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From the Trenches

Content Marketing is NOT the new SEO

Mike Sweeney | April 14, 2011

“So this content marketing is the new shiny marketing toy, and it replaces SEO, the old and not-so-shiny marketing toy?”

Those are words – uttered earlier this week – from someone who ought to know better.

My answer? No, content marketing is not all that new and shiny, and no, it certainly does not replace SEO. It’s far bigger, broader, and all-encompassing than SEO.

I love SEO. It has a place in every marketing plan we put together. Its impact, if done well, can be business-changing. The people that do SEO the right way – I am talking about the real experts – are invaluable.

But it’s merely a piece of content marketing. A very important one, but just a piece.

Look no further than the name. SEO, or search engine optimization, focuses on search engines. If Google were to go away (the probability of that scenario is .000001%), and no search engine replaced its consumer utility, what would happen with SEO?

Content marketing, on the other hand, focuses on…well, marketing. Every piece of it. Content marketing does not focus on one single property, or even a set of properties. It’s online, and it’s offline. If Google goes away, content marketing stays.

There is a reason why Google’s most recent “Farmer” algorithm update targeted sites compiling large amounts of low-quality or useless content. Those content farms were using that low-quality content as an SEO tactic only. That questionable content, with its SEO value removed, has no value.

Which properties have benefitted from the algorithm update? According to a blog post from Googlers Amit Singhal and Matt Cutts, “sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

Imagine that. Original content and thoughtful analysis are back in vogue.

Same as it ever was?

Want to learn more?  Sign up to join us as Will Davis and I outline the anatomy of a content marketing strategy in our April 27th webinar What if You Build It and They Still Don’t Come?

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About Mike Sweeney:

As Right Source’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Sweeney creates, plans, and implements our vision, mission, culture, and strategic direction as well as serving as an advisor to our clients. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and has more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, including digital, content, and marketing technology. You can find Mike on LinkedIn.