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SEO and Discoverability: Similar, But Not the Same (+ 5 Tips for Content Discoverability)

A major part of the content marketing role is optimizing and getting traffic to your blog posts, white papers, press releases, articles, videos, and other assets that drive leads into the sales funnel.

Two terms that are frequently seen together, SEO and discoverability,can sometimes confuse people. Although similar in many ways, there is a fine difference which is important to understand.

SEO is a tactic and discoverability is an adjective that describes a goal of content promotion.

Both are important, but they are not the same thing.

SEO (search engine optimization) is the art, the method, the strategy – or strategies – for driving traffic to a website, webpage or other digital property by getting that object to appear higher in search engine results.

For example, if a person searches on one of the major search engines for ‘fishing lures,’ the first result is not necessarily there because it’s the best fishing lure website or content (although it might be).

It is ranking first because of effective search engine optimization.

Yes, being popular (lots of people visiting and spending time on your site) is important, but that alone isn’t going to get you to the top of search results. Again, I’ll call it an art.

To help people find your site or page you need to have clear markers that help search engine algorithms match you up with keywords and search strings that you want to be found for, like “best fishing lures.”

The same applies to a piece of content. Many factors go into getting a press release to appear high in search results: the site it is housed on, the right keywords in the right place, the quality of the content, the popularity of the topic, and so on.

Search engine algorithms are complex and ever-evolving, but one thing always stays the same: search engines are businesses and they want to serve their customers the best and highest quality matches for their searches.

SEO is a beautiful combination of artistic and technical skill that can deliver quality traffic where you want and need it. It is one of the tactics to make your content discoverable.

Discoverabilty, on the other hand, is the ‘findability’ of your content. When you create great content for a targeted audience, you need to make sure that audience can find it.

SEO should be part of the process of creating the piece – woven in if you will – and discoverability will be the measure of your hard work.

To make your content discoverable by the audience you seek, you can’t always depend on that audience coming to you. You also have to put that content, or promotions for that content, in places where you know your audience will be.

Like fishing, even with excellent bait, you’re not going to catch anything in waters that are devoid of fish. Smart fishers will do their research to know where the fish are and when they will be feeding, so their bait is easily found and nibbled.

So, other than smart SEO, how do you make your content more discoverable? Here are a few tips:

1. Use the right bait: Make sure the content you’re creating is the content your target audience wants. This takes careful research, but it will save you loads of time otherwise wasted on content that doesn’t deliver.

2. Don’t be vague with your headline: A book will be judged by its cover and your content will be judged by its title. Make sure your headlines are transparent and interesting enough to draw your audience to it.

3. Tag your content well: Remember to also tag your content appropriately to help people find it. Most places you place your content will use tags to help people search and navigate their sites more efficiently.

4. Place your content well: Like a savvy fisherman, do your research and make sure your content is housed on a site or page that draws the audience you desire to reach.

5. Tell people about it: Don’t think creating great content with the right keywords means your job is done. Oh no, my fine fisherman. You still have work to do. Get out there and share your content on all channels where your audience can be reached, including paid, earned, social, and owned.

The key for marketers is to drive content discovery by the rightaudiences. Fortunately, these days, marketers can choose from numerous distribution options.

If your goal is to have your brand discovered by new prospects and customers, PR tactics like pitching, press releases, and newswire distribution are essential as earned media is more effective than owned media across multiple stages of the buyer’s journey.

 

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Originally posted on BeyondPR on May 24, 2016.

Tags:
branding, content marketing, marketing best practices, SEO, seo marketing, brand awareness, Search Marketing