The three most important things for SEO are content, content, and content. To drive that point home, Brafton has put together an infographic that should be hanging on the wall of every marketing department. The “Why Content for SEO?” infographic looks at the effect of Google Panda and how content is converting searches to sales.

Paid links? Not so effective these days. According to Brafton’s Katherine Griwert, the forecast is sunny for social signals and not so good for paid links.

Panda Loves Quality Content

One of the best points of the infographic is an illustration of a content marketing strategy that focuses on content for SEO, plus notes on the timeline that show Google’s Panda updates. Griwert says that the site published posts to its blog daily, using a consistent keyword strategy. The campaign started around the same time as Google’s first Panda update, and it saw organic traffic climbing over four-week intervals. Says Griwert, “Building its site with high-quality content has helped the business boost its number of referring keywords by more than 150 percent in the past eight months.”

The keys to good content? According to Google Fellow Amit Singhal, the four factors to consider are:

  • Provide original content or information, original reporting, research or analysis.
  • Content needs quality control.
  • Content should provide complete and comprehensive coverage of the topic.
  • The content should be something you’d want to share, recommend or bookmark.

The last point is important. Search engines are starting to factor in social signals like Google’s “+1” and Facebook likes for Bing. Only 1% of B2B marketing folks say that the impact of social signals has been negative, whereas 44% say it’s positive.

The effect on sales is impressive, according to Griwert’s piece, with 60% of business decision makers cited as making product decisions based on “branded content.” And 57% of marketers say that new customers have come in via company blogs.

The infographic draws on MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Search Marketing SEO Edition report, SEOMoz’s 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors and information from Google’s guidance on Panda, among others.