In digital marketing, content marketing and SEO are two major focuses for creating a stronger online presence and spreading information about a brand. However, they are often treated as separate entities, when they should be treated as equal parts of a greater whole.

“Content marketing and SEO are like peanut butter and jelly,” says experienced marketer and the founder of Kissmetrics and Quicksprout, Neil Patel. “You can eat them on their own, and they are delicious…But what happens when you combine them? They complement each other, right? That’s why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are so common…the flavors just go so well together.”

He goes on to say that the same goes for content marketing and SEO practices. They must be combined to create a solid marketing strategy. “Running them as separate campaigns isn’t going to provide you with as big of a traffic increase as combining them into one campaign will,” he concludes.

But why is that the case? What is it about content marketing and SEO that make them so complementary that you have to keep them together for them to be successful? Here are some of the top reasons.

  1. Google’s ranking algorithm is primarily based on content

As any good SEO aficionado knows, raising search rankings means you have to understand Google’s ranking algorithm and work around its restrictions. When your content is of high quality and high value without keyword stuffing or spammy links, your content will be rewarded with higher page ranks. If it isn’t, it will be penalized.

The algorithm focuses a lot of energy on content. If you take a look at the updates from the past few years, you’ll see the Penguin updates, which catch spammy links and keywords in your blog posts. There’s also the Panda update, which stops any poor-quality websites from ranking among the top search results.

A quick glance at such updates makes it incredibly clear that content must be weighed along with your SEO practices and cannot operate as a separate entity.

  1. More than 90 percent of all online experiences begin with a search engine and users seeking content

Studies also show that when you have content, you’ll get three times more leads than traditional marketing, while paying 62 percent less. If you aren’t creating content designed for search engines to find, you’re depriving your website of some easy and valuable traffic.

“Search engines are [not] the only way to distribute your content — far from it,” says Wasif Kasim, campaign manager at the consulting firm Salmat. “A great content marketing strategy relies on a rich mix of distribution tactics. But search is critical to its success. Never treat search marketing as an afterthought in your content strategy – they should go hand in hand from the start.”

  1. There’s too much overlap between content marketing and SEO to separate them fully

When you write content, you don’t do it merely for the sake of having something published on your blog. You really can’t do it without thinking about SEO and the implications that every link and keyword will have with regard to your website’s rankings.

“Content isn’t as simple as writing stuff on the page,” says Eric Siu, CEO of the digital marketing agency Single Grain, which has helped both venture-backed startups and Fortune 500 companies with successful marketing campaigns. “Content means creating excellent, relevant writing that shows keyword relevancy to the engines, increases usability to its users, and offers ‘link bait,’ content worthy enough to draw links from people that visit the website.”

The two cannot be separated. You can’t write content without considering SEO.

  1. Both your SEO campaign and your content marketing campaign will fail if you don’t put the two together

This may the most important lesson from this article. You can’t expect to achieve success in your content marketing or SEO campaigns if they don’t work synonymously.

The two can do good things on their own, but when they’re brought together, they can form a complementary marketing strategy that draws consumers to your site. If you haven’t already, get your content creation and SEO management teams on the same page.

As they work together and train on both the workings of SEO and content marketing, you’ll create a dynamite combination that will blow away the competition.