In a recent Google Webspam video, Matt Cutts tackled an interesting question about authority versus popularity. In his answer, he mentioned how important links are, but it’s worth diving a little deeper into the difference between the two. Click play below to watch the video, or read on for the full transcript.

A lot of marketers believe traffic is the single most important signal to track. But even though it’s great to get a lot of visitors, the underpinning of modern content marketing is to avoid making quantity the focus. That’s what was wrong with old-school SEO: The site with most keywords and links usually came out on top.

It’s also why authority is so important, even if it is a little hard to pin down. Google rewards content that’s the best at offering an answer or providing value, instead of the one that has the most of…well, of anything.

It isn’t just Google that feels this way. Facebook is also explicitly weeding out content that’s just trying to get Likes, comments, views, or other numbers that make posts look better. Beginning last week, any post that is overtly spammy, gets shared too often or is obviously clickbait won’t show up in users’ News Feeds.

Think of it this way: Hillary Clinton is famous and accomplished, but if she were to share her thoughts about web spam, Google wouldn’t have any reason to rank it highly. On the other hand, someone like Matt Cutts would consistently find that his posts are highly ranked.

It isn’t simply because Google knows his name. Other authoritative sites regularly link to his blog, he has a large following on YouTube and he has Google+ connections to people who know a lot about web spam and SEO.

So how do you establish authority for your content? Just be authoritative! Every new algorithm Google makes is intended to nip shortcuts in bud. Your authority on a particular subject is what makes customers interested in the first place, and that’s really what Google and Facebook are ultimately trying to capture.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below, or Tweet @Brafton. Thanks for watching. 

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.