I read so much SEO related literature that I am constantly bombarded with the “… is King” phrase. I am more of a middle of the road thinker, and find that being ruled by a king is so medieval. I prefer a sound democracy ruled by the people to a single ruler any day. So how is that SEO related? Read on…
Content is King!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen the ultimatum that Content is King! And for quite some time I kind of bought in to the idea. I mean it makes some sense. Users will not come to your site, and return if you do not have the right content. By “right”, I mean thoughtful content that meets the readers needs or in the case of an e-commerce site, maybe the right mixture of product, price, and editorial content (aka reviews, cross-sells, upsells). A quick search reveals several well known sites spreading this belief:
I am a firm believer that content is critical. In the metaphor of SEO leadership though, it should not be “king”, it should be an advisor on the panel.
If Content is not King, then Surely Linking is King!
Well, there are many out there who push the idea that links are king (links plural as a king!). It would seem from a quick review of the sites that say so that they generally have a vested interest in that proclamation. Link building companies would have the most to gain from that believe, whether they be link building firms or SMO linkbaiting firms. And can you really blame them for saying so? With the attention paid to Google PR (for whatever reason), if they can sell the idea of linking being the ruler of the SEO landscape, they are likely to drive businesses to their service. I do agree that users won’t generally find your site without links, but linking to a site without good content is transparent to users.
On-Page SEO is King!
Ok, I take some liberties with this one. There are SEO firms that are built strictly on pushing the idea that on-page SEO is the end-all for SEO. I’ve seen their pitches on how they can (for a chunk of money), optimize my pages so that my traffic will skyrocket. No, I did not pass on the fact that I am an SEO, I just listen to their pitch and maybe throw out a loaded question so I can get a response. I believe firmly that linking to a site with good content but poor on-page SEO is kind of like doing half the job.
A Ruling Democracry
I guess then that my thesis is that you need to take all factors in to play when designing an effective SEO campaign for a website. I would also argue that most SEOs who have had success will take that approach. During any given phase of an SEO campaign they might not be of equal importance, but none should be pushed to the backburner.
My process is to design or refine (in the case of existing site pages) pages with the right on-page SEO in place on day one. Good titles, the right meta descriptions, the right headers, the right internal linking structure, and good content should all in place for success. I like URLs to be friendly both for the engines and for easy linking from external sites. Now we’ve got good on-page factors, good content, and the structure for good linking. Concentrate on building links to these pages now, and tweak content and on-page as necessary — that’s my routine.
A Successful SEO Campaign
At this point, if all was done right, we are on are way to a successful SEO campaign!