Which part of search engine optimization (SEO) is most important? Well, it likely depends on who you ask, but just to be clear, all aspects are important. But which aspect of SEO you emphasize at any given time might be different based on what your website needs to succeed.
Before I go on, let me identify the different aspects of optimization that you should keep in mind:
- On-site keyword management
- Internal link structure
- Website template and design
- Inbound link building
- Miscellanous issues
This is a little bit different kind of list than what you are typically used to seeing when this topic is discussed among industry professionals, but the fundamentals are there. On-site keyword management is necessary for high rankings. That doesn’t mean spamming the search engines by repeating your keywords over and over again. It does mean optimizing your web pages for keywords using density, tags, and other elements that assist web pages with ranking based on keyword usage (alt tags, page titles, heads and subheads, etc.).
Internal link structure refers to site navigation, but it also includes in-text links that may not be included in your navigation menu.
Design concerns are also important. Which codes do you use? How much of the code is on your page versus in a separate folder on the server? These are very important concerns to look at from a design and optimization perspective.
And link building. Much is said of link building. Often too much. But it is necessary for helping you get your pages ranked and moving up in the search rankings.
Which of these is most important? I still think on-site keyword management is the most important aspect of SEO. At certain times you may put more emphasis on internal link structure, inbound links, or design, but on-site keyword management will always be necessary. Without it, it won’t matter how well you do everything else, your SEO will be sub-par.