Michael Martinez has a great blog called SEO Theory and recently wrote about the myth about search engines favoring large domains. When I read this my first thought was it was a response to Rand’s post (from the day before) about Why it pays (in search) to be big and popular compared to small and niche. In some respects Rand is right, there are definite benefits to being big and popular. However, and this is the point that I think Michael Martinez was making, it is not impossible to do very well in search having a small and niche site.
As I was reading Michael’s post the one thing that stood out to me was his stance on links, content, and social media. He is a big believer in content, and not one to buy links and spend a lot of time submitting to social media sites.
I agree 100% with his stance on the power of content. It is the blood of the Internet when you really think about it. Content is why you get on your computer, to read something, to learn about something, to be entertained by something. Content is what makes you go from one place to another. Your navigation is driven from what one content piece makes your brain think and what content it connects with. What Michael is saying is that if you build quality content, the rest essentially falls in place. I agree, but I do think there are situations where content isn’t all you need.
When Content Is Not Enough
There are industries where the topic does not drive links and traffic because of the audience of the industry. Let’s take the construction industry for example. We’ve launched a software company in the construction industry, and we have lots of relatives in the business, so we are familiar with it. Yes, a lot of construction companies and their subcontractors have Internet, but they aren’t Internet savvy. Most of them aren’t on Facebook, or Digg, or delicious, or Redditt, or anything like that. They check their email, read the news, watch a funny YouTube video, buy from Amazon, and get a movie from Netflix. If that is the audience, how do you get your construction content to move, to get linked to, to get featured? It’s tough, and that’s why, the audience. For this situation you may need to buy links, you may need to do email marketing, you definitely need to do PPC, and you might find other ways (video advertising?) to get their attention. Even at a trade show, the product has to be very innovative (and useful, and cost effective) for it to spread by word-of-mouth.
So can you do SEO with just content? Yes, I really think you can. There are tons of things to consider obviously, not just writing something. It needs to be presented well, it needs to be found, it needs to be helpful, and it needs to be shareable.