When Google launched in the late 90s and began using backlinks as the main factor for search rankings, its understanding was clear. Good content will most likely have more people linking back to it. Thus, a search engine could determine the quality of a given piece of content simply by measuring the number of backlinks.
While making this conscious decision of rewarding webpages having more backlinks with better search results, Google wanted site owners to focus on creating more quality content and receive backlinks as a consequence.
However, as economists have taught us over the years, incentives never work as they are supposed to theoretically.
Instead of working on their content, site owners jumped into the mad rush for getting more backlinks and gaming Google’s search page results. Concepts such as link farms and PBNs became common as backlinks became the most important metric in search marketing.
Google later had to roll back on s its decision and introduce a more diverse portfolio of metrics to decide search rankings. More than 200 factors were added to SEO with content relevance at the top and quality backlinks below it.
So, are backlinks less important than content?
Avoiding the Binary Approach
There is no number one or two when it comes to content and backlinks. Digital marketers starting out tend to fall into these traps and end up developing a false understanding of SEO.
Backlinks should be seen as a consequence of good content. Using techniques like submitting website links on submission sites are no longer useful.
Google doesn’t just want backlinks, it wants relevant and quality backlinks. It wants to check whether the anchor text used to link to a website is relevant to its industry.
The only way to get quality backlinks is by creating more quality content. In other words, digital marketers must now do what Google wanted site owners to do all those years ago and still does now – create quality content.
How to Create Quality Link-Worthy Content?
The reason why there is generally an apprehension to give backlinks to other websites is that the quality of content by in large has gone down. There are simply too many websites which are creating mountains of content without any real passion or insight. In other words, the main force driving the creation of content is getting high search rankings, not solving an inherent problem being faced by a searcher.
Let’s take an example. If you’d want to rank your website on the top for the keyword ‘digital marketing’. There are already many blogs and websites who explain digital marketing well. Why do you want to write another piece on the subject and become another speck of dust in a pile of sand?
Instead, if you take the subject of digital marketing and bring your own insight on the subject, you have a better shot at getting backlinks. Rather than toeing the line and following what others did before, let people know your real opinion. It doesn’t matter if some of your opinions are controversial or contrarian. If some people don’t like it, others will, and you will get a number of backlinks as a consequence.
Creating link-worthy content is less about keywords and SEO-optimality and more about presenting your argument in a constructive, authentic, and authoritative manner.
In conclusion, this article covers why link-worthy content is a better goal to aspire to than mindless link building with link submission websites.
About the Author – Ramandeep Singh is a well-known SEM strategist and a popular influencer on social media. He currently writes guest posts for Eduburg, an institute known for its digital marketing course in Delhi.