It’s a spin on the proverbial chicken-or-the-egg: Which comes first? Content or SEO?

In a blog post this week on The Content Marketing Institute website, Jay Baer reiterates the value and true purpose of content. He calls it Youtility — marketing that’s wanted by customers (as opposed to what marketers have traditionally provided: marketing we believe or believed they needed). ‘Youtility’ is “massively useful information, provided for free, that creates long-term trust and kinship between your company and your customers.” 

‘Youtility,’ Baer continues, is all about being useful, which literally means “full of use.” As valuable as it may be, content is useless if no one sees it. So marketing your marketing is critical, and Baer encourages social media to make it happen.

Perhaps with the exception of LinkedIn, social media isn’t a priority tactic for many life science and biotech organizations, and that’s where Search Engine Optimization comes in. SEO may not have as much mainstream notoriety as social media, but it’s a priority tool for content marketing in the life sciences.

The factors that influence SEO are numerous, invisible, and always changing. The key to earning top-page organic search results when your prospects Google, Bing, or Yahoo enter their search criteria is this: keywords are king.

Keywords (and keyphrases) are what users type into the search box when they’re on the hunt for your product or service. Keywords also refer to the content that search engines associate with your web site. If you understand what keywords are important to your prospects, you can incorporate them into your content and increase the odds of ranking highly in search results.

“Life science marketing,” for example, is a keyphrase for our site — – and you’ll find it included frequently – but not excessively! — in our content. So when someone types in “life science marketing” into a search query, our site should be highly ranked, in part because of the prevalence of the keyphrase.

My takeaway from Baer’s post is that building good content is the antithesis of Kevin Costner’s Field of Dreams: no matter how well you build it, your customers won’t come to it if they don’t know it’s there! And that relies on solid SEO. So which comes first?

(Trick question: They’re synergistic!)