Depending on who you talk to you’ll get at least a dozen answers to this question: What’s the most important aspect of SEO?
Is it links? Keyword density? Content? Site architecture? CSS over tables?
Believe me, I’ve heard all of this and more. The people who say that link building is the most important aspect to search engine optimization do so on the basis that link building drives traffic and increases PageRank, plus boosts your search rankings. The keyword density people say that keywords on your web pages are what feed the search engines. The content disciples claim that “Content is King” and that’s all that needs said, as if it is a foregone conclusion. Site architecturists believe that internal link structure gives search engines links to crawl so that your entire site is indexed and ranked. The CSS evangelists claim that CSS is superior to tables and that all websites should be built with CSS if they want to rank well.
All of them are correct. Link building is important. Keywords and content are important. Website architecture is very important. CSS is superior to tables, but I’ve seen websites built entirely with tables do quite well in the search rankings – even in 2008. PageRank is still important despite the fact that spammers game it, though admittedly it’s not as important as it used to be. So what is the most important aspect to search engine optimization?
The most important aspect to SEO in 2008 is this: Do what makes sense to create a good user experience.
Will tables work better for your site? Use tables. Would a top menu bar serve your site visitors better than a left menu bar? Then use a top menu bar. Will endless keyword stuffing turn your visitors away? Probably, so don’t do it (not to mention that the search engines won’t list your pages if they are excessively stuffed with keywords).
Any website you build needs to be built with your end user in mind. Othewise, what’s the point?