maandag 8 september 2014

The five pillars of SEO

The five pillars of SEO

SEO currently rests on five pillars. Five key areas that the webmaster can optimize to reach higher rank in search engine results. 

  1. Website Structure 
  2. Content 
  3. Link Building 
  4. Social Media 
  5. Strategy (Web analytics) 

Below I will deal more extensively with these five areas. Of course the hand of SEO reaches far beyond these five areas. But in essence, you can still include many things amongst these five pillars. I have placed Web analytics under Strategy, one could argue that this is a separate pillar, given the importance in SEO web analytics.

Website Structure

Under site structure, I understand in general all technical issues related to the website.

This includes for example, the directory structure. The directory structure of a website should definitely not go too deep, much deeper as three layers of the root is not recommended. The best way in SEO directory structure is fairly flat, with a short line to the root directory.

Often this structure is also referred to as a category structure, with a Category e.g. Dog and a Subcategory e.g. Chunks. 
Food (Home)> Dog> Chunks. 

Under site structure I also gather the concepts of: 

Domain name: the length in characters, the relevance to the keyword level, yes or no parameters in the URL.

Source: The general state of the HTML code, and more specifically the Headers.

Speed: The loading speed of a web page. (Think of compression of the HTML and CSS itself, photos, JavaScript).

Rich Snippets: Making portions of the content more readable and recognizable for the search engines using e.g. Micro data. These include things like events, addresses and product details.


To advertise yourself or your business well on the internet, it is vital to know your own. Identity What makes you or your product so much better than the other? What is your unique value? In marketing terms, this is often referred to as USP (Unique Selling Point).

It certainly cannot hurt you or your company to brainstorm about it. Through this brainstorming you stumble upon the keywords most important to you. Keywords are words that are very effectively displaying your USP, and so you generally want to rank high in search engine results with these words.

It is also important to incorporate the right keywords in the text. Not too much, and in the right places, think of titles and headings, so the search engines get a clear picture of the content and intention of your website.

A website stands or falls with good content. The content of a website should be up-to-date, interesting and relevant. It is therefore essential for a website to conquer a position of authority within its niche and to preserve it. Authority is something you generally get when other similar sites link to your site, on relevant topics within your niche.

To get these links from others, the contents of your site in the first place should be of a high standard and an appealing character. Others have to put a link to your site on their own accord, because it adds something. So the content must deliver added value and not be more of the same.

Because the links are not obtained of robots, but of humans, the content should be written with the human user in mind. People love pictures, movies and other moving and entertaining media, which interrupt a long text. Concern yourself therefore that you have enough of this within your content. These interruptions keep their attention and increase the link ability of your content. Who does not like to link to a relevant funny video, to share recent technical knowledge with his colleagues or peers?

Link Building

Link Building has already been mentioned in the content above, and it is also quite inseparable of the content of your website. Link Building is actively trying to obtain high quality links to your website / content You can do this in many ways, but it requires a lot of effort and sometimes very little result, which is somewhat specific to link building. Two steps forward and one step back, if you’re lucky;).

Link Building includes the following items (and probably a lot more):

  • Logging in quality directories on the Internet.
  • Links obtained through direct connections, for example through your own network.
  • Links obtained through mailing campaigns and other marketing activities.
  • Viral Links because your content is shared in many instances, e.g. Social Media.
  • Links because of the newsworthiness of your content, for example because of press releases.
  • Links obtained by the added value of your content, for example an interview that you publish with a known leading figure in your niche.

Links are still an important ingredient in the logarithms that search engines use to estimate. Importance of a website Google indicates this scale with the term PageRank. The higher the PageRank, the higher the ranking in search engine results. As you can see above, link building requires a fairly intensive approach and moreover it is an ongoing process. You should always try to expand your link network. In part this happens naturally, think of the normal networking you already did for your business. And for another part you can schedule link building as a part of your business activities or you could outsource. Leaving link building aside is not an option, if you want to rise in the results pages.

Social Media

About Social Media is a lot and very little to say. You need it, use it and do this in the most professional manner possible. Use every social channel in a manner for which it was intended, so do not do it very amicably on LinkedIn and not super professional on Facebook.

Incorporate within your Social Media communications your keywords and proclaim your USP. Do this with care, otherwise it looks more like spamming. But if it so fits the situation do not hesitate to mention your product pages or website address.
Try where possible to unite and to plan your social activities, so that you minimize any time lost and still leave a good impression.

Portals come and go, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Delicious, are currently important channels that you can employ. Use them according to their relevance to your website. A photographer will be much more active on Flickr, and a representative in medical instruments, for example, will have a lot more interest in LinkedIn.

All these social connections and signals are becoming clearer and more useful for the search engines to determine the importance of a website. Good use of Social Media will certainly have an effect on your position in search engine results.

Marketing Strategy (Web analytics)

Marketing is in addition to applications within your Content (USP, keywords, etc ...), even more strongly into play in setting a good strategy to play the digital market and conquer it. In addition, you need the correct data. Correct data Such a strategy can only be set up by thorough research and the results obtained therefrom. Understanding your visitors and their behavior is important.

Many tools for this are free like Google Analytics, Google AdWords keyword tool, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing. Beyond that, think of Link analysis tools like Moz, Ahrefs and Majestic SEO, this often have free accounts and more extensive paid accounts.

All of these tools can provide you the data to make decisions about how to proceed. Do you need more links, or there is still much room for improvement on the technical field. What does your competition do, and how to best compete with them. The tools give you a handle to make the right decisions, at the right time.

You decide how far you go in these analyzes, and whether you are using only free or also paid tools. It is important that you interpret the data consistent, so you do not compare apples with pears.


I hope to have made the picture of SEO and the pillars that SEO is based upon slightly clearer. Of course there are many more areas of SEO you can focus on. Like Local SEO and "verticals" as Video SEO, SEO News and Blogs. Yet all of these things, often include one or more components of these five key pillars of SEO.

Robert Wiebenga 


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