Technology SEO Customer Experience

Five content marketing mistakes that will harm your SEO

By Dave Colgate | Head of enterprise SEO

Vertical Leap


The Drum Network article

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July 1, 2022 | 6 min read

SEO is vital for helping content to stand out. Vertical Leap’s Dave Colgate, head of SEO, considers how to embed a successful SEO strategy, and shares what marketers should prioritize.

Vertical Leap on the importance of prioritizing a SEO content strategy. Image credit: Benjamin Dada/Unsplash

Vertical Leap on the importance of prioritizing a SEO content strategy / Benjamin Dada via Unsplash

You can’t win at content marketing without an equally impressive SEO strategy – and vice versa. Content provides the substance of SEO, while SEO helps your content go further, meaning both strategies have to work together to maximize results.

To illustrate the importance of this relationship, let’s look at five content marketing mistakes that will harm your SEO performance.

1) Using the wrong search data

Any decent content marketing strategy analyzes search data to inform key decisions, such as target keywords, topics and emerging trends. However, it’s important to use the right search and use it correctly.

Let’s say you’re looking for new content marketing opportunities and you start with keyword research to find queries/topics generating high search volumes and CTRs. So far so good. Except you can’t simply target the keywords with the highest search volumes or CTRs and expect to get results.

You need to analyze searches on a deeper level to make sure they align with your content strategy on the following:

  • Relevance

  • Target audience

  • User intent

  • Conversion actions

If you’re an interior design company, you don’t want to produce content for keywords geared toward people looking to learn interior design themselves; you want to target people looking to hire.

You want to produce content that attracts the right audiences, keeps them on your website and encourages them to take meaningful action. Failing to do this will weaken your content’s ability to generate leads and it will also harm your SEO performance by reducing on-page engagement, conversions and other signals Google uses to determine whether you’re giving users what they want.

2) Playing follow the leader

Copying the best aspects of your competitors’ content strategies is great, but you’re not going to beat them by doing this alone. To climb ahead of the rivals ranking above you in the SPERs, you have to find new content marketing opportunities before them and build visibility before they catch on.


We use our own intelligent automation system called Apollo Insights to analyze thousands of data points to find new content marketing opportunities before our clients’ competitors.

In SEO, it’s always easier to hold on to search positions than it is to overtake others. Likewise, you can build visibility much faster if you’re quick to respond to new opportunities and optimize for them before everyone else discovers the same keywords.

3) Letting your old content gather dust

Content marketing and SEO share many things in common, one of which being quality always beats quantity. Don’t fall into the trap of putting all of your resources into publishing as much content as possible, leaving nothing left for updating your old content.

Let’s look at some of the most important characteristics of quality content:

  • Relevant

  • Accurate

  • Authoritative

  • Informative

  • Up-to-date

Even the best content ages with time, and all of the characteristics above degrade as your content grows older. So make sure you have a system in place to update your old content, otherwise the quality of your pages diminishes further.

To maximize the visibility of your pages, you want to avoid something called keyword cannibalization, which is where you have multiple pages ranking for the same keyword. Essentially, this splits your SEO ranking across multiple pages instead of maximizing the visibility of one page.

What has this got to do with updating old content?

Well, if you’re only creating one page for every keyword, you need to make sure each page performs to its best ability, and then you need to maintain this performance or risk losing visibility for the keyword in question.

4) Skipping on technical SEO

Even Google talks about quality content as being the most important factor in search rankings, but it doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody sees it. Technical SEO isn’t the most glamorous aspect of content marketing (or search optimization, for that matter), but it is one of the most important.

If your pages aren’t optimized for search engines to crawl and index, your content marketing strategy is going nowhere.

Aside from helping search engines to discover and index your content, technical SEO can get your pages ranking faster and avoid a range of issues that could hurt your search ranking, such as broken links, keyword cannibalization, coding issues, slow loading times and a range of other SEO nasties.

5) Ignoring usability and CRO

If you want people to engage with your content and take action, you have to take usability seriously. Google certainly takes it seriously. It punishes sites that deliver poor mobile experiences or slow loading – or rack up a bunch of signals that point toward poor user experience (UX), such as high bounce rates, low average time on page and low conversion rates.


You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to measure the performance of your website, including loading times and Core Web Vitals.

Poor usability is going to hurt your search ranking, but it’s also going to limit your ability to turn page views into valuable actions. So, whatever your content marketing goals may be, you’re not going to maximize performance unless you deliver quality experiences consistently, on every page.

Technology SEO Customer Experience

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Vertical Leap

We are an evidence-led search marketing agency that helps brands get found online, drive qualified traffic to their websites and increase conversions/sales.

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