Content SEO vs. Technical SEO

Content SEO vs. Technical SEO: What’s The Difference?

Content SEO vs. Technical SEO: What's The Difference?

When you want to boost your website’s visibility and ranking on search engines, having a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is crucial. However, to select the appropriate strategy for your website, it is essential to acknowledge that there is no singular “correct” approach to SEO. Websites consist of many different parts that each demand their own approach and considerations. In this article, we’ll compare content SEO vs. technical SEO, their purpose, and why optimizing for both is necessary.

Let’s dive in!

SEO Is Not A One-Size-Fits-All Strategy

Coming up with a competitive SEO strategy that will set you apart from your competition is not always easy. The truth is that each and every website is a unique entity that requires it’s own tailored optimization plan. 

The term “search engine optimization” is less of a strategy in and of itself than an umbrella term encompassing a wide range of strategies and methods. Understanding what different kinds of SEO entail and what will best suit your needs ultimately gives you the best chance at achieving the desired results. 

Content SEO vs. Technical SEO: What’s The Difference?

There are two main SEO approaches you will need to think about and address: content SEO and technical SEO. Though both ultimately aim to improve your site’s visibility and ranking, they address distinct aspects of your site’s functions and design. 

  • Content SEO: Deals with the outward-facing content on your website. A well-optimized content strategy revolves around creating high-quality content that is relevant and engaging. It should resonate strongly with your target audience and their search queries. 
  • Technical SEO: Deals with the backend aspects of your website. An effective technical SEO strategy will focus on optimizing factors such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, and site indexability. 

In the following paragraphs, we will take a closer look at content SEO vs. technical SEO strategies, what they entail, how & when to implement them, and highlight their role in search engine success. 

What Is Content SEO?

As we touched on briefly above, content SEO & content marketing is a strategy that is aimed at improving your site’s search ranking visibility & reach. Content SEO is heavily focused on creating unique, informative content for your site that aligns with your prospective customers’ searches and needs. 

The type of content on any given page will affect which queries that page ranks for and how strongly it ranks. But it’s not just a matter of what’s on your pages. Earning referral links from credible, well-ranking sites that point to your website also improves your overall credibility and ranking potential. 

Content SEO vs. Technical SEO

That means you will want to focus on ensuring any content related to your site, whether it’s directly on or linked to your site, is robust, relevant to the intent of the keywords you are optimizing for, and unique to your business. 

This also means avoiding “thin content” on your site whenever possible. This includes content that does not provide any value, such as content that does not directly address searcher intent or plain content that can be easily found elsewhere online. This is one reason AI content struggles to rank – having a human writer’s perspective will always create a superior value for the reader.

What Does Content SEO Include?

Content SEO includes any work you do related to the content that appears on or links to your site. Building a strong content SEO strategy encompasses various elements, including the following:

  • On-Page Keyword Optimization: Optimizing your content to rank for the right keywords is crucial to content SEO. Keyword optimization involves identifying what keywords your target audience is searching for and strategically incorporating those keywords throughout your site as naturally as possible. The goal is to ensure that search engines can clearly comprehend the relevance of your content and deliver to the most relevant search queries & audience.

    Keyword optimization tactics can (and should) be employed throughout your site. This includes blog articles, service & product page copy, meta descriptions, page titles & subheadings, image alt-text (when relevant), and URL slugs.

    When keyword optimizing your site, make sure you aren’t cannibalizing your content by having too many similar or overlapping keywords. This can confuse search engines into not being able to discern which content they should focus on ranking. 
  • Earning Backlinks From Reputable Sites: As we mentioned above, earning strong backlinks from reputable sites is key to optimizing your site as it acts as a “vote of confidence” from the linking website. When search engines recognize that a site it considers credible has linked its content to your content, products, or services, it lends credibility and authority to your site. Ultimately, this leads to increased ranking visibility and discoverability. 
  • Building Strong Content With E-E-A-T: If you are working on optimizing your site content, a helpful acronym to remember is “E-E-A-T.”

    This stands for “experience, expertise, authoritativeness, & trustworthiness,” which are factors that Google has provided within their Guidelines For Search Quality Raters. These guidelines are intended to help webmasters understand what search engine algorithms look for when assessing rankability.

Content SEO In Action

When developing a content SEO plan for our clients, we conduct keyword research to determine the primary keyword we want to rank for. Additionally, we look at any related keywords frequently searched by users. These additional keywords help us to create useful FAQs and draft relevant sub-sections for pages and articles. 

Google Search Console and SEMrush are powerful tools that each have their own content keywords search console features. These tools enable users to analyze and identify the most relevant keywords associated with their website’s content.

We use this information to help us create an optimized “content brief” for a writer to work from.

In our experience working with clients, we’ve found that employing topic clusters to designate a primary subject of focus and developing supporting content has proven remarkably effective. 

This approach helps establish a level of expertise in the primary subject matter while encouraging further exploration of related sub-topics. 

It’s crucial to ensure that the content consistently delivers substantial value, as our data has established that the average time spent on the page ranges from 3 to 10 minutes. If the reader leaves 30 seconds into reading the page, it’s likely because of a poor user experience or a lack of expertise and trustworthiness. 

Ultimately, obtaining legitimate backlinks is much easier in following this plan. It allows us to expand our client’s authority further, bringing the entire strategy full circle to supercharge your ranking power. 

Why Content SEO Matters

Spending time building a strategic content SEO game plan is extremely important because it allows you to establish and amplify your website’s presence in online search queries. This is, after all, how more and more individuals begin and continue their customer journey with your business.

It can be tricky to create unique content that ranks well against all of your competitors online, especially when you are just getting started, but it is well worth the effort. Any time someone searches for a product or service you offer, search engines like Google compare your site and content against your competitor’s published content. 

The sites that offer the best and most relevant content to any given query will rank higher in the SERPs, generating more traffic, engagement, and conversions. 

Signs Of A Well-Optimized Content SEO Strategy

A well-optimized content SEO strategy should exhibit several key characteristics to help boost the site ranking potential. A well-optimized site features content that is focused and relevant to your business while catering to the needs of your target audience.

This is ultimately a matter of understanding the intent behind your target audience’s search queries and providing them with useful solutions. In doing so, you give yourself the best chance of positioning your site as an authority within your niche and maximizing your reach. 

A well-structured content strategy focuses on ensuring your site is structured and organized in a way that makes sense to your audience and search engines. This includes utilizing headings (H1, H2, etc.) to organize your content, incorporating bullet points and numbered lists to enhance readability, and utilizing relevant images and multimedia elements to support your message.

Finally, a well-structured content SEO strategy will emphasize integrating strong, relevant keywords throughout the site. Keywords should be implemented as naturally as possible throughout your site, maintaining a harmonious overall flow of information that provides genuine value to your target audience.

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO focuses on your website’s structure on the backend and how it interacts with search engines to provide visitors with the best possible user experience. This includes optimizing how search engines crawl, interpret, and index your pages

To put it another way, technical SEO ensures that search engines can easily access and comprehend your site’s structure and user interface. The more effectively you can do this, the better your visibility in SERPs will be.  

Technical SEO vs. Content SEO: What's The Difference?

What Does Technical SEO Include?

It’s helpful to think of technical SEO as providing the foundation for your website’s performance in search results. This involves a broad spectrum of factors. Among them are optimizing your website speed, mobile-friendliness, crawlability, indexing, site architecture, URL structure, and more. 

It also involves optimizing your site’s code, server settings, and general configuration. The goal is to provide a seamless and predictable experience for search engines and visitors alike. But what does this all look like in practice?

Oftentimes, it comes down to ensuring you’ve optimized for a few key aspects:

  • Your Site Is Fast: Put simply, faster loading times are a sign of a well-structured site and greatly improve the overall user experience. Search engines prioritize fast-loading sites, so it is essential to minimize your page loading speed times.
  • It’s Easily Crawlable For Search Engines: It is essential that search engine crawlers can easily navigate your website pages, making sure that all relevant content is discoverable and correctly indexed.
  • It Provides A Mobile-Friendly Experience: With the prevalence of mobile devices in our day-to-day lives, it’s not hard to understand why providing an optimized mobile experience is absolutely essential. Search engines prioritize sites with a strong mobile presence.

    Site visitors can easily become annoyed by a poorly functioning mobile site. Not optimizing your mobile site could literally cost you business and traffic.
  • It’s Clear Of Technical Errors: Another key aspect of technical SEO is ensuring that you can identify and fix any technical errors on your site that may hinder search engine crawlers or the overall user experience.

    This includes resolving broken links, fixing duplicate content issues, implementing proper redirects, optimizing URL structure, enhancing site speed, fixing XML sitemap issues, enhancing robots.txt file, implementing structured data markup, checking and improving accessibility, and optimizing server response codes.

Why Technical SEO Matters

Technical SEO helps ensure your website is perceived correctly by search engine crawlers for indexation. This is crucial if you want your site to attain maximum visbility. Search engines tend to heavily favor sites that are well-structured, fast, and easy to navigate.

Ultimately, these factors make up the underlying foundation of the user experience. Improving your website’s technical SEO means improving your visitors’ experience when they visit your site. When visitors have a positive experience on your site, they are more likely to stay longer, explore more pages, and interact with your content & services. 

Signs Of A Well-Optimized Technical SEO Strategy

A site that has implemented a well-optimized technical SEO strategy will have some obvious indicators right off the bat. For starters, it will load quickly, be clear and intuitive to navigate, and provide a seamless mobile experience. 

These are great examples of how a little bit of technical SEO work on the backend can drastically improve the front-end visitor experience. 

On the other hand, a good technical SEO strategy will also be sure to implement a clear and well-structured hierarchy that is clear of any clutter. XML sitemaps and robots.txt files should be in place to guide search engines effectively.

How Do I Know What Type Of SEO Strategy I Need?

When considering whether you should employ a content SEO vs. a technical SEO strategy, you will need to have a comprehensive understanding of various factors regarding your site. These include assessing the current state of your site and evaluating those against your goals and target audience. 

You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your site before you can begin to start mapping out your improvements. We recommend doing both a content audit, as well as a technical SEO audit to identify the areas to optimize.

For instance, if you complete a content audit and realize your site lacks engaging content, struggles to rank well for relevant keywords, or experiences low organic traffic, you will need to ramp up your content SEO strategy. In this instance, you should focus on conducting thoughtful keyword research to help you start creating relevant content and optimizing your on-page elements (i.e. title tags, headings/ subheadings, internal links, image alt-text, etc.).

On the other hand, if you perform a technical audit of your site and find you are experiencing slow loading times or a messy mobile experience, you will want to invest some time in focusing on  technical SEO.  You can use a tool such as GTMetrix, or Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test load times. 

To improve your site’s visibility, you must also take the time to ensure your site is crawlable and indexed.

So What Does This Mean?

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that technical and content SEO are not mutually exclusive. Rather, they work together to improve your chances of success in search engine rankings.

Building a successful SEO strategy always comes down to finding a balance between content and technical SEO.

In fact – we have a detailed case study on a client site that demonstrates the importance of auditing both content and technical SEO. The site included 200 articles but generated 50 clicks per month on average. Upon auditing the site, we realized that the content was thin. In other words, it had no keyword research to guide the writing and included no headings or photos.

On the technical side, there were no internal links which negatively impacted the crawlability of the site. Within 1 year, we fixed all the technical issues and optimized all 200 articles. This resulted in a 2,700% increase in traffic!

Closing Thoughts: You Should Always Optimize For Both Content & Technical SEO

Whether you are re-evaluating your current SEO strategy or are just getting started for the first time, you will need to figure out the best way to optimize both the content and technical aspects of your website. 

At the end of the day, it’s not about content SEO vs. technical SEO. Rather, it’s a matter of combining thoughtful and captivating content with a clean technical experience is the best way to ensure your website & business live up to its full online potential.

When deciding whether to focus on content SEO vs. technical SEO, we encourage you to start with a thorough audit of your site. This will help guide you in making informed decisions on balancing optimizing for both types of SEO.

If you want to improve your content & technical SEO strategy but aren’t sure where to start, reach out to us here at Diffuse Digital Marketing to book a call today! We are happy to help and will even carry out a free high-level audit of your site prior to the call so that we can show you in real time how your site can improve!