SEO Help – Content Or Linkbuilding? Whats More Important?
Today a chiropractic client of mine asked several questions about what the point of SEO was in their local market besides trying to get ranked for “Orlando Chiropractor” and other prominent terms. Somehow I gave him an answer that I have never provided, but I could literally see the “ah hah!” moment in their eyes when I gave them the explanation and the context in which it was to be used.
From what I can tell, when it comes to SEO most practitioners, and companies for that matter, tend to focus on either creating content on a website and on page optimization, or link building. While I know that many firms do both, it is very rare to see outside of the highest echelon of SEO practitioners. Because of this, I think there is a general misunderstanding by both the non-SEO community looking to use an SEO providers, and many SEO consultants themselves.
It is the relationship between the two site of the coin (content & link building) that matters. A company cannot operate in a vacuum. Because of this, I decided to share my simple explanation of an extremely complex scenario.
It is no secret to SEO experts that having content on your website that has the search phrases your target market is looking for helps allow you to rank when they search that keyword phrase. An article title “How to get paid for writing” has a much better chance of ranking for the phrase ” how to get paid for writing” than if a company wanted to target that phrase by building a ton of links but mentioned nothing about writing on the page. Likewise, building a ton of authoritative links back to a website and its inner pages using proper anchor text (The words used to link to your site) can allow a website to rank for a term that isn’t even on the page. So what is the relationship, and what should clients be focused on? A company that talks about building content, or a company that’s forte is link building?
The answer to this question, like most questions, is it depends. If a company has a significant amount of authority (Think msn.com as an extreme example), just about anything they write is going to end up at the top of Google. This happens because MSN has amassed a large amount of authority from the millions of links pointing to the articles and website. If you were to right the same quality of content as MSN, it would not get near the visibility, due to the fact that your website does not have the authority. Likewise, if you spend all your time on links trying to rank for a single keyword term, but don’t focus on building any content, you are wasting the valuable authority you have created.
It is the combination of authority and content that builds empires of stone online. Focus on both is ideal, but if one is significantly lacking over the other, than it may be best to focus on the weakest link in a world limited resources.
If you are a small business, and have authority (Ranking well for a competitive keyword is a good sign), there a lot of ways you can use that authority to benefit your business. If you are sponsoring events, are part of an association, have a school your kids go to, or graduated from a college, then you have untapped potential. Website that have a lot of authority and have a blog need to little more than right a post mention an event, group, common interest, or hot topic and there visibility can increase dramatically. Let’s take our chiropractor example. They have a strong relationship with several churches, yet they had not put anything on their blog about any church events or efforts they had made within the church. I recommend they should, and the next day (their blog indexes extremely fast due to authority and rss aggregation) their article could be found in the top 5 when someone searched the name of the church. That particular church has 2000 members. Now a search term like the name of their church could bring them potential business. This is something they never thought of. It may not bring a client right away, but over the course of a year it probably will bring a few. Multiply that by 100 blog posts of 1 year with a bunch of different industries, events, and other businesses and you have a massive lead channel for a small chiropractor.
In their case, it was the lack content. In most cases, at least with companies that have not been working with a higher level SEO, it is a lack of authority that hinders their ambition. Unfortunately, authority is usually the more difficult, and more expensive of the two siblings. To gain it takes a lot of effort, even for an expert. It is essential none the less. Authority can be built bay obtain links from other authoritative websites. The process goes much deeper than that, but that is not the purpose of the article. The purpose of this article is to help people who are interested in marketing their business online that it is not enough to focus on one or the other. Strong, diverse, targeted content, combined with good authority is a combination that can lead to the promise land of top organic rankings and oodles of free traffic.