Quality vs. Quantity – Which is More Important for SEO?

If you have a set marketing budget, you’re often faced with a difficult choice:

  • Do you hire the lowest cost provider and receive dozens of articles that are of questionable quality and originality?
  • Do you hire the best possible writer, but know that you’re getting much fewer articles than you could receive?

The Quality vs. Quantity debate is a complicated one. You would think that quality is more important, but quantity does play an incredible role in search engine rank. Search engines want to know that your website has depth, and the best way to give it depth is to have multiple pages of content filling your site. Adding only a few pages doesn’t accomplish this goal.

Quality vs. Quantity

So the best way to examine the issue is to look at the pros and cons of both. For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume that “quality” is not subjective, and that “quantity” is written by writers whose native language is not English.

Pros of Quality Only

  • Algorithm – Search engine algorithms are trained to recognize quality. They use a formula generated by reading millions of books and articles to find pages that are well written and expected to answer the search engine query. Your page will compare favorably to other pages with similar keywords and content, and in some cases may be rewarded for quality writing.
  • Visitor Value – Quality provides the visitor with value. It’s one thing for someone to find your website. It’s another to have them want to stay. Poor quality means that as soon as a visitor sees your site, they’re likely to be scared off immediately. Quality immedaitely starts a relationship with the visitor that makes them want to use your services.
  • Incoming Links – Incoming links are still a part of building a great website, and quality websites are much more likely to have natural incoming links from those that want to share your information with others. No one links to poor quality articles except for poor quality sites, and since links are important for SEO, quality pages are simply of greater value.
  • Future – Every year, Google and other search engines make a number of changes to their search engine algorithms in order to improve results. It is highly unlikely that poor quality articles will ever experience a “bump” as a result of these changes, and are likely to be punished. Quality articles are also a way of planning for the future.

Pros of Quantity Only

  • More Pages – Search engines like websites with many pages. As long as the content is unique (which you cannot guarantee with low quality writers), having hundreds of pages with different content is extremely valuable. Every page you add to a site has the potential to boost your search engine rank a small amount, so adding hundreds of pages may give you an added boost you couldn’t get otherwise.
  • Regular Updates – Hundreds of pages also allows you to regularly update your site over time. Search engines like to see that your site changes and gets updated as needed. It’s not a necessity, but it is a benefit.
  • Keywords – More pages also means more opportunities for keywords. Now, the catch here is that low quality writers often don’t use natural sounding keywords, and the pages themselves are often punished by Google to the point of receiving no benefit. But more content means more words, and more words means more opportunities for natural long tail keywords.

How to Decide Which is Right?

Ideally, you want to use a combination of quality and quantity, like you get with Great Leap Studios. But let’s assume that you can only choose one. Which do you choose?

That depends a great deal on your product, your service, and your future marketing budget. If you have an affiliate marketing website or a website that makes money on ads, rather than products and services, and you never have another dollar to invest in the site in the future, then quantity may actually be more valuable. That’s because your website is a “one and done” site that doesn’t need to start relationships and is selling what is likely a “spammy” product or service. Building a fast and enormous website with your limited budget may be more valuable than investing in fewer pages of better content, because your ability to succeed is largely based on luck.

But as expected, for all other websites quality is still better. Any website that involves attracting business on site requires articles that others will want to read. Any business that will have more of a budget in the future doesn’t need to worry about adding more pages now, and should focus on creating quality pages with what money they have on hand. And any company that wants to ensure they rank ahead of competitors for important keywords rather than getting lucky on long tail keywords needs their site to be comparable to those of competitors.

Quantity is important – more important than others give it credit for – and there are even a few website types that can benefit from low quality content. But, as expected, quality still holds the edge, so any company that has a limited budget should strongly consider going the more expensive but higher quality route.