content_vs_seo

Some will remember growing up reading comic books about Batman, the Caped Crusader, and Superman, the Man of Steel, or better yet enjoying the TV shows and big-screen movies. Their history has sort of a love/hate relationship due to their desire to both be “the people’s superhero”.

In their latest showdown, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, the battle continues. SPOILER ALERT: In the movie, there is a clear winner but the outcome may surprise you. We reveal the details in this post.

A similar war has been waged in the digital marketing space over the past number of years. In keeping with the theme of this latest superhero dual, we posed the question, “If SEO is Superman and Content is Batman, who wins? And like the latest mega-movie, the answer has an interesting twist.

SEOs STORIED PAST
The history of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) goes back to the days when unscrupulous tactics were used to trick search engines to gain better ranking. Keyword stuffing and bad backlinking practices were commonplace. In simpler terms, SEO has a checkered past due to the unethical manner in which people were trying to game the system.

To better understand search engine optimizing, it’s worth taking a look back at its beginning in the early 1990’s. Back then, humans did the editing for search engines, not web-bots or web-crawlers. This evolved over the next several years to Lycos and Yahoo becoming big in the search industry space. Google came on the scene in the late nineties and has changed the game ever since.

SEO ATTAINS SUPERHERO STATUS
Optimization looks much different today than it did before. Google’s continued algorithm changes are helping to defeat those that use bad practices.

View Hubspot’s SlideShare to see the many changes Google has made over the years and how SEO plays a role for marketers today.

SEO is considered a superhero by many, and rightfully so. Executed properly, it yields excellent results.

SEO BEST PRACTICES
Follow these on-page optimization tactics for best results:

  • Use URLs relevant to the subject matter with a specific concentration on the first 3-4 words. Include a keyword in the URL itself when possible.
  • Begin your page title with a keyword to get the highest page rank possible.
  • Use the keyword within the first sentence of the body but do not overuse the keyword throughout the post. Instead, use variations of the keyword where it fits.
  • Link to quality high ranking pages to boost your Google page ranking.
  • Ensure your content is easy to share. Include social sharing options to increase viewership.

CONTENT WEARS A BLACK CAPE
It has been overly stated that “content is king”. SEO may disagree. However, history shows that good content has attracted traffic, leads, and consumer buy-in since its inception. This superhero has been winning battles for ages.

CMI_CM_History_Large2

Image Courtesy of Content Marketing Institute

Despite the success content has enjoyed, every superhero faces a formidable foe. What kryptonite is to Superman, blackhat practices are to SEO. Unfortunately for Batman, Gotham has several evildoers he must contend with. But unlike Superman, Batman, and SEO, content marketing’s primary enemy is itself… bad content.

In one of the Batman movies, the citizens of Gotham turned against him when they needed him most. In the same way, content can work against you when done improperly. However, good content marketing is like a superhero. It can swoop in and save the day when traditional outbound techniques are not producing the desired result.

EVERYONE NEEDS CONTENT
There comes a time in most every Batman movie when the citizens of Gotham would power up the strobe light and cast the bat symbol into the night sky. They needed a superhero in the same way that every brand needs great content.

Creating great content isn’t always simple. The best content takes into consideration the buyer persona, their needs and/or goals, and it’s made available at the right time. If it were represented in a mathematical equation it would look something like this:

relevant content + right context + right time = Great Content Marketing

This is the formula in which almost all content should be created.

CONTENT BEST PRACTICES

  • Create content with the buyer persona in mind. The buyer persona is a representation of your ideal customer derived from research.
  • Use various forms of content such as infographics, podcasts, interactive content, videos, slideshows, games, etc. to provide relevant information to your audience.
  • Make content that is easy to consume. Readability is key. Stay away from industry jargon unless it’s necessary.
  • Follow on-page SEO best practices… Whaaaat? That’s right! The two superheroes need to work together!

SEO AND CONTENT JOIN FORCES

In the latest blockbuster, Dawn of Justice, a clear winner emerges. Batman overcomes Superman in the final minutes of the movie. However, in the end, the two must work together to take on the villain.

And so it is with SEO and content. Alone they are two powerful forces, but they need to work together to be most effective. One working without the other could lead to defeat.

So the real question is not which one wins but instead, “How can SEO and content be used together effectively to produce more traffic, leads, and sales for your business?”

We’ve put together a free downloadable resource to help you get started off on the right foot.¬†7 Things You Need to Know About Tech Buyers Before Creating Your Next Piece of Content
7 Things You Need to Know About Tech Buyers


Also published on Medium.