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How to Combine Content and SEO Strategy

Most marketers know that SEO and content marketing should go hand-in-hand, but in terms of integrating them or creating a cohesive strategy, it’s easy to get a little tripped up. Combining SEO and content marketing is a topic Akin Tosyali, Director of Digital Marketing at Grainger, is going to speak about at our upcoming SEO conference in Chicago, happening on June 23, 2016.

Below, I speak with Akin more about SEO and content strategy, and how they can work together. Scroll down to catch what he has to say before his presentation on June 23rd!

Want to see Akin and other speakers from The Home Depot, The Daily Dot, Google, and more? June 23 Chicago tickets are on sale now!


Your SEJ Summit presentation will discuss how to integrate SEO and content strategy. What do you think is the number one reason why companies should integrate SEO and content?

To me, SEO and content go hand-in-hand. Technically, content has great implications for SEO; strategically,
content teams have to be well versed in SEO. Successful content development is about developing the type of content that is actively top-of-mind for the target audience. It has to be fresh and new but more importantly, it has to be relevant to that specific persona. To understand what that target audience is actively

To understand what that target audience is actively looking for, content teams should work very closely with SEO teams to quantify the data and understand the content ideas. The ideas with the most impact for the effort can then be broken down by vertical or persona to translate the framework and strategies for the content team.

Why do you think many brands are resistant to the idea of integrating these two disciplines?

I think some companies are doing a great job integrating content with SEO. For the ones that are not there yet, my guess is that the biggest reason may be a misconception of what SEO actually is. Every published piece of content/message has an SEO implication.

Many times the content strategy is developed outside of SEO strategy, which causes larger issues down the road with duplicate content, outdated content, or even content that can not be found by search engines. If the search engines can’t find your content, or you are penalized for having duplicate content, then the value of the effort goes from positive to negative. Integrating these practices not only saves time and headaches down the road, but it also helps optimize each and every effort from the very beginning.

You currently work for Grainger, but you also ran your own agency for a few years. What are the benefits to working in-house, versus working as an agency and dealing with multiple brands?

At the operational level, it is not much different — the busy, daily work has to be done either way. The differences come at higher levels. In an agency, you spend considerable time pitching new business; success is very much dependent on acquiring new customers for the agency. On the brand side, efforts and objectives are more organizational. Delivering revenue numbers are still high table stakes but you also have to show business value; from acquisition to awareness and loyalty as well are profitability. Agencies focus on maximizing media spend while brands have to be a lot more strategic on working media versus fees.

Since content is often about creating value, it can be difficult to track the entire ROI. For example, you can track downloads of your new e-book, but it is pretty hard to track how much more people trust your brand because you reliably publish useful content.

How can you sell the idea of content marketing to higher-ups in a company who are used to looking at hard numbers? I am surprised at the number of companies that just want to pay for leads or focus on acquisition — without paying attention to the customer experience that takes place before these prospects even become a lead.

With higher-ups, stories really help. Understanding what is being searched in upper funnel versus lower funnel, ability to show that searchers using upper funnel l keywords later come in to purchase products is key. You need a great analytics team to help you paint that picture.

You are stranded on a desert island – what is the one book you would want to have with you?

I would choose the book: “A Voyage For Madmen” by Peter Nichols — a great story about nine sailors who raced each other around the world. I have been sailing since I was six years old, so I would probably read this book, then figure out a way to construct a boat from it with duct tape, then use it to sail home.

Ha! Clever answer. Thanks for answering my questions, Akin. See you in Chicago!

Don’t forget; you can buy your ticket for our SEJ Summit Chicago conference, taking place June 23 at the Navy Pier. Or, come see us in NYC Nov. 2nd!

Image Credits

Featured Image: Bloomua/
In-post Photo: Photo by Paulo Bobita

Category Content SEO
Kelsey Jones Marketing Consultant, Owner at Six Stories & StoryShout

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant, writer, and owner of and Kelsey has been in digital marketing since ...

How to Combine Content and SEO Strategy

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