Is content still king in the world of SEO?


Is content and by extension the natural signals and backlinks generated still relevant to SEO? In the words of the esteemed theoretical physicist Werner K. Heisenberg, “you’re goddam right.”

For most online businesses their SEO and content strategy are fully integrated. Why? There are two good reasons:

  1. Relevant useful content, and the way it is technically implemented is what allows you to rank in organic search
  2. Authoritative content, which attracts social shares, user interaction and links is what pushes you to the top of the rankings

In fact, a study by found that for the majority of businesses their content strategy and SEO strategy were intrinsically linked. And a more recent study by BrightEdge even suggests that content marketing and SEO are converging into a single discipline.

So when looking at the value of this integrated approach we should also consider what Google has to say about the subject:

  • “I can tell you what they (the number 1 and 2 ranking factors) are. It’s content and links.” – Andrey Lipattsev (Google Senior Search Quality Strategist)
  • “It turns out that backlinks…for the most part are still a really really big win in terms of quality of search results.” – Matt Cutts (Former Head of Google Web Spam Team)

The Google algorithm itself was built off links and a lot of authority and improved rankings can be produced from just a few links and the right kind of signals pointing to a website. That’s why when you talk to SEO’s about content marketing the discussion often comes back to the question of: what will this do for my link profile; or a how can I get people to engage and share this content?

But that is one of the most challenging aspects of content and SEO, whilst creating content is seen as relatively easy, driving the right performance outcome and generating links is hard. A very recent study by AWR which asked 1200+ online marketers what was the most difficult tactic found that 67% concurred link building was the most troublesome to deal with, whereas only 17.62% of marketers thought it was content creation.

Generating links and signals these days is much more about link earning rather than old school link building. What this means is you can no longer buy profiles and have them spam forums with links, nor can you spam blog comment sections with links to your page – much like those spruikers in Habbo Hotel. You have to work a little harder to generate natural user engagement and quality links and the best way to do that is by creating quality content. Whether you’re creating an interactive quiz or encouraging conversations online about intimate health, as long as people are interested and engaged you’ll generate shares, signals and links. Build the content and the links will come.

Of course a little bit of paid amplification helps as well:

Why? Because paid amplification, whether it is paid search, paid social, content distribution networks such as Taboola and Outbrain, play an important role in helping your content gain exposure to the biggest audience possible and as quickly as possible. Independent SEO’s often overlook this element, but it’s why being part of an integrated team at MediaCom helps us achieve great results for your clients.

So whether you are building or refreshing your business blog or website, running online partnerships, or looking for user interaction, shares or links from original content; not only does a well-executed content campaign that’s integrated with SEO deliver awareness, engagement and referral traffic, it can also help drive natural search ranking signals such as links, which means better rankings and more leads or sales and happier clients.

Content is still king in the SEO world – and we think will be for the foreseeable future.

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Photo Credit – To what extent is your / your clients’ content strategy tied in with your / their search engine optimisation activity?

AWR – Which SEO tactic is the most difficult to perform?

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