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What’s more important in SEO, content or links?

Posted on October 15, 2009

 

When an SEO company performs search engine optimisation on a website, the on-page SEO techniques that are used make up only a small percentage of the actual work that is required to ensure a website reaches the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages). Two of the biggest factors in creating a successful SEO campaign for a website are the website’s content (number of quality, content rich pages) and the amount of good quality, relevant links that a website has.

Links

Links are important in SEO because every website, or more accurately webpage, that links to your website acts as a vote for your website. Unlike in democracy, votes are not counted equally either. If a website such as BBC.co.uk were to link to your website, you would receive a big boost of confidence in the eyes of Google, whereas if a single page, brand new website about stamp collecting were to link to you (presuming your website has nothing to do with stamp collecting of course) then the vote wouldn’t be as strong.

The more powerful votes you receive, the better your website will do in the elections that are Google’s pages.

The relevancy of the text used in the votes counts for something as well. This means that the anchor text used in the link should be both relevant to your website, and to the website providing the link. If your website sells pet insurance, then a link from a website about dogs using the anchor text ‘dog insurance’ would work best.

Of course, most people perceive links as something you have to buy (or rent) and substantial Internet marketing budgets are spent by businesses each year on buying and renewing links on websites, making link buying a very expensive and time consuming practice.

Content

Content is important because it gives Google a reason to index your website and to offer it up as an option to a user posing a query. While SEO can tell Google what your website is about, and ensure that all of your website’s pages are indexable, it can’t give Google a reason to index your website. Only content can do that. Without good quality content Google has no reason to show your website any interest. Without good quality content your website won’t be of use to Google’s users, and Google is all about pleasing its users.

Both content and links are essential for a website to be successful in a competitive industry, but which one is the most important, and which one should you invest in if your budget is limited?

The simple golden rule is that links are finite. They need to be renewed if they are rented and links will not lead to you gaining more content. They will not expand by themselves and you’ll only get what you pay for (sometimes if that!).

Content on the other hand helps your website to build links. Content is permanent, links are not. The more quality content you have, the more links your website will attract. Content begets links, begets rankings.

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1 Comment »

  1. Whether a budget is limited or not, I’d say content is more important – as this will attract natural links over time if it is good content and will help your website to acheive it’s goals – whereas buying links may well help your site to rank, but if the content is poor and doesn’t result in the desired user action once on the site, then what is the point in the ranking?

    I totally agree with the final statement, content = links = rankings.

    Comment by Dave Ashworth — October 16, 2009 @ 10:01 am

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