Content Writers Wanted: SEO Knowledge a Plus

Graphic of SEO and Content Marketing Builders

When I became a content writer over fifteen years ago, SEO was nothing more than a litmus test of my post’s readability in my Yoast WordPress plugin. I didn’t understand how it worked, but I knew it had something to do with making my blog posts more visible on the web. For me, that was enough. I wasn’t thinking about keywords, headers, backlinks, or anything related to search engine optimization. I just wanted to write, and as long as visitors were leaving comments from time to time, I was happy. That’s when writing was a hobby, and Google Analytics was a maze of information I wasn’t ready to digest.  

Years later, when I started writing professionally, learning the foreign language of SEO still felt too technical. I didn’t want to be bogged down with a lot of rules that would hamper my creativity. It wasn’t until clients began hiring me to write content that I faced a harsh reality: even if I produced the best copy in the world, if no one sees it, what’s the point? The crazy thing is that clients seemed to have no expectations other than a quality piece of content. They had also fallen into the trap (like me) and believed that if you build it, they will come. Not true. 

The Content Writer Evolution 

When John Jantsch coined the term “content marketing” in his 2001 book, The Commitment Engine: Making Work Worth It, the phrase was a loosely defined catch-all for distributed content considered “valuable, relevant, and consistent.” Search Engine Optimization was still in its infancy, so the connection between high-quality content and search engine rankings had not been discovered. 

In the early 2000s, search engine algorithms were not the complex organisms of today, and ranking high in search results was often more about tactics used to trick the algorithm than positioning based on the relevancy of a page.  

Webmasters learned how to game the system with black hat tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden text and link farms long before the algorithms caught on and search engines began penalizing offenders. 

While both SEO and content marketing have evolved individually over the last two decades, there are three areas where they have aligned. 

  • User experience and engagement: In the past, SEO and content marketing focused on product promotion only, but today engaging and educating customers, so they can better connect with a brand has taken precedence.
  • Content quality: Where SEO and content marketing once depended on “by any means” necessary tactics to rank and make sales that had little to do with the customer, today strategic brands create high-quality content that search engines notice and rank accordingly.
  • Increased competition: As search engine algorithms have improved and ranking based on perceived value has continued to rank highest in SERPs, the competition for the top spots in search engine results has increased, which has led to relevant, higher-quality content and increased engagement. 

A Symbiotic Relationship Begins

In business, the biological term “symbiosis” refers to any long-term relationship that benefits one or both parties. SEO and content marketing were destined to collide because they shared the same goal: getting noticed. 

Rand Fishkin, co-founder of Moz, pointed to the symbiotic relationship between SEO and content marketing in his book, The Art of SEO. Rankin pointed out the benefits of partnering SEO and content marketing, arguing that ranking well depends on a successful SEO strategy that includes high-quality, relevant, and valuable content.

Now that the two have intersected, businesses that want to see high SERP rankings have learned to use the interdependent relationship between SEO and content marketing to get the best results. 

A Single Entity Emerges

The future of SEO and content marketing is their inevitable semiogenesis, or merging, where the two will become a single entity. They will evolve like other business disciplines that have integrated over time to create a more idyllic and streamlined approach to solving problems. Examples include:

  • Customer service and support
  • Public relations and marketing
  • Human resources and management
  • Marketing and sales
  • Data analytics and business intelligence
  • Project management and agile methodologies

Marketing has always been about finding the best strategy to build better relationships with customers by addressing their needs and wants. For content marketing, SEO provides the organizational structure and emphasis needed to get noticed. For SEO, high-quality content provides the framework from which to hang its search identifiers. 

Terminology and Expectations

In the Wild West of digital marketing, a strategy is only as good as its results. SEO and content marketing as a single discipline have proven to be an effective pairing. 

The future of SEO and content marketing is less about their individual evolutions and more about seeing them as an unbreakable pairing where one will not be discussed without the other’s mention.

For businesses looking for great content and writers looking for new opportunities, SEO should no longer be viewed as an “extra” in a job listing. It is now a foundational part of effective content writing and the expectation, not the exception. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *