What is the most important SEO ranking factor to focus on?
A majority of people believe that backlink building is the most important ranking factor for Google, but it's actually not. The main area of focus should be on-page SEO.
As the years have passed, Google has released multiple updates to their algorithm, including Panda, Hummingbird, and Penguin, which are the largest. Those updates largely influenced how content creation should work, mainly regarding link building.
However, the updates didn't really affect on-page SEO, as content should exist mainly to benefit the user.
Create Content to Attract an Audience
HubSpot recently reported in 2014 that nearly 3/4 of consumers would rather research businesses through articles rather than ads that automatically pop up and annoy them.
Content is everything when it comes to driving traffic. You should make sure that what you write is engaging, informational, and appealing to visitors, which will not only make them more likely to become customers, but will also get your pages to take off in rankings.
You also need to incorporate targeted long-tail keywords. It's good practice to go after very specific keyword phrases that indicate urgency and buyer position. This makes it so your content appears as part of a solution to prospects' problems.
What Goes Into Great Content
Solid content is interesting to read, well-written, written with the user in mind, provides a solution to a problem, is shareable, and keyword-optimized in a natural way. Without these aspects incorporated in content creation and publishing, your website is going to suffer.
However, if you take the time to create great on-page content, you're more likely to succeed well beyond your competitors.