Is Content Really King?

There are a number ways to get your website more visibility: higher search engine rankings, interesting content, pay per click, affiliate marketing and social media. These are all great ways of increasing traffic and most large organizations touch on every mentioned online marketing method. The method I’ve been thinking of lately is having fantastic content; what effect it has on my other online marketing channels and if a site can succeed solely on content to earn it the title of, “Content is King”.

Content is Only King if What You’re Promoting is Actually Interesting

Unless you’re The Oatmeal or you have a huge following like Apple, you might want to reconsider having your main online marketing strategy as content generation and distribution. To have people come to your website because they truly want to, you need to be interesting and provide entertaining or helpful content. “Content is King” is only true when you have a large following or when your content is constantly engaging.

Sites where content truly is king include: (personal favorite), The Oatmeal,, The Onion, TechCrunch and of course the huge sites like Facebook and YouTube.

Great Content Equals Better Search Engine Rankings?

From an SEO perspective, it’s obvious that having a blog on your website with constant fresh content is a good thing; no argument there. However, just because you post plenty of good content, doesn’t mean your rankings are going to improve directly because of that. Unless your analytics show that your content piece is receiving high levels of search traffic, you cannot directly attribute great search engine rankings because you are a great writer, designer or programmer. But remember, having fresh new content on your site for the search engines to index is just one of hundreds of great ranking factors for the search engines. So, what kind of value does great content have on your overall search engine rankings? My opinion: insignificant considering other methods like onsite optimization and link building.

How Will Great Content Actually Benefit Me?

It all depends on your industry. If you have a website that is funny and people come to you because they actually want to, you don’t really need to do anything other than keep being awesome and posting original content.

If your industry is uneventful or boring to the general public, or you are an informational website or in an industry where no defined market leader has been established, you may want to reconsider focusing your efforts in content, and pursue other online marketing channels like SEO, PPC and social media for a more substantial ROI.

My Business or Industry isn’t Exactly Exciting, How Can I Utilize Content Marketing?

If you can’t drive traffic to your website because of your industry or product, promoting content and linkbait through social media will be your best friend. Using Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Reddit or Digg to get your content in front people’s eyes is just about the only alternative if you’re site can’t do it on its own.

How Will I know if People think my Product or Industry is Interesting?

Are there major discussions, forums or blogs talking about your industry? For example, SEOmoz, a popular SEO resource is popular because they publish interesting articles, helpful tools and have a community of people with the same interests. They’re successful because of great content that appeals to a wide audience and as such, they’re a household name to those in the Internet Marketing industry.

Do you disagree? I think great content is a must, but saying “Content is King” in a general sense might be going too far. Please, leave a comment and get a discussion going. I’d love to know what you think based on your experiences.

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    • Kevin Phelps says

      That is exactly right. You need to balance the different aspects of marketing to assure conversion. SEO/PPC will get you the visitors, but it’s also important to have great content to improve conversion.

  1. Gareth says

    Content on its own is not enough. It is just one piece of the puzzle. To say that content is all one needs is like saying that the most important thing needed for human life is air, and relegate water and sunlight as being less important.

    So, perhaps (in light of the previous comments), one can say that relevant content is essential, but not King. Or it is one of the Kings who share the throne?

  2. Claye Stokes says

    Good discussion!

    To add my $0.02:

    Best content = content so interesting/ valuable/ noteworthy/ impressive/ etc. in nature that it creates conversation, links, and attention.

    …which makes content strategy the best link building strategy.

  3. Steven TRACY says

    Content becomes king only when optimized for the keyword phrases people are searching for in order that the search engines index your content as being relevant to a quiery.

    Content becomes King when it’s originallity starts a buzz

    From there you start linkbuilding, getting interest and notoriety

    So, yes content is King.

    Without original, interesting content, you can do all the linkbuilding, PPC, social media etc. you want
    You’ll get nowhere

    The internet is an answer to a question

    The more relevant the content is to a question, the more popular you get

    It’s that simple. isn’t it ?

    • Kevin Phelps says

      I’m not saying relevant content that helps conversion isn’t a great thing. I’m saying, relying solely on great content to achieve search engine rankings isn’t realistic in almost all cases.

      • Steven TRACY says

        Yes I understood you loud and clear

        Your title question is “Is content really King ?”

        The answer on my opinion is “Yes content is King”

        Content is the foundation to reach top positions on search engines.

        So what is the most impotant ?

        Ranking or position ?

        And does a website with great ranking necessarilly obtain good positions on the search engines or does ranking just mean that you have a bunch of backlinks pointing to your website wich make you look popular to search engines ?

        By the way, check out

        I used it with success, and it’s all about the mix of content, linking, social marketing, buzz etc. to reach top positions.

        Great optimised content does not mean search engine rankings

        it means good search engine positions

        So, of course, on a writer’s or a journalistic point of vieuw, tne rich content they may publish will not reach top positions most of the time because not SEO optimised

        Wich is what you are pointing out

  4. Ben says

    Content is important, but there are so many other factors despite the fact that many of them have been downplayed.

  5. Lisa says

    Content is especially important in getting visitors to come back to your site and linking back to you, this last one being the best SEO effect for your site.

  6. David says

    Great post. I am often trying to implement better in-bound link strategies. Do you have ideas about this with regard to a B-2-B website?

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