Given Google's search algorithm changes in the last 12+ months that have placed increasing focus on quality content, have things changed to such a degree that content creation must now be a core competency of SEO professionals?
To find out, earlier this month we surveyed 50 search marketers – a mix of in-house and agency professionals – to test for the degree that content and SEO are now intertwined.
Search Marketers: Content Isn't (and Shouldn't Be) Under SEO
To obtain an accurate assessment of both whether content has now migrated under SEO and whether search marketers think it should fall under SEO but it has not migrated because organizational changes have lagged behind the landscape, we asked the search marketer respondents to indicate where content falls in the organization and where they think it should fall.
Interestingly, there wasn't a significant difference between where content currently sits and where search marketers think it should sit. Only 21 percent of organizations have content currently falling under SEO and a smaller percentage (14 percent) actually believe it should be under SEO.
At first glance these findings seem strange. Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 6-12 months, you would be hard pressed to have missed the degree to which content – unique, quality content – has become the cornerstone of pretty much everything marketers are doing online.
Given content's foundational significance to the practice of search marketing, how could marketers not be chomping at the bit for the chance to bring it under their direct purview?
Search Marketers Want More Collaboration With the Content Team
The answer lies in the next survey question. When asked to consider the extent to which SEO works with the content team to ensure maximum search visibility, nearly 8 out of 10 (79 percent) respondents indicated they should be working "more" or "much more" closely.
Taken together, these two survey questions strongly point to search marketers' belief that content need not fall under SEO's direct control, but boy do they want to work more closely to ensure that the content is properly optimized.
Conclusion: Consider Close Collaboration With Content Creators
Despite the increased focus on content in today's online landscape, search marketers don't think the right place for content to live is under the umbrella of SEO. They do, however, overwhelmingly want to collaborate more closely with content than they currently do, in order to give their content the best possible visibility in the search results.
As search marketers, we can infer that the overwhelming desire to work more closely with content teams implies that they strongly believe doing so will only help their natural search visibility.
Whatever your current level of collaboration with content teams, consider ways in which you can work more closely with them. The data suggests that doing so will only help your organization's content perform better in the search results.