Why Content Marketing is the New SEO

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SEO isn’t the same as what it used to be. You can’t just popup an ugly website, throw up mediocre content, and build a few links and expect to rank well. These days you actually have to build a good website, write high quality content that solves peoples’ problems, build thousands of links, and get thousands of social shares.

But there is one big issue, it’s hard to scale all of this. Building thousands of high quality links manually is really expensive and even if you have the money, it will take months if not years to build those links. And if you don’t have anything worth sharing on the social web, you won’t get social shares unless you buy them from spammy accounts.

So how do you build thousands of links naturally and get thousands of social shares? Through content marketing.

Content marketing is the cheapest and most effective way to do SEO these days. Not only does writing highly quality content produce links at a quicker pace than building them manually, but it’s also cheaper. Plus your content will naturally get shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus and Pinterest.

My content marketing experience

I’ve always built my organic search traffic through content marketing.Why you may ask? It’s cheaper and it provides faster results.

We were able to launch KISSmetrics and get over 100,000 monthly organic visitors in less than a year, just through blogging and creating infographics. We didn’t build 1 link manually… we just spent our time and money on content marketing.

I did the same with Quick Sprout. Google drives around 90,000 visitors a month to the blog, and I didn’t have to manually build 1 link. I just wrote a lot of high quality content… 311 blog posts to be exact.

If you don’t think content marketing is the new SEO, lets take a look at the numbers:

Content marketing by the numbers

At KISSmetrics we’ve created a total of 47 infographics. An infographic on average costs us $600, which means we have spent $25,200 on infographics in the last 2 years.

Within a 2-year period, we’ve generated 2,512,596 visitors, and 41,142 backlinks from 3741 unique domains all from those 47 infographics.

And from a social perspective in the last 2 years the infographics have driven 41,359 tweets and 20,859 likes.

If you decided that you want to buy 2,512,596 visitors, it would cost you $125,629.80 if you paid 5 cents a visitor. If you bought 41,142 links from a service like Sponsored Reviews at a rate of $20 a link, you would have spent  $822,840. And that wouldn’t even give you high quality links. We naturally got from sites like Huffington Post and Forbes.

If you want to buy 41,359 tweets, it would cost you $82,718 assuming you paid 2 dollars a tweet. It would also cost you an additional $41,718 if you paid 2 dollars a like.

In total, if you were trying to game Google and get the same results we did at KISSmetrics, you would have spent a total of $1,072,905.80. Now that’s a lot of money… especially if you compare that to the $25,200 we spent to create the infographics.

The big difference between content marketing and paid SEO

There is one huge difference between paying to do all of the things above versus spending the money on content marketing. Can you guess what it is?

Nope, it isn’t the price difference of $1,047,705.80. Guess again…

Content marketing doesn’t get affected by algorithm updates, while paid SEO does. Search engines can tell when you provide value, and in the long run that’s the kind of stuff that they want to make sure that stays high in the rankings.

So instead of investing in short term solutions that may increase your overall rankings and traffic, invest in the long term solution of content marketing.


Now that you know content marketing is the new SEO, spending money on it doesn’t guarantee results. Over the last few years I’ve tested a lot of different types of content and certain types produce better results than others.

  • Detailed content – short blog posts tend to get less links than detailed content that is thorough. Don’t try to replicate what Huffington post does by producing hundreds of new pieces of content each day… focus on quality.
  • Digestible infographics – if you can make complex data easy to understand in a visual format, you can get millions of visitors to your website.
  • Social profiles – a key requirement to a successful content marketing strategy is owning powerful social profiles. Make sure youbuild up your Twitter and Facebook profiles. You’ll need them to spread your content.
  • Collect emails – make sure you have email opt-in forms in your sidebar and potentially leverage popups to collect even more emails. If you have a solid email list you can always email them every time you publish a new blog post or content piece. This is an easy way to kick start the virality process.
  • Be consistent – if you can’t publish content on a regular basis, no matter how good your content is, it will be tough to get a good ROI out of your content marketing. Make sure you publish content on a regular basis.
  • Headlines matter – no matter how good your content is, if you can’t write attractive headlines, no one will read your content. Learn how to write good headlines.

So what do you think about content marketing? Do you think it is the new SEO? 

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