Let me say up front that search engine optimization matters. I get it, really I do. The question we should ask is can SEO be trumped?
I ran into two great articles recently that drive this issue home in a meaningful way. The first was called “The Art of Creating a Social Media Press Release” by Maddie Grant. Maddie discusses a recent talk she attended that talked about how to write great press releases, but she went far beyond what she learned at the conference and showed how “old school” press releases don’t cut it. Today’s media are way more savvy. They understand blogs and RSS. What they are looking for is great content – as she puts it – today’s best press releases look an awful lot like blogs.
What’s this got to do with SEO? It highlights an important point. You might be able to drive traffic to your site with great SEO, but if people get to your site and they don’t have much to look at, you’ve lost. The other side of the coin is equally important. Maybe you have great content, but if people can’t find you, it will not matter. You have to be balanced in your approach. But in the long run, if I were to invest a lot of time and money toward one of the two site features, I’d go with content every time. Great content will create a long tail, a trail back to your site that will inevitably drive traffic to your site anyway (and for the right reasons).
Mitch Joel discusses this same issue in his post, “Search Engine Optimization Vs. Social Media Optimization.” Joel’s article is a must read for anyone that is building websites or is creating content for a site. What it comes down to is creating great content for people and building trusting relationships. Creating content for search engines is a waste of time.
One of the best books on this issue is David Meerman Scott’s book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” (amazon affiliate link).