Glen Stanberry makes the following, easily misunderstood point in his article:
SEO is mostly, if anything, misunderstood. The things that are really important-like creating powerful content-are often overlooked. Meanwhile the things that are trivial in the grand scheme of things-keyword density, for example-are hotly debated.
That's actually quite true. Creating content that people want to link to is exactly how you get SEO right. Unfortunately, his point is easily misunderstood, even by himself! He concludes:
Now-more than ever-content is king. If you take care of the content, the search engines will take care of you.
And, he makes a further comment:
Great content gets you like 95% of the way. The advanced, fiddly tactics are for the other 5%.
It's a seductive idea, one that most tech product guys fall prey to, at least in their first business. I'll let Patrick McKenzie conclude, in the HN comments:
File this away next to "A good product is 95% of marketing" and other patently untrue things engineers like to believe.
Quality content and linkable content, for example, are not coextensive sets. You could write the world's best guide ever to cross-stitching school uniforms (did I just make that up?) and you'd get less links than DHH gets for not cursing during a Rails keynote. If you're doing SEO and you haven't figured out that linking behavior is very different in different audiences, I'm as worried for your future as I would be for a salesman who was doing high-touch enterprise software sales for rooms full of third graders.
If you read this far, you should follow me on twitter here.