Everyone loves to talk about SEO and content marketing or, about how SEO is dead and has been consumed by content marketing or, how content marketing is useless without SEO… confused? I don’t blame you!

If you actually stop and ask people what SEO is, you’ll get a lot of diverse answers or stunned looks. Some people believe SEO belongs back in the dark days of the internet when scrolling text was awesome, whereas others argue that they’re one of the same and it’s impossible to separate SEO and content marketing.

So, what’s the answer? Below is an extensive guide, a bible to SEO and content marketing. These resources will help guide you on the confusing SEO path. However, the message in these resources is actually quite simple… just focus on writing engaging content for your audience. That’s it.

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Are you telling me that all those nights clacking away at keyboards trying desperately to squeeze in another keyword and improve my ‘density’ where all for nothing? Well, yes and no. You see, if you’re focused on creating high-quality content that your audience will love and want to share, then it will naturally contain the right keywords and rank well. Our main objective should be to simply write awesome stuff and then look at it through the SEO viewfinder and tweak things if necessary.

 

Content Marketing Theory & Strategy

A Manifesto of Content Marketing
By Rand Fishkin

This 10-minute presentation sets the scene for what your focus area should be. Simply put “content’s goal is not simply links nor SEO, but to earn the awareness, affection and trust of potential customers” Here Fishkin reminds us that the number one priority is to make content that your audience can’t wait to read.

 

Why Content Marketing is a Long Game (And How to Play It)
By Beth Hayden

Here Hayden reminds us that content marketing is a long-term plan and not something we should expect an instant ROI from. Essentially we’re building our own library of relevant content that interweaves together to build long-term readership and customers.

 

Why SEO Is Actually All About Content Marketing
By Neil Patel

Patel discusses the myth of the split between SEO and content marketing and demonstrates how the two are both co-dependent. You can’t do one without the other. This reminds us to stop worrying about whether SEO is ‘relevant’ anymore, and instead understand that you can’t have one without the other. He also uses a simple analogy of two people. One is SEO and the other is content marketing. When we look at it this way, we see that SEO states the requirements and content marketing fulfils them.

 

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For evergreen posts as well as highlights the importance of using this model so that our content doesn’t always expire along with the shifting times.

for evergreen posts as well as highlights the importance of using this model so that our content doesn’t always expire along with the shifting times.

Using Cornerstone Content to Make Your Site Rank
By Joost De Valk

Here we learn about the value of cornerstone content and how to have it effectively drive large volume traffic to our website. We also need to remember, however, that when using cornerstone content, it’s important to think less about search engines and more about your reader. Give them something worthwhile to read when they hit your landing page. Don’t waste their time.

SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographic
By Distilled

Here we learn about how to use ‘linkbait’ strategies to boost clicks but, with a disclaimer. As is the message in most of these pieces, we learn that it’s important to focus on the quality of the content. You need to write something that’s link-worthy and then employ linking strategies. There’s no point in spreading and linking poor content because you will lose your audience.

Using Cornerstone Content to Make Your Site Rank
By Joost De Valk

Here we learn about the value of cornerstone content and how to have it effectively drive large volume traffic to our website. We also need to remember, however, that when using cornerstone content, it’s important to think less about search engines and more about your reader. Give them something worthwhile to read when they hit your landing page. Don’t waste their time.

SEO Guide to Creating Viral Linkbait and Infographic
By Distilled

Here we learn about how to use ‘linkbait’ strategies to boost clicks but, with a disclaimer. As is the message in most of these pieces, we learn that it’s important to focus on the quality of the content. You need to write something that’s link-worthy and then employ linking strategies. There’s no point in spreading and linking poor content because you will lose your audience.

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How to Go Viral: Lessons From the Most Shared Content of 2015
By Steve Rayson

This is a fascinating look at the most shared content of 2015. Based on the top posts, Rayson takes us through the commonalities between the most shared and advises us how to follow the same matrix to increase our own chances of going ‘viral’.

Link Building and Analysis

How to Steal Your Competitor’s Backlinks, Rankings & Traffic
By Robbie Richards

Be a thief in the night and steal keywords… sound exciting? Well really, everything is open for sharing on the internet nowadays. There are several tools and strategies you can do to reverse-market a website from learning from your competitors!

Link Audit: Competitive Backlink Analysis
By Vagelis Varfis

If you want to be even more sleuth and get one up on your competitors, then follow the strategies outlined here to do an in-depth audit of your competitor’s websites and use that valuable information in your own marketing strategies… but don’t tell anyone.

Link Building Case Study: How I Increased My Search Traffic by 110% in 14 Days
By Brian Dean

When you’re building your business, you don’t have to completely start from scratch. Using the ‘sky-scraper’ technique, you can learn so much about your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths and use it to your advantage to score some quick wins.

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Outreach and Promotion

How to Include Influencers in Your Content Strategy
By Amanda Gallucci

Often, we just produce content and hope people will like and share it. However, you should include some top ‘influencers’ in your strategy to help extend your reach. Influencers are usually people with a strong ‘voice’ and a large social media following. They’re able to drive high engagement through their audience as it continues to build.

Content-based Outreach for Link Building
By Justin Briggs

While there are a lot of fancy tools, social media channels and top influencers, it’s important to not forget the manual work that you can do to get links. In this article, we learn some tactical examples of how to manually build website links.

 

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How to Email Busy People
By Gregory Ciotti

In this modern era, we’re bombarded by information and experience stimulus overload daily. So, how is it possible to get someone’s attention from their inbox? How can you stand out from the inbox crowd and get a response? Here Ciotti tells us how to be concise and get results.

 

I Just Deleted Your Outreach Email Without Reading. And NO, I Don’t Feel Sorry
By Tim Soulo

Really? You deleted it? You didn’t even read the first line?! That’s the harsh truth folks. Many an email will indeed be ‘filed appropriately’ leaving your email crafting skills to waste away… Here the message is how to focus on quality rather than quantity and get responses.

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Must-Have Tools

Keywords Everywhere
Keyword Research

This tool is a Chrome and Firefox plug-in that helps lift the curtain on the mechanics of Google. See the specific keywords that are related to a search and use them in your posts on the same topic.

MozBar
Link & Competitive Analysis

The MozBar extension helps you keep your finger on the pulse of your competitors by gaining visibility into their domain rankings as well as monitor any trends that could be to your benefit.

Ahrefs
Content & Link Analysis

This is an awesome tool and one of the biggest databases of active backlinks. Get valuable insight into your competitors (and your own) traffic, mentions and more. This is a must-have tool in your SEO armoury.

BuzzSumo
Influencer & Content Analysis

Remember how we spoke about using influencers in your outreach plan? Well, this tool will help you find them. Search and choose from the top influencers on your topic and use them to help share your content and build your audience.

Web Scraper
Automation

Another valuable Chrome extension… this one helps you scrape data from websites automatically saving what would be hours of manual work, copying data from lists or directories. Less data entry, more marketing time!

Drip
Email Capture & Lead Gen

Drip is the ultimate in email automation. But that’s not just it. I’m not talking about sending an auto response on sign up. With Drip, you can trigger specific email events from user actions, or after a time window. Spooky but, highly effective and a tool that again, gives you back more time in your day.

 

 

With this ultimate guide to SEO and content marketing you will be setup for success. Sit back, let automation kick in, and watch your traffic and customers grow. I hope that we’ve demystified some of SEO and that you’ll go out with greater knowledge but, with a core focus on simply producing awesome content that your readers love and want to share.

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