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SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is the process of optimising a web application (website) for search engines as a service.

Typically SEO is shown as three pillars; Technical, Off-site and On-page. You may have seen the below, and very popular SEO Venn Diagram that has been used a lot – but from what I can tell originated from Kobestarr Digital.

However, as we head into 2019, I don’t personally believe that the Venn diagram continues to accurately depict the SEO industry that we work in.

The SEO Tetrahedron

Taking inspiration from the Fire Triangle, this was also no longer seen as accurate for modern usage, and was replaced by the Fire Tetrahedron to represent the four elements necessary for fire. Taking this four elements idea, I’ve come up with the SEO Tetrahedron model:

The SEO Tetrahedron compromises of four core pillars, rather than the out-dated venn diagram.

The SEO Tetrahedron consists of, what are in my opinion, the four core elements necessary for a modern day, successful, SEO strategy.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO has become more prevalent in recent months as a lot of people are moving away from the older content+links model of SEO consultancy. For the purposes of the SEO Tetrahedron, technical SEO consists of:

  • Ensuring that search engines can effectively crawl, process, and index web-pages across a website
  • Making sure that the website responds and forms correctly across all devices and browsers
  • Ensuring that the website provides a strong, technically excellent foundation for on-page, off-site, and user experience efforts
  • Ensuring the website has good information architecture, structure, and internal linking networks (and subnetworks)

Marketing & PR (or Off-Site SEO)

Replacing link building and “offsite SEO”, marketing and PR is now necessary to build both brand and real, genuine signals online.

This doesn’t mean just building links, but building citations and brand mentions, as well as establishing a meaningful connection between your brand and your product/service area, for then you can establish expertise and authority in that vertical.

  • Real businesses do marketing, not just for PR and backlinks, but real businesses are active
  • Having a business presence (as well as backlinks and citations) on industry relevant websites
  • Having members of the business and associated with the business active within the industry and business community, establishing themselves as industry leaders


The theories and practices of content for SEO have come a long way in the past 5 years, and whilst some agencies still look for keyword density and 500 words, content has now evolved into much more.

  • Content, how well it satisfies a user query (main content) and then goes on to either link to, or provide additional value around the topic (supporting content)
  • Creating meaningful content vectors
  • The structure of content ontologies, nesting of appropriate subfolders and categories to create content ontologies
  • Not spreading content thin and producing multiple URLs with minor content differences

User Experience

The fourth core element, and to be fair a lot of this can be bundled under technical SEO and website design, but ultimately we want fast websites for users, we want good mobile experience for users, and we want good content for users — doing it for Google’s benefit is secondary.

  • Site speed, and how quickly content loads for users on desktop, mobile and tablet
  • The mobile usability of website, such as it’s responsiveness to different screen sizes and viewports
  • How content is presented (above the fold, clearly visible on load, no obtrusive adverts or JavaScript overlays)
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