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What Content Strategists Can Learn from SEO

searchlove960Last week I spoke at SearchLove San Diego. I had a wonderful time, meeting many brilliant marketing and SEO specialists. We had a lot to learn from one another, since content strategy and SEO actually have quite a bit in common, and also many differences. Here are the top 5 things I believe we as content strategists can learn from SEO practitioners:

  1. Google is trying to model behavior we should all follow. Google is trying to anticipate what users want to search for. As content strategists we focus on getting the right content to the right people at the right time, and as Will Critchlow reminded us at SearchLove, Google is showing us one method of getting there. SEO practitioners spend a lot of time learning about (and from) how Google works; we can learn from that as well.
  2. Key words really are “key.” People who focus on SEO spend a fair amount of time figuring out what the key words are that people will likely search for or use. They may not refer to it this way, but they’re actually looking for the end user’s vocabulary. Chris Bennet reminded me that key word research is something we should take advantage of when creating messaging plans.
  3. Analytics have significant value. Measurement is the best way to learn from our own experiences and move forward. SEO-focused marketers rely on analytics to better understand page views and visitor numbers. We can also use those analytics to answer questions about the target audience and to see what content is effective (and finable!).
  4. We are doing this for the money. As humans, we like to think in either/or: either you’re a marketer and focused on money, or your a strategist and focused on people. But that’s not entirely true. Our stakeholders/clients/higher up are often concerned with the ROI or the budget. It can be healthy for content strategists to learn about content budgeting from those who focus on SEO and marketing, like Larry Kim. And it doesn’t have to mean selling your soul or making decisions that are bad for the end user.
  5. People use Google more often than anything else, even to find sites or apps they have previously visited. Tom Anthony reminded me how important it is to keep up with how search is built and updated. From compound searches to implicit searches, it all impacts the options we have to work with to create constantly improving experiences.

As a content strategist, I recommend checking out an SEO conference now and again, and SearchLove is an excellent one.

Marli Mesibov

Marli is a content strategist with a passion for the user experience. Her work spans websites, web applications, and mobile. Marli is the VP of Content Strategy at the UX design agency Mad*Pow, and she serves as managing editor at UX Booth, a publication about all areas of user experience. Marli is a frequent conference speaker, and has spoken at conferences including Content Strategy Forum and LavaCon. She can also be found on Twitter, where she shares thoughts on content strategy, literature, and Muppets.

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