The SEO Collective

Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs | Create Your Website Priorities

Maslow's Hierarchy of SEO Needs

Discover Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs to determine what to prioritize on your website. As with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the foundation is the most important. As the pyramid gets higher, the needs become less dire.

All aspects of the SEO pyramid are needed to ensure you rank in search engines, but some are more important than others. SEO is always changing, but this basic hierarchy can help you stay on top of things.

1.   Accessibility

website accessibility for seo

If your website isn’t accessible to search engines, it won’t show up in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).

This is the foundation of website SEO and consists of:


You need to make sure your website is accessible to crawlers (and you aren’t blocking search engine robots). Without this, engines can’t read your website


Ensure that the search engine is actually indexing the pages of your website.

Site Architecture/ URL Structure

Check that your website has been built logically. A general rule to follow is to make sure key content is not more than 3 clicks away from your home page.

Hyperlinks with keyword-rich anchor text are another vital aspect of site architecture. Each page should have at least 2 internal links pointing to it.

XML Sitemap

Create and submit your sitemap to search engines (using tools like Google Search Console).

2.   Compelling Content

compelling content

After you’ve made sure the structure of your website is perfect and your site is indexed, it’s time to move on to content. The on-page SEO is vital to make your site show up in the search results. For more on how to ensure your content is SEO optimized, check out my SEO Cheat Sheet.

Heading Tags

HTML heading tags are used to differentiate the headings on your site from the rest of your content. This includes the main heading (H1) and the subheadings (H2 to H6)

Alt Tags

Adding alt tags to your images tells Google and other search engines what’s in the image. It’s also a great place to add relevant keywords.

Your images need to be optimized in terms of both size and format.

Video Optimisation

You need to check that all your videos are well-embedded and contain meta tags. You’ll also want to pay attention to video size, format, and where it is hosted.

3.   Relevant Keywords

seo pyramid keywords

When people think of SEO, one of the first things that comes to mind is Keywords. As a website owner, you need to ensure your pages are optimized to attract searchers and search engines.


Another popular term that gets thrown around in relation to SEO is meta tags. Meta titles and descriptions are the best way to control how your content is seen in the SERP.

They let the searcher know what the page entails and entices them to click. If your CTR rate isn’t where you want it to be, you’ll want to review your meta tags.

4.   User Experience

UX seo pyramid

Next in the SEO pyramid comes user experience. You need to make sure your website loads quickly, perform optimally and offers a UX that will keep your users, not send them running.

Get a friend or family member to scroll through the site and see how they react. If they get frustrated, there’s probably something that needs fixing. Additionally, Hotjar is a great way to test how users interact with your site.

Loading Speed

If your website doesn’t load quickly, your users aren’t gonna stick around. Think about how long you wait for a website to load before trying another site. The ideal loading time is 1 to 2 seconds. People usually abandon if it takes longer than 3. Crazy!

You can use tools like PageSpeedInsights to check your loading speed as well as check other UX factors.


Nowadays, there are such a wide array of different devices that people use to access websites. You have to create a website that can adapt to all of them. Mobile-first indexing has become a priority for Google and other search engines, meaning you have to get responsiveness right.

5.   Backlinking

hierarchy of seo needs backlinking

Backlinking in SEO is next in the SEO Hierarchy. It is one of those confusing topics that few people seem to really understand. But it holds a lot of weight when it comes to outranking competitors. And if done right, it also brings in great referral traffic.

It’s up to you to make content worthy of links, citations, and amplification from authoritative websites. Keep in mind you may also want to disavow negative backlinks.

Content Syndication

This section also includes content syndication and things like guest posts. Put simply, this is all about publishing content from your website on other websites.

6.   Schema

schema hierarchy seo

Towards the top of the SEO Hierarchy of Needs is Schema. When it comes to standing out in featured snippets, schema markup is essential. By using structured, you’re more likely to stand out in the SERPs.

Structured data has to be set up for each page. To make this easier, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

You can use schema for the following web page types:

  • Articles
  • Events
  • Movies
  • Restaurants
  • Book Reviews
  • Job Postings
  • Products
  • Software Applications
  • Datasets
  • Local Businesses
  • Question and Answer Page
  • TV Episodes

7.   Social

schema hierarchy seo

Right at the top of the SEO pyramid is social media signals. In recent times, search engines have started taking social media results into consideration in the SERP.


Turns out engagement doesn’t just affect the algorithm on social media. This means things like comments, shares, likes, followers, and all can impact search results


Getting people to write reviews is hard. Way harder than it should be. To make it even more challenging, people are far more likely to leave negative reviews than positive ones. You’ve got to nag, beg, and, often, offer incentives.

Reviews are essential for local SEO since people often use reviews as a deciding factor.

It’s a pain, but it’s in your best interest to push for reviews.

Final Thoughts on Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs

Once you’ve sorted out the foundation of Maslow’s Hierarchy of SEO Needs, you can move up to things that will increase your competitiveness (like schema and social). All of this can seem a bit overwhelming, so it’s useful to break it into chunks and tackle each section.

If you need any assistance with SEO, please reach out to me. As a freelance SEO Specialist, I’d be happy to assist.

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