We have seen a big shift back to the importance of quality content lately. A lot of this has to do with the Penguin update that penalized tons of sites back in May. The update not only showed the importance of less black hat SEO tactics, but also put blog owners on the lookout for low quality guest blogging.
While some of the fears blog owners are rejecting more and more content is logical, the fact that this update has made so many people paranoid is a reason to focus more on content. SEO benefits are nice, but when it comes down to it, what will keep you ranked, and what will get your readership to grow, is to have quality content that people want to keep coming back for.
Content Over Optimization
Let me start off my saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with SEO tactics and optimizing your guest posts for search engine relevancy. It is a great way to enhance your page rank, and the paranoia over backlinking has gotten a little overblown.
With that said, that paranoia is why content should take front seat to SEO at times. If you’re a guest blogger for instance, and you want to link, to let’s say a satellite package provider, you want to make sure your content supports that. If you’re in the middle of an article about sports on TV, or any other entertainment topic, then link.
There is no issue with that. Google is happy, and your audience should be as well. If on the other hand you’re talking about the best recipes for Fall time, you might want to stick to not linking at all, as it doesn’t seem natural. That’s what bloggers and audiences ultimately want, and that is that they feel they are reading a natural article that entertains them, not one solely set up to serve a higher purpose.
Even if you provide quality content, sometimes people are still turned off by linking. They shouldn’t be, but that is the downfall of the Penguin update stigma.
Readership = Page Rank
Another reason why content should be taking place over as your main focus is that growing your readership is more important than any SEO tactic, be it paid links or backlinking.
The fact is, if you look at some of the most popular, highly ranked sites, you won’t see them running a lot of SEO campaigns. They are at the top because people love their content and see them as an authority. In fact, they do get backlinks, but not because of anything they’re doing, but because people reference them all the time as they see them as a source of relevancy. In turn Google also sees them as a relevant source of information, and they get PRs of 7, 8, or above.
This is the same for your web properties. If you want a high ranking, don’t worry about your efforts of linking to your site on other blogs, but make it so that people want to always reference you because of the content you provide. Let your audience know that you are in fact an authority on what you write, and your content speaks for itself.
Again, and I do feel a need to reiterate this, nothing is wrong with SEO tactics, but having tens of thousands, or more, of visitors every single day is going to get you the rankings that no amount of guest blogging can do. Of course we might not all be at that level, but even those web properties started somewhere.
Let’s face it, nothing ever displaces talent. When it comes down to it, being a talented writer and content creator is going to get you so many more benefits and accolades than simple SEO tactics. If you feel a need to use SEO as a supplement, there is no problem with that.
Even if your entire effort is wrapped up in SEO, you won’t get penalized, but you sure won’t see the results you want either. So get off the blogs brushing up on the latest and greatest trends, and put your nose to the grindstone and put out some top quality content. No amount of metadata tagging, keyword research, or keyword stuffing can replace great writing.
Recommended Reading from Amazon
1. The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World
About the Author
Peter Margolis is a media writer and SEO blogger, creating content for a satellite service provider. He firmly believes in the power on content creation over anything else, though he does understand the benefits of SEO tactics and practices.