what is technical seo

What is Technical SEO & What Should You Know About It?

There are over 1 billion websites wordwide, but most users don’t scroll past the first 10-15 positions on Google!

Of course, you are not competing with all 1 billion of them, but Google (and other search engines) have to make sense of them all. Every time a user types out a search query, they need to identify and rank the most relevant sites from all this clutter.

Good SEO practices can make this task easier for search engines, and when you help Google, it pays back in kind by making you more discoverable.

Now, that’s what we call a win-win.

While all this sounds simple and straightforward, SEO is anything but! Search engine optimization encompasses a large number of diverse activities (Google considers over 200 SERP ranking factors) that send out good, green signals to search engines, helping them slot you in the right spot. 

These ranking factors range from basic page-level factors such as keywords and tags to off-page SEO activities such as social media mentions and backlinks.

This is where simple SEO starts becoming complicated. In this article, we’ll discuss the complexities of technical SEO, including what you need to know and what an agency can help you with. 

Defining the Pillars: What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO encompasses some of the more complex tasks of website and server optimization so Google and other search engines can better crawl your website. It’s all about optimizing the technical side of your site to improve your SEO ranking. 

These tasks can range from improving hosting and site speed to adding XML sitemaps and meta tags. All technical SEO strategies are geared towards three things: making a website faster, easier to crawl, and more understandable to search engines.

Technical SEO covers a bewildering range of topics. We’ll cover the basics of several of those here – but before you get too overwhelmed, know that an experienced SEO agency can perform all of these tasks (and more) for your business. 

We just want you to be able to understand what we do and why these aspects of technical SEO are important. 

1. Site Speed

No one wants to wait for a slow site to load. And what users don’t like, Google doesn’t forgive. A slow website is a shortcut to higher bounce rates and lower search engine rankings. It is critical to keep your page load time under three seconds.

We recommend starting by tracking your site’s speed with Google PageSpeed Insights. If you score poorly on page speed load times, reach out to an agency to see what you should do to fix this. 

Some critical steps toward improving site speed include: 

  • Optimize images and media files
  • Enable browser caching
  • Minimize and compress CSS, JavaScript, and HTML files

2. Site Architecture

Think of your site as a library, and now imagine that library without a system of organized. Without categories or alphabetical organization, you can spend a whole day in the building without coming close to the book you are looking for. 

Similarly, a well-organized site architecture makes it easier for search engines and users to understand, navigate, and index your content.

It is important to have a clear and logical hierarchy for all your web pages and build an intuitive and user-friendly navigation menu. Your content should be descriptive and keyword-rich to make it easier for search engines to know what your site is about.

3. XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are like maps that make it easier for search engines to discover the important pages on your website and guide users to them. An XML sitemap lists a website’s essential pages; Google follows this list to crawl them and understand your website’s structure and the relationships between your pages.

You can use an online tool or a plugin to generate an XML sitemap and submit it to Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools. Remember, every time you update your website, you will need to resubmit a fresh sitemap.

4. URL Structure

A clean and user-friendly URL structure is easy for users to understand, but it also makes it easier for search engines to interpret your page content.

URLs should be descriptive and include relevant keywords. An agency can make sure these are optimized for readability and encapsulate the content of the page they lead to. They can also keep an eye out for broken URLs and ensure they are redirected to new content.  

5. Mobile-Friendly Design

More than half the internet traffic comes from mobile devices, and in recognition of this trend, search engines place a strong emphasis on mobile friendliness while ranking websites.

Use a responsive design while building your website and follow mobile-friendly design practices. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to assess your website’s mobile compatibility.

6. HTTPS/Security

Search engines prioritize websites with secure connections (HTTPS), so make sure you or your web developer obtains an SSL certificate from a good certificate authority and configure your web server to use HTTPS by default. 

A good technical SEO agency can perform regular checks to uncover security gaps and apply security patches as and when they are needed.

7. Robots.txt File 

The robots.txt file tells the search engines which parts of your website to explore and what to avoid or ignore. Misconfigured robots.txt files can prevent Google from crawling and indexing important pages on your website. So it is critical to ensure that this is set up properly. 

8. Structured Data Markup (AKA Schema)

Schema markup, also known as structured data markup, is a type of code that you can add to your website’s HTML to provide search engines with specific information about the content on your web pages. It helps search engines understand the context of your content, which can result in more informative and visually appealing search engine results. 

SEO agencies are knowledgeable in best practices for adding schema markup to websites and can determine the best structured data to include for your website. 

9. Error Pages

Stumbling across broken links is akin to getting a door slammed in your face. Search engines hate them as much as users, so monitor your site for broken links and fix them promptly.

An agency can help you create custom 404 error pages to provide helpful information and navigation links and set up 301 redirects for moved or deleted content.

10. Canonical Tags

Search engines can penalize a website for having the same content in multiple places. So it is important to mark any duplicate content with canonical tags. This tells the search engines what page of content to prioritze when ranking your content. 

A good SEO agency understands the importance of canonical tags and can implement them as needed. 

11. HREF Lang Tags (for Multi-Lingual Sites)

If you utilize multiple languages on your website, then HREF Lang tags are essential. They tell search engines which language version of a page should be shown to users in a certain region.

Technical SEO: The Value Proposition for Your Business

Now that we have popped the hood and checked out the various components of the technical SEO engine, you might have a better idea of HOW optimizing these SEO factors helps your website.

When done well, technical SEO makes your site faster, easily navigable, and understandable for search engines. All these have a direct impact on your business. Here’s how:

Improved Visibility Online

The primary goal of all SEO activities, including technical SEO, is to make your website stand out and become more visible in search results. Optimization of technical SEO factors is a essential first step for every website, as these are the basic factors that search engines use to recognize the structure and context of a site.

Technical SEO makes your content available to be crawled and indexed. Without these parameters, your content will be practically invisible in the digital realm.

Enhanced User Experience

User experience and SEO are two sides of the same coin. A well-optimized website that loads quickly, works well on mobile devices, and has an easy and intuitive interface automatically leads to a better user experience, encouraging visitors to spend more time on your site.

Technical SEO factors such as site speed, XML sitemaps, URL structure, and site architecture improve your website speed and help search engines navigate your website seamlessly. All of this helps search engines efficiently crawl and index your content. 

Sales and Growth

The ultimate goal of every business is to increase its bottom line. For websites fronting businesses, this translates to conversions that lead to sales. 

Technical SEO is a direct contributing factor to increasing revenue from online sources, as its activities increase the chance of your website being discovered by users who are looking for your products or services.

Partner with a Full-Service Agency to helm your Technical SEO

Technical SEO is, well, fairly technical, and unless you have a background in web design or coding, chances are you will not know your website’s backend from its front end. And that’s OK. Your job – and your focus – should be to grow your business. SEO is a very specialized beast, and even digital marketing generalists don’t have expertise in this area.

For a business looking to grow in the digital landscape, the benefits of outsourcing SEO to a full-service agency cannot be overstated. Working with a full-service agency gives you access to the combined experience of a team of professionals who live and breathe SEO and digital marketing.

Additionally, their expertise extends beyond technical SEO, encompassing the entire spectrum of SEO and digital marketing activities. This gives them a holistic view that aligns your technical SEO not only with your entire SEO strategy but also with all other marketing efforts, such as content strategy, social media marketing, and paid advertising. 

Take the Next Step: Choose Growth with Technical SEO

Nothing is more important than ensuring that your website is discoverable, crawlable, and indexable by search engines. This is literally Step 1 of SEO, and as competition is fierce, you cannot afford to miss this critical step. 

It’s time to empower your business. Don’t hesitate; take action. Contact us today to chat with our technical SEO consultants!

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