What Is Technical SEO?
Because Normal SEO Wasn't Confusing Enough...
Welcome to another deep dive into the world of SEO. Today, we’re tackling a topic that’s often overlooked but is absolutely crucial to your website’s performance – Technical SEO.
Whether you’re a beginning or an experienced SEO expert I’ll be breaking down technical SEO, piece by piece. By the end of my blog, I’m hoping you will have a solid understanding of what it is, why it’s so important, and how to avoid common mistakes that could be holding your website back.
I’ll be drawing from my experience actually doing technical SEO with my website and my clients. As always, I’ll be sharing some unique insights and practical tips that you won’t find anywhere else.
Technical SEO is very important for new websites and to be able to get your content visible and live on search engines. If you have a site with great traffic, you could see even more improvements by implementing some of these strategies.
So, buckle up and get ready for a journey into the fascinating world of Technical SEO. Let’s get started!
Quick Definition Of Technical SEO
Simply put, technical SEO is the optimisation work you do to improve your website for the crawling and indexes of search engines.
Technical SEO is the behind-the-scenes optimisation that ensures your site is readable and understandable to search engines like Google and Bing. It’s all about making sure that these search engines can crawl and index your site effectively, which in turn, boosts your organic rankings.
This can include a wide range of elements from site speed, site structure, schema and useful content. I will go into more details about all of these later down the blog.
Remember, while content may be king, your website’s technical health is just as crucial for achieving high search engine rankings. It’s not just about having great content, but also about making sure that content can be found and understood by search engines.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Well, optimising your technical SEO is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that search engine bots can crawl and index your website efficiently. Without this, even the most high-quality content may go unnoticed by search engines, leading to lower rankings.
For websites and bloggers, if you spend all of that time creating super high quality content for your users but after you publish it Google hasn’t found it on your site or has discovered it but not indexed it, it’s going to be an issue as no users will see it.
This is what I call publish and pray. You’re publishing your content and just praying to the search engine gods your content is going to rank. Nope, I don’t like those chances 😆. I’d optimise your technical SEO to boost the rankings here.
Secondly, technical SEO enhances the user experience. Aspects such as fast loading times, mobile-friendliness, and secure connections all contribute to a positive user experience. And of course, search engines take this into account when ranking websites.
Lastly, technical SEO helps avoid any penalties that could harm your rankings. By adhering to best practices, such as avoiding duplicate content and ensuring your site is free from broken links then you can avoid penalties that could negatively impact your visibility in search results.
Summary of Technical SEO Importance
What Are The Factors That Make Up Technical SEO?
A fast-loading website is not only beneficial for user experience but also favoured by search engines. Slow websites can lead to high bounce rates, which is a metric that can negatively impact your SEO rankings.
With the majority of web browsing now done on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is essential. Search engines like Google prioritise mobile-friendly sites in their rankings. Google actually confirmed in May 2023, all indexing has moved to mobile first.
Your XML sitemap helps search engines understand the structure of your site and find all of your pages. It's like a roadmap of your website that guides search engine bots. You will submit it to search engines so they can easily access all of the pages you want to rank.
It's important to make sure that your URL has a hierarchical structure. Your most important pages at the top linking through to your other pages. For example, your home page will link to your service, products, about and contact pages. Make sure your important pages are within 1 click of the homepage.
Security is a top priority for search engines. Websites that use https, which is a more secure version of http, can receive a ranking boost. Most sites will get a free SSL certificate to direct them to the https version of their website.
This is a type of code that you can add into the header of your page to make it easier for search engines to understand what your content is about. It can also enhance your appearance in search results with rich snippets such as products, reviews, authors etc.
Ensuring that search engines can easily crawl and index your site is crucial. This can be achieved by using a robots.txt file to guide search engine bots and by avoiding broken links or incorrect redirects. This is mostly for bigger websites with mass content.
Google has a really strict policy on duplicate content. It can confuse search engines and lead to ranking penalties. If you have duplicate content it can be seen as trying to manipulate the rankings and black hat seo.
What Percentage Of Your Strategy Should Include Technical SEO?
I’ve always believed that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this. The percentage of your strategy that should include technical SEO can vary depending on your specific circumstances, such as your industry, the size of your website, your target audience, and your overall digital marketing goals.
For example, the bigger the website content, the more technical SEO you will need to do to ensure your pages are being indexed and not dropping out of the rankings. Same applies with highly competitive industries with existing content you want to rank for.
I will say that I use technical SEO as a significant part of my strategy. It’s the foundation upon which all your other SEO efforts are built. Without a technically sound website, you might struggle to rank because your site isn’t being crawled and indexed by search engines.
I think it’s important to begin your strategy with technical SEO, because once you’ve got these foundations then you don’t have to optimise a massive amount after until your website gets bigger. I’d also start with technical SEO then move towards content creation and link building next.
So, if I had to put a number on it, I’d say that around 30% to 40%. Start with technical optimisation then move towards link building and content writing to generate your traffic and domain authority.
Most Experts Will Include Technical SEO As Apart Of Their Strategy
If you get a good SEO expert, most of the time they will do an audit on your site. They might pull out a few technical areas that you are missing or lacking in. Then they will focus on optimising that technical SEO to get your website ranking better.
Anyone who is an expert in SEO will be using technical SEO in their strategy for sure. It’s the first step I take when I take on a new client. I will run through my checklist of technical SEO optimisation and begin laying down these foundations ready for the next strategy stage.
If they are not, and the reason why your SEO efforts aren’t working is because of the technical side, then you’ll just be wasting your money and their efforts without a quick fix.
If you are being told technical SEO doesn’t matter, then I’d be careful who you are going with as this is not the right answer at all (in my opinion).
I Use Ahrefs And Google Search Console To Work On My Technical SEO
So I’ll set Ahrefs to run me a report every 3 days and audit the site for a lot of the technical SEO aspects I mentioned above. This way I can see if any errors are showing or any areas that could be causing issues.
If I need to take a deeper dive into these areas, I’ll pull up Google search engine console. Here you will be able to see any indexing issues with more information and your mobile friendliness and site speeds (core web vitals).
Another awesome tool is Screaming Frog SEO as well which is a crawler and will scrape your site and show back technical seo data. You can see link trees and other aspects like broken links, robot txt and more.
Make sure you are using these tools as a minimum if you are looking to get started doing some technical SEO.
What Are Some Technical SEO Mistakes To Avoid?
Here’s some things that you can avoid to make sure that your technical SEO is sound and competing with others in your industry.
Not using responsive design
Sites that aren’t mobile responsive or mobile friendly will struggle to rank against competitor websites that are optimised and are user friendly for mobiles. Google has moved its focus on this massively in the past few years. It should be a big focus of yours.
If your website is poorly designed. This tends to happen a lot with WordPress websites because the designers aren’t knowledgeable in coding so they will design the site for it’s looks and not for its performance. Using page builders adds excess amounts of unused codes to slow the sites down.
Very common with shared server hosts, such as Hostgator, Domain.com and other large website hosts. Being in a shared server is much slower than having your own dedicated server. Kinsta is a perfect option for utilising your own Google cloud hosting server for an affordable price.
No internal links
Forgetting to add internal links to your important pages or having some pages within 3 clicks of your home page. Your site structure really helps speed up how quickly search engines can crawl through your site and index your content.
Not requesting indexing
If you have submitted your sitemaps to search engines, one extra thing most people forget is to actually request that the pages get indexed. You can do this in Google search console and it takes a few minutes but will submit your page to be indexed or reindexed.
Not auditing your pages
Data is the most important area of technical SEO so you can see what is working and what’s not. If you are not running reports or crawls through your website to see what areas are broken or could be causing issues then you’ll be struggling to optimise.
Once You Optimise Your Technical SEO, It’s Easy To Maintain
Once you’ve done the bulk of optimising your SEO technically, then you can sit back and relax a little bit (not too much 😆). For smaller websites, you can work on your technical SEO at the start and once this is sound you can slow down a bit.
For larger websites, I think technical SEO becomes more important. However, if you have maintained a good technical SEO foundation then it’s not going to require a large amount of monthly optimisation.
This is good because technical SEO can be quite daunting and not many people know where to start. However, once you get the foundations in place it’s quite simple to get moving forward. You also don’t want to be wasting all of your time on technical SEO because it plays part in a larger strategy.
Technical SEO Can Give You a Boost Against Your Competition
For sure, you are going to get a boost against your competition using technical SEO optimisation. This is because you’ll make your website more friendly for search engines to crawl and index.
This provides gaps where search engines might pull new keywords from your content and rank your content using different LSI keywords and topics as well.
Also, websites with good site structure, speed and UX will mean users are more engaged with your content and stay on the page longer. Then this results in better metrics such as engagement rate, time of page and exit rates.
Again, this will boost your rankings against your competition because search engines will see your site as better to index and more friendly compared to your competition.
Overall, technical SEO is a way of telling search engines your website is better than others. You can refine it to produce data that tells search engines, hey I’m better so you should rank me higher.
Here’s An Example Of How Technical Seo Increased By Clients Website Visibility
Here’s an example of one of my clients which we did a lot of technical SEO work for. We increased the site speed and optimised a lot on the internal links and site structure. There were a significant amount of deep links which were hard for Google to find and index.
You can see the short term results that have come from this and we expect to see an increase in clicks and site traffic within the next 3 months.
And there you have it, folks. We’ve taken a deep dive into the world of Technical SEO, unravelled its complexities, and hopefully, shed some light on why it’s such a crucial part of your overall SEO strategy.
Remember, Technical SEO isn’t just about ticking boxes for search engines. It’s about building a strong, technically sound foundation for your website that enhances visibility, improves user experience, and gives you a competitive edge.
So, whether you’re just starting out on your SEO journey or you’re looking to up your game, don’t overlook the technical aspects. It might not be the most glamorous part of SEO, but trust me, it’s a part that can make a world of difference to your site’s performance and ranking.
As always, if you have any questions or need further clarification on anything we’ve covered, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Here’s to your success in the ever-evolving world of SEO!
Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below!