This is a timeless question: Are links or keywords more important?
Before I answer it, I want to discuss briefly the importance of each one and tell why I think they are each individually important.
Keywords are content. Content is king. Without content on your blog or website, you cannot hope to rank in the search engines. Keywords are definitely what make that happen. But can you do it on keywords alone?
It seems that it is becoming much more difficult to rely on content alone to achieve great rankings. It’s not that it can’t be done – it can, and still is done by people who know how to write excellent website content. But it takes longer now than it used to and there is usually more competition, but that depends on your niche. Nevertheless, keywords and content are the first step to achieving rankings.
But what about links? Can you achieve high rankings without links? Yes, you can. But should you? No, probably not.
While links to a content with no website might temporarily get you a listing, once the search engines discover that your site has no content then you will likely lose your rankings. Inbound links have been known to influence rankings in uncanny ways. Link bombs and various other linking schemes have been used to artificially boost web pages so I wouldn’t recommend those approaches. But a good, solid link building campaign can take a well-optimized website and give it a boost. Think of a fast car with a fuel projection system. You may not need the fuel projection system to go fast, but if you have a fast car and add the jet fuel projector then you’ll certainly get a boost on the freeway.
That’s what true SEO should look like. Your job as webmaster of your site is to write excellent content that uses keywords well enough to get you good rankings on their own, then add the fuel projection system of link building to the equation and watch your site do even better.
Learn more about SEO copywriting from Small Business Mavericks.