What is the Most Important Search Engine Ranking Factor in SEO?

What is the most important factor influencing ranking in SEO? We hear this all the time. The fact is… there are many factors that influence rankings and they all work together! In other words… they are inter-related. If you don’t have one factor working properly for you, it hurts the effect of the other.

picture of a world with SEO written on it illustrating search engine ranking factorsAll things being equal, inbound links are undoubtedly the most important factor in SEO. Inbound links are where people link to your website from their website.

Not only is it important that your site get a lot of links, but it is equally important that those links have the right “anchor text”.

Anchor text can be defined as the words that comprise the link. For instance, if your site is abc.com and someone links to your site using the words “abc.com”… that is not nearly as effective as them linking to your site using the words “green widgets” (as long as you really do sell green widget).

But is it powerful enough to have lots of links coming to yours site alone? In some cases it can be. In other words… the “power” of the inbound links trumps everything else. But in many cases… you have to have your bases covered on the pages as well to get the full effect of inbound links.

Back to the “green widgets” example. Wouldn’t it be far more powerful if that page that the anchor text linked to had the word “green widgets” in the actual URL of the page? For example: abc.com/green-widgets.

What about the title tag looking something like this: Green Widgets | Your #1 Source for Green Widgets.

Then perhaps a big headline on the page as follows: “Looking for Green Widgets? You Have Definitely Come to the Right Place!”

We have seen many cases where pages that perhaps ranked on page 2 or 3 of Google based on the strength of inbound links, move up to page one, just by making some slight changes to the page that the links point to.

So yes, inbound links are the most important, but that does not mean you necessarily need to pay attention to them at the expense of the page itself. Spend the extra 5 minutes or so it takes when you create a page to ensure that you get the maximum effect of inbound links. Your search engine rankings will improve and so will your pocketbook.

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