Everyone has their pet peeves. I probably have more than most. One of my biggest pet peeves has to be the phrase, “I could care less”. I have just spent the last five minutes trying to type out a detailed explanation as to why the phrase simply does not make sense, and how it has no possible defence, but am now giving up out of exasperation. It is just frustrating me too much.
I felt I needed to include the above just to make absolutely sure you grasped the intended message of this article, which is: backlinking is the supposed holy grail of search engine optimization, and you are thinking about it far too much (in my humble opinion).
If you are at all familiar with this blog then you will know that I am not in the business of creating “set and forget” sites that offer little or no real value to the end user. I am all about creating value, and I have a staunch aversion to compromise on that front. So, please understand that my advice comes from the perspective of someone who is looking to create value. What I have to say may not apply to those who are looking for something a little more relaxed in terms of quality content. And I have no problem with that at all – far be it from me to judge. However, it would be remiss of me to mislead you.
Now, are the rest of you sitting comfortably? Good.
Why Should I Care Less About Backlinking?
Backlinking is extremely important when it comes to search engine optimization. You should be working hard to get plenty of high quality backlinks to your blog. Ideally you will be doing this by persuing a white hat SEO strategy, but that is not always the best way to go.
Backlinking is not however the be all and end all. It certainly shouldn’t form the genesis of your blog creation. And you’re probably about to call me absolutely mad, but you don’t even need to have a backlinking strategy to create a successful online business.
Question: if you have a blog, with twenty original articles already published, but with no backlinks, what do you have?
Answer: a blog.
Question: if you have a website domain, with no content on it, with eight thousand backlinks, what do you have?
Backlinking is completely pointless without content. A website can survive without backlinks – it cannot survive without content.
Now there may be some amongst you who are thinking that you can get away with producing low quality content. That backlinking is king, and that as long as you can get visitors onto your site, you can convert them, even with poor quality content.
And you may be right – but you won’t be forever (or for long, most likely).
Google’s aim is to show quality content to its end users. If it fails on that front, it is no longer of use to anyone. We are all familiar with how powerful Google is. How countless people who are far more intelligent than you and I are constantly working on Google’s algorithms. If you are not providing quality content, you will eventually get found out – regardless of how many backlinks you have.
Love Your End User
If I could give just one piece of advice regarding authority sites, it would be this:
Love your end user. Put yourself in their shoes. Do they get value from what you produce? If not, you need to go back to the drawing board.
We are all guilty of producing crap at times. It happens – we are human. However, in a perfect world, your aim should always be to produce fantastic content for your audience. As Corbett Barr so eloquently put it: write epic shit.
Quality Content > Backlinking
Producing valuable content for your end user trumps your most effective backlinking strategy in the long run, hands down. And when you are in the business of producing authority sites, you should always be thinking long term.
I am not saying you shouldn’t be actively pursuing a backlinking campaign – you absolutely should be. However, you should be putting even more effort into your content creation. You should be pouring sweat and tears into creating a truly valuable resource for people to find; you shouldn’t be worrying as much about how they are going to find it.
I am not saying, “If you build it, they will come”. I am saying, “If you build quality and let them know it is there, they will come, and hang around”. If you produce poor content and let even more people know it is there, they will come – and then they will leave. What is the point in producing a #1 ranking authority website on Google if no one wants to hang around?
There are many out there amongst you whose workload balance is struck well in favour of backlinking. I know this because I have been (and in weak moments, still am) one of those people. I hope you seek to redress that balance, as I am sure it will have wonderful long term benefits.
Photo courtesy of Karl-Ludwig Poggemann