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SEO and inbound marketing strategy are two common aspects of digital marketing. But did you know each marketing method is closely connected?

Let’s break down the intimate relationship between search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing, what they can do for your brand, and what steps you can take to get the most out of these powerful marketing concepts.

What Is an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

Inbound marketing is a popular term in the modern marketing world. Unlike traditional marketing, the concept focuses on creating value for customers through your marketing activities. You can do this in a variety of ways by writing inbound marketing content such as a blog post, infographic, video, news article, and social media posts. 

In contrast, outbound marketing emphasizes things like television ads, billboards, and cold calls. These marketing efforts are interruptive in nature and don’t provide value.

Inbound marketing focuses on fostering engagement through targeted content. When done well, inbound marketing seamlessly presents itself to a potential customer. Quality content will make itself heard, seen, or otherwise consumed as a part of a positive experience consumers opt into.

Inbound marketing is a long-term strategy, which makes it an interesting (and important) part of growth marketing in particular. With growth marketing, the emphasis isn’t on building a company quickly. Avoid tactics such as email marketing or influencer marketing. That’s called growth hacking, and it can lead to fast results that don’t last.

Growth marketing focuses on creating customer-focused growth that steadily builds over time. In that sense, inbound marketing is a major part of the “long game” that growth marketers have in mind as they set up frameworks and build out strategies.

What Is SEO and Why Is It Important for Inbound Marketing?

SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” This is the process by which marketers use tools like keywords, hyperlinks, and technical configurations to optimize your online content. When done well, SEO helps your relevant content organically show up higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This means more people see it, click on it, and visit your website.

SEO is an integral part of any inbound marketing strategy. It draws the ideal customer to your content when looking for answers to related search queries. When that content is well-designed, it answers their initial questions. It also encourages the reader to remember the brand that provided helpful, thoughtful content.

Good SEO attracts the attention of a prospect and establishes that you are a useful resource and can offer them value. At that point, it passes the torch to inbound marketing. This uses tools like gated content, samples, demos, and newsletters to encourage visitors to take the next step. From there, they enter your sales funnel, moving from awareness to consideration and eventually decision-making.

To put it another way, inbound marketing and SEO serve two separate but essential and complementary functions. SEO brings traffic to your content. Inbound marketing encourages those visitors to enter your sales funnel.

How to Work SEO Into an Inbound Marketing Strategy

The complementary nature of SEO and inbound marketing makes it easy to see how they flow together. But what can you do to make sure that happens with your own brand? Here are a few tips to help you ensure your inbound SEO is synergistically worked into your inbound marketing campaign:

Stay Focused on the Customer

It doesn’t matter if you’re working on SEO, inbound strategy, or both. You should always have the customer in mind. From choosing keywords to answering questions, make your target audience lie at the heart of every action and decision that you take. It's important to target existing customers and a new lead. 

Write for the Reader First and Search Engines Second

SEO is important, but it isn’t everything. In fact, it shouldn’t even be your top priority. As you invest in customer-centric content creation, make sure you’re writing for the reader first and search engines second. Don’t overuse keywords or optimize at the expense of readability or experience. Engage readers first. Then optimize content so search engines can find it.

Consider What Part of the Marketing Funnel You’re Targeting

Both SEO and inbound marketing target the entire marketing funnel — or they should. Often marketers get focused on the top of the marketing funnel. But remember, valuable content is helpful to your customers at any part of the customer journey. From brand awareness to how-tos and whitepapers, make sure everything is optimized and targeted for a specific part of your funnel.

Create E-E-A-T content: 

Remember that content marketing is central to any SEO strategy. As such, in order to have genuine value, it must clearly communicate that value to the reader. E-E-A-T content stands for “experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” These are four filters you should have in mind with every piece of content you create. Not only will it create more value. As consumers engage more, it will boost your SEO and attract more visitors, as well.

Creating Synergy With SEO and Inbound Marketing

When you can tap into the power of both SEO and inbound marketing, they can work together to create incredible results. The challenge is creating a growth marketing framework that unlocks the power of both at the same time.

 If you’re struggling to create an effective inbound marketing strategy, reach out. Our team at Relevance can help you make the most of these two potent aspects of growth marketing for your brand.

You know you need to market your company. And, unfortunately, we all know the days of submitting an ad to the Yellow Pages and calling it good are long gone. Now, it seems, if you're not constantly creating quality content online and distributing it via social media, your business will struggle to succeed. However, you don't have time to pursue a digital marketing career or learn about the latest and greatest marketing automation tools in addition to your everyday routine. Sure, you want all the benefits of growth marketing but fear you don't have the necessary resources.

This is a quandary many businesses face. They feel as though they'll get left in the dust if they're not constantly putting out new content marketing and working toward growth every millisecond. Yet they don't have the time to focus exclusively on a digital marketing campaign. They don't have the staff to help them pick the most effective social media platform. Heck, they might not even be 100% sure who constitutes their target audience!

Some businesses don't see the immediate benefits of growth marketing, so they Like, at all. *Googles furiously to see if Yellow Pages ads are still a thing.*

The truth is, solid online marketing strategies don't have to be that hard. You may just need a little help. Moreover, the benefits of growth marketing are pretty astonishing if you'll just stick with it.

The Benefits of Growth Marketing

So, just what are the benefits of marketing? Does social media marketing offer substantive help in your niche?

We're talking search engine optimization, credibility, customer experience, and brand recognition. We're talking about B2B account-based marketing, new customers, and free word-of-mouth marketing, not to mention a better understanding of your buyer's journey.

Fortunately, you can get started without necessarily hiring a marketing team or investing big bucks in marketing automation software. You can build increased customer loyalty with your existing base and leverage market research to target the potential customer. And no, none of this type of marketing effort is outside the reach of the small business.

Does that sound like the type of campaign you're looking for? Good! Now read on to learn more about the benefits of marketing and how a great content strategy can help your business.

1. You build your brand awareness...and then it builds itself.

Growth marketing isn't about getting the biggest number of prospects into the funnel in the shortest amount of time.

Though traditional marketing often takes that approach, it's not necessarily an effective digital marketing tactic. That might just mean you snagged 100 prospects and...99 of them enjoyed your free trial and left. Sure, you might have hit your target audience, but the investment did nothing in terms of customer retention or promoting brand awareness.

No, growth-mindset content marketing is all about a slow, steady increase in your brand's reach. You build an effective marketing strategy by constantly testing what works, analyzing the customer data, mercilessly scrutinizing every marketing channel, and building upon successful approaches. Over time, you know that the copy, landing pages, and web layouts you keep as part of your content marketing work, that they are empirically sound.

Once you have a brand with enough people addicted to it, word-of-mouth content marketing kicks in. So do brand recognition and regular PR hits. Overall, it will start helping you win out in battles against close competitors and essentially help you own your industry.

2. Your SEO snowballs.

Over time, steady growth marketing will boost your SEO or search engine optimization. Constant experimentation and analytics lead you to format your content marketing in ways that algorithms adore.

This means you'll have more articles ranking on certain topics. It becomes easier to interlink your content, and as that happens, content gradually appears higher in search rankings.

All of this is going to help you show up when someone searches terms relating to your business. You'll show up when they're looking for information, and if that's not great, well...we don't know what is. It's the very reason we engage in content marketing in the first place.

3. Authority comes to stay.

Street cred is a fickle friend. When you have a thin website with barely any information, don't expect investors, potential customers, or anyone else to think you're an authority in your space.

Continual, data-tested additions to your content marketing stable will keep you high on the authority meter. Create helpful, educational content that hits on all stages of the buyer's journey. Create linkable content so the earned media mentions come to you.

We know it takes time, but building authority is a key growth marketing strategy. Start making an effort with your onsite content marketing voilà...authority is born.

4. You understand your target audience better.

Keep in mind that you're not trying to win everyone over with your content marketing.

Instead, you're trying to find the people who really and truly want what you have to offer. The ones who will love your SaaS/nutritional supplements/cat sweaters/whatever so much they'll shout your name from the rooftops.

People-oriented, data-backed strategies help you do that. And the more you know about your audience, the better you can educate, inform, and serve them.

5. Your content accrues interest.

While your content can't actually earn you a percentage every year, it certainly gains value and returns on investment, so it's kind of like banking it.


Because the longer content is alive, the more it earns backlinks. As it matures, you generate more and more interlinks you create within your own content as well. The longer it's around, the more search engines trust it.

Content can also help keep existing customers on board. It's great to attract new leads, but if you lose them right away, you're swimming upstream.

Make sure your blog posts, articles, and sales guides aren't just geared toward the top of the funnel but instead hit on every stage of the buyer journey. Begin building customer satisfaction and brand loyalty at every step along the road, before they get rushed immediately over to your sales team.

6. Content marketing means you have an anytime, anywhere calling card.

Anytime someone wants to know who you are and what you do, all you have to do is point them toward your website. You can give them a gentle nudge through value-laden email marketing.

Yes, you can also hand out business cards, set up a phone call, or give them a demo. But your online content (social media, video marketing, and other marketing materials) will do a lot of the work for you. Your content answers frequently-asked questions, introduces your team, and serves as a map to all of the great content you've created over the years.

7. With time, your content marketing will become increasingly effortless.

The name of the content marketing game these days is increased automation. Yes, adjusting your creatives to serve an increasingly digital audience might take some doing, but as they say in this game, you have to go wherever the eyeballs are landing.

Once you begin to embrace the benefits of marketing that are increasingly to be found in the digital realm, you'll hit your stride and be able to automate in no time.

Dive Into Growth Marketing

In a nutshell, a good growth marketing strategy keeps your brand front and center.

Wherever your audience is, your brand should be there as well. Every successful marketer knows that if you faithfully execute an intelligent, consistent content plan, it will be.

Not sure where to start with your own content marketing? Don't know the first thing about affiliate marketing or influencer marketing? Don't let that stop you! You may want to look into a growth marketing agency to help strategize and execute your next growth marketing campaign.

No Yellow Pages ads are needed.

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