Understanding the Four Pillars of SEO

The process of SEO can be broken down into four pillars. Think of these pillars as the framework of the SEO house. You can’t have stability and growth without a strong framework. SEO can be tricky to navigate. As you learn more about the pillars, you might consider working with an SEO company Boise to make the most of your efforts.

Pillar 1: Technical SEO

SEO that is technical is the first pillar. Why? Before your web pages can show up in search results, search engines need to find, crawl, and index them.

As we’ve seen, Google, Yahoo, and Bing use spiders to crawl the internet and collect information about the pages they find. There are files and directives (small bits of code) on your website that tell search engine spiders how to crawl and index your pages.

A file called robots.txt tells search engines where they shouldn’t go. Most of the time, you want to let search engines crawl your entire website. Sometimes, you’ll use the robots.txt file to keep crawlers out of parts of your website that have duplicate, thin, or private content that you don’t want to show up in search results.

The robots.txt file is not the same as an XML sitemap. It gives the search engines a list of all the pages on your website that you don’t want to be crawled, indexed, and shown in search results. Think of it as a resume for your site. It has the basic information needed to start a conversation, like when a web page was last updated and how important it is compared to other pages.

There are also code snippets in the header of each webpage that are meta directives. Visitors to a website can’t see these directives. Instead, they tell the search engines’ bots, page by page, how to index each page’s content.

Pillar 2: Content and User Experience

With technical SEO ready to go, search engines can find our web pages and put them in their databases. The content is what they find on each page.

Since the beginning, content has been the most important part of SEO. It has text, pictures, videos, PDFs, tables, and a lot more. The search engines figure out what each page is about based on what’s on it.

When it comes to content and SEO, there are five things to keep in mind:

Quality: You have to have unique, well-written content that gives your visitors a lot of value.

Keywords: The phrases you want to show up in search results need to be in the content. Group keywords that go together and use synonyms to give more context.

Date: Search engines like content that is fresh and new. Your blog is often the part of your website that gets updated the most.

Type: Depending on what the page is about, you’ll want to use a mix of text, images, video, and other things that make sense together to make the page dynamic, visually appealing, and interesting.

Relevancy: Content relevancy is a measure of how well the content on your site matches search queries. The more relevant your web page is, the more likely it is to do well in search results.

Even if your site has great content, if it’s hard for people to find and interact with, search engines will notice. When it comes to user experience, you can make visitors and search engines happy by taking care of the following:

Navigation: Your website’s information flows in a way that makes it easy for people to find what they want.

Look: Your site is simple and easy on the eyes, which sends a message of trust, authority, and the spirit of your brand.

Feel: People like how your site interacts with them and how it responds to them.

Usability: The site is easy to use and works the same way every time, which is what visitors expect.

Now that you know how important content is to SEO let’s look at how you can improve other parts of your website to make it more appealing to search engines and people.

Pillar 3: On-Site SEO

In search engine marketing, the word “optimization” is overused and hard to define. What does it mean for your site to be “optimized”? It could mean making it run faster, making it easier to use, or adding keywords to the copy.

The most crucial parts of a website that need to be “optimized” or made better for users and search engines are:

In the header of each webpage are tags for the page titles and meta descriptions. These are what the search engines use to put together the bits of information you see on the results page. Page titles affect a listing’s rank and how likely someone is to click on it (click-through rates). Meta description tags only change the number of clicks.

H1–H6 tags make headers look the same and break up your content into parts that are easy to read. These tags tell the search engines that this is the header of a page or a section of content.

The search engines can get a written description of an image from the alternative text on it. Alt text is important for accessibility first and foremost, but it also helps search engines figure out what the picture is about.

Internal links make it easy for visitors and search engines to go to other pages on your website. The context and meaning of an internal link are shown by the text that you can click on (the anchor text). They also pass your website’s ranking power from one page to another.

Structured data are small pieces of code that tell search engines exactly what a page’s content is about. This also makes it easy to put websites in the right place in search results. Ever wonder how Google is so fast at putting information like recipes, movie times, and concert dates right in the search results? The credit goes to structured data, also known as schema markup.

Auditing SEO on the site is an important part of making an SEO strategy. Off-site SEO is the opposite of on-site SEO. So, let’s look at what that means.

Pillar 4: Off-Site SEO

So far, we’ve talked about your website and the different things that affect how it ranks on search engines. SEO isn’t just about your site, though. It’s also about how trustworthy and authoritative your website is on the internet.

You could make the best website in the world for a pizza place in New York City. The menu is great, and the service is lightning fast. You can imagine it. Google won’t put this website in the search results until it hears from other websites that you really are the best in New York.

Google, Yahoo, and Bing listen for these off-site signals in three main places:

There are links to your site from other sites. These links are valuable because they can pass authority (ranking power) from one website to another. Links are a simple way of saying that one website recommends another. The more authority a website has, the more authority a link from that website will give to the website it points to. A link from The New York Times to your site will give it a lot more authority than a link from the website of your dog groomer.

Google Maps is a good example of a local search profile. If you have a storefront or serve a certain area, you need to list your business on Google Maps through Google My Business. Building trust is as easy as telling Google where you are and how to reach you. And getting reviews and comments from customers with five stars can help build trust.

Social media influences SEO. As explained in #1, a link from a Facebook post to your website doesn’t give the same trust and authority as a traditional backlink. But the link to your website from your social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other sites gives them value.


Understanding the framework of SEO will help you understand why it’s important. It might also help you realize why working with a team of SEO professionals can assist you in reaching your goals. To learn more about the services of a reliable SEO marketing team, go to bearfoxmarketing.com. We look forward to hearing from you.