“What’s in a name?” – SEO vs. Content Marketing

Earlier this month Econsultancy issued its first survey report into the content marketing sector (of which you can read an iTrigga summary here), and it’s stimulated a fair bit of debate about the changing nature of content marketing, especially in relation to SEO. Some in the SEO world bristled at James Carson’s suggestion that firms looking to get into content marketing might circumvent internal obstacles (such as a reluctance to set up a new budget stream devoted to content) by simply renaming their SEO department as ‘Content Marketing’. His explanation is well worth a look, but his main points are as follows:

SEO is in the midst of a minor identity crisis

Carson argues that the Google Panda and Penguin updates favour inbound marketing techniques such as original content over some spammier SEO approaches like content farming and link networks.

SEO managers should be expanding their expertise

Self-sufficiency for others should be the aim of the SEO manager. As the online marketing world changes and an increasing variety of techniques emerge, delegation to others within a team will be an inevitable requirement. In other words, content teams will have to be multi-skilled and well-versed in all areas of internet marketing.

SEO is important but perhaps too reliant on other areas to be its own department

Carson outlines a marketing interdependence model which shows that SEO is important for a swathe of interconnected marketing areas, but very reliant on the work of other marketing departments. Therefore, it might be best to structure a department as a ‘marketing team’ with an SEO adviser within, rather than a separate SEO branch.


So, SEO is facing a mini-crisis. Its survival is almost certain, though its appearance in the upcoming months may slowly – or rapidly, in the case of some more reactionary marketing departments – evolve into a completely different beast. Google’s algorithm is undeniably shifting towards favouring fresh, engaging content over systematic but uninspired (and non-integrated) SEO campaigns.


“arsp_064” by Anthony Ryan 

is licensed under CC by 2.0

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