FAQ: What are the 6 Cs of SEO?

People often wonder how best to divide SEO into departments. In a practical sense it can get very deep and tactical, but with the most obvious, distinct skill-based divisions, the art of SEO can be broken down into the 6 Cs, as follows.

Code & technical architecture
Front-end code is responsible for marking up your content in an accessible manner that’s both lightweight enough to load fast and semantic enough to provide context for search engines to best understand your content. Well organised back-end code and technical architecture is also important for SEO in so far as it can help make your site easier to manage, from a code developer’s perspective and from a content developer’s perspective, thus help you to optimise your front-end code most efficiently, and of course server-side speed often has a significant influence on page loading speed which can affect SEO.
Content creation & development
They say content is king, and this is kind of true. Most coding inefficiencies have negligible impact on SEO, they’re easily forgiven because Google wants to rank the site that users want to see and that usually depends on content rather than code.
Conversion optimisation
Converting impressions into clicks, and views into satisfied customers is critical to SEO. If people are bouncing off your site and going to your competitors’ sites too often, your ranks will go down and no amount of content or link-building can save you from this inevitable fate.
Connections (links, citations & reputation enhancement)
Google still uses PageRank to determine which sites are naturally most authoritative and loved by people, although this is having an increasingly lower effect as Google gets better at detecting user satisfaction by more precise means. Traditionally and still to this day, a link is like an endorsement, and a good amount of unlinked mentions/citations of your brand names help too, to get direct traffic and brand name searches and show that you’re a real credible entity rather than a spammer that nobody is really talking about.
Consoles & software
Tools like the Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools are important for managing certain aspects of your SEO campaign, for example by declaring which territory your site is targeting (which gives you a boost in that territory and less prominence elsewhere). Tools like Ahrefs also offer great insights to support your SEO campaign’s research and reporting efforts, which influences decision making.
Campaign management (overall strategy & reporting).
Managing a campaign means you need to have a basic familiarity with all of the above, and understand its significance in the bigger piece, and be capable of conducting audits in every area and providing recommendations on the best course of action from a range of possibilities, throughout a campaign.

See also

How to diversify your skillset, as an SEO professional in an evolving industry
This article breaks down the core skillsets of SEO in a similar way, and suggests ways to extend each of those areas of expertise to help you transition into working outside of SEO.