SEO and content marketing share many of the same goals—increase visibility, engage the audience, and convert. But just under the surface, tensions have been simmering. Not between SEOs and content marketers but between parties on both sides that advocate for quantity over quality, and vice versa. It turns out that content creation for SEO is a divisive subject.

At the heart of the debate: is it better for brands to have more content … or better content? In a perfect world, we’d all work in harmony to effortlessly move our brands up the search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive traffic to top-notch, killer content. In the real world, we know that kind of quantity and quality require an enormous amount of time—and an equally enormous budget. The loudest voices on each side of the argument believe their method is best for rising to the top of SEO rankings, but which one will prevail? Keep reading to find out.

Content creation for SEO: current trends

Just as in any industry, trends come and go in both SEO and content marketing. A few years back, it was popular to mass-produce landing pages, with the thinking that it offered more ways to get users onto a website. Google eventually wised up and began penalizing sites for poor user experience and scammy navigation. 

Today, with increasing competition in nearly every industry, brands often feel the pressure to push out more content to get seen and move up in SERPs. Here are some of the current trends impacting both SEO and content marketing:

  • Google’s AI Overview is the new Position Zero: Every aspect of the marketing industry is feeling the impact of AI, and SEO is no exception. Google recently went public with its “AI Overview and More” feature, which uses artificial intelligence to source a complete answer to a user’s search query from multiple sites, which are linked in boxes below each featured snippet.
    • This is expected to increase zero-click searches and could potentially reduce click-thrus and traffic, so brands will need to give users a reason to visit their site and keep reading.
  • Increased competition means ranking is harder: It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and if you aren’t ranking on the first page, you may as well be on the last. In fact, less than 1% of all web users click a link beyond page one.
    • With more and more brands hitting the market and pushing out more in-depth content, you might be finding that it’s hard to keep up and stand out.
  • More SEO and content tools make everybody an “expert”: Why pay money for more content when you can have AI write it for you? Why hire an SEO consultant when keyword research tools are available to anyone?
    • It’s worth noting that while these tools can be a great support to your SEO or content marketing strategy, they can’t replace the experience and knowledge of a legitimate expert.

Content and SEO quality or quantity: which matters more?

The answer to whether SEO and content quality or quantity are more important all depends on who you ask. Some SEOs might be more inclined to say that quantity matters more, but it isn’t fair to paint them with such a broad stroke. Ultimately, SEO professionals and content marketers are both working tirelessly to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing industry. 

To survive and thrive, they need to stay on top of what the market demands. Right now, that’s content. A lot of content. Current studies show that blog frequency is a contributing factor to SEO performance and organic traffic, with data indicating that 16 or more blogs are needed every month for maximum impact.

At the same time, search engines like Google are launching updates at a rapid pace, constantly changing the rules of the game. As mentioned, it used to be that more landing pages = more traffic.

Now we know that it isn’t just about getting the most users to your site—it’s about getting the right users there. And more than that, it’s about delivering them a smooth and positive experience.

If you’re a brand just trying to keep up and even grow in this landscape, it’s enough to make your head spin. Because, at the end of the day, content creation for SEO isn’t really about quantity versus quality. It’s about how you make time (and budget) for both.

Prioritizing quantity in content creation for SEO: The downsides

Let’s say you come down on the side of those who believe more is better. Can you have too much content creation for SEO impact? Here’s why focusing on pushing out the most content isn’t always the best for your brand:

It takes an enormous amount of time

On average, crafting an original blog post takes copywriters five to six hours. If you aim to publish 16+ articles a month, that adds up to 80–96 hours spent just on blog writing, which doesn’t even begin to account for other content types, like landing pages, emails, social posts, or long-form lead magnets. 

Also, consider that as competition increases, the demand for content does, too. Many brands are shifting their goals to publish new content every day. Some are even creating new content multiple times a day.

It’s impossible for small teams to keep up

That means that new or growing brands without huge internal marketing teams or powerhouse agencies behind them won’t be able to compete. It simply isn’t feasible to create brand-new content at that rate without a team of dedicated copywriters. That also does not include the work that’s involved in brainstorming, planning, editing, and publishing all of this content. 

Quick fixes diminish quality

When brands and marketing teams work outside their means, they start looking for ways to supplement content creation for SEO. In the worst cases, that might involve turning to black hat SEO tactics. But even in the best-case scenario, it still might mean relying too heavily on AI to produce vast amounts of content that isn’t QC’d or outsourcing to inexperienced budget freelancers.  

Too much bad content does more harm than not enough good content

You might think that there’s no such thing as too much content, but you’d be wrong. 

Pushing out poor-quality content is eventually going to catch up with you. First, if you’re publishing repetitive content or work that isn’t original, Google is going to catch onto you, and they’re going to ding you in search ranking. After that, your web visitors will catch on, too, and they’ll realize that your content doesn’t meet their needs.

Prioritizing quality in your content SEO strategy: will it work?

Quantity-first isn’t going to get you as far as you want. That means setting your sights on putting out the absolute highest-quality content, right? Sort of. We’re never going to disparage fantastic content, but at the frequency we’re discussing here, it isn’t always realistic. Does it work, though?

Quality takes time and resources

Yes, quality content works. It works incredibly well. If you can create and publish it frequently. But even average content takes time (as noted above). Quality content and long-form content, which performs exceptionally well, take even longer to produce. It requires expert knowledge and a highly experienced writer. Content creation for SEO also requires strategy and planning. You’ll need time, people, and money to maintain a high frequency of excellent content. And, as we all know, not every brand has access to those kinds of resources.

Understanding search intent is critical

No matter how well-written a particular article is, it’s not going to perform for you if it doesn’t align with user intent. Search intent is what drives a user to perform a particular search query. Types of search intent include: 

  • Informational: Top-of-the-funnel queries seeking broad knowledge on a subject.
  • Navigational: Queries searching for specific details on a place or thing.
  • Commercial: Searches related to specific brands or products like reviews or comparisons.
  • Transactional: Queries related to making a purchase. 

When writing website content, you must consider search intent.

The best content isn’t enough if it never gets seen

Putting all your time and effort into a single piece of content—even if it’s exceptionally well done—is akin to putting all your proverbial eggs in one basket. 

It might be unparalleled in quality, but if you aren’t employing the right SEO and content strategy (including the right publishing frequency), it’s not going to get in front of the right audience.

6 best practices for balancing quality and quantity in content creation for SEO

So who’s the winner: quantity or quality? You might have already guessed: it’s both. 

Of course, it might sound like only the biggest brands (with the deepest pockets) can implement a heavy publication cycle while maintaining above-average quality. But don’t be discouraged. 

Any brand can use these best practices to balance quality and quantity to maximize its SEO and content marketing efforts.

  1. Set realistic expectations and plan in advance
  2. Use the right support tools
  3. Create buyer personas and understand search intent
  4. Optimize landing pages
  5. Streamline call-to-action (CTA) messages
  6. Rewrite or repurpose existing content

Set realistic expectations and plan in advance

Create an editorial calendar with goals that feel achievable based on your budget and access to resources. It’s great to aim high, but consistently falling short can leave you feeling defeated and ultimately affect the quality of your output. 

Remember that you can always ramp up frequency once you get into a good rhythm—it’s okay to start slow and grow from there.


Use the right support tools

Please do not believe ChatGPT can write content faster and better than a human writer. Faster? Yes. Better? Questionable. What isn’t questionable is that a human touch is still preferred. 

Relying on AI to generate your content is a really gray area in marketing right now. The ethics of AI usage aren’t totally nailed down, and everyone has a different idea of what’s good AI versus bad AI. 

However, you can use AI smartly and ethically as a support to your content and SEO strategy. For instance, AI can help you repurpose content from one format to another or can help you come up with social media hashtags or lists of keywords you may not have thought of. 

Content tools like Grammarly can support your editing efforts, while SEO tools like Clearscope can keep you on track with keywords, reading levels, and plagiarism detection.


Create buyer personas and understand search intent

Search intent can be tricky if you don’t understand who’s doing the search. Creating in-depth buyer personas that analyze demographic, psychographic, and behavioral data can help you identify and reach your ideal buyer with the content they want to see and where they want to see it.


Optimize landing pages

Take a good look at your website architecture to see if you have overlapping or repeating landing pages. This is also a great time to conduct an SEO audit and check for broken links and other technical SEO issues that keep people from staying on your pages. 

Once you take care of any problems, analyze your landing page content and optimize it one by one. Check that each landing page has a clear, focused goal and that all of the content on the page is aligned with that goal (including video content, images, downloads, etc.). 

Be sure that every page directs visitors to take one single action.


Streamline CTAs

This can be part of your landing page optimization, but it may go deeper than that. First, as noted above, make sure each landing page contains only one CTA. It may appear in multiple places, but it should always lead to the same action and the same destination. 

Once you’re sure you aren’t confusing visitors with too many CTAs, take a look at the copy for your CTAs—does it align with the funnel position for the intended audience? Is it optimized for conversion? These are relatively quick fixes that can improve the quality of your content and help increase performance.


Rewrite or repurpose existing content

While you want to avoid overtly repetitious content (and, of course, plagiarism), nothing says you can’t rewrite and repurpose your original content. In fact, if you have a piece of content that has performed well, it could work in your favor to continue to leverage it in new ways.

You may rewrite an old blog post with updated information or turn a long-form content guide into multiple short and snappy blogs. An email newsletter could become a social post (or series of posts) and vice versa.

Quantity that counts, quality that transforms

My team at TBH Creative understands that there is no battle between quantity versus quality. The only battle is understanding your brand’s unique needs and goals so we can find the perfect balance to help you achieve them. In our books, that’s a battle hard fought and won through excellent content creation for SEO. 

We’ve done it for many other brands and can do it for yours. Find out how we can ramp up your content marketing and SEO strategy to help you rank and deliver the content your audience needs. Get in touch today.