SEO Priority: Content or Backlinks?

If you have a website that is supposed to deliver new leads, phone calls and emails but you’re not getting the performance or ROI that you need, you have two SEO priorities to consider.

2 Top SEO priorities are:

  1. New and/or optimized content for your website
  2. A backlink campaign that will reach out to related websites and blogs in hopes of gaining links to your website.

Before you can decide what SEO priorities to work on, you will need to have access to a reporting system which includes your website analytics. The most common source for data you require are:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • Google AdWords
  • Google My Business

Many web design companies create the above accounts for businesses when they build a website. There are two ways the above accounts can be accessed by the business owner.

  1. As the owner
  2. As the manager

If you log into your google email account, you will be able to navigate to the primary Google services by going to the urls here and then confirming that you are the OWNER:

Check the user management screen for each service, you will see what type of user you are designated as. Please ensure you are ‘owner’ of the account. There are many reasons to ensure you or your company is the owner, Complete this task before reading further.

Excellent, now that your first assignment is complete and you have complete control of your website data, determine what your primary keyword phrases are by reviewing your Google Analytics, AdWords  and Google Search Console.

When reviewing the data you will need to understand several key terms.

  • Impressions – impressions in AdWords are slightly different than in Google Search Console and Analytics. An AdWords impression is a view of your ad on Google or its’ partner websites whereby your ad appeared on a screen. An impression in Google Search Console is counted when a search takes place that triggers your listing to appear. (even if your website was not seen by the actual person completing the search)
  • Clicks – A click is counted when your listing or ad is clicked by a real person
  • Conversion – A digital marketing conversion is the act of a website visitor completing a website goal you that you have created. The goal may be a visit to a specific page, a download, or sign up. Conversion and goal tracking for websites can be set up in Google AdWords and in Google Analytics.
  • Click Through Rate (CTR) –The amount of people that view your ad or listing divided by the number of people who click your ad or listing. This example would be a 10 percent conversion rate expressed as: 100/10 = 10%

How to prioritize your SEO

Many studies have been completed and prove the importance of both, content and Backlinks to your website. If you feel you have both of these SEO activities completed but your site still does not rank on the ‘First Page’, you may  conclude that you have more work to do. Here is how to decide to target a new onsite development project or a Backlink campaign.

  • Target the correct keywords. There are many online studies and tutorials for how to complete keyword research. Complete your own keyword research before going farther. This is a really important step.

Review your own website Content against your competitors.

  • Complete competitor research. Google your top five primary keyword phrases and note, on a spreadsheet, where you rank and where your top competitors rank. (five competitors will be adequate to begin)
  • Compare your content with that of your top five competitors. Consider your competitors website menus, visit each and every page, review how much text and how many videos they have. You can get very technical about how you review the content but you do not need to unless your backlinks and your content levels are very similar. Do your competitors have call to actions, booking apps or calendars embedded? Do they have a blog? How many posts and how often do they blog? Do they have multiple locations with a separate page for each location and team pages with a page for each team member? Are there numerous testimonies? There are many creative ways to create content and your goal is to have more website content than your competitors and better quality content. This is not just an exercise in creating text on a page that will be crammed with keywords. No! This is about creating the best user experience in your market niche.
  • Determine if your website is trustworthy. If you were a customer, would you provide your personal information? Would you fill out the contact form or are there images that are not loading and videos that do not function correctly. Does your website have a security lock showing in the address bar or is it still non https and therefore not secure? Does your website contain ‘trust features’? Is there a sitemap, website search button, shipping information, terms and conditions page and a privacy page?

Backlinks and Competitive Research

  1. Go to and apply for a guest account. Be sure to use the website address that is the site you are optimizing. It takes literally 60 seconds to open a SEO Profiler guest account and by opening this account you will have access to many tools for SEO research. I do not get paid for mentioning this SEO tool. L
  2. Once you have logged into your new SEO account, look to the menu on the left, find ‘Link Profiler’ click it, then click Backlinks which is the first menu item in the drop down.
  3. Review the links that show as backlinks for your site. There are three items that you need to be aware of:
    • Number of links- number of links to your site is a nice indicator but is not very relevant because one website that adds your link to a sidebar in another website may provide hundreds of links to your site. Most SEO’s have agreed that it is actually better to just have one or two links from any given domain instead of hundreds of links from the same domain.
    • Number of domains linking to your website- while on the ‘Backlinks’ page in SEO Profiler, near the top of the page you will see the filter with a number of variables that allow you to search for backlinks. View the bottom right area where it says “Show only unique domains.’ And when you find that, put a checkmark in the check box. And then click the green ‘filter links’ button to view how many domains as opposed to how many links.
    • Link Influence Score (LIS)Often, websites with a few backlinks rank better than a website with many backlinks. This presumably occurs due to the influence of the websites linking to you. For example, it is better for a government website to link to you than a new website talking about an unrelated topic in a different country linking to you. By clicking the ? beside any of the items listed in this SEO program, you will see the description of its content and how a metric is calculated. If you click the ? beside LIS, you will see that a low LIS is does not mean a website is bad, it only helps one to understand what websites to target in your back link campaign.
  4. Now that you see how many backlinks your site has earned, review the backlinks of your competitors by inputting the competitor website address into the same backlinks page that you just viewed your links on. Click the ‘Get Backlink Data’ button and you now will have all the backlink data of your competitors!
  5. Note the websites that link to your competitors and review those websites to determine what pages have potential to link to your website. For example, if one of the pages on a website links to two of your competitors because the competitor websites have information that is helpful to visitors, then write your own content that would be helpful to the same people. Now, contact the website that links to your competitors and ask them to link to your new content. If you provide valuable content, it is much easier to get links to your website.

A note on Social media as backlinks. Many folks think that by sharing website content on social media, they are getting backlinks. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Social networking has many rewards and can be an effective way to accomplish specific digital marketing goals and if you’re real lucky, have your own content go viral. Social networking simply is not a way to get backlinks. Backlinks are real company websites and blogs that link to your website. Backlink campaigns do not include social networking or viral campaigns. That is another subject.


You have determined the correct Keywords for your market niche.

You have evaluated your content to see if it is providing a great user experience.

You have used a free tool to quickly research your competitors backlinks and evaluated to see how your backlinks score in relation to your competitors.

Now, determine whether your content is weaker than your competitors more so than your backlinks and work on the obvious. If both areas are really weak, I suggest you work on the content. It has been said, Content IS King!