There are SEO people who swear by content. Content is king they say. Then there are the link building SEO experts who believe backlinks are everything in SEO. But being in one camp or the other is missing the point.
Links on the web are pointers to content
The purpose of an online link is to point to an online resource. Hence, predominantly, the purpose of a web based link is to point to a web resource. Links also reside in web resources. So they form a connection between two web resources mainly web pages. A web page is basically a container of content. This can simply be meta information for a blank page or a page full of text, images and media.
Links in SEO are endorsements of content
Search engineers knew about links and tried various ways to value them. The easier way was by quantity but over time link quality became important. This link quality was decided not only by the link specific features like anchor text but also by where the link was located within the site, the particular page and now even where the link is located on the page.
In SEO, this quality evaluation done around the simple link is used as an endorsement value to evaluate the web page being pointed to.
Good content attracts links and builds brand
Google has signaled their new focus on content quality. The Panda updates and later updates have confirmed their intent. Links continue to be one of the important signals about the quality of the content along with others. Good content that attracts links from relevant, quality sites is now more important than ever before. Good content will be shared, bookmarked, scraped, mentioned all over the web. This bombardment of natural signals is difficult for search engine algorithms to ignore.
More importantly, these natural signals are difficult for users to ignore as well. This is where brand building happens naturally.
Good content showcases expertise
Quality content builds authority of your website for the search engines. It also showcases your expertise to your user audience in your niche. This again ties up well with the brand building mentioned earlier.
Content and Links together decide your Search Engine Marketing success
Quality content and endorsements through valuable links is what decides your SEO success. Unsurprisingly, quality content which gets links also decides your Social Media success and your people network replicates the link network. What better way to gain the new, upcoming social signals search engines are slowly but surely incorporating than re-using link worthy content.
Understanding the close relation between content and links as well as social signals is critical to your online marketing success in general and SEO success in particular.