Content and Links are the Bread and Butter of SEO
May 27, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park
To the outside world, SEO is a very mysterious industry with little to no standards, no certification or training programs in any of the top universities, and differing methodologies even amongst the most respected experts in the field. It’s easy for common people to get confused about what SEO’s really do and for newbies to get frustrated with information overload.
For example, many SEO experts talk about the need for link bait, link ninjas, PageRank, branding, no follow tags, paid links, on page optimization, title tags, social media, widgets, product reviews, authority articles, blogging, article marketing, search engine inclusion, site architecture, optimal URLs, keyword research, competitive analysis and on and on and on.
While all of these specific tactics are great methods to use to get ahead of the competition in the search results, the core of SEO comes down to the 2 things: content and links.
The bread and butter of SEO is content and links and you simply cannot afford to ignore these crucial components.
So before you venture off obsessing over the latest search marketing fads, it’s important to strip SEO down to the essential basics of content and links. By assessing specific tactics with this new lens, you are able to make good decisions and invest time and money wisely. The 80-20 rule applies as usual.
Let’s look at a few examples to illustrate what I mean.
Twitter. Have you heard of it? Are you actively using it yet? Everyone and their mothers seem to be promoting it and hailing it as the next great thing. I agree with most Twitter evangelists that it is a great networking tool and an effective method to build your personal brand. However, if you look at it from an SEO perspective and your main goal is to build your site to the top of Google, it doesn’t really make sense to use the tool. Will micro blogging on Twitter build the content on your site? Probably not. Will it build links to help you improve your rankings? Again, probably not. You can be much more efficient by spending your time elsewhere.
Here’s another example.
Blogging. Blogs have exploded over the past 5 years with thousands of new blogs sprouting up every day. Should your company start a blog or is blogging just another fad activity for bored teens with nothing better to do? Well let’s look at it from an SEO perspective to determine whether or not blogging is really worth the effort. First, will blogging build content? Sure it will. Every new post is a new page that is potentially crawled and indexed by the search engines. Next, will blogs build links? Yep, blogs are unique in that they conducive to content that even direct competitors would be willing to link to. Also, blogs foster communities with loyal readers constantly linking out to their favorite posts. So as you can see, blogging is definitely worth it using this system.
Now that you’ve seen the SEO view of content and links in action, I want to delve deeper into each of these 2 components. Why are they so important and why do all other SEO tactics stem from them?
Content – The Bread
Content is the foundation of the web that search engines attempt to index and organize for its users. Without content, there is no Internet. Without content, all of your keyword optimization, branding, and site architecture efforts are completely worthless. Think about it – what good is a perfectly optimized site with great usability features and linking structure if it has nothing but worthless content and fluff? You might be able to trick the search engines for a short while, but in the long term it’s doubtful your site will see any significant search rankings for important keywords. Content comes first, especially when we’re talking SEO.
Links – The Butter
As it stands now, most search engines including Google use links as the main factor for ranking in their algorithms. If you want high rankings, usually it’s going to take a number of high quality links from relevant sites. As an SEO, your main method of promotion should be link building. Forget buying the ad in the print publication or putting up flyers in your local supermarket. Although these methods might be able to get you some indirect links, they are unreliable and your time can be spent much more efficiently online. Focus on link building and the traffic will come.
As a disclaimer, I want to note that all of the views expressed in this article are centered around SEO only. I still think many of the marketing methods not related to SEO are important. Branding and social media for example are important tools for every Internet marketer. However, with the emergence of search and the current dominance of Google, SEO is becoming a bigger piece of Internet marketing every day. The opportunity for SEO growth is shrinking as we speak. If your online business cannot be found in Google, it will likely be difficult to survive over the next 3 to 5 years unless you have a large pool of resources or connections. Use your time wisely. Do or die. Content and links.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.