Getting your website seen by the right people is about more than having the most engaging content. You also need to be presenting this in
the right way so that people can find it in the first place.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is all about ensuring that when potential customers are searching for relevant terms – whether they’re consumers or business users – you’re the site they find. Visibility in search can make or break any online enterprise, so it’s one of the most important aspects of any content marketing strategy.
What is technical SEO?
Good SEO isn’t just about having the right keywords. To achieve results, it’s essential you have a strong technical SEO strategy. This can be challenging for many businesses, but without it, all the hard work you do with keyword research and optimised content will be undone. If the likes of Google can’t find and categorise your web pages effectively, or don’t like the performance of what they see, all your search engine optimisation efforts will be wasted.
What are the different types of SEO?
The first step is to recognise that there’s not just one type of SEO. When you’re optimising your website for search traffic, you need to factor in various strategies and ensure they all work together to have the greatest impact.
Essentially, organic SEO efforts can be split into three main categories. These are:
- On-page SEO – The bread and butter of most efforts, this involves all the keywords and supporting content you place directly on your website’s pages. It includes the main copy of your pages, as well as titles, URLs and image captions, which all need to be optimised to be readable to both human visitors and search engines.
- Off-page SEO – The counterpart to on-page SEO, this is all about establishing your presence away from your site. Earning quality backlinks through techniques like social media marketing, guest blogging and influencer marketing demonstrates to the likes of Google that your site is trustworthy and authoritative.
- Technical SEO – The final piece of the puzzle, technical SEO refers to the steps you need to take to ensure your website is readable for search engines’ web crawlers. This means a strong, logical internal linking strategy, good page load speeds and trimming your site of any duplicate content and dead or outdated links, among other steps.
Why is technical SEO important?
Technical SEO is all about showcasing your site to search engines in the best possible way, making it as easy as possible for their web crawl tools to understand and rank your site. Google and its alternatives such as Bing all favour sites that are fast, well-structured and provide a good user experience for visitors. If web crawl tools encounter problems, it’s likely that human visitors will as well, so organic search results will push poorly-optimised pages down their results pages.
For instance, page load speed is a major factor in how search engine algorithms rank content, while how well-optimised your site is for mobile is another important factor. Given that around half of all web traffic now comes from smartphone and tablet devices, you can’t afford to have your site penalised in a search result for being hard to view or navigate on mobile.
How is technical SEO different from standard SEO techniques?
The main difference with technical SEO efforts is that while the results of your on-page keywording and content research will be seen directly by visitors, technical SEO takes place more behind the scenes. But this does not make it any less important.
Whereas on-page SEO is primarily about ensuring your content is relevant, engaging and correctly keyworded, technical SEO focuses on the site itself. This includes how it works, the way it’s structured and ensuring everything is up to date and secure.
How does technical SEO work?
By understanding what search engines will be looking for when they crawl and index your site, you can ensure that you’re giving the likes of Google everything they need to rank your site highly. In turn, this means more traffic, more relevant visitors and, ultimately, a better return on your content marketing investment. But to do this, you must first understand what this involves.
How does search engine web crawling work?
Search engines use tools called web crawlers to explore the internet for content. These will use robots to look through every URL on your site, following the links and learning what’s on the pages. If a page can’t be crawled, it won’t be indexed and available for organic search engine results pages (SERPs).
Therefore, a critical part of technical SEO is ensuring that these robots are able to see your site. Robots don’t automatically know what to look for – they work by following links. Therefore, if you’re setting up a new site and don’t have a strong linking network in place yet, you could be easy to miss. To prevent this, you can manually request Google to crawl your site via the Google Search Console.
What is web page indexing and why does it matter?
Once a crawl tool has found your site, the search engine will need to index it. This involves storing and processing its findings about the content and performance of your web pages. It can then use its algorithms to rank your page in its SERPs. As well as the text, it collects information on headings, metadata, internal links, media content and more.
Indexing is critical in ensuring you actually appear in results. Having the right technical SEO is vital in ensuring that when potential customers search for relevant terms, Google not only connects your site with these keywords, but recognises its quality.
What issues can harm your technical SEO performance?
There are a range of boxes you’ll need to tick off if you’re to make your technical SEO a success. Among the common technical SEO issues that could downgrade your site in organic search engine results are:
- Slow page loading speeds – Anything that takes more than a couple of seconds to load will harm your ranking.
- Poor mobile optimisation – Sites that aren’t responsive when viewed on smaller screens are now heavily penalised.
- Complex linking structures – Keep your site straightforward to navigate and make sure your linking structure highlights your most important content.
- Duplicate content – Repeated content within pages can confuse search engines, and for technical reasons, you may have repeated content on multiple URLs without even knowing it.
- Dead links – It’s always frustrating for users to follow a link on a website only to end up at a 404 page, so search engines don’t like to see this either.
- Poor security – The use of technology such as HTTPS is vital and search engines penalise sites that can’t prove they are secure.
The benefits of using a technical SEO agency
Understanding the nuances of technical SEO is one thing, but can be a whole different challenge trying to put these principles into practice. This is where turning to a specialist technical SEO agency with proven expertise in this area will be hugely useful.
What services do SEO companies provide?
A good agency should be able to offer a complete range of assistance for your digital marketing, including technical SEO services. This will start with a complete site audit of your website, assessing it for both content performance and any technical issues that might be holding back your performance.
This helps build a full technical SEO checklist showing what you’re doing well and where you need to focus your efforts. For example, it could highlight any areas you’re missing, such as not having a robots.txt file, or identify opportunities to add schema markup to your site in order to tell Google search what’s important within your content.
An experienced SEO content agency will ensure that every technical aspect of your site is taken into account when creating a digital marketing strategy. When it comes to measuring the performance of your technical SEO, they will also be able to provide you with a comprehensive reporting package that looks at the right metrics.
How can a technical SEO agency help your business?
Partnering with an agency can ensure you have a full understanding of how your content is performing at a much deeper level than would otherwise be possible.
Many companies claim to provide SEO audit services, but then look solely at on-page issues such as keywording. But a complete technical SEO audit will focus on those areas that might otherwise be missed if you were to review your website yourself, or turn to a less experienced provider.
Expert partners can help identify the most relevant SEO KPI indicators to measure your performance and set up a strategy for optimising your content marketing, your SEO strategy and the underlying infrastructure of your site. Importantly, an effective agency will have a deep understanding of how all these elements come together to create the best possible digital presence.
What should you look for in a technical SEO provider?
Technical SEO can be hard to master. Therefore, teaming up with a skilled and experienced agency that understands all the ins and outs of this discipline is essential. When searching for a technical SEO service to improve your site’s performance, ask what technologies they use to assess your site. Do they merely conduct a cursory Google analytics review, or will they go into more detail to show you exactly where your SEO strategy could use a boost?
It’s also vital to understand that SEO performance is just one element of your digital marketing platform. It needs to work together with engaging content, effective, targeted campaigns and strong multimedia services that include web, social, video and graphics that will not only attract visitors, but also turn them into customers.
As such, using a full service marketing agency that can provide everything from local SEO to full website builds can be highly beneficial. Being able to get creative, campaign and technical services in one place could be the difference between a marketing strategy that works and one that fails to meet its goals.