In the world of online marketing, they say that content is king. With carefully crafted content, you can easily influence your audience and convert them into paying customers more effectively. And with content you can keep your audience in the know.
On the other hand, link building is a crucial component of online marketing that no campaign should do without. By building links, you will help the search engines determine the importance and value of your brand or website.
So . . . which should you place more value on?
Content marketing and link building are two of the most important pieces of a successful Internet marketing campaign. However, evidence suggests that content marketing has the edge over services that just build links.
That’s not to say you should abandon one in favor of the other, but the following are compelling reasons to regard content marketing as having more to offer than link building.
It’s much easier to measure the value of content than that of links
Just what is the value that links give to a site? Experts agree it’s a bit difficult to quantify, although links certainly contribute toward improvements in a site’s ranking and traffic.
On the other hand, with content you can measure your success by determining how many site visits and links are generated by each piece of content. Content also allows us to see how many social votes it gets and how many visits it garners from search engines and social media. We can also determine which keywords have been used by browsers to locate a piece of content.
Can you determine how much revenue a new piece of content has generated for your business? Certainly. You can quantify how much revenue has been generated by each unit of content per day, per week, per month, or per year.
Content creation is more natural
By generating high-value content, you will naturally gain and create links. Great content is a natural link bait; it inspires people to share, blog about, and link to it, if they find it interesting.
As for linking, in most cases you will find that when you analyze submission-based link-building activities, people link to your content not because they like you, but because you requested a link back to your site or you paid for those links.
Writing great content is less costly than link building
While there are some affordable SEOs, a lot are offering their services at expensive rates.
Finding great copywriters isn’t very hard, though. There are plenty of great writers out there who have strong copywriting skills and are not only creative, but also provide their services at reasonable prices.
Content marketing is more scalable
You can either outsource your SEO needs or you can build your own team. However, you should be warned: Setting up a competitive SEO team isn’t a stroll in the park.
There are many things you need to consider to succeed. You need to find the right people with significant experience in SEO, pay substantially for their talents and skills, and hope they turn out to be as good as they claim.
If you hire the wrong people or people whose experience is limited, you run the risk of having to devote many hours to training them, testing them, and supervising them to make sure they do the proper job for your clients.
On the other hand, setting up a team of copywriters is much easier. They are cheaper and not difficult to find. One look at their samples (you can test them if you must), and you should have a grasp of the quality of output you can expect from them. And if they decide to leave, you won’t be set back far because there are plenty of other great writers on the market to go around.
You may also be surprised to find that today’s online copywriters are not only great writers; a lot of them are also well-versed in the technologies involved in blogging, video marketing, social media marketing, SEO, and web design.
In sum, be sure you hire the right people from the get-go. Setting up a content team entails a lot less risk than building an in-house team of SEOs.
It’s a whole lot easier to bounce back from algorithmic penalties
When Panda and Penguin wreaked havoc during their initial launch, a lot of sites had to rethink their SEO strategies. Those who have been affected due to problems with their content did nothing more than tweak their content marketing strategy.
Experience has shown that it’s a whole lot easier and more convenient to repair a site that has been hit by algorithmic penalties because of faulty content than to repair one that has bad linking strategies. That alone is a good reason to make content marketing the centerpiece of your SEO activities.
Over the long haul, creating high-quality content offers more rewards and benefits than trying to figure out how to build further links for your sites. Linking strategies that work today may no longer be effective tomorrow.
Authoritative and great writers will rule the future of online marketing
Social media marketing works because there are real people with real skills behind it.
With the advent of Google+ Authorship, users will now get to know the real people behind great content and a terrific blog. With this new tool, it’s much easier for writers to position themselves as able and credible creators and subject-matter experts in their field. When users can see the people behind great content, writers will earn trust easily and quickly.
Content marketing is more fun
SEO is tedious work, and it takes at least a few months for your hard work to pay off. With content marketing, it’s not only a fun process, but you can also view the fruits of your labor almost instantaneously.
It’s very gratifying to see your content appear on search engines with your name in the byline.
There is a huge debate about which is better, content strategy or link building. The truth is that they both have their benefits, but one of the two seems to emerge as the leader in most instances. Here’s what you should expect about link building:
Link building is a time consuming process that requires building massive Excel spreadsheets and keeping track of which links are actually generating traffic and which ones are hurting the website’s ranking position. Link building is a long and tedious process that requires patience.
Writing content, on the other hand, requires a few hours and ingenuity, but that’s it. After it’s finished, it may need polishing, but it doesn’t require massive amounts of time looking at daunting spreadsheets that may require a detail-oriented person to navigate it.
Content marketing costs less to produce than link building. Hiring a content marketer is more cost effective than a link builder because the work is less intense in most instances. Content marketing is effective for less money than most people think. Hiring a content marketing professional through a crowd sourcing firm will cost less than people think.
The value of content versus the value of link building is surprising. In part, because the value of a link is difficult to quantify. It’s much easier to measure how many links content has created or how much traffic has visited the site based upon the last post than it is to measure the value of link building. It’s always easier to measure social votes and referral visits than to try and measure how much traffic was gained from adding a single link.
It’s easier to determine how much revenue content generates if the purchase is made directly after reading the content. Most content generators can quantify that content will generate a certain amount of dollars over a period of time, but link building services focus on increasing rankings. From increased rankings, you can get more traffic, but this does not always equate.
Content marketing is scalable, but link building is less scalable. When you are scaling a content marketing team, it’s easier than trying to scale a link building team because the skills are more specialized. Copywriters are cheaper than link builders. So, the task is more achievable. Community managers, infographics designers, and video producers are also good choices for companies who want to hire a team that’s scalable and that can assume other positions on the team.
Content can build communities through conversation. People who engage in conversations online are more likely to buy products and services when they converse with other people who have benefited from the product or service. This increases sales conversions and also increases interest the products or services long term. Post content and ask copious questions from the audience and one social media forums to generate interest and feedback. A link is not capable of accomplishing this task.
Content marketing builds loyal customers, which saves companies money. When companies save money, they can reinvest in other mission critical items in the organization. Marketing to loyal customers is much more cost effective than marketing to new customers. Loyal customers can act as advocates for your products and services. This is not possible with a simple link.
As algorithm updates are issued, it most often will affect link building. Links may have to be removed or redirected based upon the new updates. This is undesirable by most webmasters.
Since content marketing is more immune to algorithm updates, it is the optimal choice. At most the keywords may have to optimized, or the content may have to be freshened, but generally, it doesn’t require major work. In most instances, the content will serve the public for a considerable period of time.
Content marketing is predicted to be the next best thing that will change the way people present information on the internet. Content marketing is a huge part of any companies social strategy. Every company should have content for social media forums such as Twitter, and Facebook.
Content marketing helps companies reach out to the people who purchase their products or read their blogs daily. Companies learn about the people that read their blogs by writing content. They will learn nothing by adding links to their website. When people trust the bloggers as authoritative sources, they are more likely to buy whatever they recommend.
Every blog starts off in the industry trying to prove that they can offer content that is trusted. If bloggers establish themselves as authority figures, they can build a larger clientele and sell more products and services.
This task is not always easy. It requires original content with viable sources. This will help bloggers develop a loyal following. When your company is established as an authority, people will look to your blog first for advice. This will present the opportunity to advertise and recommend products that you know to be useful. A link cannot accomplish this goal. Content marketing is the only answer.
Content marketing has more longevity than link building and can be useful to people for longer periods of time. Links often lose their effectiveness over a period of time if the material is not fresh. Content can stick around on a website longer as long as it is relevant and new content is being added around it. Blog posts written numerous years ago are still generating page views and sales. It just depends on the interest of the public. This is not always true of links. They have to be refreshed more often.
While content marketing has proven to be superior to link building in the long term, this doesn’t mean you should dump the latter. From now on, focus on creating high-quality content more than spending hours to build links, only to see your efforts go down the tubes when the next big algorithmic update hits the Internet.
Want more information on link building? Head over to our comprehensive guide on link building here: SEO Link Building: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide