A lot of people view SEO as a process that doesn’t require a lot of technical expertise. It’s a formula that includes content creation, link building, meta content, hitting the top spot on Google, then repeat – right? Wrong.
People tend to shy away from the term Technical SEO! Knowing how to optimise for search is only half the battle. What happens if you craft an exceptional page of creative content and hit publish without a canonical tag on your website? Don’t know what canonicalization is? This article is for you.
Here we’ll share why technical SEO is important and how it can be used to optimise your website to its full potential. This article is for readers who practice SEO and are looking for further ways to reach the top of Google.
What is technical SEO?
There’s often confusion around the definition of technical SEO. People tend to use the blanket term ‘SEO’ as something that covers all areas of digital marketing. To be clear, when you hear “technical SEO” it is referring to a skill set that allows you to speak the language of Google’s web crawlers. It’s different from H1’s, outreach and link building. Instead of off-site or on-site SEO, technical SEO is the practice of optimising the backend of a website.
Why is technical SEO important?
To be blunt, if you are doing SEO but you lack technical know-how then you are not doing the best job possible. Our technical SEO team are trained in all areas of digital marketing, including website design, coding and development.
To highlight the full importance of technical SEO, here are some common website issues that can’t be addressed through standard SEO practices:
1) Website Speed
Users demand fast loading content. Studies have shown that 47% of users expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and if not, they will look elsewhere. This ultimately will result in a loss in new and returning customers.
If that’s not enough to convince you, then Google itself has announced a mobile first algorithm update. If your website fails to load on a mobile, or delivers a poor user experience then you will fall behind in the rankings.
So, where does technical SEO come in? We have a free audit tool on our website that runs you through the basics.
Using this tool you can identify exactly how to boost your online presence with simple, actionable steps. Here are some results for www.moz.com:
2) Duplicate Content
You’ve just created an exceptional blog article. It’s optimised and full of relevant information for the reader. What stops a competitor publishing the same content? Without a canonical tag, Google has no way of knowing which article was the original copy.
At best, if your site features duplicate content Google will simply de-index pages meaning they won’t rank. At worst, your site will suffer a Google penalty and drop off from the SERP’s altogether. Either way, you need to act against duplicate content. You can combat duplicate content using a canonical tag:
You can also use a 301 redirect to ensure all versions of content point to one single location. If you are moving a website from one URL to another, you need to take steps to ensure visitors are sent to the right place. Placing a 301 redirect on a website combats duplicate content issues and allows you to retain a strong domain authority and position on Google.
3) Robots txt
Robots txt is used to instruct Google as to the pages you want to be crawled and indexed. You can specify details of which pages should be accounted for in the robots txt file. You can disallow single pages, directories or even your entire site. It’s incredibly important to know how these files work, as without SEO search engines can’t possibly read your website. Always do your research, first!
4) XML Sitemaps
An XML sitemap is essentially a map of all the pages on your website. It acts as a pathway for Google to crawl your website. This process can be completed without an XML sitemap, however, having one speeds this up considerably. There are several plugins and tools to create your sitemap or you can manually submit it to Google Search Console account.
How do I use technical SEO for my business?
We have but touched on some of the aspects of technical SEO in this article. Have you heard of these technical SEO processes? Do you use them yourself? If not, then we can help you get started. Our technical SEO team are trained in identifying essential fixes for websites to ensure they perform at their best. Get in touch today to speak to the experts. Call: 01226 720 755.