There’s an ongoing debate about content marketing and SEO. Some don’t see that the two go hand-in-hand.
And that one shouldn’t exist without the other.
However, there still exists general content, which differs from SEO content.
Can you tell the difference between the two? If not, don’t worry.
That’s what we’re here to find out today.
What is General Content?
You likely consume general content on a regular basis. For example, you may read a newspaper, a magazine, personal blog, or novel (or e-book).
These are written by writers that have the sole purpose of entertaining their audience. They’re not asking you to do anything, like purchase a product or service.
Some people confuse blog posts and website articles, thinking these always fall under copywriting or SEO content.
In most cases, these pieces aim to inform the reader, build engagement (likes, shares, and comments), and create a relationship with their audience.
What’s the Goal of General Content?
When a brand publishes general content on their website, it’s to raise brand awareness.
As you may have heard — today’s consumers loathe advertising. So if companies want to attract and connect with their audience, then they need to do it in an authentic way.
It’s difficult to do this when you’re consistently selling to them.
But in some cases, there’s a soft sell. For example, the content creator may ask visitors to subscribe to their channel, blog, or email newsletter.
The difference with this call to action is that it’s asking permission to give the visitor more content.
Users are more likely to give up their email address than to hand over money (at least in the beginning).
The main difference is that general content isn’t always optimized for search engines.
What is SEO Content?
SEO content comes in forms similar to general content. For example, you can find it in as blog posts and website articles.
However, you won’t find SEO content in novels and e-books (in most cases, the title is optimized).
The purpose of SEO content is to optimize for search engines. This way, people who search for the keywords they’re optimizing for will be able to find their content.
It’s common for copywriters to use SEO in their content.
In case you don’t know what a copywriter is — it’s a writer whose primary focus is to sell and convert.
For instance, a company will hire a copywriter to create the content for their website. This includes the home page, product/service pages, about us, and FAQs.
All of these pages are optimized for search engines and include calls to action throughout the website. You’ll find the same on landing pages (long-form one-page site for a specific product or service the user can purchase).
But not all SEO content is copywriting. Again, you can find informative blog posts and web copy that are optimized without selling.
What’s the Goal of SEO Content?
Creating online content without an SEO focus is outdated and just not a good idea. Google and other search engines use a variety of factors to determine how to rank your pages.
So if you’re looking to engage your audience using blog content, then you need optimization. This includes more than inserting keywords into the material.
You have to ensure your pages are mobile-friendly and contain H2s and images. No one wants to read large blocks of text, and if Google bots see this, then it’ll reduce your ranking potential.
So in a nutshell, SEO helps to boost your ranking and visibility so you can build traffic organically (without paying for it via ads).
Which Should You Use for Your Business?
The answer’s pretty obvious at this point. You need to be creating content, and you must optimize it.
If you aren’t, then your content will get shuffled down the hundreds of results pages, making it impossible for your audience to find it.
A successful content marketing strategy will consist of developing content that educates and engages your audience. Then to ensure they find it, you can find keywords that match the intent of your core audience.
Simply choosing keywords based on search volume isn’t enough. You have to consider the reason users are typing it in so that it matches the content you’re trying to rank.
For example, are they looking to purchase or learn something? Someone who’s looking to buy won’t want to read a post about fixing the problem themselves.
And a person who’s looking to learn isn’t ready to buy anything.
So you have to match your content with keywords and user intent to get decent engagement.
Building a Mix of General and SEO Content for Your Business?
It’s good to have a mix of general and SEO content in your strategy. For your online content, you want everything that’s evergreen to be optimized.
For example, if you’re building a knowledge base to educate your customers about their problems and how to fix them, then you want this to be visible forever.
However, if you’re publishing a news-worthy piece, then you won’t have to optimize it. It just needs to be promoted using social media, press releases, and other mediums.
The title alone will help it show up in search results.
As for your offline content, such as editorial pieces for newspapers and magazines — this will fall under the general category.
Getting your content featured in a reputable publication will be enough to drive visibility to it. All you have to do here is include your bio and links to your website to drive traffic.
There are online platforms you can use for editorial content as well. You can find publications in your niche with premium paid memberships or millions of monthly views.
It’s All So Simple
Hopefully, this cleared up a few things and gives you a better understanding of SEO and general content and how to use each.
Both come with their benefits and purpose — you just have to find its place in your content strategy.