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What is Technical SEO?

26 July 2021
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by Admin
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What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the process of optimising the technical aspects of your website and servers to help search engines crawl and index your pages, and improve how those pages rank organically on Google.

Technical SEO is an extension of on-page SEO and is mostly concerned with the things that you cannot see when you navigate to a web page. That means rather than writing better titles and meta descriptions, you will instead be trying to improve your page load times, adding code in the form of structured data, and generally making everything secure and mobile-friendly.

While it may appear confusing at first, many of the technical terms and tweaks are not difficult to grasp or implement. However, it may be best to work with a developer or agency that specialises in SEO services when you first start making changes – this way, you will know that you are on the right track.

What are the benefits of technical SEO?

You can think of technical SEO as the glue that binds everything together in terms of your content and website, and how it all works to increase visibility in search and deliver an excellent user experience for visitors. Without taking care of technical elements, Google will struggle to find your pages, you won’t rank in SERPs and you will lose business when people do find your website, as it will be slow and cumbersome to navigate.

Technical SEO is also taking on greater precedence now, following Google’s recent rollout of its page experience update. A new set of signals has been incorporated into the algorithm that helps Google to serve better, more relevant content to users. These signals include the Core Web Vitals, which measure page load performance, interactivity and visual stability.

While the quality of your web copy, blogs and articles is still very important, Google says page experience can be the deciding factor when there are sites that are “similar in relevance”. Technical SEO will enable you to get up to speed in more ways than one here, so you can beat out competitors in search.

Before that, though, technical SEO will also ensure your pages can actually be found and then crawled and indexed by Google’s ‘spiders’, which is vital for visibility. Any company with its sights on content marketing and SEO success needs to optimise ‘under the hood’, but what’s the best way to do it?

Start with the basics

Search engines want to understand your site – that’s what drives indexing, crawling and ranking. You can help them by creating and submitting an XML sitemap within Google Search Console, which is a free tool that SEOs will be familiar with. This sitemap will outline your site’s URLs and offer a visual hierarchy of all of its pages.

Internal linking is classed as on-page SEO but it does tie in to technical optimisation, so it’s important to cover it here. By creating an internal linking structure between your most important pages, Google will have a better idea about where the best stuff is on your site.

You also need to double-check that you are not erroneously blocking crawlers through snippets of code. Robots.txt files are used by SEOs to direct robots during the process of crawling but the presence of ‘noindex’ tags can stop them in their tracks. Make sure you don’t have any of these in your code.

Focus on speed

Improving the speed of your site is good for everyone, not least search engines and visitors. Data shows that the majority of people on smartphones will leave a website if it doesn’t load in three seconds. When they navigate elsewhere, you are losing clicks and potential custom.

You can speed things up by switching to a faster DNS provider and using faster hosting, reducing the number of HTTP requests, ‘minifying’ your code and compressing the size of your images. Implementing server-side caching can also make pages leaner and faster to load.

Add structured data

Back to making your site easier to understand, adding structured data markup will aid the crawling process and make your content eligible for ‘rich snippets’ in Google search results. These snippets are placed front and centre, so featuring in them can increase click-through rates and traffic to your pages.

Structured data is based around complex source code and tags delivered in a fixed format, so this is a process that you might want to consider outsourcing to a SEO company that will also conduct a free website audit beforehand to identify the best course of action for improving your rankings.

Use HTTPS

Google has confirmed that ‘HTTPS’ and ‘safe browsing’ will now be used as page experience signals. HTTPS, an acronym for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, is a protocol that secures communications and prevents anyone from intercepting data between a browser and a website.

If you see a lock icon to the left of your web address in Chrome, then your site’s connection is secure. However, if there is a red triangle with an exclamation mark, you need to install an SSL certificate on your site and then implement HTTPS. By doing this, people that visit and log in to your site will have the peace of mind that their account and details are safe. Google also ranks safer websites higher.

Be mobile-ready

Another new signal is ‘mobile-friendly’. You can check if your content works well on smartphones and tablets using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. The majority of searches are now made on mobile, so you need a site that is responsive and capable of displaying text and images correctly on these devices.

Getting your site safe and mobile-ready is something that you should be able to accomplish in-house. For everything else, consider partnering with an agency that specialises in SEO, which also includes on-page and off-page optimisation. Ideally, your content marketing campaigns should be built from the ground up with SEO in mind.

If you want to overhaul your strategy for search engine optimisation, or just want some new content that ranks consistently on Google, Atlas SEO has a range of services that can deliver results. Contact us today for more information.

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