It’s not a mistake to think that keywords and content are important to your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, but technical SEO matters too. So, what is technical SEO and just how “technical” can it be? Like so many other things in life, it’s easy when you know how, so let’s go through some of the basics you’ll need to cover to perfect your SEO strategy.
Types of SEO
The first thing to understand is where your technical SEO fits into the overall SEO of your website.
On-page SEO refers to the things your readers can see or may see on your page. Your content, image alt text, meta descriptions, keywords, headers, URLs and links all form part of this.
Off-page SEO tells search engines how valuable your content is to users by looking at things like links to your content that appear on other sites. But beware! If sites that lack credibility link back to your site, it could actually harm you. If, on the other hand, highly credible sites give you their votes of confidence, up go your search engine rankings.
Search engines “crawl” sites to figure out their relevance and rank them accordingly. Technical SEO makes your site “crawlable” and that means the hard work you put into on-page SEO gets noticed. If your site isn’t crawler-friendly, it will be much harder to rise through search engine rankings, no matter how well you did everything else. That, in a nutshell, is why technical SEO is so important, and why overlooking it is a mistake.
Technical SEO Fundamentals
It’s time to get technical! Let’s get to grips with the language of technical SEO so that you can understand the topic and start putting it to work in your favour.
Before people can find your website, two things have to happen: crawling and indexing. Crawlers and “spiders” are bots that search engines use to evaluate what’s on your website. It can take days, or even weeks for your content to get crawled. You can check progress by using the Index Status report or the URL inspection tool in Google Search Console.
After your site has been crawled, search engines like Google will index the web pages they found, and if your content sends out the right signals, you may get a search engine ranking. Without indexing, your content can’t get any search engine ranking and won’t be found in search.
When you link content on your website to another of your pages or a website other than yours links to your content, it’s great for your SEO because crawlers are directed to the page through the link. But if the URL changes or you take the content down, you lose the link and all the SEO benefits that go with it.
Search engines use internal links to index pages on your website. Let’s suppose you created some very comprehensive content on a topic related to your business and linked supporting pages to that definitive piece of content. Search engines notice the page authority signals and recognise the importance of that page of your website, ranking it accordingly.
It’s possible to add microdata from Schema.org to a page which helps search engines to interpret context and improve search results for users. As an example, “cat” can be an animal, but it can also be a clothing brand or a type of heavy construction machinery. Clarifying your “cat” could be important to your website.
Page Experience Signals
Search engines look at Core Web Vitals to determine the page experience that users may find helpful. Signals include the security of your pages, mobile friendliness, and the presence of any advertising and whether it’s distracting. Intrusive interstitials like the “cookies” notification you often see on websites are sometimes necessary, but if they aren’t, search engines penalise you for them. Other elements to evaluate include ease of navigation and page design.
A broken link is a link on your website that leads nowhere. Needless to say, it’s an SEO no-no. If a user clicks a link, it must take them to useful or related content.
Let’s suppose that you want users to end up at a specific URL. But, when they want to go there, it redirects traffic through a series of URLs before arriving at the correct one. The process is automatic, but it does mean that the content you want users to see will take longer to load. Slow loading times will get picked up by search engines, and will affect your search engine rankings negatively.
Getting Your Technical SEO Strategy Right
As you can see, getting your technical SEO right is important to your search engine rankings. But how should you approach it? Your best bet is to use one of the top SEO audit tools to check things out and point you in the right direction. These include Google Search Console, SEMrush, and Ahrefs.
Once you know where the problems are, you can start systematically working through them starting with your biggest technical SEO issues and working your way down the list. Yes, we know it’s easier said than done – and you have other things to do too! That’s why we offer technical SEO services to fine-tune your technical SEO efficiently and effectively. It’s the foundation on which your SEO strategy rests. Contact us today and make use of Yellowball’s expert help and get your content noticed!