This is a message that can’t possibly be repeated often enough: Good content trumps SEO. Don’t believe me? Fair enough, but how about the head of Google’s webspam team? In a short video today on Google’s Webmaster Central Channel, Cutts answers a question about SEO practices and whether “poor” sites with bad SEO are penalized by Google.
Reassuringly, no. Cutts dispels the idea that sites that don’t validate well will be dinged by Google despite good content. “Just because somebody dots every i and crosses every t and gets all their HTML structure right, doesn’t mean that it’s good content.”
“Even if you do brain-dead stupid things and shoot yourself in the foot, but have good content, we still want to return it,” says Cutts. In fact, Cutts says that Google tries to make it so that sites “don’t have to do SEO.” First and foremost is content, and there’s no bonus for having good SEO.
So if you’re planning that 2012 site budget, you might want to think twice about hiring that SEO expert and find a content expert instead.