What’s the most important area of SEO?
Is it technical? On-page? Off-page? How about Content? Should I just focus on this specific area, Content?
Let’s delve into this topic.
SEO, as you know, has 3 main pillars – on-page, off-page and technical.
In an ideal world, you wanna have all 3 pillars running concurrently.
Here’s why I say this…
If you only focused on on-page, and as an extension of this, you focus on your content, you’ll be neglecting the other two pillars.
All 3 pillars are equally important to the success of your SEO.
The area most marketers tend to work on, by default, is probably on-page/content.
This is the easiest to them because it’s an area they already work on.
They already create content for the site, they already create pages for the site so continuing to do so and calling it ‘SEO’ is not that big of a stretch.
And, as the saying goes, ‘content is king’, right?
Well, yes it is but what does your content matter if it cannot be found?
This saying is only partially true, to an SEO.
It’s important but it’s not the most important aspect of SEO.
Ask any SEO, and they’ll say to you, whilst content is essential, the most critical aspect of SEO comes down to crawlability.
Crawlability, falls within technical SEO.
So if you’re only focusing on your content, as part of your agenda to activate SEO, you may be neglecting the way your site is being crawled.
Let me say this again, if you’re only focusing on content as part of your SEO, you’ll be neglecting the way your site is being crawled.
If you want traffic from search, the way search engines crawl your site needs to be considered.
This consideration needs to be always-on.
In other words, technical SEO is a pillar you must always focus on for as long as you have a website that acquires traffic from organic search.
Here’s an example why…
You create content, you create pages.
You create URLs for your pages. Each page you create has two URL versions – one with a slash, and one without a slash.
You do not have any canonicals in place.
You also do not have any noindex tag on either set of URLs.
You may not be aware of this but you’re creating crawling issues for your pages.
You may not be aware of this but you’re creating indexation issues for your pages.
When will you be aware of the issue? Only after your rankings and traffic takes a noticeable dip and you have your technical SEO audited.
Neglecting this pillar of SEO can be a costly mistake.
Now, you may be thinking, well, if crawlability is the most important thing about SEO, let me only focus on tech SEO. If I have this pillar covered, I’ll be fine, right?
This is where you’ve really got to respect the value of content.
Besides content being king, content brings you closer to understanding the wants and needs of your users.
The more you know of your users, the industry you’re in and the evolution of it, the more you can keep your website alive with content.
SEO from a content/on-page point of view, helps you achieve this goal.
As your industry evolves, if you find yourself in a situation where you’re not evolving with the industry, and your competitors are, it is only a matter of time before they outperform you in the SERPs.
Take my word for it.
This is where the term content is king is applicable.
You wanna serve users? You wanna keep serving users? You need content.
Now, let’s talk about off-page SEO.
This is a pillar that gets a bad rap.
It’s often regarded as simply link building, or link earning, if you wanna be P.C. in these here times.
Off-page SEO is much more than link acquisition – think of branding and promotion, for search engines to take note.
You can only get so far with your SEO with on-page and technical.
Off-page SEO helps your site’s publicity.
I mean this, both from a search engine point of view (i.e. search engines discovering your links), and also from a user point of view (i.e. users being aware of your brand/website).
I say this to say off-page SEO doesn’t limit itself to online activities, it extends to offline as well.
So, your brand publicity in the real world, can and does affect your digital marketing activities.
So, if you have a PR team and aren’t engaging with SEO, you’re missing a lot of opportunities, ones which your competitors may be capitalising on.
So don’t be surprised if you find that your competitors are outperforming you in the SERPs with a solid off-page SEO strategy when you’re yet to activate this pillar.
Even if you have a solid on-page and technical SEO strategy in place, you can still struggle to gain market share (in the SERPs) against a competitor that has a superior off-page strategy with a sub-par on-page and technical SEO.
So, what’s the most important area of SEO? All three pillars.
Don’t aim to have one or two pillars rocking.
Aim to have all three of them.
The level of each may differ, sure.
Depending on the state of your SEO, and the landscape you’re in, you may decide to give more attention to a specific pillar for a specific set of time.
But a balance of all three pillars, running concurrently, is what you’ll want to achieve.
Once you have all three up and running, avoid the pitfall of turning one of them off.
For as long as you have a website, for as long as you want to acquire traffic via the organic channel, you need to have all 3 pillars of SEO, always-on.