Technical SEO 101

Technical SEO 101
learnseo Sep 29, 2023 Technical SEO 0

Technical SEO 101

Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing a website for the crawling and indexing phase. It involves making sure that search engines can easily access, crawl, interpret, and index a website’s content without any issues. Unlike on-page SEO, which focuses on content optimization, and off-page SEO, which revolves around backlinks and external signals, technical SEO emphasizes the infrastructure of a website.

Let us explore the who, what, when, how and why of Technical SEO:

What is Technical SEO

In the vast world of search engine optimization (SEO), technical SEO stands as the backbone of a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s the unsung hero, ensuring that websites are accessible, crawlable, and indexable. Let’s explore the intricacies of technical SEO.

1. Crawlability and Indexability

  • Robots.txt: This file provides directives to search engines about which pages or sections of your site should not be crawled. It’s essential to ensure that important pages aren’t accidentally blocked.
  • Meta Robots Tags: These HTML tags provide page-level instructions for search engines, such as “noindex” (don’t index this page) or “nofollow” (don’t follow the links on this page).
  • Crawl Errors: Using tools like Google Search Console, you can identify and fix pages that search engines have trouble accessing.

2. Website Speed

  • Image Optimization: Compressing images without compromising quality can significantly reduce page load times.
  • Browser Caching: Storing static files (like CSS or JavaScript) in a user’s browser can speed up subsequent page views.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs can distribute the load, saving bandwidth and speeding up access for users.

3. Mobile Optimization

  • Responsive Design: Ensures that your website looks and functions well on all devices, from desktops to smartphones.
  • Mobile Usability: Tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test can highlight areas for improvement on mobile versions of your site.

4. XML Sitemaps

  • Importance: An XML sitemap acts as a roadmap for search engines, guiding them to the most important content on your site.
  • Updates: Regularly updating your sitemap ensures that new pages are discovered and old, deleted ones are removed.

5. Secure and Accessible Website

  • HTTPS: This secure version of HTTP ensures data integrity and security in website communications.
  • SSL Certificates: A valid SSL certificate confirms the identity of your website and encrypts data transfers.

6. Structured Data

  • Rich Snippets: By using schema markup, you can enhance the appearance of your SERP listing with images, ratings, or other relevant information.
  • Types: There are various schema types, from recipes to products, that can be implemented based on your content.

7. Duplicate Content

  • Canonical Tags: If similar content appears in multiple locations, a canonical tag can tell search engines which version is the “original” or preferred one.
  • Parameter Handling: In some cases, URLs with parameters (like session IDs) can create duplicate content. Properly configuring these can prevent issues.

8. Website Architecture

  • Breadcrumb Navigation: This helps users understand their location on your site and can also appear in SERPs, enhancing click-through rates.
  • URL Structure: Clean, descriptive URLs are user-friendly and can give a slight SEO advantage.

9. Broken Links

  • 404 Errors: Regularly checking for broken links and either fixing or removing them ensures a better user experience and keeps “link equity” from being wasted.

10. Hreflang Tags

  • Multilingual SEO: If your website caters to different languages or regions, hreflang tags guide search engines to serve the correct version based on the user’s language or location.

11. Server Optimization

  • Server Response Time: A fast server response time is crucial. Regularly monitor and optimize your server’s performance.
  • Redirections: Minimize the use of redirects, especially chains, as they can slow down page loading and confuse search engines.

12. Core Web Vitals

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance. Aim for LCP to occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): Gauges interactivity. Pages should have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Assesses visual stability. Aim for a CLS score of less than 0.1.

Technical SEO is a multifaceted discipline that requires attention to detail, regular monitoring, and updates. By ensuring that the technical aspects of a website are in top shape, businesses can provide a seamless user experience, gain trust from visitors, and achieve higher visibility in search results. As search engine algorithms evolve, staying updated with the latest technical SEO best practices becomes paramount for online success.

Why do you need good Technical SEO

In the vast digital landscape, the importance of Technical SEO stands as a beacon for website visibility and user experience. But why is it so crucial? Let’s explore in detail.

1. Foundation for Visibility:

  • Search Engine Relationship: Technical SEO is akin to building a strong relationship with search engines. It ensures they can easily access, understand, and index your site, laying the groundwork for all other SEO endeavors. Without this foundational relationship, even the most compelling content might remain hidden from potential audiences.

2. Improved User Experience:

  • Beyond Search Engines: While Technical SEO primarily focuses on search engine interactions, its benefits extend to users. A site that loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and is mobile-responsive ensures visitors stay longer and engage more, reducing bounce rates and increasing the likelihood of conversions.

3. Maximizing Organic Reach:

  • Content’s Best Friend: Imagine crafting a masterpiece but locking it in a room. That’s what happens when you have great content but poor Technical SEO. It ensures your content is not just accessible but also structured for search engines to interpret and showcase in their results.

4. Staying Competitive:

  • The Digital Race: The online world is a race where websites compete for the top spot. Those equipped with robust Technical SEO have a head start and a clearer track, giving them a competitive edge in the race for visibility.

5. Adapting to Algorithm Updates:

  • Staying Ahead: Search engines continually refine their algorithms to provide better results. A site grounded in Technical SEO principles is agile, ready to adapt, and less likely to see dramatic ranking drops with each update.

6. Avoiding Penalties:

  • Playing by the Rules: Search engines have guidelines to ensure users get the best experience. Technical SEO is your rulebook, ensuring you adhere to these guidelines, thereby avoiding penalties that can severely impact visibility.

7. Enhanced Site Performance:

  • First Impressions Matter: In the digital world, patience is limited. A fast-loading site, a direct result of good Technical SEO practices, ensures that the first impression is positive, encouraging users to explore further.

8. Optimized Resource Utilization:

  • Efficient Crawling: Search engine bots have a ‘crawl budget’ for each site. By addressing technical issues, you ensure they spend more time discovering new or updated content rather than getting stuck on errors.

9. Supporting Content Strategy:

  • Synergy: While content informs and engages users, Technical SEO ensures it reaches them. Proper site structure, internal linking, and schema markup enhance the visibility and effectiveness of your content strategy.

10. Future-Proofing:

  • Adapting to Change: The only constant in technology is change. Whether it’s new devices, browsing behaviors, or emerging technologies like voice search, a technically sound website is better equipped to adapt and evolve.

11. Trust and Credibility:

  • Security: In an age of data breaches, a secure website (HTTPS) is no longer optional. It’s a trust signal to users and search engines alike, ensuring data integrity and confidentiality.

12. Maximizing ROI:

  • Optimal Returns: Digital marketing involves significant investments in content creation, design, and promotion. Technical SEO ensures you get the best bang for your buck by optimizing site performance and reach.

Technical SEO is the unsung hero of the digital world. While it operates behind the scenes, its impact is profound, influencing site visibility, user experience, and overall digital success. As the digital realm becomes more complex, the role of Technical SEO becomes even more critical. It’s not just about being found; it’s about providing a seamless, efficient, and trustworthy experience for both search engines and users. Investing in Technical SEO is investing in the long-term success and credibility of your online presence.

Who Should Work on Technical SEO

Technical SEO, while often overlooked in favor of content strategies or link-building campaigns, is the bedrock of a website’s visibility in search engines. But who exactly should be at the helm of this intricate task? Let’s explore the symphony of professionals involved:

1. SEO Specialists:

  • Role: Often considered the conductors of the SEO orchestra, they set the direction and pace. They diagnose issues, strategize solutions, and ensure that every other player understands their part.
  • Skills: Beyond familiarity with tools and guidelines, they need a holistic understanding of digital landscapes, emerging trends, and algorithm shifts.

2. Web Developers:

  • Role: The builders and problem solvers. They transform abstract SEO recommendations into tangible website changes.
  • Skills: Their toolkit goes beyond programming languages. They need a deep understanding of website architecture, server responses, and how different web elements impact crawlability and load times.

3. Web Designers:

  • Role: Ensuring that aesthetics and functionality coexist. Their designs should not only captivate users but also be easily navigable by search engine bots.
  • Skills: A balance of creativity and pragmatism, understanding how design choices, from image sizes to font selections, impact page speed and user engagement.

4. Server Administrators or IT Teams:

  • Role: The unsung heroes ensuring that websites are accessible 24/7. Their decisions impact site speed, uptime, and security.
  • Skills: Beyond server management, they need to be proactive, anticipating issues like traffic spikes or DDoS attacks and mitigating them.

5. CMS Experts:

  • Role: The masters of platforms that house website content. Their choices can significantly influence site speed, structure, and even security.
  • Skills: Continuous learning is key, as CMS platforms evolve, offering new features or changing existing ones.

6. Database Administrators:

  • Role: They ensure that the vast amounts of data a website relies on are organized, accessible, and secure.
  • Skills: Precision is crucial, as small errors can lead to significant website issues. They also need to anticipate data growth and scale databases accordingly.

7. Digital Strategists or Project Managers:

  • Role: The glue holding all teams together. They ensure that tasks align with broader business goals and that everyone stays on track.
  • Skills: Exceptional communication and organizational skills, combined with a foundational understanding of SEO and digital marketing.

8. Content Creators and Editors:

  • Role: While their primary focus is content, their choices, from header tags to internal linking, play a significant role in Technical SEO.
  • Skills: An understanding of keyword research, content structure, and how search engines interpret content is crucial.

9. Data Analysts:

  • Role: The interpreters of the digital realm. Their insights guide strategies, measure impact, and highlight areas of improvement.
  • Skills: A keen analytical mind, combined with expertise in various analytics tools and the ability to convey complex data in understandable terms.

10. UX/UI Designers:

  • Role: Their designs directly impact user engagement, bounce rates, and conversions, all of which influence SEO.
  • Skills: Empathy to understand user needs, combined with technical knowledge to implement designs without compromising site performance.

Interconnectedness: While each professional has a distinct role, Technical SEO is a collaborative endeavor. Regular communication, mutual respect for each expert’s domain, and a shared vision are crucial. Each decision, from server configurations to content structures, has ripple effects. Understanding these interdependencies ensures that the website performs optimally, both for users and search engines.

Technical SEO is a multifaceted discipline, requiring a harmonious blend of professionals. When each expert plays their part, the result is a website that’s not only technically sound but also user-friendly, ensuring visibility, engagement, and conversions in the digital realm. Investing in a cohesive Technical SEO team is investing in the long-term success of a website.

When does your website need Technical SEO

In the digital realm, Technical SEO stands as the silent guardian ensuring that websites are not just visible but also efficient and user-friendly. But when should one really roll up their sleeves and dive deep into the technicalities? Let’s explore further:

1. Launching a New Website:

  • Deep Dive: Every new structure needs a solid foundation. For websites, this foundation is Technical SEO. Right from choosing a search-engine-friendly CMS to setting up a logical URL structure and ensuring that search engines can crawl every essential page, the inception of a website is a critical time to embed these best practices.

2. Website Redesign or Migration:

  • Deep Dive: A redesign or migration is akin to renovating a house. While the new look might be appealing, underlying issues like broken internal links, lost meta data, or changed URL structures can severely impact search visibility. Proper redirects, thorough testing, and meticulous planning are crucial.

3. Experiencing Low Organic Traffic:

  • Deep Dive: Imagine hosting a party but forgetting to send out invitations. Quality content without visibility is similar. Technical barriers, such as incorrect canonical tags or server issues, might be the culprits that need immediate attention.

4. High Bounce Rate:

  • Deep Dive: A high bounce rate often signals that visitors didn’t find what they were looking for or had a poor user experience. This could be due to slow-loading pages, mobile usability issues, or even misleading meta descriptions that don’t match the content.

5. Expanding to New Markets or Languages:

  • Deep Dive: Catering to a global audience requires precision. Implementing hreflang tags ensures that a Spanish user doesn’t land on a French version of your site. Moreover, server locations, CDNs, and local link building all play a role in optimizing for different regions.

6. Site Isn’t Mobile-Friendly:

  • Deep Dive: With mobile searches surpassing desktop, a non-responsive site is a significant handicap. But it’s not just about shrinking content; it’s about optimizing images, ensuring clickable elements aren’t too close, and providing a seamless mobile experience.

7. Security Concerns:

  • Deep Dive: Trust is a currency in the digital world. Migrating to HTTPS, ensuring secure data transmission, and regularly updating website plugins and CMS can safeguard against potential breaches.

8. Content Isn’t Being Indexed:

  • Deep Dive: If your masterpiece isn’t in the gallery, no one will see it. Ensuring XML sitemaps are updated, removing unintentional noindex tags, and checking for crawl errors can resolve indexing issues.

9. Planning Scalability:

  • Deep Dive: A growing website needs a robust technical framework. Efficient database management, scalable server resources, and a logical site structure ensure that growth doesn’t lead to technical snags.

10. Integrating Advanced Web Features:

  • Deep Dive: Advanced features enhance user experience but can be tricky. Implementing AMP or PWA requires a thorough understanding to ensure these features don’t inadvertently hamper search performance.

11. Website Loads Slowly:

  • Deep Dive: In the age of instant gratification, every second counts. Compressing images, minifying CSS and JavaScript files, and leveraging browser caching can shave off precious loading seconds.

12. After Algorithm Updates:

  • Deep Dive: Staying updated with search engine algorithm changes is vital. Post-update, a thorough technical audit can highlight areas that now need attention to align with new guidelines.

13. Complex Website Architecture:

  • Deep Dive: Large e-commerce sites or platforms with vast content repositories need meticulous Technical SEO. Faceted navigation, breadcrumb optimization, and efficient internal linking ensure that both users and search engines can navigate the complexity.

Technical SEO isn’t a one-time task but an ongoing commitment. It’s the intricate dance behind the scenes that ensures the spotlight shines brightly on a website’s content. Regular audits, staying updated with industry best practices, and a proactive approach can ensure that a website is not just technically sound but also primed for growth and visibility. In the ever-evolving digital landscape, Technical SEO is the compass that ensures a website stays on the right path.

How do you get a good technical SEO done for you

In today’s digital age, having a website isn’t enough; it needs to be discoverable, fast, and user-friendly. This is where Technical SEO comes into play. But how does one ensure their website ticks all these boxes? Here’s an extended guide:

1. Self-Education:

  • Deep Dive: Before embarking on any journey, understanding the terrain is crucial. The world of SEO is vast, with ever-changing dynamics.
  • How: Engage with online forums, participate in SEO communities, and consider attending workshops. Platforms like Coursera or Udemy offer comprehensive courses.

2. Hire the Right Professionals:

  • Deep Dive: Just as you’d hire an architect for constructing a house, Technical SEO requires its own set of experts.
  • How: When vetting professionals or agencies, ask for case studies, client testimonials, and their approach to staying updated with SEO trends.

3. Conduct a Technical SEO Audit:

  • Deep Dive: This is akin to a health check-up for your website, identifying ailments and areas of improvement.
  • How: Beyond automated tools, consider manual reviews. Navigate your website as a user would, and as a search engine might, to identify potential roadblocks.

4. Website Structure and Navigation:

  • Deep Dive: A well-organized website is like a well-organized library; it’s easier to find what you’re looking for.
  • How: Regularly review and update your site’s taxonomy. As your content grows, ensure it’s categorized logically and remains accessible.

5. Optimize for Mobile:

  • Deep Dive: With the proliferation of smartphones, mobile browsing has skyrocketed. Your website needs to cater to these users seamlessly.
  • How: Beyond responsiveness, consider mobile-first design. Prioritize content and features that mobile users would find most valuable.

6. Improve Site Speed:

  • Deep Dive: In the digital realm, speed is of the essence. A delay of even a second can lead to lost visitors and conversions.
  • How: Regularly test your website’s speed using tools like GTmetrix or Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Address any recommendations they provide.

7. Secure Your Website:

  • Deep Dive: In an era of increasing cyber threats, a secure website isn’t just an option; it’s a necessity.
  • How: Regular backups, using security plugins, and monitoring for unusual activity can safeguard against potential threats.

8. Address Duplicate Content:

  • Deep Dive: Search engines aim to provide unique and relevant content. Duplicate content can dilute your website’s value.
  • How: Beyond tools, ensure your content strategy focuses on creating unique, value-driven content. Repurposing content should involve significant modifications to ensure uniqueness.

9. Implement Structured Data:

  • Deep Dive: Structured data is like providing a summary to search engines, helping them understand your content’s context.
  • How: Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to validate your markup. Ensure it aligns with the content and provides accurate information.

10. Regular Monitoring and Updates:

  • Deep Dive: The digital landscape is akin to shifting sands. Regular monitoring ensures you adapt and evolve.
  • How: Set up alerts and notifications. Any sudden drop in traffic or spike in bounce rate should be investigated immediately.

11. Seek Feedback and Continuously Learn:

  • Deep Dive: The world of SEO is vast, and collective knowledge is invaluable.
  • How: Engage with your website’s users. Feedback forms, surveys, or even direct interactions can provide insights into areas of improvement.

12. Documentation:

  • Deep Dive: In the world of SEO, past learnings can guide future strategies. Documenting every significant change, its rationale, and its impact can serve as a valuable resource.
  • How: Maintain a digital log, use tools like Google Data Studio for visual reports, and regularly review this data.

Embarking on the journey of Technical SEO is like tuning a musical instrument. It requires patience, precision, and regular adjustments. But once tuned, the results are harmonious, leading to better visibility, user engagement, and overall website performance. Whether you’re a solo entrepreneur or a large enterprise, the principles remain the same. Invest time, resources, and continuous learning into Technical SEO, and the digital realm will reward you manifold.

Thank you for reading our article on “Technical SEO 101”.

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Technical SEO 101