The Four Pillars of Modern SEO

Social media may have been the star of the digital marketing scene in recent times, but reports of SEO’s demise are greatly exaggerated. Effective search engine optimization can still drive plenty of profitable traffic to a website, but it needs to be approached correctly. What do you need to consider when developing a successful modern strategy?

4 Pillars of SEO

1. Link Building

Links have always been the foundation of the Google algorithm. Although the specifics have changed over time, a good link will always be a positive for your ranking. But what should you be looking for when building links?

  • Always strive for links that appear natural and freely given by the source site. If your link looks as if it’s been bought or traded, it will be downgraded in value, or may even work against you in extreme cases.
  • Links from highly trafficked sites are always preferable. Not only will these links tend to have a greater algorithmic impact, they’ll also send you traffic directly.
  • Your incoming links should have a wide range of anchor texts (the text used within the link itself). Aim for a mixture of descriptive keywords and phrases: generic terms such as “click here,” website addresses, and longer sentences which describe your page content. Also, mix it up by including links based around images rather than text.
  • Your link profile should be as diverse as possible. Aim for links from sites with high and low traffic, closely related themes and more general blogs, and from a variety of countries and organizations. The greater the mix, the more natural your profile will look, and the greater the impact your best links will have.

2. On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is all about getting your page’s ducks in a row to leave the algorithm with no doubt about its theme. Although it’s nowhere near the make-or-break factor it once was, it’s still vital.

  • Optimize your page title and meta description so that they are readable, interesting, and accurately descriptive, and also include your target keywords.
  • Structure your content well, using headings and subheadings where appropriate, again including relevant keywords where they naturally fit.
  • Use image alt attributes to describe the image content accurately, while also adding the keywords for which you want to rank.
  • Tweak your content to naturally include your main terms and a good spread of related phrases. However, never do this at the expense of readability.
  • Add links to other pages on your website and to respected external sites, where they fit the text and add value for the user.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO is in some ways the ugly duckling of the optimization family. It’s rarely exciting, but it provides the foundation on which other parts of the discipline can build. In essence, it means ensuring your site is easily understood by the search engine algorithm, with no technical glitches or confusion to trip the spiders up. Here are the most important things to consider.

  • Identify and remove as much content as possible that’s duplicated across multiple pages.
  • Ensure that several different URLs can’t reach the same page. That is an easy trap to fall into when the URL is parsed by your website software to build a page from database entries.
  • Check that your pages load quickly and reliably with no server errors, even under heavy load. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and PingDom’s Website Speed Test can help you identify performance bottlenecks and improvement opportunities.
  • Ensure that your site works appropriately across a wide range of devices. Google now actively demotes sites which offer a poor mobile experience.
  • Use a broken link checker to track down and fix broken internal and external links. Broken links send poor quality signals to search engines, implying sloppy maintenance and a frustrating user experience.

4. Quality Content

The final part of the optimization jigsaw is high-quality content. Search engines strive to direct users to genuinely useful sites, and if your content is poor, you won’t fit this criterion. Not only that, but high-quality content increases user engagement, and this feeds directly back into the ranking system via tracking through Google’s advertising, analytics, and social media platforms.

  • Make your content as unique as possible. While it’s difficult to create something original in a crowded market, publishing rehashed material isn’t going to make you rise above your competitors.
  • Make your content genuinely useful, entertaining, or otherwise attractive. Think beyond the search engine spiders – user satisfaction should be your prime aim. Content that doesn’t engage or convert in some way is worth virtually nothing.
  • Make sure your content is easily readable and clearly presented. Your visitors immediately need to recognize that they’ve found what they’re seeking. If they don’t, they’ll hit the back button, inflating your bounce rates. Google will notice this and lower your rank accordingly.

Modern online marketing offers countless ways of driving traffic to a website, but search engine optimization remains one of the most powerful and cost-effective. But it’s not something you can take for granted or approach half-heartedly. Pay attention to these four pillars, and you’ll be giving your SEO efforts an essential underpinning for profitable success.

New Notification Features

We have added two new options to the Project Settings dialog that allow you to configure where and when to send notification emails about completed link checks. Previously, the results of a recurring check were always sent to the account holder’s email address. Now you can use different recipients for different projects.

Email notification settings

In order to have the emails delivered to multiple recipients, simply enter the addresses separated by a comma. The first email address will be used for the email’s To field, the remaining addresses go to the Cc field.

If you are not interested in getting emails about checks that didn’t identify any dead or bad links, tick the checkbox next to Only send if issues were found. Dr. Link Check will then keep quiet until something worth reporting is found.

How to Find All Non-HTTPS Links on a Website

The majority of the top 1 million websites now use HTTPS, and for good reason:

  • HTTPS keeps a user’s connection to a server safe from eavesdropping and tampering.
  • Non-HTTPS websites cause modern browsers to display an off-putting “Not Secure” warning.
  • Google Search favors HTTPS pages over unsecure HTTP ones.

Considering that SSL/TLS certificates don’t even cost you anything (see Let’s Encrypt for free certificates), there’s every reason to use HTTPS for a website.

When migrating an existing site from HTTP to HTTPS, it’s often difficult to find all the old http:// URLs that need to be changed to https://. Missing just a single link to an image, script, or other resource, results in a Mixed Content warning in the browser. In this post, I will demonstrate how to use Dr. Link Check for finding all http:// URLs on a website.

Step 1: Start a check at

Go to the Dr. Link Check homepage, enter the address of your website, and click on Start Check.

Start Link Check

Step 2: Click on “http:” under “Link Schemes”

After the check is complete, Dr. Link Check will display the number of http:// links under Link Schemes on the Overview page. Click the http: item to open a report listing the found links.

HTTP Links: Overview

Step 3: Add “Direction: Internal” filter item

The report lists all http:// links found on your website, including those to other websites. If you want to restrict the report to internal links, click the Add button in the Filter bar at the top of the report, and select Direction from the menu. Now, click on Outbound and select the Internal menu item.

HTTP Links: Report

As presented above, Dr. Link Check is not only a great broken link checker, but it can also help you migrate your website from HTTP to HTTPS. Give it a try!

Pricing Changes

We have updated the pricing model for Dr. Link Check to make it more transparent and easier to understand. You now buy the capacity to check websites of a certain size (based on the number of links it contains), and you can then check those websites as often as you want during the term of your subscription.

Previously, we were giving you a monthly quota of links that could be checked, and it was up to you how to use this quota. With a quota of 20,000 links, you could run one single check on a website with 20,000 links, or 20 checks for a smaller site with only 1,000 links. Once the quota was used up, you either had to upgrade your subscription or wait for it to reset with the next subscription cycle.

We now know that this is not what users want. If you are working on fixing your website’s links, you don't want to wait until next month to run another check to verify your changes. From now on, you can run as many checks on a website as you need, without having to worry about running out of your quota.

The prices of existing subscriptions won’t change, but you will benefit from the removal of the quota system. If your subscription previously included a quota of 20,000 links per month, it now has a limit of 20,000 links per website project.

In case you have any questions regarding the changes, please get in touch.

New Feature: View Link Source

We have made it easier for Dr. Link Check users to spot exactly where a broken link is found. If you click on a link’s Details button, you will see up to 11 different URLs of documents that contain the broken link.

Link Details Dialog

In order to view a document’s source code, just click the Source button located right next to the URL. Dr. Link Check will now fetch the HTML or CSS code from the server and highlight the location(s) of the link.

Link Source Dialog

We hope that this feature is useful to you. If you have any suggestions to improve it, please let us know.

Free Error Page Images

We at Dr. Link Check see lots of server error pages in our daily work, and honestly, the majority of them are downright boring. You can find a great “404 Not Found” page here and there, but other common errors (such as “403 Forbidden” or “503 Service Unavailable”) rarely get much love from web developers and designers.

That’s why we decided to ask a designer to come up with ideas for turning HTTP error codes into creative artwork. The result is a set of nine images that we make available free of charge under the Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 license.

Free Error Page Images

Download Set

The images are in SVG vector and PNG raster formats. Feel free to use them as is, modify them to your taste, or see them as inspiration for your own creations.

400 Bad Request

403 Forbidden

404 Not Found

410 Gone

418 I'm a teapot

429 Too Many Requests

500 Internal Server Error

503 Service Unavailable

504 Gateway Timeout

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