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Google's continuing moves to penalise marketers ‘chasing the algorithm’, and to reward those who produce useful and valuable content, is one of the principal reasons why content marketing has emerged as a hot topic over the past 18 months. 

The majority of marketers surveyed in our Content Marketing Survey Report (produced in associated with Outbrain) agreed with the statement that “Content marketing is becoming its own discipline, like SEO or email marketing”.

The question remains to be seen as to how content marketing and SEO will change, integrate and evolve over time, with some predicting the demise of SEO and others insisting that it will remain as its own discipline.

To find out more, and following last week's post on the expert view on content marketing, we asked a selection of marketers how they "see the relationship between content marketing and SEO evolving over the next few months?” Their answers, some of which do conflict, are below…

Simon Edelstyn, European Managing Director, Outbrain:

Content and SEO are of course explicitly linked, but we’ve moved away from the notion that content created purely for SEO purposes is effective, acknowledging that content needs to be created to be read and enjoyed by humans.

This has led to huge leaps in terms of quality and authenticity and has a positive SEO impact. Good content = happy readers and improved SEO too.

Robin Bonn, Business Development Director, Seven

The reality is that if you create something great, people will share it; online, offline, wherever. That content marketing improves SEO performance is just a reflection of this simple truth, acknowledged by changes to the way search engines calculate listings. The better the content, the more people pass it on. And sometimes, where the content is good enough, it even goes viral.

There’s talk of SEO and content marketing being merged or even being one and the same. This is a red herring. There’s enough distinct expertise required around both disciplines to maintain a distinction.

From a content marketing point of view, if clients focus on producing world-class content marketing, created with their audience firmly in mind, and combine that with a smart influencer and distribution strategy (across offline as well as digital and social media) they will find and excite the people that matter.

Doug Kessler, Creative Director and Co-Founder, Velocity Partners

Other than the on-page, hygiene side of things (which is pretty commoditised), SEO has essentially become content marketing. As it should.

James Gurd, Owner, Digital Juggler

Content marketing is not SEO but it is complementary and should be integrated. For me content marketing is the process of delivering your content plan. Your content plan comes from your business/trading plan. They must be aligned - all content should work towards business goals (note that these goals will be hard and soft, such as increasing social sharing). And SEO can help identify content opportunities, though it shouldn't be the sole driver of your content plan.

So for me content marketing doesn't replace SEO, or vice versa. They are both part of the same whole - marketing. The skills mix is interesting as well. A good content marketer doesn't necessarily understand SEO enough to do SEO, but should grasp how SEO can benefit their content marketing plans; for example, by knowing how to optimise content to be keyphrase relevant and optimising landing pages.

Does a content marketer know how to do technical SEO, such as site audits, handling crawl errors, site architecture etc.? Unlikely. Does a specialist SEO know how to use marketing channels to maximise the reach of content? Also unlikely in my experience. But their skill sets are complementary.

Let's not confuse what SEO is and does with the latest buzzword. Content marketing has always been a core part of marketing, offline and online. However, since the Panda/Penguin updates, there has been a realisation that content quality/frequency/links are more important than ever, not just to SEO but to your overall digital marketing.

James Carson, Freelance Content Strategy Consultant

To me, content marketing and SEO have become interchangeable and will remain soI’ve previously written about this and really think the ‘outreach’ part of SEO is now dependent on good ideas and good content. I wouldn’t approach SEO without great content anymore – previously many more people (including me) felt they could.

What are your views?

How do you think content marketing and SEO will evolve? Should SEOs become content marketers? Or will content marketing fade from importance in the future? 

Please share your views in the comments below.

Andrew Warren-Payne

Published 21 January, 2013 by Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or Google+

55 more posts from this author

Comments (16)

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Paul

Totally agree with James comments, content marketing is nothing new its just the latest buzzword because of the recent changes and for some content marketing has become a new cash cow

over 3 years ago

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Kate Dreyer

Totally agree that content marketing doesn't replace SEO - There are still technical SEO elements that content doesn't cover - but I think content marketing is becoming a much bigger part of SEO.

over 3 years ago

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Emily

I believe content marketing and seo are seperate disciplines that can compliment each other. A 301 redirect can not be classed as "Content Marketing" but is a seperate seo skill. Likewise infographic creation does not fall within the realm of search engine optimisation.

over 3 years ago

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Derryck Strachan

I think Doug Kessler nailed it (and succinctly too). Keywords aren't enough. Figuring out what your prospects want to read/are looking for and then producing that stuff *is* what content marketing is all about (and what SEO should have been about previously).

over 3 years ago

Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

Thanks for your comments all - good points there.

over 3 years ago

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Stephen Cowan

Doug Kesseler nailed it on the head.
Although content marketing isn't a stand alone solution to everything SEO, It is definitely one of my biggest strategies used.

over 3 years ago

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Barry Feldman

I don't think content marketing equals search engine optimization, but I do think it equals search engine success.

over 3 years ago

Martin Dinham

Martin Dinham, Managing Director at Channel Digital Limited

An interesting topic. I think James Gurd hits the nail on the head - content marketing is not the same as SEO, but it is an important part of it. Remember though that the content part of SEO is not just the creation of great content, but also an outreach component to encourage the proliferation of this across the desired channels. It's this, combined with the potential complexity of specialist technical elements that make SEO about more than "just" content marketing.

over 3 years ago

Paul North

Paul North, Head of Content and Strategy at Mediarun

I don't feel this blog post answers its headline. No one has talked about how content marketing/SEO will evolve in the future, so I don't know why it was given this headline.

The question that the contributors have answered seems to be "Are Content Marketing and SEO the same thing?" I think James Gurd has the best, most informed answer. Doug Kessler seems unaware that that's a very large part of SEO that involves code, site structure, hierarchy and analysis of mass data.

My view on the future/evolution of content marketing: the forms of content that marketers use will vary to a greater degree than today. There will be a greater variety in length, style, presentation etc. Companies and brands will not just personalise what they say but how they say it.

over 3 years ago

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Mark Scully

The issue with content marketing at the moment is that because it's now being talked about on a larger scale, a lot of businesses are implementing it without much thought about what their customers want to read, share and will overall find very helpful. A content marketing strategy won't necessarily be a viable approach for every niche, neither is it always a cost effective method of attracting customers.

over 3 years ago

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Eilidh MacRae

Some insightful points! I have to agree that content marketing is not set to and cannot take over SEO. Whilst quality content is essential in SEO there is much more to it than just producing content.

over 3 years ago

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jack

This is definitely one of the best articles I have read in this website! Thanks Mate.

over 3 years ago

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Leadgenix

Great article! I love how diverse Internet marketing strategies can be and how to implement SEO techniques and skills.

over 3 years ago

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Linda

I totally agree also, "SEO has essentially become content marketing. As it should." Back to the basics.

over 3 years ago

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Leadgenix

The point isn't SEO vs. content marketing, but that the two are related. Without good content, consumers find your website useless, and without good SEO consumers can not find your website. Doug Kessler succinctly described the current situation. But interesting article. Thank you!

over 3 years ago

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SEO India

Thanks for a great article. Never done any guest posting anywhere but after reading the article and the informative comments, it seems the way to go. Going to give it a try!

over 3 years ago

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