“Content is King” is the mantra of many SEO’s and marketers involved in the business of getting websites to rank well in search. Although content (i.e. images, audio, graphics, video and written text) is important, it is actually not what gets a website to rank well in search. Content is one primary vehicle that can lead to good rankings but it is important to understand that good content does not automatically mean good rankings.
Links: The Original Ranking Factor
No one except a handful of well-paid engineers and the founders of Google will ever know what really causes websites to be ranked the way they are in Google search. Odds are if you ever got your hands on the document that explained it you would need a PHD in math to understand it. When the search company was first founded, the original methodology used to rank web pages was to gauge the importance of those pages based on the links coming from other websites.
Even though Google’s core algorithm has become very sophisticated, that strategy for ranking web pages still exists. There is an abundance of knowledge out on the web that we can use to understand what might cause Google to rank pages the way that it does. A lot of this is based on studies done by some very smart people as well as our own experiences here at Attorney Rankings.
All of that information helps us understand that it is not content that gets a web page to rank well but the links that are eventually built to that content. We can get a small snapshot of this by looking at the top ranking personal injury sites in any given region of the United States. For example the Levin Firm ranks in the top organic spot for the phrase “personal injury lawyer” for Philadelphia, PA.
They have around 267 indexed pages in Google search and the site is also well categorized with practice area specific pages and lots of good content.
If you look at another competing site like phillyinjurylawyer.com (which has about 1040 indexed pages), that one is not ranking as well for the phrase (in the 7th to 9th position or pretty much second page).
If content is supposed to be the differentiating factor in the way Google ranks search results, then the Phillyinjurylawyer.com site should be out ranking Levin’s site. But it’s not. When we look at other comparable sites, some may have a little more content however that is not the differentiating factor. The thing that sets them apart is the quality and quantity of the links pointing at their domains and other factors related to that.
The Role of Content in Linking
The reason many SEOs and marketers talk about content being so important for SEO is because it does play a crucial supporting role. After all, content is the reason people come to a website, return to a website and share a website with the people they know. It can also be the reason that website owners build links to other websites. The important part to remember is that it is not the content in a vacuum that makes a site rank well in search.
You could have the best content on the planet but if your site has no links leading to it from other sites, it would not rank well in search. The very foundation of Google’s algorithm is based on the notion that a link from one website to another signals the destination site’s importance. The more quality votes that site has around the web the more Google is able to determine how important it is.
How Content Can Help
The generation of content helps facilitate linking on the internet. There are a lot of different types of content that could be published meaning there are equally as many ways to get links as a result. Here are some methods that we have been successful with.
If done right, guest posting is an excellent way to get high quality links from other website owners. The practice has come under scrutiny in recent years but it’s not surprising. Pretty much any SEO tactic can be abused which then tarnishes its reputation for people who mean well. Here is what not to do:
- Avoid guest posting services (some can be ok but for the most part err on the side of caution)
- Do not pay people to post on their website especially if that is their business model
- Do not try guest posting on sites that are very irrelevant to yours
Here is what you should be doing:
- Collaborate with other business owners or legal professionals to post content on their site
- Get routine placements on industry legal websites where you can submit guest posts
- Get posts on websites that are relevant to yours
- Get posts on websites that are authoritative
When you go to start a guest posting campaign, keep in mind that the sites you have link to you are a reflection of you in the eyes of Google. If you have bad sites pointed at your domain, it will make you look bad.
Creating Truly Exceptional Content
If you have ever looked for ways to make your site perform well in search, you have probably seen this more than a few times. It is advice that can be nebulous and hard to understand but it could not be truer. The tricky part is finding out what truly exceptional content means for your audience.
Making good content means writing blog posts that are well-researched and extremely professional. I means making high-quality videos that looked like they cost a lot of money to produce. It means putting in the time, energy and resources that it takes to make something truly exceptional to publish on your website. Doing that coupled with a targeted outreach strategy will help get links to your website.