SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s the be all and end all of how search engines rank your website.
It’s an ever changing finish line that moves every time you think you have a handle on it.
This post is correct from July 2019 and will be updated every time there is a change.
In this article we will explain exactly what the six pillars are, why they are important and what you have to do to rank highly. We will also cover what not to do and what could be hindering your Google ranking right now.
If you’re a beginner, then look at our SEO for Beginners post which talks you through how to start prepping your website for being crawled.
Six Main SEO Pillars
SEO is made up of a range of website stats that gives your website it’s ranking. Depending on updates, the weight of these pillars change a bit like a scale. You need to have all six of the below pillars in play before you can think about ranking on the first page of a popular search engine like Google,
You don’t need a huge budget to rank highly. The aim is to get all six of the pillars in place then work on them over time.
The six main pillars are:
These aren’t equal in how search engines rank them. Updates change the weight of each pillar depending on what the search engine is looking for.
So the example of this could be Google’s Panda update in February 2017. The algorithm changed overnight to make content the heart and soul of what Google wanted to present to their audience.
Content went from being low-ranked to the best way to get highly ranked in Google. This isn’t to say that you just write anything to get clicks. Now it’s all about showing that you are the authority and the go-to on your subject.
The quality of your content is now ranked highly. Writing quality content that is well-written and highly valuable can push you up the Google ranking quickly. Google want to only offer their readers the best content.
Researching keywords not only helps you to be found but also helps Google know what your content is about. Keyword stuffing is a no go. Making sure your keywords are equally spread out and make sense can really give you a ranking boost and more traffic.
Keywords in regards to your competition. By using something like out SEO Audit, knowing what your competitors are ranking for can get you ranking as well and beating them.
Posting regularly is vital. Create timely content that you can refresh quickly. Search engines love new content. Keep things moving with at least one piece of new content a week.
Using multimedia to deliver your content could give you a boost in the rankings. Anything from images, to podcasts to videos.
Create content that answers your readers questions. You know that box at the top with questions and answers on Google? That’s pulled directly from peoples websites. Get in that box and you’re a high authority site.
Depth of knowledge pays off too. Google wants to know that they are sending readers to the best sites possible. Writing long-form content shows search engines that you know what you’re talking about. This also helps to reduce your bounce rate, especially if you lead the reader on to something else, which we will come to later.
Keeping the idea that Google wants to send and rank only the best websites in mind, having a fully optimized website is important and now plays a big part in ranking highly.
How your site is built and maintained can affect how much organic traffic is receive.
Think of it this way, if the search engine bots can’t crawl your site then you won’t rank. Making sure that your sitemap has been submitting to Google Search Console is a great way to kick start the crawling process.
Check how you’re ranking in mobile view. Google Console can help you with this. It tells you exactly what you need to fix to start ranking better.
Use redirects smartly if you need to a move a page. If it’s gone forever then leave it as a 404 so Google knows it’s a dead page. Check your broken links and any 500 or 301s to see what can be fixed.
Site speed is important. Run your site through Google’s own site speed checker to see how you rank. Fix any issues that it comes up with. It may seem small but site speed is starting to play a big role in ranking.
Privacy provides all your visitors the right to a secure web page. Make sure your website has HTTPS enabled. Most hosts offer this for free using Let’s Encrypt or sign up to Cloudflare who offer it free too.
URLs for your pages and posts need to make sense. If your page is about you then name it that, about services name it that. The more the search engines have to decode what your content is about the less well you are going to rank. Using the right keywords in your links sends a signal to the search engines that your content is about what the user is searching for.
HTML tags help give search engines clues to what your site is about and the quality. Is your headline relevant to the content? Do you have any reviews or ALT descriptions on your images? Search engines looks for on-page SEO to help it figure out if your site is useful to its users.
Titles are important when naming pages and content. Build your keywords into your titles and have sub-headings that explain what you’re talking about.
Meta tags should describe exactly what your content is about. This is what gets pulled through into the search engine so make this count!
Structure your page or content correctly. Use the H1 tag for big titles, H2 for sub headings and H3 and H4 for highlighting important information.
AMP is Google’s mobile page viewer which is built for speed. It’s aim is to serve your content quickly to users. If you’re having site speed issues on mobile then AMP may be for you.
Remember earlier on I said that Google only wanted to serve up the very best sites to its users? Well this is when that comes into play.
Your Domain Authority is everything. This is your ranking according to Google. It goes from 0 for brand new sites up to 100 for sites like the BBC or Wiki that have loads of inbound and outbound links aka high authority sites. High authority does come naturally by the age of your URL but there are plenty of ways you can grow it too.
Having a low bounce rate and having users spend longer on your website now counts for more than ever. Make your content engaging and easy to use so readers stay for longer.
Out of everything, gaining links back to your site is the oldest trick in the book to rank higher. Now, it’s less about the amount of links and more about the value of the links that link back to you.
Getting high quality link backs from trusted websites in your field cannot only boost your Domain Authority but also your ranking in turn. You can do this easily by offering to guest post on someone’s site
Find websites that are going for some of the same keywords as you. This shows search engines that you really know what you’re talking about.
The higher the authority website that links back to you the better.
How a user interacts with your site with help search engines rank you.
Some of these you will have no control over like the country the user is from and the legion for example.
You can control the user experience by making sure all your pages work and your menu isn’t confusing.
SEO does take time to start working. Keyword stuffing or hiding content and links could really hurt your ranking.
If you’re looking for an SEO Consultant who can help your business get better organic traffic then please contact me today.