The Three Pillars of SEO: A breakdown

By Jeroen, 18 August 2023

Search Engine Optimisation

Search engine optimization (SEO) has become an indispensable part of online marketing for businesses and individuals alike. To truly grasp its significance, it’s essential to understand how search engines work and the basics of SEO. Once you’re familiar with these fundamental concepts, you can delve deeper into the three main pillars of SEO: technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO.

Pillar one: Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to the underlying structure and setup of your website. It ensures that search engines can easily crawl, interpret, and index your site’s content. Unlike on-page and off-page SEO, which focus on content and backlinks respectively, technical SEO addresses the backend of your website.

Website Speed

When we speak of Website Speed, we’re addressing the integral role that the pace of a webpage plays in user experience. A sluggish site can frustrate users, often leading to increased bounce rates. Search engines are quite intuitive and reward faster-loading sites with higher rankings. To achieve optimal speed, it’s common to use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. Activities such as compressing images, using content delivery networks (CDNs), optimizing JavaScript and CSS files, and leveraging browser caching are fundamental.

Mobile Optimization

The significance of Mobile Optimization has soared in recent years. As more users shift to accessing the web via mobile devices, a site’s mobile compatibility directly impacts its traffic and user satisfaction. Strategies like using responsive designs, ensuring that clickable elements are spread out, and opting for legible font sizes can greatly enhance a website’s mobile experience.

XML Sitemaps

Then we have XML Sitemaps, which essentially act as a website’s roadmap for search engines. They delineate the structure of your site, helping search engines comprehend and prioritize content. Regular updating of sitemaps, excluding non-essential pages, and submitting them to platforms like Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools can enhance site visibility.


A Robots.txt file functions as a guide for search engines on which pages or segments of your site they should steer clear from. It’s a tool to ensure that search engines are not squandering their time on irrelevant pages.

Expanding the Horizons of Technical SEO

Structured Data and Schema Markup play a pivotal role in enhancing your listings on search engines, helping them understand the context of your content and possibly leading to rich snippets in search results. AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), on the other hand, focuses on speeding up page load times on mobile, improving user experience and potentially boosting rankings for mobile searches. 301 Redirects are essential when changing the URL of a page or merging two pages, ensuring that users and search engines are led to the correct page and that no SEO value is lost. Furthermore, Crawl Errors, which can be identified using tools like Google Search Console, need to be rectified promptly to ensure that search engines can access and index all vital pages efficiently.

Each of these elements, when optimized, contributes to the smooth accessibility and understanding of your website by search engines, thus influencing your site’s overall SEO performance.

Pillar two: On-Page SEO

On-page SEO deals with the content present on your website and how you can optimize it to rank better on search engines. This pillar ensures that search engines understand your content and its relevance to users.

Keyword Optimization

Keyword Optimization isn’t merely about embedding keywords into content. It’s about ensuring that search engines, and by extension, users, can understand the context and relevance of a page. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush often come in handy, but the emphasis should be on natural integration, avoiding the pitfall of keyword stuffing.

Content Quality

One cannot overemphasize the importance of Content Quality. Engaging content not only captivates readers but also increases the time spent on a site and the likelihood of earning backlinks. Content should invariably be created with user intent in mind, ensuring it provides genuine value.

Meta Tags

Meta Tags are those behind-the-scenes snippets that tell search engines what your page is all about. Crafting compelling meta descriptions can significantly boost click-through rates, especially when they contain pertinent keywords.

URL Structure

When it comes to the URL Structure, simplicity and clarity reign supreme. Users and search engines alike prefer URLs that are concise and give a hint of the page’s content.

Internal Linking

Internal Linking might seem like a small detail, but it’s a potent tool in guiding visitors to other relevant pages on your site and helping search engines discover them. It’s all about creating a web of related content that enhances user experience.

Pillar three: Off-Page SEO

Off-page SEO revolves around activities outside your website that influence its ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). The primary focus here is backlinks, which act as endorsements for your website.


Backlinks are akin to the endorsements of the digital world. The more quality, relevant backlinks a site has, the more authoritative it appears to search engines. However, the emphasis should always be on the quality rather than quantity.

Social Signals

In the realm of Social Signals, while the direct correlation with search rankings remains a subject of debate, the indirect benefits are undeniable. Positive engagements on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can drastically boost visibility and traffic.

Guest Blogging

Guest Blogging serves a dual purpose: it offers exposure to a new audience and often provides valuable backlinks. However, the focus should always be on writing quality content for reputable sites that resonate with your domain.

Brand Mentions

While they might not always be hyperlinked, Brand Mentions are pivotal. They can amplify a brand’s perceived authority, even if they don’t directly link back to the site. As an example, see our awards blog, where we share that we’ve won 2 awards this year (thus far). The organization behind the awards also links to, giving us the perfect example to emphasize the importance of branding.

Influencer Partnerships

Lastly, in the age of influencer culture, Influencer Partnerships can be immensely beneficial. A genuine collaboration can offer exposure, credibility, and sometimes, a fresh perspective.

Remember that SEO is ever-evolving, and staying updated with the latest guidelines and trends is crucial for long-term success.

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