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Which is the Better Investment?

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Which is the Better Investment?


I found an interesting discussion/argument on Twitter that was sparked when someone mentioned that “Marketing is dead.” Plus there is no shortage of people proclaiming online (every year, it seems) that “SEO is dead.”

I know that content marketing isn’t exactly traditional marketing, but it is marketing nonetheless. I’m not here to argue whether they are dead or not (they aren’t, the fact that you look up stuff on Google is enough proof of that), but if people insist on content marketing vs SEO, then we should look at what they actually are for and if they’re worth the investment.

  1. What is content marketing?
  2. What is SEO?
  3. What if I focus on content marketing vs SEO or vice-versa?
  4. My advice: Do them together
  5. Key takeaway

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is the practice of creating and sharing useful and relevant content in the form of articles, podcasts, videos, and such to attract, acquire, and retain your target audience and build a long-term relationship with them.

For example, here at SEO Hacker I run a blog about SEO, digital marketing, and Google updates that I then share to my audience because this is my expertise and I want people interested in these topics—whether beginners or not—to have access to good, well-written, and well-researched information.

SEO Hacker blog screenshot

Aside from that, we have free case studies that you can download in case you need hard data.

Content marketing vs SEO 5 free case studies

 

I also have a podcast called The Leadership Stack where I interview entrepreneurs all over the world and discuss business, finance, and leadership. We also answer listener questions on our AMA Thursdays.

Leadership Stack homepage screenshot

All this content, for free.

As you can see, my priority is creating good content and building a relationship with my audience. When they go on my websites, they have a pain point that they need addressed, so I want to make sure that they get the solution from me and even share it with their friends and colleagues.

By doing content marketing, I also set myself as an industry leader—a professional who is knowledgeable in their field. If you’re a potential customer, you would not want to hire someone who has no proof that they know what they’re doing.

What is SEO?

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the practice of optimizing a website for maximum visibility on search engines to increase organic traffic. By maximum visibility, what I mean is that we work hard to put your website on the first page of the SERPs (search engine results page).

For example, with SEO Hacker we make sure to rank #1 on the SERPs for the keyword “SEO Philippines.” As I mentioned in my previous blog post, if my company can’t even rank for our own keywords, why would you hire us? I make sure that I practice what I preach, which is holistic, white hat SEO that gets me and my clients’ websites on the first page for maximum visibility.

SEO Philippines SERPs

Why the first page? Because nobody ever really looks at the second page of the SERPs.

Although I mentioned that we optimize for search engines, that does not mean we leave people behind. One mistake that some make is to focus exclusively on search engines. You have to remember that it is people who submit their queries, not Google. So a crucial aspect of SEO is empathizing with customers to optimize for their search intent, ease of use, and so on.

What if I focus on content marketing vs SEO or vice-versa?

Let’s say you wrote this helpful piece on the difference between social media monitoring and listening.

Then you just… let it sit there.

Yes, you’re supposed to write content that is relevant and useful and will generally promote itself through the likes and shares of your readers. However, no matter how good your content is, if it’s not searchable, it’s not optimized both for people and search engines, you don’t reach out to webmasters to build relationships and promote your content, then your efforts in writing awesome content will be wasted.

On the other hand, your optimization will be very limited without informative, well-written content. You can’t just have keywords floating around your webpages and expect to rank. SEO works well because you’re providing answers to searcher’s questions. If you don’t have the content, then why would anyone go to your website for answers?

My advice: Do them together

Instead of pitting content marketing vs SEO, I suggest doing content marketing and SEO.

As someone who is selling a product or service, you have knowledge in that field. You have information and a perspective that not everyone else has, and you can make shareable content off of that.

Then of course, let that content work with SEO to help you become searchable online and visible to your target market. As I mentioned earlier, establish yourself as an industry leader that people come to for answers.

Remember that people who go on Google or other search engines don’t really go there to just pass the time, unlike those who go on social media. These people have a goal in mind, which is to look for information, to purchase a product or service, and so on.

For example, let’s say a CEO is looking to invest in SEO for their company. They know that prices can be a little steep, so they want to know how to maximize their SEO ROI.

How to maximize SEO ROI SERPs

Because I wrote an article on that, they can easily find my company when they Google, “How to maximize SEO ROI.” Even if it’s not the first result, I have nine strategies that I’m giving away for free and it’s bound to catch their eye.

Key Takeaway

The question isn’t content marketing vs SEO, because you should be investing your time, energy, and resources on both. The question is, are you willing to put in the work and create good, informative content and use SEO to make them visible to your target audience?

Or, you know—you can hire me to do that for you.



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Google Top Stories Topics Sections On Desktop

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Google Top Stories Topics Sections On Desktop


Google Search is now grouping some of its Top Stories sections for some queries by topics. This was working on mobile for a while but is now reportedly working for the desktop Top Stories Google Search results.

Here is a screenshot for a query on [biden] where Google Search on desktop is showing a topic section for abortion articles and a topic section for the US military in Europe. You can click on the image to enlarge or check it out yourself for that query.

click for full size

Yes, the layout is now new, it is from December 2021 but the topics on desktop search is new according to Shalom Goodman, who is a news SEO and would know this.

He shared more screenshots on Twitter:

It makes sense to group some queries by topics for the Top Stories section.

Also, I wasn’t sure if this was new, but the “Topics In News” section on the right is supposedly new:

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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64.2% Of Sites Use WordPress

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64.2% Of Sites Use WordPress


WordPress continues to dominate the content management systems (CMS) market and is currently used by 64.2% of websites that have a CMS, according to data from W3Techs.com.

Shopify is a distant second for June 2022 and accounts for 6.3% of the CMS market.

Wix, Squarespace, and Joomla round out the top five with less than 3.5% market share each.

CMS Market Share June 2022 is available to reprint with attribution; see Creative Commons license for details.

W3Techs notes that 33.1% of websites do not use any of the content management systems they monitor.

WordPress is therefore used by 43% of all websites, and 64.2% of those with an identifiable CMS.

WordPress Plans To Continue Working On Security, Stability

WordPress shows no signs of slowing down and is currently about five years into a ten-year project that involves rewriting its entire codebase.

In a recent interview, Josepha Haden Chomphosy, Executive Director of WordPress, told SEJ,

“…the next year, as with all of the years in a project like that, is making sure we are still as stable and capable as a CMS as people have come to expect while also still pushing forward with a newer more modern way to manage your content online.”

WordPress rolled out version change Arturo 6.0 this month and within two weeks, 36.2% of WP sites had updated to it.

Roger Montti reported that WordPress shared a proposal for a plugin checker that would improve security and site performance by proactively vetting plugins, as well.

Shopify Enters B2B Marketplace With June Update

Shopify released its Summer ’22 Edition in June, adding more than 100 new features for users.

A new feature simply and aptly called “B2B” will connect Shopify Plus merchants with wholesalers and offer integrations with NetSuite, Brightpearl, Acumatica, and others for a more seamless experience.

See Brian Frederick’s coverage here to learn more.

Wix Publishes Structured Data Guide For SEO Pros

Wix, in third place for CMS market share this month, released “Wix Structured Data Guide: How To Use Standard & Custom Markup” in June.

Contributing author Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding at Wix, shared his comprehensive guide to implementing structured data on Wix here at Search Engine Journal.

“In fewer than three years, Wix went from supporting little by way of structured data to offering SEO pros and site owners the ability to do nearly whatever they want with relative ease,” Oberstein wrote.

He also noted that due to recent platform updates, any content elsewhere on the internet around this topic is now out of date.

See his guide above to learn more about applying structured data to your Wix site.

Stay tuned for next month’s CMS Market Share Monthly report.

Related reading:


Featured image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal
Data source: W3Techs.com, Usage statistics of content management systems, as of June 27, 2002.





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When Your SEO Competitors Don’t Match What You Know

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When Your SEO Competitors Don't Match What You Know


You know your competitors, and you’re not going to let some damned SEO tool tell you different!

Hey, I’ll give you the first part, but there are a lot of reasons that the results from a tool like True Competitor might not match your expectations, and that could be a good thing.

I’m going to dig into five of those reasons:

  1. You’re living in the past

  2. You’ve hit a brick wall

  3. You can’t see the trees

  4. You’re stuck in one tree

  5. We’re just plain wrong

First, the toughest one to hear — the world is changing, and you’re not changing with it.

1. You’re living in the past

Look, I know Big Wally at Big Wally’s Widget World said your Grandma’s meatloaf was “just okay, I guess” at the church potluck in ‘87, but you need to move on. Even if you’re not quite-so-literally stuck in the past, you may be operating on an outdated sense of who your competitors are. Especially online, the competitive landscape can change quickly, and it’s worth re-evaluating from time to time.

2. You’ve hit a brick wall

Quite literally — you’ve run headlong into your own brick-and-mortar wall. As a business with physical locations, your competitors with physical locations are absolutely important, but from a search perspective, they may not represent who you’re actually competing with online.

Take, for example, McDonald’s — you might expect the competition to include Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and other fast food chains with physical restaurants. Meanwhile, here are the second through fourth results from True Competitor:

While DoorDash, Grubhub, and Uber Eats don’t have traditional, physical locations, these are the places where McDonald’s online customers go to order, and they represent a significant amount of organic SERP real estate. From an SEO standpoint, this is reality.

3. You can’t see the trees

You can see the whole forest from where you’re standing, and that’s great, but are you missing the diversity and distinctiveness of the trees?

This is easier to show than tell. Let’s take a look at big box retailer, Target. True Competitor returns the following top three:

No big surprises here, and no one should be shocked that this list includes not only brick-and-mortar competitors, but online retail juggernauts like Amazon. Let’s take a deeper look, though (the following are competitors #8, #7, and #22 in our current data):

Target isn’t just up against the whole-forest, big box retailers — they also have to contend with niche competition. Their competitors in the video game space include not only brick-and-mortar retailers like GameStop, but competitor-partners like Sony and Nintendo (which both sell hardware and software directly online).

Not every grove of trees is going to have the same needs and growing conditions. Your competitive landscape could have dozens of ecosystems, and each of them requires unique research and likely a unique strategy.

4. You’re stuck in one tree

On the other hand, you could be stuck in just one tree. Let’s take Ford Motor Company as an example. Savvy marketers at Ford know they’re not just up against legacy automakers like Chevrolet and Toyota, but up-and-coming competitors like Tesla and Rivian.

That niche is incredibly important, but let’s take a look at what the SERPs are telling us:

These are Ford’s #1, #2, and #5 competitors, and they aren’t automakers — they’re automotive content producers. Does this mean that Chevy and Tesla aren’t Ford’s competitors? Of course not. It means that those automakers are infrequently appearing in SERPs alongside Ford. Ford is competing with mentions of their own products (makes and models) in leading online publications.

5. We’re just plain wrong

Hey, it happens — I’m not here to claim that we’re perfect. SERP-based competitive analysis has a couple of limitations. First, as discussed, SERP analysis doesn’t always reflect the brick-and-mortar world. From an SEO perspective, that’s fine (if they’re not ranking, we’re not competing with them for search share), but there are other essential pieces to the puzzle.

Second, our SERP-based analysis is based on national results and does not reflect regional or hyperlocal competition. Some regional businesses do have national competitors, and that’s worth knowing, but localized perspectives are important as well.

Maybe it’s a good thing…

What if a tool like True Competitor only returned information that you already knew? I guess you could pat yourself on the back and move on with life, but what did you learn? To me, the entire point of SERP-based competitive analysis is to challenge your expectations and your point of view. If the results don’t match what you expect, that mismatch represents opportunity.

More likely than not, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong (unless you’ve let vanity and personal history get the best of you) — it means that you’re missing a perspective or a niche that could be important. If you can see that missing perspective as money left on the table, then you’ve got a good chance to pick it up and walk away with a bit more in your pocket.


The Competitive Analysis Suite is now available to all Moz Pro customers, and we’d love to hear your feedback via the ‘Make a Suggestion’ button in the app.

Sign up for a free trial to access the Competitive Research Suite!

Already a Moz Pro customer? Log in now for instant access!



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