What came first, the content or the links?

Posted on December 29, 2009


It’s not quite the chicken and the egg question, but for Internet marketers it’s on a par with it. There are, as always, two sides to the debate.

Luckily, for clarity, we can call those two sides: Right and Wrong.

Firstly, the side that we like to call ‘wrong’ believes that links are the most important part of SEO. Links are what helps Google to index your website quicker and the more links you have, the better you will rank. By building (or in most cases, buying) thousands of links on various websites of varying quality, and by using keyword anchor text, you will improve your search engine rankings.

While the science is accurate and your rankings will improve, it is both a short term solution and a morally dubious one. Buying links is ethically unsound, and against Google’s TOS – which is more than enough reason not to do it.

Secondly we have the opinion that we like to call ‘right’. Those who believe that content comes first know that content begets links, links do not beget content. If you link to a website and there is no interesting or unique content there, Google (and your visitors) will leave unsatisfied. An unsatisfied Google does not make for favourable long term rankings.

However, good quality content generates its own links. The links generated by content aren’t paid for either, so you get the benefits of:

  • Not breaking Google’s TOS
  • Not having to pay for the links
  • Not having to renew the links 12 months later
  • The links being high quality and relevant

But of course, if you’re from the camp that believes that links are more important, you are free to continue paying your link suppliers as normal.

Good luck with that!

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