Technical SEO vs Content Marketing SEO
First of all, we’d like to give you a huge round of applause for being aware of the importance of SEO. But now you’ve gone down the SEO rabbit hole, you might find yourself drowning in lists upon lists of tips, tricks, and advice on what type of SEO improvements you should be focussing on – technical, content, link building, meta descriptions – the list seems endless. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to do everything at once.
Put your SEO list down for a second and read on.
In this guide, we’ll talk you through some of the key differences between Technical SEO and Content SEO so you can work out which one to focus on first to move your website up the search rankings in the most efficient way possible.
What is the difference between Technical SEO and Content Marketing SEO?
Technical SEO focuses on all the elements of your website that search engines like Google look at to help work out the importance and quality of your site. Content Marketing SEO, on the other hand, focuses more on a call-and-response level i.e. creating content that answers the queries that your target audience is searching for and/or creating content that provides value for your audience and is interested in.
What is Technical SEO?
Any changes to your website that will allow search engines to crawl and index your site more effectively and/or demonstrate that your site is high value and authoritative are considered to fall under ‘Technical SEO’. This is most important when competition in your industry is high. The higher the competition, the more lost you can become in search results if your competitors adapt to Google algorithm changes and constantly grow and build authority on their site, while you get left behind.
Here are some key areas of Technical SEO that can help you improve your site visibility and ranking:
- Site speed
How quickly your site loads for users is more important than you might think and it might surprise you just how much difference a few seconds can make. Walmart found that for every 1-second improvement in page load time, conversions increased by a significant 2%.
- XML sitemaps
Making sure you have a sitemap that tells Google how your site is structured not only helps them crawl your site more effectively but also helps them identify what you consider to be your most important pages. This structure is essential for search engines like Google to continue indexing your site as it grows.
You may assume that most of your audience is strictly desktop but this is not the case and search sites including Google and Bing both know it. According to SISTRIX, Significantly more searches are carried out on the mobile phone (64%) than on the desktop (35%). Websites that are more mobile-friendly will always outrank non-mobile-friendly sites, especially in mobile searches as search engines now recognise the importance of mobile experience to users. When we talk about being mobile-friendly, this means having web pages that are responsive to different screen dimensions and making sure that your navigation works just as effectively on a mobile screen as it does on a desktop.
- Keyword cannibalization
Your website may contain pages and pages of great content, but if these pages are competing for the same keywords, you’re essentially diluting your content. This is called keyword cannibalization. It means that you are far better to focus on one page per keyword rather than creating multiple pages. Your homepage should start with your top-level keyword focus and as users move through your site, your keyword focus should become more and more specific, making sure not to have duplicate content on multiple pages.
When should I focus on Technical SEO?
If you find that you are putting out keyword-relevant content across your social media and emails that are getting good engagement but not ranking top in keywords, this is a sign that you should perhaps focus on some of the technical elements we listed above.
To start, we’d suggest getting a technical SEO audit carried out on your site by an SEO expert. An experienced SEO freelancer will be able to look at your website in detail and identify your top technical SEO weaknesses and create a prioritised action plan that will help you improve your visibility in search results and get more people to find all of that great content you’ve written.
Some of what your SEO expert lists may require you to hire an experienced web developer to make some small amends to your site, but rarely does this require high-cost development work. Many of the actions will consist of small tweaks to areas such as your meta headings and descriptions, which, if using a WordPress template, you’d be able to do yourself, but hiring an SEO copywriter might come in handy for this part.
What is Content Marketing SEO?
Content Marketing is the creation of relevant content that helps capture the interest of your target audience and drive them toward investing in your service or product. Content is of course key to converting users into customers, and content is particularly useful for successful companies that sell not just products and services but solutions; solutions that consumers will be looking for via search. If your content can successfully answer a commonly searched problem and lead that user to your product/service solution, that’s when the magic happens.
Here’s a list of some of the top things to check off when creating SEO optimised content:
- Use relevant keywords
In order to have your content picked up via search engines, it should come as no surprise that your content needs to contain the same words that your target audience is typing into a search engine. These are what we call ‘keywords’. While over a decade ago it used to be enough to just litter your content with keywords, this will no longer cut it for the sophisticated algorithms of Google. Algorithms can tell the difference between content that simply has a splattering of keywords from content that is rich and answers specific queries around the keywords users are searching for.
- Write for your audience
When you’ve got a product or service and a list of keywords that you know you want to start ranking for, this can sometimes sweep you away into creating content simply for the keyword’s sake. But as per our last point, Google knows all. The best way to make sure your content is going to be viewed as high quality is to make sure you write first and foremost for your audience. Don’t be afraid to get specific with this, really think about who your audience is and write to them as though you are writing to a friend with amazing valuable advice on the subject they are searching for.
- Create appealing headlines
High search ranking is great, but clicks are even better and this only happens if you have a headline that will grab the attention of the user. Make sure your heading is clear, concise, and tells the user exactly what they are going to get when they click through to your content. Adding a sense of urgency and intrigue to the headline can also help improve clicks and the more clicks and traffic you get, the higher search engines will rank you.
- H1s and meta descriptions
H1s are HTML tags that indicate a title on a website, and this is what will appear first and in bold on Google search results. Meta descriptions are the snippet of text that will appear below the H1 and both are equally important to tell search engines and users what your content is about and whether it’s worthy of being displayed. We’d highly recommend getting the help of an experienced SEO copywriter to help with this part, even if you are writing the content yourself.
There are two types of links that you need to think about incorporating into your content. Internal and external links. Internal links are links that point to pages on your site and typically these are pages that will help move the user closer to wanting to purchase your product or service. External links are links that point from one domain to another. The more authoritative the site that links to your content, the more authority that will be passed on to you. Its good practice in content writing for SEO to try and build links by collaborating with other websites, linking to each other’s content is a great way to grow collaboratively with other sites in complimenting businesses targeting a similar audience.
When should I focus on Content Marketing SEO?
Compared to the long list of Technical SEO areas, Content Marketing may seem like a piece of cake, and it’s for this reason that many people seek this out as their first step towards SEO optimisation. However, creating content that is good enough to grab the attention of both Google and your target audience can be harder than you think, and without tight, technical SEO in place, all that hard work creating content could fall flat.
If you’re starting from scratch with SEO, we would always recommend you have an SEO audit carried out first to see where some potential weaknesses are and try and strengthen these areas as best as you can before investing time and resource into creating lots of content that may go unseen by your audience.
If you have a website that you know has a strong amount of organic traffic but you’re finding it difficult to retain these users or convert them or perhaps you are seeing an increased bounce rate – in these situations, it’s worth involving an SEO content strategist to help you create a content plan around both your conversion goals and target audience.
How to create a strategy that covers both Technical SEO and Content Marketing SEO
To summarise, Technical SEO and Content SEO work most effectively together. And while finding the time, money, and resource to tackle both can be challenging, look at some of the points here and prioritise them based on the resources you have available and the impact they could have on your business. When creating a strategy, think about what your priorities are now and what they will be over the next 6-12 months. Syncing your business priorities with your SEO priorities is the most effective way to grow traffic and ultimately your business.