Content for SEO or Backlinks: Which One Should I Focus On?

Reading Time: 6 minutes
Nicolas Pagnotta
By Nicolas Pagnotta

August 24, 2020

We all know that SEO is a game that is always changing its rules. Last month I compared how SEO changed between 2010 and 2020. Today I want to go specific into a more current topic which is whether should you focus content for SEO or on backlinks? Well, there’s a quick answer to that:

Invest in content for SEO

That’s it? Not quite! Please don’t leave this article! not at least before you read the reasons why investing in content for SEO should be a priority over backlinking in 2020. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying backlinks are not important or shouldn’t have a focus in your overall digital marketing strategy. But just like on-site content, they both need a revamp in their internal structure and place. 

Content for SEO = Content for Users

The line between content for SEO and content for users has grown thinner and thinner in the latest years. Gone are the days in which you would expect your pages or blogs to leverage your site’s rankings just because they had certain keywords. Now more than ever, they need to make some sort of contribution to the reader or, at least, show a personal insight. In fact, providing this quality content can also enhance your backlinking strategy!

Why? Very simple: no good content, no reason for a website to link back to you. Backlinks are specifically for SEO purposes, but quality content serves that and user experience as well. The content itself generates the reasons for people to link back to your website, whether they are media related to your industry or simple users that share your content because they liked it (that does happen, believe me).

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Quality ≠ Good Grammar and Personal Writing (Not Only, at least…)

There’s something you should also know about quality: it’s not only about providing a personal, original contribution and good grammar. It also has to do with your site’s structure and the signals you need to give to search engines to let them know what your website is about (and thus, help them rank it). These are factors that backlinks, given their nature, cannot cover. 

Good content contributes to your site’s structure and architecture when it helps in its internal linking. A successful natural internal linking structure guides users (and search engine spiders as well) through all those useful resources you already have on your website: other landing pages, original articles, a resource center, downloadable guides, etc.

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For this reason, it is also good to use your content smartly and make it define each of those resources clearly. You do that by having consistency and proper use of terms and keywords on: 

  • Header tags, image alt tags, internal links, and even each content’s URL
  • Schema
  • Links and citations
  • Directories, guides and other similar pieces of local SEO
  • Blog posts, freebies from forums and communities, and any other pieces of content that are intended to be posted on other platforms (yeah, backlinks!)

So What About Backlinks?

It’s usual to find a concern in marketers about quantity vs. quality of backlinks. Should you worry about having as many as possible, or to have fewer backlinks but from high authority websites? First of all, I think it is important to stop for a second to go over exactly what backlinks are about.

They are basically links that go from one website to another. The most usual sources are social media posts, directories, and blog posts, or other pieces of content coming from another website. In an ideal world, they should come from sources that are somehow related to your niche and industry.

The quantity of those links massively impacts on your Google rankings. The quantity AND quality. Since it is the hardest to define, let’s focus on backlinks quality. By ‘quality’ in backlinks, we mean those websites with high domain authority that are trusted by users and search engines as well. The higher the domain authority, the more valuable your backlink will be. And just as it happens in many other aspects of life, valuable things are hard to get.

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It’s all about Balance

Finding a balance between the quality AND the number of your backlinks are part of every SEO strategy. So is quality content, not only for the reasons already specified in this article but also because it directly impacts on your backlinks, too. If you approach a high authority website with flawless content, your chances of having a valuable backlink increase.

Content for SEO and backlinks requires time, dedication, and expertise. This means resources you are already investing in running your own business. The difference between WEBITMD and some other digital marketing agencies around is that we work as an external appendix of your company. Our Growth Stack program was conceived to be a robust end-to-end marketing and sales solution that drives genuine business growth. SEO, content, Paid media, Hubspot implementation, and many other tools are provided to you and your company.

Download our free guide and learn more about how WEBITMD’s Growth Stack can take you to the next level!
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