mikepcservice

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Has anyone here ever tried only one of those two options, if yes, was it successful please? Reason asking is I know SEO people who don't do any blogging [only backlinking] and they have success but haven't found anyone yet who got good rankings based on fresh content alone.
 
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If you really were limited to only one, then I’d focus on content. As @Colan Nielsen mentioned, great content with no links can rank depending on how competitive the market is, but crap content with lots of links will have a harder time ranking. Ideally, you’ll just do both. Create great content, then get some links to it.

mikepcservice

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Thanks Colan. My research on word count over the years has shown many different numbers. Yes, I understand that the more the "quality" content the better the chances. For you guys here, what's the minimum word count advised to rank please? My research has shown 350 words.
 

Colan Nielsen

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We don't put a ton of thought into specific numbers around word count. I think that takes away from more important considerations such as making sure that the content is fantastic, and it's broken up into sections that make it easy to read.

After that I would be thinking more about things like internal linking, well crafted title tags and meta descriptions, schema..etc
 

JeffClevelandTN

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Hi Mike, I personally think they go hand in hand. If you have great content, eventually it will be indexed and it will get backlinks on its own, but it typically is slow as it will be organic backlink growth. If you have a citation/backlink campaign and don't have any quality content, it won't be as effective from a SERP standpoint. Totally agree with Colan on the level of competition though. For example, if there is an acupuncture business with very little to no competition, then it won't take much of either.

For a super quick answer to your question, you may want to watch this youtube video, with three Platinum Level Experts (Joy, Ben, and Jason):
I'd suggest watching the whole thing, but in regards to your question, you can skip to 39:50 where Joy and Ben talk about backlinks/citations impact.

Then if you want a more detailed case study that pretty much exactly answers your question, watch this youtube video from Darren Shaw @whitespark from MozCon:
 

whitespark

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If you really were limited to only one, then I’d focus on content. As @Colan Nielsen mentioned, great content with no links can rank depending on how competitive the market is, but crap content with lots of links will have a harder time ranking. Ideally, you’ll just do both. Create great content, then get some links to it.
 
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studentoflife

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I’m gonna throw a wrench into this. I believe Mike is talking about local SEO for small businesses, like PC repair services and contractors.

These businesses generally don’t get very good links, nor top quality content. A blogger might be able to write great articles on plumbing to the whole world, but that’s not going to help with local SEO. The plumbing contractor is going to have to depend on his services pages and landing pages, etc. And in that case, fantastic content isn’t a reality.

Wouldn’t on page SEO like Colin mentioned earlier be the top priority for local small businesses?

When setting up something like a personal injury attorneys website, you wouldn’t be putting what google considers high-quality content on it like you would if it was an article made for nationwide readership. You would be putting up professionally written sales pitches on the site, right?
 
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whitespark

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Oh, I guess I should clarify what I mean by content. I think that the typical 400-600 word blog post is a useless waste of time for most small businesses. The content you should invest time into is the content on your services pages. Make sure you have a page for every service and every sub-service the business offers and absolutely go to town on those pages. Tons of content on how they perform the service, why they’re particularly good at it, frequently asked questions, customer testimonials, employee profiles and quotes, case studies, excellent images, well structured breakdown with headings and bullet points, stats, etc. These pages need to be the best pages in your city on the topic.

It’s easy to find inspiration for these pages. Just look around at the top rank pages in the local organic results in other cities. You’ll see how they’re creating pages that rank and the type of content they put on these pages.

Revisit the pages a couple of times per year and look for new things to add and tweaks to make.

THIS is the content worth focusing your time on. These are the pages. If you have an idea for the “top 10 x for service”, don’t make it a blog post. Put that content on the service page.
 

studentoflife

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Thank you Darren, not only was that very informative but it’s also inspiring.

One question

Make sure you have a page for every service and every sub-service the business offers and absolutely go to town on those pages.
So for something like an electrician it would be OK to make 30 or 40 different service pages for each different task that they provide, and it wouldn’t be considered spammy? Or is there some limit?

And would it be advisable to make multiple unique service pages for tasks that they really want to promote?
 

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mikepcservice

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Yeah guys, I am forced to move away from PC Repair due to the State of things here in NY since Covid which I had hoped would get better but still the same today.

As my Exterminator told me, not only is the lack of repair jobs due to lack of income from many people in NY but also because these people now have no choice but to try to learn and fix their pc's on their own. What else do they have to do with their time now in any case?

Luckily I have had SEO success with a local Serviceman here for more than 3 years now and with web design but I had never gone full fledged into those fields before. However, now with all of my spare time since no repair jobs I have been looking into every detail of Local SEO to try to master the craft as it were and try to make a career out of it.

So this is why I have been asking all of these many questions learning from you experienced Pro's here and creating my own tutorial form the answers I have been getting from each of you guys here [THANK YOU!!].

@studentoflife and Jeff, you both are correct and I don't think Jeff was "scolding" anyone, he was just asking for clarity. :)
 

whitespark

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So for something like an electrician it would be OK to make 30 or 40 different service pages for each different task that they provide, and it wouldn’t be considered spammy? Or is there some limit?

Totally fine. Would not be spammy and there is no limit.

In general, if you want to rank for a term, make a page for it.

And would it be advisable to make multiple unique service pages for tasks that they really want to promote?

Like, 3 different pages for a topic like “residential electrical rewiring”? No, just one page per service or sub-service.
 

mikepcservice

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Oh, I guess I should clarify what I mean by content. I think that the typical 400-600 word blog post is a useless waste of time for most small businesses. The content you should invest time into is the content on your services pages.
Ok but I am thinking once google crawls a page the first time then it will be the same content each and every time thereafter no? Therefore the frequent blogs will be the only way to add fresh and updated content in order to continue ranking?
 

djbaxter

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Ok but I am thinking once google crawls a page the first time then it will be the same content each and every time thereafter no? Therefore the frequent blogs will be the only way to add fresh and updated content in order to continue ranking?
It doesn't hurt but it also may not be necessary.

Today's Google is about answering searchers' questions. If older content which has not been updated answers common questions, that's great. It doesn't need to always be recent "fresh" content.

The most accessed and linked to content on my main site is a post I wrote in June 2018 which provides solutions to an annoying and pesky problem in some versions of Microsoft Outlook. Why does it continue to rank so high after three years? Because it is a common problem and it tells people how to resolve that problem. It doesn't need to be updated because what worked in June 2018 still works.
 

mikepcservice

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LOVE this post djBaxter, thank you!

What you've written is very accurate for I too have noticed this regarding a few older blogs for my client. I better understand now what Whitespark [thanks!] has been saying.

I guess I was focusing too much on "fresh content" as that was what I kept seeing on the net being recommended by a lot of marketers.
 

cfazio

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I have been ranking off of content strategy alone. As a handful of small local medical clinics, backlinks are nearly impossible. Owners do not want to pay hundreds for guest posts, and lnikbuilding outreach is futile - people only want cutting edge medical studies etc - stuff a primary care provider / chiropractor / physical therapist is just not doing.

For "primary care physician" and related keywords we are now ranking like #3-8 in local organic (no map pack for "primary care" - insane).

About 6 months ago we had no primary care content... now it is a solid primary care service page, with sub service pages for all of the primary care specialties (annual physicals, pap smears, blood testing, etc), and at the bottom we have a FAQ section based on the "people also ask" for our money primary care keywords. Each question has a short digestible answer, with a link to the long form blog post on the same topic.

Watched it go slowly from not ranked to top 8 positions over a few months, content alone. Some of the articles are now accumulating links ... but not quality ones so doubt it has much of an effect.
 

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