it’s going to be huge too.
You are establishing thematic relevance for certain terms, and really, that’s the name of the game.
That’s about it for this topic. I gave you a lot of information, so take some time to digest it all and see how you can incorporate it into your own personal strategy or for your clients.
I hope you find value in my answer.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask them here.