I’m surprised at the number of SEO’s that get stumped on this question. It doesn’t take that much research to figure out the answer. A quick search on Google for competitive keyword and we learn that it’s all about links pointing to our website and not necessarily the content of our website.
If you check out the keyword computers, you’ll find that both the number 1 and 2 search results (which are Dell and Apple) didn’t use the keyword computers anywhere on their page. This leads me to believe that on-site optimization means very little when it comes to ranking for competitive search terms if this was not true then we could just put the keyword computers on our page and outrank both Dell and Apple.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that on-site optimization should be ignored, but what I am saying is that if you’re going after a competitive keyword, then spend some time on off-site optimization.
Now I know a lot of people are going to say just write good content and people will link to it, while this might happen from time to time it’s not always the case. Some of the best content I’ve ever seen doesn’t have any links pointing at.
However, with the onset of content management systems, on-site optimization is becoming more important. You see with every page we add to our website we are also adding page rank, if we funnel that page rank correctly through our website it will help us rank internal pages by controlling the flow of the link juice.
So I guess in reality on and off-site SEO is extremely important when trying to make a living online.