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Why SEO Doesn’t Matter As Much in Content Marketing As You Think it Does

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Ask any marketer around and they’ll tell you that content marketing and SEO seem to be inseparable from each other. Both facets rely on each other to drive viewership. Yet SEO remains a realm shrouded in mystery for many people – within which lie the key that lifts their content up to the fabled land of Google’s first-page results. Some of the most common questions we get when dealing with clients are about SEO, or how to improve their ranking, what can they do to optimise the content and so on.

The fact is, there’s not really much to do, and it really isn’t as important as most people think.

There’s only so much you can do to optimise your content, ensure you use proper headers, fill out alternate text for your images, pick the right keywords and so on. All of which you could get for free on a checklist somewhere, or just use a plugin like Yoast SEO if you’re on WordPress.

The other thing you can do is to build links. This can be done organically by producing good, relevant content that people will link to, or with the help of the multiple link building agencies out there.

Your site will also have to be properly optimised and load fast because Google uses that as a sign of reliability. There are a few other web design elements that will help, but that’s it! That’s all you can possibly do to optimise your content for SEO. It’s not as difficult as some people make it out to be. SEO is nothing more than a set of rules you have to follow in order to rank on google, nothing more, and you can be sure that most of your competitors are following suit as well. Here’s an article with some basic information.

Content Marketing VS SEO: Focus on what matters

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If you are a content creator and you have been stressing out on SEO, you are wasting your time. Good content carries itself. It’s not easy getting onto page one of search results, especially if you’re a small or new company. A site’s age is also taken into account in SEO rankings, and if you’re playing against those sites, you’re already losing. I’m not an army general, but when I see a battle I can’t win, I pull my troops back and divert them elsewhere to win the war.

While SEO is a losing game for most companies, you can focus your attention on creating good content. Content that earns you a reputation within your industry, readers, and potential customers. Content that provides the type of value people are looking for, content that is so good people just have to share it.  There’s nothing worse than landing on a keyword-laden, half-baked article.

Getting your content out there, having it shared by grateful readers builds you a readership that’s interested in what you have to say. These are the readers that sign up for your e-mail newsletters and convert that way. After all, that’s what your desired result should be at the end of the day. The more your reputation grows, the more people come directly to you. Think about it – people don’t search for “soft drinks” as they would “coke”, and that comes with a strong brand. Focus on that.

That’s not to say you should throw SEO completely out of the window. Following a checklist and knowing how to pick the right keywords is still a fundamental strategy that you should adopt. Your content needs to be seen and found and SEO helps people do that. But you should be spending 80% of your time on content, instead of SEO. Instead, learn what content your audience really wants and give it to them, instead of trying to rank high on something you are positioned to lose at.

We have spent too much time fixating on something that isn’t helping us in the long run. Let’s get back to the heart of it all – content that adds value to readers. Till then, I’ll long for the day people start asking “How do I give as much value as I can to my readers?” instead of “How do I write to maximise SEO?”.

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Bolt is a content marketing platform that connects writers to brands looking for quality written content.  For more articles for marketers, click here. You can also sign up for our beta here:

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