So, you’ve decided that your website needs traction and you need to be engaging with the right type of potential customers. You don’t have the resources in-house to take care of it and know you need to outsource these skills.
The next biggest question is what sort of agency you should work with? Should you choose a content marketing agency or an SEO agency? Is there any difference between the two and is one better?
Content Marketing Vs SEO
Let’s start with a brief comparison between content marketing and SEO.
SEO is less of a theoretical process than content marketing and has more to do with the technical side of your website, such as website design, structure, and behaviour. Carrying out SEO involves making sure your website contains proper titles (H1 and H2), descriptions, is easy to navigate, adding image alt tags and much more.
A large portion of the work is carried out in the backend of your website, isn’t visible to customers and follows, for the most part, a set of rules (these rules do sometimes change). This is why I mentioned SEO being less of a theoretical practice – for the most part, there exists a set of procedures we as SEO practitioners know will get the results we expect.
Content marketing is a much looser concept but basically, it’s the art of getting more exposure online using content. Content can be blogs, articles, videos – any form of media designed for your target market to engage with.
You need to research your audience, decide what kind of content to create, how to publish and present it, and how to get it in front of your target audience. The ultimate goal being increased sales.
The primary goal of SEO is to increase both the quality and quantity of traffic to your website. Content marketing is the strategy you use to decide what content to publish and how to persuade customers to engage with your brand, products, and services.
Whilst the two are separate, distinct practices, they are interwoven and used together to produce the best results.
SEO will only work so far if your content is poor, and content marketing will only work if your content is optimised correctly.
Both are an essential part of your digital marketing strategy.
Should You Choose A Content Marketing Agency or An SEO Agency?
Now we’ve established the difference between content and SEO, we need to work out the difference between the two types of agency (or freelancers).
Content marketing and SEO are separate skills, but as discussed – they are linked together, and one must consider the other when carrying out their own work.
An SEO agency will tend to be focussed on the more technical side of SEO and how your website works, but they won’t be completely clueless when it comes to content. Many times, even if an SEO practitioner won’t create content, they can at least provide valuable information to inform your content strategy (keywords etc).
Likewise, a content marketing agency will have a focus on creating great content and strategies but might not necessarily be as skilled in the more technical aspects of SEO. However, they will usually have a good understanding of SEO practices and will definitely know how to create content that is ‘SEO friendly’.
Choosing between the two types of agencies might come down to two things; your immediate goals and what skills you have in house.
If your number one goal is to reach page one in Google search results for a certain keyword or seriously increase the traffic to your website, then you might go for an SEO agency. If you are thinking long term and know that loads of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean more conversions, you will want to consider content marketing. Before setting out to find an agency, get clear on what you actually want to achieve.
Sometimes, you outsource where there is a need and might be able to produce content in house but just don’t have the skills to inform the strategy. You may have someone in house who is quite knowledgeable about SEO but doesn’t have the time or skills to make the changes needed. Make a clear assessment of what your own team can do and what you need help with.
A third point to consider is the agency itself.
From SEO Agency To Content Marketing Agency
You may be wondering why, if these two practices are so closely aligned that there isn’t just an agency that does it all?
Well, there are.
Rather than paying attention to what an agency calls itself, take note of what they can do, what they’ve done for other clients and whether this aligns with your goals and in-house skills.
Digital marketing agencies often encompass content, SEO, social media and much more. SEO agencies may be more niche in that they only cater to the technical side of things, content agencies might excel at content.
In fact, what to call ourselves has been discussed here at GrowTraffic several times over the years and still comes up now.
We call ourselves a content marketing agency but we’re quite unique in that we grew from an SEO agency. Way back in the day, Dalley, our resident technical SEO boffin specialised in pure SEO. Then, us content nerds came along and threw it all into the mix.
We settled on calling ourselves a content marketing agency because right now, we feel we truly excel in that area. Our content work is heavily influenced and ‘SEO ready’ because of our SEO background and skills. Thanks to our history and our team being super talented (really!), we’re quite comfortable to be called a digital marketing agency, or an SEO agency.
Basically, because of our people, we’re multi-disciplined and ready to respond to your needs and goals.