Rand is wrong: Content quality is all-important
May 17, 2010 • Glenn Murray
Rand Fishkin has published a very helpful post on SEO myths versus reality. An excellent read. But I think he — like many other SEOs — undervalues content. Especially for SMBs.
Rand’s problem attitude to content
This is the attitude I’m talking about:
“Those brands and sites that have… users invested in promoting their work are likely to be long term winners with little regard for comparative levels of content quality.”
(An ironic attitude, don’t you think, when Rand, himself, invests so much in quality content on his own site…?)
What if your social/viral/SEO budget is small?
Yes, a high ranking is about getting lots of “early-adopting, viral-sharing, people-connecting, idea-distributing users” to promote your site. But if your social/viral/SEO budget is small, how else will you get that to happen — and keep it happening — other than by creating good content?
What if your competitors have the same social/viral/SEO budget?
For that matter, even with a good social/viral/SEO budget, what happens when you’re competing against someone else with a comparable budget? I’d contend that, in the long term, the comparative level of content quality will be the real difference, not the individual clever (but often hit-and-miss) tactics along the way.
Good content, alone, isn’t enough
I’m not suggesting good content alone will (always) get you a high ranking; obviously your site has to be search-friendly, and people have to find out about your content. But without good content, you’ll have to invest more in ‘persuading’ people to link.
But for most businesses, it’s the real difference
No. All things being equal, for most businesses, quality content is a far more sustainable proposition than poor content. (Note that I’m not necessarily talking about outsourced content. And I’m not necessarily talking about the technical quality of your writing. I’m talking about the quality of what you have to say.)
Plus Google’s getting smarter
And let’s not forget, Google is on a never-ending quest to return quality search results. It’s already quite hard to trick it into thinking you have quality content when you don’t. Why continue down that road when it’s only going to become rockier? Google will get better at weeding out the poor quality, and you’ll spend more and more trying to game the system.
Obviously I know why Rand wants you to continue down that road (because he’ll profit when you do), but c’mon! It just doesn’t make sense to chase your tail trying to trick Google into thinking you’ve given it what it wants. Why not actually give it what it wants?