Agency 101

SEO Agency vs. Content Marketing Agency: The Differences and Why They Matter

SEJ1 SEO Agency vs. Content Marketing Agency: The Differences and Why They MatterWhen a company first begins to grow, it makes sense to hire an outside agency. You need help, quickly, and you don’t have time to build your own team. You need a machine that is ready and set to hit the ground running, so turning to that third party agency makes sense (if only for a little while). This is where the tricky part comes into play: You an either hire an SEO agency, a content marketing agency, or try to find one that claims to be both.

What’s so tricky about this concept is the idea that the two are often used synonymously, so many business owners don’t even realize there is a difference. Once you learn this, it hits you like a ton of bricks: How am I going to know which agency is going to give me the best results for my company?

Differences Between an SEO Agency and Content Marketing Agency Explained

Before weighing the pros and cons of each type of agency, it’s important to understand how they differ (and how they are similar) in the first place. Below gives the definitions of the two different types of companies:

  • SEO Agency. These agencies typically focus on data and metrics in the search world. It’s all about calculating visibility and traffic as well as finding trends in searcher behavior so that the company can create the best possible content. SEO agencies spend a lot of time completing keyword research to understand how to optimize a piece of content to show up on the top of a Google SERP (usually by looking at search volume and competition of certain terms/phrases).
  • Content Marketing Agency. A content marketing agency will think about your company and the way it is structured (ex: buying cycle), and write content based on what will help your audience most. It doesn’t focus so much on search analytics, but rather puts emphasis on the way things are written and why they are written that way (hint: articles are written in a way that encourages engagement and education). In many cases, a content marketing agency will do whatever it takes to really market that content and make it the most relevant, and this means offline efforts as well.

So what exactly are the differences? Put into plain terms, the major difference is that SEO makes its decisions based on search-driven data and analytics, whereas a content marketing agency makes its decisions based on more audience-driven data and general content creation knowledge.

And what about the similarities? Both agencies use data to help create the best content possible. In fact, SEO and content marketing should work together because they do overlap. The data that an SEO agency finds should be able to help content marketers and vice versa. Does this mean that your company should hire both an SEO agency and a content marketing agency? Not necessarily.

How to Determine the Agency Right for Your Business

Which type of agency you hire should depend upon the needs of your business (obviously). In most cases, a content marketing agency’s job comes first. You want to understand your audience and the buying cycle and figure out how to create that amazing content. It’s after this that you want your content to really become visible, and that’s where SEO comes into play.

A few things to keep in mind: First, and as discussed above, there are many different companies and types of companies you can work with when it comes to online marketing. SEO and content marketing are not your only choices; they are just two choices that often get incorrectly blended together into one. Second, it does make sense to use either A). A SEO agency and a content marketing agency, or B). An agency that claims to do both SEO and content marketing services.

Do you have experience working with an SEO agency and/or content marketing agency? What have you found works best for your company’s needs? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: ecoopportunity.net

 SEO Agency vs. Content Marketing Agency: The Differences and Why They Matter

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Connect with Higher Visibility on Google+and Twitter to learn more!
 SEO Agency vs. Content Marketing Agency: The Differences and Why They Matter

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2 thoughts on “SEO Agency vs. Content Marketing Agency: The Differences and Why They Matter

  1. I think it comes down to what you need more help with. If you have the manpower to push out some content on your own but really need help understanding the world of SEO you could hire an SEO company and have them supplement your own writing efforts. If you’ve got a good handle on link building but no writers than a content marketing company might give you more of what you need right now. You do need both, content and SEO, to be successful in the long.

  2. I think its high time typical SEO agencies, shift their focus from link building (I don’t mean to say they do only this). Content marketing should actually be a service offering of an agency in 2013 and beyond. Ability to create quality content with an understanding of user intent and knowing how to promote it can make a huge difference to any client.