SEO Consultants and Content Marketers: Which to Choose?

Written by: Jason Bayless | June 26, 2013

Everybody knows that great content is important for boosting your website’s organic search rankings (and of course, for getting real people interested in your website). But it’s also common knowledge that there’s a pretty significant technical side to SEO that has to work alongside the content aspect.

So which is more important – SEO or content marketing? And if your internet marketing budget is limited, which should you attempt in-house and which should you hire a consultant to perform? And is it possible to find a single company that does both SEO and content marketing and does them well?

First, let’s start with the differences between SEO and content marketing:

SEO consulting firms

An SEO company does deal with your on-page content, but approaches it more from a technical standpoint, asking questions such as “which keywords should you target?” Based on intensive keyword research, trends in user behavior, and possibly reverse-engineering your competitor’s SEO strategies and keyword targeting, an SEO company will use that data to determine the kind of topics your content should cover.

The SEO company may even have professional writers on staff who can craft new content for you (such as blog posts) or rewrite existing product pages. But that varies from company to company, and many SEO firms will mainly focus on website design, on-page optimization and other SEO strategies.

 Content marketing firms

A content marketer will usually be less interested in keyword research and more interested in understanding the people who buy your products. What motivates them? What are their pain points? What is your sales cycle like, and what info do users want or need to know along the way to making their purchasing decision?

The content marketing agency will collect that information and use it to craft content designed to answer user questions and educate and engage potential customers.

SEO and content marketing: Both are important

So which do you choose – or which kind of consultant do you go with first when you’re on a tight budget? Much depends on the kind of talent you have in-house. If your team has the technical skills to perform SEO at some level but you have no writers on staff, go with the content marketer first. If you have a writer on your team but no SEO guru, go with the SEO firm.

Of course, in the best-case scenario, you would be able to afford to retain both types of agencies – and that may still be possible, as many SEO firms also have a content marketing division. Our monthly list of the Top 50 SEO Companies is an excellent place to start your search and learn more about the most reputable SEO firms in the industry.

The bottom line: SEO and content marketing work very well together, because they are two very different approaches to the same goal. Creating high-quality, useful content and then effectively promoting it to users across the Web is ultimately what SEO is all about – because that gets you higher search engine rankings and ultimately, more conversions.