Fresh content versus quality backlinks

question_markLately I’ve been wondering what Google favors more – fresh, unique content or quality (PR 4 or higher) backlinks.

There’s oceans of people that are on either side of the argument.  Some say it’s best to have lots of one-way backlinks from respected, authority sites.  Others say it’s best to be constantly adding new, unique content.

Personally I think both are useful in their own way.  But the nerd inside of me wants to figure out the “magic formula”.  Should I spend 50% of my time on each, or 80% on content and 20% on backlinks?  It’s quite the quandary.

So I’ve decided to perform a test.  The parameters and execution of the test won’t be perfect, as there’s only one of me and I’m not a robot.  But nevertheless, I’m hoping it can provide some useful insight into this problem.

Here’s what I aim to do:

  • Site A (CONTENT)

    • Niche topic to be determined
    • A subdomain of an existing generically-named domain that I own (primary keyword subdomain name, with “A” on the end)
    • WordPress template with all SEO-related plugins activated
    • Initial content will be 2 or 3 posts, keyword-rich, appropriately tagged
    • After indexed by Google, I’ll add one new article a day for a month
    • Each article will use the keywords that I’m targeting
  • Site B (BACKLINKS)
    • Same subdomain setup as Site A, but with “B” on the end
    • Same WordPress setup
    • Same initial content, but each post rewritten to be unique
    • After indexed by Google, I’ll add one high-PR backlink a day for a month
    • No new posts

Sounds like fun, eh?   Does anyone have a prediction on which site will rank higher with Google at the end of the month?

Poll: Which does Google favor more?

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6 comments for “Fresh content versus quality backlinks

  1. Speedster
    June 27, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Hay Kane! I think this is a great idea. I’ve wondered the same thing myself. Keep us posted, yo.

    • Reba01231
      June 27, 2009 at 8:23 am

      I agree! Although I’m not sure if your test is ideal…like is it fair to only post 1 backlink per day on Site B? And how many words will you be putting into your unique posts on Site A?

  2. 1q2w3e
    June 27, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Good plan. My vote is on fresh content (Site A). I’ve noticed that quite often doFollow high PR backlinks never show up on Google Webmaster Tools or Yahoo Site Explorer. I have no idea why???

  3. David
    July 23, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Googles Matt Cutts said google will not show all backlinks ever. And I would honestly say that BOTH fresh content and quality backlinks are equally important.

    • June 23, 2010 at 2:13 am

      I perfectly agree with David. I’ve been blogging for quite some time now (2006) and I have about almost 400 posts. Some posts that I worked very hard at didn’t get squat for traffic.

      Like absolutely zero.

      Surprisingly, my garbage posts were the ones that got Google’s attention and apparently somebody posted links, then they’ve been on rank 1 on google for almost 2 years now.

      Until I decided to buy a domain where my PR dropped to 0 after reaching 4.

      My noobie mistake.

  4. March 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Google only show a percentage of the backlinks for any site, the main reason for this is to stop web masters bascially knowing how many links they need to build in order to get to #1 in Google.

    As for links showing in webmaster tools, the blog may not have been indexed recently, link may have been removed? comment not approved? webmaster tools just crap(most likely cause)

    Back to this little test…

    we can do the test on what will get you to number 1, content or links..

    just Google up.. Click Here

    probably not the definative test you want but gives you a good indication. PR links are not so important for SERPS.. I did tests of my own once and here is what I found..

    Page content – useless you can use anchor text links on non related content sites and still improve rankings. (may change if Google decides)

    Backlink PR – Good if you want to improve you Page PR but not essential in climbing the SERPS (PR = Page rank not Site rank all articles in directories are actually PR0!)

    Blog commenting – effective on .edu or .gov sites still do not seem as “effective”

    Fresh content – New pages will keep Googlebot comming back, and fresh daily content will only improve your SERPS if you link internally.. (IE if you have 1000 webpages that all point back to your home page using a nice bread crumb anchor text link you could find yourself ranking rather well there)

    One thing that I am yet to truly work out is the keyword density, I managed to get a hub ranked on page one for Search Engine Optimization (broad match) for around a day but the page seems to have “dissapeared” although its still in the index.. I am waiting to see if it raises its head again and settle down.. One thing I do know is Keyword density seems to be playing a “larger role” in the ranking process it once did, however this is most likely down the the LSI Keyword and ranking according to keyword relationships… (either that or I am more of a nerd and like doing confusing things for no reason!)

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