Content Marketing: The New SEO?

The Slap and Tickle“SEO is dead!” (“Panda killed it!”)

“No, SEO is growing!” (“That’s completely wrong, ask Mitt Romney!”)

“Content marketing is the future!”

“No, content marketing is a fad!”

The online chatter goes on and on and on.

Is it any wonder that business owners who have a blog are confused about whether or not to grow it, or about the best approach to grow it?

The short answer is: No, SEO (search engine optimization) is not dead, but is always evolving. Likewise, content marketing isn’t just a fad that’s going to run its course. Both are fundamental game-changers when it comes to news, media, and journalism.

“As media has always been the vehicle on which marketing engine rode, marketing also changed with it,” writes consultant Bikram K Singh. Neither SEO nor content marketing can reasonably replace the other.

As consumers morph into producers (aptly called “prosumers”), we’ll continue to see industries and industry followers producing and consuming niche news. Blogs aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. The variety of content will continue to expand, too. The so-called “BIG CONTENT” — infographics being some of the most popular right now — combine SEO and content marketing into a formidable tool.

Neil Patel demonstrates how a combination of SEO and content marketing, specifically infographics, worked to build his popular blog, KISSmetrics:

Within a 2-year period, we’ve generated 2,512,596 visitors, and 41,142 backlinks from 3741 unique domains all from those 47 infographics. […]

If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent  $822,840. And that wouldn’t even give you high quality links. We naturally got from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.

If you want to buy 41,359 tweets, it would cost you $82,718 assuming you paid 2 dollars a tweet. It would also cost you an additional $41,718 if you paid 2 dollars a like.

In total, if you were trying to game Google and get the same results we did at KISSmetrics, you would have spent a total of $1,072,905.80. Now that’s a lot of money… especially if you compare that to the $25,200 we spent to create the infographics.

In this example, the infographics (content marketing) were made more effective by their placement on inbound link-heavy, high-quality sites (SEO).

A better question than “What will replace what?” is, “What will make SEO and content marketing even better?” What will amplify these media tools?

Some ideas we’ve discussed and continue to co-evolve with content marketing and search strategies:

Real-time coverage

Geographic relevancy

Social relevancy

Contextual relevancy

Device diversity

What other trends will amplify the “peanut butter and pickle” greatness of content marketing and search?

About Katie McCaskey

Katie McCaskey is SixEstate's content director. She tests real-world application of content marketing techniques using the cafe she co-owns as a laboratory. She was Tech Editor of Chief Content Officer, 2010-2011, and contributes to the Content Marketing Institute. Connect with her on Google+ or @KatieMcCaskey.

  

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