Backlinks vs SEO – What’s More Important?

  • Comments: 4
  • Written on: December 22nd, 2007

When you build a new website there are two ways to convince search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN to rank you in a high position in the search results for a particular term.

But what is more important? A properly constructed and SEO’d page, or a horde of backlinks “voting” for your website?

The Experiment

About 10 days ago I made a mistake that allowed me to find out the hard way. I had designed an optimized website at and then used a number of techniques (including this $1,800 contest) to build lots of backlinks.

The results of my efforts placed that URL in the #1 search result for the term “Secret Classroom” – even ahead of Joel Comm’s Until I messed it all up…..

At the same time I was working on the website, I was also working on a church website for a client. I accidentally uploaded the church’s index page over the top of the index page and left it there for an entire day before I noticed!

The Result

Of course, that was the one day that Google decided to re-index the page, and BOOM, just like that I dropped from #1 to #580 in the search results.

As soon as I noticed my mistake, I immediately changed the page back and watched eagerly for Google to come back for a second pass. A day later G did, and now I come in at an annoying #8.

The Conclusion

So the moral of the story is that page construction and SEO techniques can help get your page ranked highly at the onset, and keep it near the top. Backlinks can help push you up higher and higher – all the way to number one over time.

But content is still king, and if G thinks your page is not related to the search term, you won’t rank. Its that simple.

Focus on your content and your SEO techniques, and once you have done everything you can with that then start working on backlinks. You can have all of the backlinks in the world, but if you don’t have a good foundation in the search engines, you won’t get ranked anywere near the top spot.

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