Being on the front page of Google used to be reasonably easy a few years back but when you consider that Google makes more than 450 changes a year to their algorithms, and that only about 58% of the traffic actually use search, there has to be a changing answer, and there is, but it is changing so I can’t tell you.
Seriously, if you consider the emphasis that the whole Panda issue has put on relevancy as well as domain age, domain name, domain trust, domain extension, link anchor text, searcher location, search query chains, word relationships, search personalization, other user data, result re-ranking based on local inter-connectivity, input from the thousands of remote quality raters, and even a wide array of penalties & filters, do you see why the answer can be vague?
The answer to what is most important can change frequently. What was urgent 2 weeks ago may be only relevantly important today. For example PageRank is important to driving indexing, but it’s not as important to getting ranked as it once was. Once upon a time blogging was in, and then it was less in, and now it is back with a vengeance.
As an SEO strategist, not only does my overall strategy have to change but it has to change from client to client, industry to industry. The local search changes, mapping devices, and other local tools have made the Google strategy completely different than a strategy for the enterprise website. There are many different strategies based on market space, competition, and honestly, how much you are willing to invest in the strategy. How fast can I get there?” is very relevant to “how much do you have to invest?”. Can you always get there twice as fast if you spend twice as much, not always but pretty much! It boils down to the effort and activity that you will expend on the site and that will cost you no matter how you do it. (Outsourced or in house)
The world of SEO has become complicated and sometimes confusing, especially if you are not in it every day. That is why working with a community of SEO and Social networking specialists is so important. It allows professionals that are reading the articles, watching the trends, and seeing the statistics on a daily basis look for strengths and weaknesses in your content, examine your competition, and offer detailed and specific tactics for gathering traffic to your site.
What is the most important SEO strategy? All of them!