What Are the 4 Pillars of SEO, and How Can They Support Your Online Marketing?Oct 19, 2022
You might have heard about SEO, and you could be forgiven for thinking that once you’ve found a keyword and popped it in a few blogs, then adding alt text to a fair few images, you’re done and dusted.
Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you. The good news is, yes, you’ve taken your first steps to optimising your website so Google can find you. The bad news is that there is A LOT more to SEO than keywords and alt tags.
So today, I’m going to give you a guided tour around the 4 pillars of SEO so you can get a feel for the landscape and learn more about what’s really involved in getting your website to show up on the first page of Google.
Thinking about it, I reckon that’s more good news, don’t you? Yes, there LOTS more to SEO than you might think at first, but all that means is that you have so many more dials to twist to get your website working better for you.
Ready to jump on board the SEO bus?
Good…here we go!
Why Do You Need SEO?
SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is the process of making your website more attractive to Google and visitors, which in turn improves your ranking online.
Using SEO, you can make sure your website shows up much higher in the SERPs (search engine results pages), which is critical because the first page of Google is where you’re going to get found by your dream clients.
So, SEO helps you:
- Increase traffic to your website
- Get found by more people
- Improve conversions on your website, which means more leads and sales.
So, now you’re ready to explore the four pillars of SEO that you really should have in place to boost traffic to your website and improve your website's health overall.
Pillar One: Technical SEO
Technical elements of your website are a fundamental part of your SEO strategy. Before your website appears in the SERPs, it needs to be crawled by search engine spiders and indexed, which can only happen if you’ve got the right technical elements in place.
For instance, you need to ensure that you have an XML sitemap. This will ensure that the search engine crawlers understand which pages and areas to crawl and index. It lists all your essential website pages, regardless of whether you have the right internal linking.
With the right sitemap, you can also speed up content discovery. The site map consists of an XML version declaration, URL set, the URL and the Last Mod.
Every site map must follow the same standard to ensure that it is valid and effective.
On the other side, there’s the robots.txt file. While the sitemap shows crawlers what pages and areas to visit, the robots.txt file ensures that certain pages are ignored. This could include duplicate content or any private content that you do not want to be indexed.
You also need to take steps to ensure that your website is mobile-responsive. Google and other search engines rank websites based on the user experience they provide.
Today, more than 60% of all website traffic comes from mobile devices. The majority of website templates are designed to be mobile-friendly. Alternatively, you can hire a professional web designer to complete a bespoke mobile-friendly design.
HTTPS vs HTTP
Google crawlers also take into account your website security. Every website with an input option for a username and password requires some form of security.
You must ensure your website is using HTTPS.
One final technical detail to consider is site speed. Ideally, no page on your website should take more than a couple of seconds to load. There are lots of reasons why your website might be loading slower than usual. For instance, you may need to reconsider your hosting solution.
You could also think about compressing large files on your website, including pictures and videos. It’s possible to do this without impacting the quality of the content.
Pillar 2: Content Creation
In the world of online marketing, content is and always will be King - or Queen.
Content includes all sorts of things, including:
- Blog posts
- Cornerstone content
Content is what crawlers find on your website. It also impacts whether search engines view your site as being valuable or useful to users.
When creating content, you must ensure that it is up to the right standards. High-quality content that is written well, targeted, and unique will ensure that users have a reason to continue visiting your website.
Finally, we’re on to those keywords!
Each piece of content you create should also be carefully optimised with a keyword. You can also use long-tail keywords in your content, titles, and meta descriptions.
However, you must be careful that you don’t stuff your content with keywords, as this will have a negative impact on your SEO.
Any content that you create must also be relevant to your target audience. The more relevant content is, the more likely it will be that it will rank high online.
When creating content, you should always know your audience and understand what they’re really looking for.
By understanding the problems they are facing, you can create content based on providing the right solutions. This is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your content is targeted.
Website Design (to showcase your content)
Of course, content creation is only one piece of the puzzle which elevates the user experience. Your content must also fit well with the rest of your site. One element to consider here is the structure of your website.
Structure is important for site indexing, but it’s also central for a great user experience.
Remember, this is one of the key aspects that search engines take into account.
Ideally, your site should follow the three-click rule. When navigating your website, users should never be more than three clicks away from the pages, products, or content they are searching for.
The design of your website also needs to fit well with your content. A great design will provide a better user experience for your users.
It will also help ensure that your site looks professional and gains the trust of users. This will help ensure that users remain on your site for longer periods and engage, resulting in a lower bounce rate which is key to a great website ranking.
Pilar Three: On-Page SEO
Next, let’s explore On-Page SEO.
On-page SEO refers to steps that you can take to optimise the pages on areas of your website.
Some of the key things you can optimise include:
- Page Titles
- Meta descriptions
- Alt Text
- Internal Links
- Structured Data
All of these aspects of your website can be optimised to give you a greater chance of ranking well on Google.
For instance, every page title and heading should include the main keyword that you are trying to rank for. Good page titles can also impact click-through rates as well as ranking.
You should also try to optimise your heading tags.
These tags are used to break up your text and ensure it’s easier to digest. It helps avoid your pages from being filled with large blocks of text and ensures that your website is more skimmable.
As well as providing an opportunity for ranking, using H tags on your site is yet another way that you can improve the overall user experience.
Another element of on-page SEO is your internal links. Internal links will make your website easier to navigate. You can use them to create pathways and ensure that users reach key areas of your website.
They also ensure that the ranking power of one area of your website is passed onto other areas.
The more comprehensive your on-page SEO, the more likely it is that your website is going to rank well online.
Pillar 4: Off-Page SEO
The final pillar of SEO is off-page optimisation.
It’s everything you can do to optimise your site that doesn’t involve you actually touching your website.
There are lots of off-page elements search engines look at when deciding where you’ll rank in the search engines, including:
A huge part of off-page SEO is backlinks.
These are links from another website to your own, and they help to increase your domain authority and improve your ranking. They also help to ensure that you have more trust from users online.
You should try and get as many backlinks as you can from websites with high domain authority which translates to trusted sites such as news websites and large brands.
There are lots of strategies for building backlinks, including:
Guest posting or podcasting
Backlink outreach to relevant sites
Registering with directories
Becoming a trusted source of information, i.e. a source on HARO
So, there you have it, your whistle-stop tour of the Four Pillars of SEO.
Got your breath back? How was your whistle-stop tour of the four pillars of SEO?
Hopefully, you’ve seen that SEO is a big subject but hugely powerful in getting your website and all your content to show up in Google.
Once you’re getting seen on Google, you’ll get lots more traffic to your website, which translates into leads and, ultimately, sales, so it’s massively worth getting your head around the subject.
If you want to find out more and take the first steps to get the four pillars of SEO working for you, then why don't you save your spot on my free 5-Day SEO challenge starting on Monday, 24th October?
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