What on earth is the SEO pyramid?
The SEO pyramid is an easy-to-follow framework that highlights the main components of Search Engine Optimisation. You need to have the lower blocks in place before you can focus on the higher ones. Why? Well, much like a pyramid or any other building for that matter, you can’t build the second story without the ground floor – it will fall down. So in this guide, we are going to break down every component of the pyramid and provide some actionable tips on how to get that layer in place so that you can move on to the next one and propel your business to the next level. Without further ado, here are the five blocks of the SEO pyramid:
Block 1 – Crawlability
Much like a pyramid would be built you have to start with the base which in this case is crawlability – you need to make sure that Google bots will be able to crawl your site successfully. Any pages that cannot be crawled will not show up in search results.
So how does crawling work? Google’s bots will start by finding a few pages and will then follow the links found on those web pages to form a spider web of URLs – this is how they will find new content. This is an automatic process that will take place after you publish your site so you won’t have to do anything. However, if you have pages on your website that you’d rather Google doesn’t crawl and index – customer profiles or pages with duplicate information for example – you can tell it not to by submitting a robot.txt file. Google provides instructions on how to do this:
Be sure not to block the crawler bots from any pages which have other directives on them such as canonical tags. If Google cannot see these pages, it will not be able to follow the instructions you have laid out on them.
Block 2 – Indexability
Just because a page has been crawled doesn’t mean it’s going to show up in search results, Google also needs to index it (The Index is where all discovered pages are stored ready to be pulled out and shown for a specific search query). Google should automatically index your site once you submit it but if that doesn’t occur, try creating your own sitemap (a list of all the URLs on your site that you wish for the crawlers to discover) using tools such as XML-Sitemaps.com and submit it directly on Google Search Console.
As with crawling, you can tell Google which URLs not to index. This can be done by placing ‘Noindex’ meta directives within the head of the HTML of your webpage. This tells the search engine to exclude that specific web page from search results but it remains accessible to visitors on your site.
Block 3 – Accessibility
Your website may show up on the search results but if there are constant issues with it and people can’t access it, it’s likely that Google will penalise you by dropping you down the pecking order. Make sure that the page loads fast enough, check the HTTP status, and make sure that it renders properly.
The most common of these is slow loading times, especially on mobile. It’s a real shame that businesses turn a blind eye to loading times because it yields so much power and it’s quite easy to decrease load speed. To check how fast your page loads, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
The most common issue I see that slows down page pages is large image sizes. Luckily, this is an easy fix – use a tool called Tiny PMG to compress your images (Aim for image sizes of less than 100KB).
Block 4 – Rankability
Now that you have a website that is crawlable, indexable, and accessible by both bots and humans alike, you’re in a position to start optimising it. Consider focusing on Internal and external linking – this does wonders for your ranking.
External links – links from other websites to your own. Also known as backlinks.
Internal links – links on your website that point to other pages on it.
External links are more powerful and can be likened to word-of-mouth referrals. If other websites are willing to link to yours, this signals to Google that your website must be a high-quality resource since others are referring you. The more backlinks from high-authority websites you have leading to your website, the more likely it is that you will rank higher within the search results.
Block 5 – The top of the Pyramid, Clickability
What’s important here is to make sure the content on your website is relevant to the search intent. In other words, if the content on your page addresses the search query well, it will not only rank higher but will also have a higher click-through rate. A good starting place is to know which keywords you are targeting and be sure to write for those. It’s important to note here that you must not write for search engines, instead write to answer the searcher’s questions whilst keeping the search engine in the back of your mind.
It’s also good practice to optimise for SERP locations – if possible, try to organise your content in tables or lists and have a clear page structure with H1 tags, H2 tags, and so on.
Images packs are one example of a SERP location. For those of you who don’t know, Image packs are a row of images that show up on the search page that click through to a Google images search. Optimising for these is pretty straightforward: be sure to include a detailed alt text and descriptive file for each image.
Following this process will help you build a strong SEO foundation and fire you up those organic rankings, you might even secure a coveted SERP location. I know that for a beginner, this may seem like a lot… this is where I wish I could say that really, it’s a walk in the park but in no way is that the case. That’s why I always recommend hiring a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing. Good SEO can propel your business to success but it can, if done wrong, harm it instead so it’s always important that your SEO is done by someone who knows what they are doing.
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