Sometimes when we chat with local business owners, we realize that they’re unsure about whether they should be focused primarily on SEO or Content Marketing. In an effort to help, today we’re going to be discussing the perks of each approach, in the hopes that we’ll be able to know which approach works best for you.
Right off the bat, it’s important that we discuss the perks of focusing on SEO. While it may not be nearly as glamorous as content marketing, it certainly offers plenty to local businesses willing to give it the time of day. There are a variety of tactics (like sales gamification) that local business owners can use to dominate SEO, but for the sake of simplicity, we’re going to focus on the most effective ones today.
If you’re familiar with SEO, you’ve probably heard about the title tag and the meta description tag. If you haven’t, here’s a quick introduction. Essentially, title tags and meta description tags are components of your site that can be modified in order to provide more relevant information for search engines like Google to rank you on their search engine results pages (SERPs).
For a while, these tags were considered to be useless. But make no mistake, tags are just as important as ever, and if you want to experience SEO success, you’re going to need to optimize them. As a local business, you’ll also want to focus on making sure your business is listed appropriately in online directories. It may seem like a minor issue, but ignoring it translates to throwing money down the drain.
When your local business isn’t listed, you miss out on opportunities to appear on sites like Yelp, simply because the sites haven’t confirmed where you are. Something as simple as making sure that you get the address and phone number listed correctly online for your weed grinder and smoke shop accessories business can make a massive difference.
Arguably the most important aspect of SEO comes down your ability to collect online reviews. The power of digital word-of-mouth is absolutely crucial when your local business relies on SEO, and those reviews are going to significantly impact the way customers interact with your business. Not only do those positive online reviews help show real people that your business is reliable and worth doing business with, but it also helps Google appropriately rank you on their SERPs.
When you consider the SEO vs. Content Marketing discussion, it’s important to keep in mind that content marketing can have the same level of complexity as SEO. If done properly, content marketing isn’t just about the creative process of ‘creating content’ as much as it is a marriage between the creative aspects of marketing and the analytic aspect of marketing.
As a local business owner, considering content marketing as your marketing strategy is going to require a few considerations. For starters, how would you want to promote this content? Social media? Email? All of that is going to help determine the type of content you produce.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. As you start to consider what your content marketing strategy would really look like, you’ll need to start with some goals about where you want this strategy to take your business. With SEO, the process is a bit more mechanical. With content, those first few steps are heavily reliant on how well you’ve prepared for your audience and how willing you are to adapt to changing circumstances.
As far as the actual process of creating the content, local businesses owners only have to ask themselves one question: how can I make something valuable for my audience? The answer is usually to provide something that solves a problem for your audience. The way you solve that problem is going to depend on the type of problem it is. If it’s a mechanical issue, you can put together a “how-to” article and provide actionable, tangible solutions to your audience.
If the issue is more about the thought process that’s causing your audience trouble, you can make them some thought leadership content that’s sure to realign their thinking with the future of the industry. At the end of the day, it’s going to come down to what your audience needs from you in that moment. And the way you figure out what that is is by paying attention to the changes in your industry and listening to the data you collect from your audience.
To say that one approach is better or worse than the other is unfair. They both have their weaknesses and strengths. In an ideal world, you’d be able to dedicate equal amounts of energy to both and maximize the benefits of each of them.
But assuming you can’t, it’s best to choose the tools that best fit what you and your business are comfortable with. If you have experience with creating content, focus on making your content marketing strategy as technically sound as possible. And if you’re used to SEO and happy with it, continue to integrate it into your marketing efforts. The key is to find the approach that works for you and your business.
Is your business more SEO-driven or focused on other marketing methods? Share your strategies in the comments.