This is the view of Jill Kocher from Practical eCommerce, who explained that search engines crawl web pages in search of signals.
She said site owners must understand which of these signals speak most loudly in order to achieve the best results from their SEO strategy.
The loudest signals come from title tags, HTML headings and anchor text, she explained, pointing out that they must all send the same message in order to be heard effectively by search engines.
"If the search engine translates the searcher’s intent to match the message that your page is signalling, all other SEO factors being equal, your page will be served in the search results," she remarked.
Ms Kocher also said that website owners must consider the secondary signals their pages are sending out, again making sure that messages are consistent.
These so-called "whispered" SEO signals come from meta descriptions, meta keywords, alternative attributes in image tags and title attributes in anchor tags, she stated.
Lisa Wehr of Practical eCommerce said recently that the increasingly blended nature of search – with videos, images, blogs and podcasts all appearing in results pages – means that website owners must make sure they optimise all of their content.