Anyone who has spent much time playing the game of search engine optimization (SEO) surely knows that it can be a difficult game to win, largely because the rules of the game keep changing. Certainly, the days of black-hat tactics and underhanded efforts to coerce your way to the top of Google search results are gone. Yet, virtually everyone we encounter is convinced that they NEED to be on page one–of course, they are not alone. Recent surveys show that increasing website traffic is one of the top priorities for most marketers these days which largely means improving search engine rankings. However, with over a BILLION websites out there and only 10 organic slots on any Google search results page, it is a mathematical impossibility for all of them to be on page one.
The Old Team Shifts to a New Game
The challenge is a daunting one, and the sad old promise of SEO agencies that "We can guarantee to get you on page one" (which of course was essentially a lie) are now becoming a thing of the past. Once a dominant force in digital marketing, SEO agencies today are struggling, and in many cases, shifting to content marketing (or completely reinventing themselves in that direction). While pure SEO budgets have been drying up, the main reason for the shift is that the value they used to provide to customers just isn’t there anymore, and they are realizing the increasing importance of content marketing.
"Hundreds, if not thousands, of SEO agencies are in the same position. I’ve seen a few — such as TopRank Online Marketing and Vertical Measures — make this transition incredibly well. Others have simply put the “content marketing” moniker on their SEO content production service and called it content marketing. Yes, they’ve added such services as infographics creation, video production, and blog content creation, but content production is only one small part of the content marketing process. Strategic planning aspects of mission statement creation, audience persona gathering, internal content integration, and measurement outside of content consumption metrics are often absent.
The lesson for brands: A holistic content marketing strategy includes up-front planning and multiple goals, which in turn must bring in non-digital channels (such as print and in-person vehicles). SEO is just one very small part that covers a few marketing objectives. Make sure your content marketing strategy goes beyond top-funnel considerations."
There is no denying that SEO is as important today as it has ever been, but the approach to SEO has changed, especially since the days of black-hat tactics. SEO is intrinsically a keyword-focused strategy that is based upon the popularity of certainly keywords, whereas, content marketing generates demand by producing persona-targeted content based upon where each persona is in the customer journey. In other words, SEO agencies are search engine focused, whereas content marketing agencies are focused on the entire customer experience, including being found.
An All New Team For An All New Game
The obvious reason why so many SEO agencies are starting to shift towards content marketing is the relative ease with which you can optimize customer-focused content to be keyword smart. Unfortunately, most SEO agencies are not savvy about content marketing, nor do they realize the importance of establishing a solid content marketing strategy. With inbound marketing, fueled via content marketing, we play a whole new game. We develop a content marketing strategy that includes keyword awareness/search engine optimization, and our clients have seen exceptional search engine rankings as a result. And by using tools like HubSpot, we are able to produce quality, customer-focused content that is also SEO-smart.
While we are extremely aware of the importance of search engine optimization, we are first and foremost content marketers. We believe in the supreme importance of the inbound customer experience, are committed to ensuring that the customer is able to find the information they seek, and are persuaded by it to take action. If you'd like help increasing your website traffic through improved search engine rankings, but without sacrificing the most important thing, i.e. the relationship with your prospects and customers, please allow us to help. As a top digital marketing firm, we've been helping clients in Colorado, Missouri, Washington... and all across the country for decades.