What Is Technical SEO and Why Is It Important?

May 3, 2019 -- Posted by : emily

women on a laptop learning about technical seo

Technical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the practice of ensuring that your website is in line with search engine algorithms and guidelines. That way, the pages of your site can be indexed and rank for the keyword searches you are targeting.

It’s best to carry out technical SEO steps during the building phase of your website. However, other things like Google algorithm changes might necessitate additional updates. If you are working with an already-existing website that has never received technical optimizations, you will have to do a technical SEO site audit. This might be time consuming, but it’s necessary for seeing exactly what changes need to be made to your site.

Understanding technical SEO can help you drive traffic to your website and ultimately boost your bottom line. Here’s more details on what technical SEO is and why it’s important for your business.

What Tasks Are Considered Technical SEO?

Technical SEO audit

There are a lot of things that go into technical SEO and leaving out just one of them can negatively impact your website’s rankings. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects of technical SEO:

  • Site architecture. Make sure your site is prepared to grow. Ensuring that pages are not buried more than four levels down from the home page allows them to be easily crawled and indexed by search engines. As your site grows with your business, it’s easy for pages to get lost. But remember, if they are buried for your visitors, then they are buried for search engines as well. It’s also important to make sure your site’s categorization includes proper use of sub-domains, proper URL formatting, and proper use of sitemaps.
  • Cannibalization. This is where you choose a preferred URL when there are multiple options for a given page. For example, if your page has different international URLs or slight variations lead to the same page, search engines could flag them as duplicate content. A simple redirect will solve this.
  • Pagination. If you have an e-Commerce site that displays a lot of products, there can be crawler issues or duplicate content penalties. To avoid this, use correct Meta tags when building out these pages.
  • Avoiding cannibalization. Cannibalization is when your pages compete against each other for ranking. Identify and prioritize what content you want to rank for what search term, and correct the structure of your internal linking, sub-domains, and international sites to match this.
  • Website redirects. Utilize redirects for ensuring that your visitors see the most relevant content for what they are looking for, what device they are on, and their location. If your site has 404 errors, immediately correct them with 301 redirects to prevent penalties.
  • Speed optimization. People are likely to bounce off your site if it doesn’t load right away. If Google notices that people are bouncing off your site within the first 5 seconds, you will get penalized in search rankings. Explore coding options, asynchronous loading, caching solutions and more to make sure pages load instantly, on desktop and mobile.
  • HTML markup. Enhancing HTML markup gives web crawlers specific information about your content which helps search engines understand your pages better. This is necessary for top performance.

How Is This Different Than Traditional Optimization?

“Traditional” SEO focuses on onsite tactics. This includes link building, optimizing keywords within the text, and strategic linking. Technical SEO optimizes on a deeper level, looking at websites on the coding level to make sure they are favored in complex search engine algorithms. This can be challenging as algorithms are often changing at a pace that may seem impossible to keep up with. But as you are about to see, doing so is well worth the effort.

technical seo specialists are a key part of a marketing strategy

Why Is Technical SEO Important?

By now you probably understand that technical SEO plays a big role in your business, but it’s important to understand why. Here are the top impacts of technical SEO:

Optimizing for mobile. Mobile traffic is now more popular than desktop traffic, especially for conducting searches. It’s more important than ever to keep up with Google’s evolving mobile algorithm. Make sure your mobile site still has all your critical content, is structured and indexed like your full site, and includes metadata. Otherwise, Google won’t recognize your mobile site in the same way, which can be detrimental.

Performance. Things such as duplicate content, too many redirects, 404 errors and more can cause your website performance to plummet. You could have great content on your site, well-targeted keywords, and compelling CTAs, but if you have a major coding error, you are not likely to rank well for search.

Speed. When it comes to website speed, it’s pretty simple: if your website does not load quickly, people will leave. Google catches on when this happens, and penalizes your site even further.

Crawlability and Indexation. Crawlability refers to Google’s ability to spend time on your website, understand the content, flag any errors, and determine your positioning on their algorithms. In other words: solid technical SEO equals success.

How Do I Get Started?

Although algorithms and SEO guidelines are constantly changing, consistently visiting technical SEO will help your website keep up. However, it could be difficult to get started if you are unfamiliar.

The biggest thing to keep in mind is to communicate across your time. Communicate with your website developer to understand SEO goals and how to make it happen. Communicate with your design team about UX, and how that impacts how visitors interact with your website.

When in doubt, get the experts to help. Enlisting the help of an SEO firm can help make sure your page does not get lost in the shuffle, instead ends up on that elusive Google first page.

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