I usually receive this question in many different forms. I sometimes talk to a website owner that is only interested in building lots of links, even when their site is quite small and barren of content. On the other hand, I have seen web developers focus their time only on building content for a select few keywords, even though their products and services cover a wider range. If you are wondering what is ultimately more important to Google: lots of links (authority) or high quality content (topicality) the real answer lies in between.
Synergy in SEO
When it comes to best practices in SEO, quality content and links go hand in hand. As Matt Cutts from Google says in the video below, ‘ a balance of good content and links will help you in the rankings’. I like to think about links and content as one hand washes the other. If you have great content and no links, no one will find you. The same is true is if you have lots of links, but crappy content- people will find you but won’t be interested in what you offer. This is why when creating a website and when taking on an SEO campaign, it should be balance with both quality content and a good number of links.
How Many Links is Enough?
In this video (the link for the video is listed below), Matt Cutts also talks about having the right kind of links- organic links. He mentions that Google frowns (and in many cases penalizes) a site’s rankings if they use link building techniques that try to game the system such as buying mass links or using spam links from link farms, etc. A site that builds or that has been linked to from 5 outside sources for the last 6 months and then all of a sudden receives 1000 links one month will immediately show up on Google’s radar. If they are coming from a spammy source or if Google can tell if they have been paid for, a website can be penalized and drop in the rankings.
Quality Content an Important On-Site Optimization Asset
The other side of the coin is quality content. Generally speaking quality content is content that is unique and informative to the reader. Content that is a copy of content that is found on other websites is called duplicate which will usually be flagged by Google and your webpage with that content will generally be penalized. In addition, if you create or buy spinned content (this is a method where one piece of content is created and then synonyms are used to try to make additional copies of this content unique), this can cause your webpage to be penalized as well. In addition, this content is generally low quality and definitely not something you want to use to market your brand. So, for those that are choosing between links and content, the choice is simple: Both!
Below, please find the video of Matt Cutts, from Google explain which is more important: Links or Content.