The similarities between chess and SEO are quite obvious, that you need a clear strategy and work towards capturing a single goal in mind by overcoming numerous obstacles, each of which works in a different way.
Pawns are like basic optimization practices, and how we go about using the more powerful aspects like technical, UX, etc. decides our chances of victory. The most important piece is the king, and if it cannot overcome the opposition’s pieces, there’s a checkmate and you lose the game. The celebrated comparison of Content to the King in Chess is so immensely apt, but if Content is King, is he married?
Time and again, we’ve been told that content is one of the most important ranking signals in SEO. This includes a lot of sub-factors, including content size, quality, presence of appropriate keywords at appropriate frequencies, uniqueness, etc. Further, the amount of time spent on the page as well as the engagement created by quality content is important and cannot be ignored. While this totally justifies the calling of Content as King, it is seen in practice that Content alone is not the cause of everything.
Even with the best content, if you do not perform any other optimization, your page is bound to fall in rank sooner or later. This is like having an unguarded King in Chess. Now let us say you guard the King. Is guarding the King with all your pieces the best way to defend?
Chess is a game of attack, and a player who does nothing other than defending the King is bound to fail. A successful defense in Chess is impossible without attacking, and the best at attack is the Queen.
Like Chess, SEO too is a game of attack. Every website needs to be ever watchful of its competition in the search landscape, and to attack the competition, the best weapons it has are the best ranking factors. RankBrain is a Google algorithm which acts as a combination of sub-factors. It is a complex metric that cannot be directly gauged or targeted. This leaves us with a single choice for the queen of SEO – Backlinks!
It is well known in the SEO world that backlinks of good quality consistently increase the performance of the page as they increase in number. Acquiring such backlinks is not always easy, and drastic increase in the number of quality backlinks is almost always associated with the rate of natural acquisition of backlinks, which may or may not be triggered by other optimization techniques.
It has been over 2 years since Google’s Andrey Lipattsev announced that Links, Content and RankBrain are its top ranking signals. However, RankBrain is just a young prince, and many people still don’t understand it. As for backlinks, their acquisition is known to be a costly and time-consuming affair, for which reason agencies concentrate more on content.
Fresh content is good indeed for SEO, but remember, a webpage without backlinks is like a chess player without his queen.