What’s Most Important for SEO?

Did the news about Google’s recent core algorithm update freak you out?

After all, SEO is confusing enough. But hearing that Google’s core algorithmic updates can drive companies out of business is always a little…weird.

During this time of Google FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt,) people look for the secret SEO recipe that will make Google happy. Which makes sense — you want to focus on what drives the most ROI.

So, according to top SEO experts, what’s the most important aspect of your SEO campaign?

The answer may surprise you…

No, it’s not links (although links are important.)

It’s not your site design (although that’s important, too.)

Here’s the answer:

During the SMX Advanced conference, Search Engine Land released the 2019 Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. The report breaks down what’s currently important to SEO rankings (for instance, keywords and content “freshness,”) what hurts positions (ad-heavy content and keyword stuffing,) and emerging verticals, (such as voice search.)

The big takeaway? Content rules.

In fact, according to this article, Barry Schwartz, editor of Search Engine Land, and one of the creators of the report, introduced the findings by saying “in the contest between content and links, it’s now a settled fact that content is more important.”


Sure, content has always been important. But this year, the importance of content was turned up to a Spinal Tap 11.

This. Makes. Me. So. Happy!

So, what does this news mean to you?

Well, if you’re a content creator, this is pretty sweet news. :) The opportunity is there.

At the same time — and I’ve said this before — you need to up your game and learn how to create strategic SEO content.

It’s not enough to write a 500-word blog post focused around a target keyword. Now, you need to understand the competitive landscape, write in a conversational style, think about featured snippets, and provide content that’s more useful than what’s currently positioning in the top-10.

Is this more stuff to think about? Yes. At the same time, Google is giving us permission to write fantastic content. We don’t have to write the same content as our competitors so we “look competitive.” We don’t have to write keyphrase-stuffed content. We can do things differently…and better.

That’s cool.

If you want more information about what Google considers quality content, Google actually spells it out in this “oldie-but-a-goodie” post. The post is from 2011, but the information is still solid (and cited) today.

Yes, this will mean letting the low-paying, “I will pay you $25 for an SEO blog post” go. Let’s face it — for $25, you can’t spend the time you need to write content that snags fantastic search rankings. Not unless you want to make $1/hr.

Instead, it’s time to find those higher quality clients who understand the value you bring to the table.

They are out there.

Why would you settle for anything else?

What if your company has SEO content creation challenges?

Now is the time to get your writers the training they need.

It’s not just me saying this. During the SMX Advanced conference, Jessica Bowman, one of the authors of the SEO Success Factors, emphasized how important it is to train your writing staff.

Your writers want to create top-positioned content. They really do. They just need someone to break down the SEO steps, to tweak the strategy, and to streamline their current writing process.

Once that light bulb turns on and your writers “get it,” they’ll be unstoppable. I’ve seen training clients go from nowhere to positioning top-10 for highly competitive phrases. Sure, they worked their butts off to make it happen. But they did it.

That’s also pretty cool. 

(And you know I can train your team in SEO writing best practices, right? Just zip me a note if you need me.) 😀

What do you think?

Have you been thinking about an SEO writing training for your in-house writers? If you’re a freelancer — how do you think the latest news will benefit your bottom line? Leave a comment and let me know.

11 replies
  1. Wolfgang Jagsch says:

    I am an seo copywriter form linz austria and in my personal research according to the lastest google core upddate i found some interessting correlations:
    – it is important to present topical narrow tailored content – think of keywords as topical keywords – create holistic content that fits all semantic/ontological needs of a certain keyword-topic
    – exact match domains with a narrow content focus do still work great at least in the local/regional field – also with less linkpower (domain-pop)
    – do not try to rank for search terms that are not related to the main topic of your whole website – try to build a holistic information structure that fits your main keyword-topic

    All in all Google heads in a way that it mainly shows results with laser-tailored content- and information-structrures behind it. So i recommend to develop a niche speific informationstructure that represents holistic keyword-concepts – try to be focused and holistic within a certain field – Google will not give many importace to websites that do not know where their own topcial-keyword-focus and information-structure concept is – beyond this some good links will help you to rank high in competitive keyword-suroundings

    • Heather Lloyd-Martin says:

      Hey, Wolfgang, it’s great to meet you! You raise some fantastic points — what kind of clients do you work with now?

  2. Ankur Purecha says:

    Hello Heather Lloyd-Martin

    Starting to read about ‘content’ being the winner, it sure does make me feel happy. The cool stuff which you mentioned here was that Google is giving each one of us the permission to write fantastic content.
    It should just be yours. DMCA is rolling all over the internet and it’s really not wise or ethical to snap out someone else’s content.
    I would say, it’s just a matter of time. Low paying clients will have to shift towards shelling out more money for a premium quality content of let’s say 1200 to 1500 word post. Kindly enligten me on that.
    About me, I could say that I am in the phase of brainstorming and researching between keywords and effective SEO content writing tactics.
    I am defo going to think of contacting you for a go-over-the-air kind of quick content strategizing, in the future.
    Moreover, I like to take the approach of online digital marketing training. I’m sure this will be helpful for me.
    Great post, Heather.

  3. Ash says:

    Hey, Thanks a lot for this post. I though Backlinks were the number one factor in SEO. Turns out that there are more important things than that.

  4. bharath raj says:

    This is really a great article about SEO and a great read for me. It’s my first visit to your blog and I have found it so useful and informative specially this article. Thank you

  5. Sukriti Maurya says:

    Content is one of the most important thing in SEO. When you write high-quality and informative content for your website it will help readers to visit your website. So, from next time whenever you will post any new content they will choose to read your blog first.

  6. elsey says:

    Hey, Thanks a lot for this post.
    Lots of new info on the topic. I though Backlinks were the number one factor in SEO but i guess that there are more important things than that.


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