Content and SEO: How They Work Together

Two variables that work very closely together in digital marketing are SEO, search engine optimization, and content marketing. The difference between the two is found in the definition and goals of each. SEO is the technical process used to increase traffic to websites and engage the maximum number of visitors to the website from search engine results. Content marketing refers to writing intelligent and relevant content to drive consumer readership and action. Similar to the relationship between SEO and paid search, SEO and content writing must directly work together to have strong results.

While different in its strategy, SEO still depends on content marketing to be successful. Every website needs compelling words, trustworthy articles, and captivating content for the SEO team to optimize. Without a strong SEO team, your content won’t be as visible and, consequently, won’t attract much traffic. An effective digital marketing campaign needs an SEO and content team that works closely together to develop quality content, driving it to the top of the search results.

Better Together

SEO and content teams should communicate constantly. Like a pitcher without its catcher, an SEO team without a content department has a hard time winning. Without the fusion of these two teams, it’s more difficult to create effective digital marketing campaigns. You need a close-knit team— one directly depends on the other for success. So, get your teams together to communicate and collaborate, and you’ll be on the way to a record strikeout season.

The job of the SEO team is to find the best strategies for driving engagement to increase search engine results. The content team’s job is to integrate these strategies into trustworthy and original content to attract the highest search engine results. Articles containing fresh ideas with new and dependable information rank higher than articles with repetition and errors. Search engine optimization won’t be effective without a strong content writer to create original content to improve search results. An integrated content and SEO team will be able to quickly improve results with content containing targeted keywords and tools for search engine optimization.

Keywords’ Connection to Content  

The technical side of SEO includes researching and analyzing keywords. Keywords are the words users type into a search engine to find relevant results. Finding relevant keywords and integrating them into your content is imperative to have articles rank higher on search engine results pages. It’s important that the SEO team gives these keywords to the content writers so they can write engaging content relevant to high-ranking keywords for optimized results.

Keyword research won’t be beneficial if it’s not included in your content. Researching keywords is great for SEO, but won’t help optimization if they aren’t embedded into your content. Therefore, writing a content piece without knowing the audience or goal won’t bring much traffic. Content is most effective when written with keywords researched by the SEO team. Drive high search results and optimized search engine campaigns by including keywords in unique and original content writing. 

Where to Write Keywords

Once the SEO team evaluates what keywords to use, the content writers need to integrate them as frequently and naturally as possible throughout the page. The main keywords should be written in both parts of the copy, the header section, and the body section. The headers of a webpage are hidden in the pages’ HTML and are read first by search engines, making it a critical place to include keywords to improve SEO.

The heading section is important to both content and SEO as they need to work together to ensure their headers bring the highest search results. The header section tells the search engines what the page is about, resulting in the need for expertly written keywords. Since users typically click on a page that has the information they’re looking for, it’s important to clearly state the goal of the page using keywords in the heading and first portion of body copy. Content writers should put keywords and the most important information in the headers and first paragraphs of their copy when writing to improve SEO.

One of the best ways to organically grow digital marketing campaigns is through search engine optimization. Optimize your content by giving writers keywords and guidance to create the most informative and relative content. Implement keywords and vital information in the headings and first paragraphs of the body copy to help search engines find your page easier. The more frequent, natural, and close to the top of the page your keywords are, the more impactful they are at increasing your search results. Your search engine results are sure to shoot to the top of the page when your SEO and content teams work closely together.

Stories Change Beliefs and Behavior

Good stories matter, and if they’re good enough, they make an impression on all who listen. A significant part of a child’s upbringing centers on moms, dads, and grandparents telling tales of heroes, villains, and clowns. They’re fundamental to our understanding of ourselves, our families, and the world around us, and they stay close to our hearts as we move through life.

Humans are social beings and are wired for connection. Recent studies show brains respond to stories to foster empathy, understanding, and ultimately action. If marketing aims to do the same, writers are wise to incorporate good storytelling techniques in their narratives to captivate audiences and win them over. The result is a client who now has an emotional connection to your brand or product — all with the help of neurobiology and responses within the brain.

Humans Are Hardwired for Empathy

Human beings coexist for survival and happiness, and, it turns out, empathy plays a big role. Oxytocin, a neurochemical that is produced when we experience trust and kindness, motivates cooperation with others by enhancing our sense of empathy. When we tap into how others are feeling and understand their motives for action, we’re better able to respond to situations ourselves. So, empathy brings us closer together but also safeguards us from harm.

But oxytocin isn’t released only in ‘real life situations’. According to studies conducted by Paul J. Zak, the oxytocin system is triggered by character-driven stories. To come to this conclusion, his research team took blood samples of participants before and after watching a narrative film. They found that heightened oxytocin levels led to more participation and voluntary cooperation (in this case, donating to a charity group).

But behavioral changes won’t occur if a story doesn’t keep an audience’s attention — a key finding of the studies. Only when viewers are captivated will they produce the amount of oxytocin required to motivate action. What’s more, maintaining an audience’s attention depends on the amount of developing tension within a narrative — a necessary strategy for creating character-driven stories. The more tension that exists within a narrative, the more that’s at stake for a character. This is what captivates a reader or viewer.

With an understanding of a character’s troubles and their eventual resolve, audiences create an emotional connection with the person on screen or in a book. The character’s relationship to the rising action within a story connects readers to his or her plight, forcing them to empathize with difficult circumstances that must be overcome. Sure, it sounds dramatic, but relying on classic storytelling techniques is proven to be effective, even on a neurobiological level.

Translating Storytelling to Content Marketing

The key to crafting compelling copy, then, relies on your ability to compel individuals to empathize and change. There’s a saying in the marketing world that says facts tell but stories sell. With an understanding of brain behavior and storytelling, we’ve laid out some basic principles for creating marketing materials that matter most to customers. Here’s what we found.

There is a story behind everything you do, and it should be explored and communicated back to customers. This means understanding the significance of a product or service on an emotional level. Describing the design features of a horseshoe, for example, while interesting to a farrier or metallurgist, may be lost on horse owners who care most about the well-being and comfort of their four-legged friend. A family may have lived on their farm for generations and owning livestock may be essential to their happiness.

These sentimental details need to be examined to captivate an audience, and if you feel a product is essential for someone’s well-being or happiness when creating content, you’re onto something.

It’s equally as important to speak your client’s language and communicate branded stories in a way that resonate with a variety of demographics. Having a strong grasp of your audience’s voice and identity is crucial to your marketing journey. So, learn your client’s language. You’ll more easily pull at their heartstrings.

It’s also strategic to listen to stories already being told online by clients. This is a great way to begin learning about what matters most to those you represent, and you can easily tune in to conversations circulating on social media or other public forums. When you understand the issues that resonate with clients, you can more authentically craft stories that address the things they care about most.

The Brain-Story Connection

Stories that speak to an individual’s ability to overcome a unique set of obstacles affect viewers on a neurobiological level. Audience members form emotional connections with characters who transform themselves for the better. The brain responds to these stories by increasing capacities for empathy and connection through the release of oxytocin. These studies suggest that, on a biological level, humans are meant to empathize, learn, grown, and connect.

Tapping into this somewhat primitive yet profound concept has long-lasting effects, and it’s a useful strategy in creating content that speaks to clients on a deeper level. At the end of the day, your content needs to matter. Once you empathize with clients and understand why their products or services make a difference in the world (or in their world), you’ve got their attention. And that’s what matters most.