The age old question in the search engine optimization world is if you build wonderful, user focused content, will this lead to great search engine positioning and rankings? It’s repeated often enough that you’d think it is true. Great content will get linked to and that will increase the search rank and the cream will rise to the top. Isn’t that how search engine marketing works? In theory, yes, that is how it is supposed to work. And it’s a nice theory. However, as is often the case, there is a gap between theory and practice. This gap is carefully pointed out by Rand Fishkin at SEOmoz.
I’m not so sure about Rand’s remark about 70%+, but I do agree that relevant inbound linking is very important. And I also agree that second-rate content can rank higher than great content merely because the second-rate content producer is better at marketing his content. It is, after all, a popularity contest. Rand hit that nail right square on the head!
When it comes to ensuring you get the rankings you deserve, you should of course strive to write the best content you can produce. But you should also be a promotion hound and get out there to build relationships with other companies, partners, etc. The bottom line is great content will help convert a sale, lead and should speak to your audience. But there is no substitute for good old fashioned marketing ability. To build your website and your company online as a leader in your industry, market or niche it is should be your main goal. If you and your in house team work hard building your reputation, over time you should be able to build your visitors as well. To build your website as an authority through relevant link you should be proactive with your marketing, social networking, blogging, commenting, online publicity, article marketing, industry associations, etc…all of it!