There’s no denying that SEO can be complicated; on top of the existing complications there’s also the industry jargon and vague comments from Google to make everything overcomplicated. It’s easy to get consumed by SEO ranking factors, rumours and information that just isn’t true – to then only achieve minimal progress or actually cause more harm than good.

In reality, SEO is a clean cut process with four pillars that you should be focusing on and optimising with your SEO. It’s time we simplify SEO and stop treating Google like a puppet master behind a curtain.

The Four Cornerstones of Successful SEO

The four key areas of SEO that all webmasters should focus on are:

  1. Technical SEO
  2. On Page SEO
  3. Off Page SEO
  4. Content

1) Technical SEO

If Google can’t access the best content on your site, how are they going to know how great you are? Technical SEO is all about ensuring that Google and other search engines can access all the pages you want them too and that they can explore your site through a well thought out navigation structure.

The main areas of technical SEO that should be optimised are:

  • Is Google able to crawl your website?
  • Can Google identify which pages you want to appear in the search results?
  • Is your website mobile friendly?
  • Does your website load in less than 3 seconds for optimum user experience?
  • Is your CMS search engine friendly?
  • Is there a clear hierarchy of content?

Luckily, if your business is using a CMS such as WordPress then a lot of the above will be easy to correct within the system itself. If you are a large ecommerce business with hundreds of thousands of pages, technical SEO will take more time and is more crucial. Technical SEO is usually put in the hands of your web developer as they should know the relationship between design and SEO.

2) On Page SEO

We’ve written a comprehensive list of on page elements which goes in depth into the most crucial changes that you can make for maximum SEO impact. On page SEO and Technical SEO go hand in hand, you can’t find success with one without the other.

On page optimisation is relatively straightforward, with the following elements being the most important areas to focus on:

  • Keyword research
  • URL friendliness
  • Title tags
  • Meta descriptions
  • Great content
  • User experience
  • Call to actions

The above areas should be optimised for every site, but it is important to keep in mind when optimising your site that if you target local customers that local SEO should be high up on your list.

3) Off Page SEO

Potentially one of the hardest parts of SEO, building your authority with high quality links can be a daunting task. Link building is often frowned upon due to webmasters with lack of understanding contacting irrelevant and low value sites for spammy link swaps.

Link building is not a one way ticket to superb rankings, it’s a way to get your brand out there and gain authority from relevant backlinks that think your content is of value. If you think you have an amazing piece of content that would add to the value of an article on a quality site, by all means contact them, but this technique is becoming less and less used due to the effectiveness decreasing.

In reality, if you write great content with great title tags and meta descriptions, as well as promote it on social media, you will gain natural links. You need to have content worthy of links to gain links, it’s that simple.

Consider Wikipedia, for example, they have millions of links but have probably never done a day of link building in their lives. Why? Become they have become a go-to source of trustworthy and quality content, which gains natural links and shares.

4) Content

Probably one of the most overused sayings in SEO, but still one of the most accurate, is “content is king.”

Your website can be the most beautiful, visually appealing piece of art to ever grace the web – but it really is only a wrapper for your content. It is your content that tells potential customers who you are, what you have to offer and why you’re the best at what you do – not your design.

For businesses offering services, the content that should be present on your website falls into three categories:

  • Service content (what do you do)
  • Authority content (why should we work with you?)
  • Marketing content

Your content marketing will make or break your SEO campaign, so ensure that you are working with a top seo agency.