Technical SEO (search engine optimization) is one “pillar” of SEO that involves optimization of your website’s infrastructure so that it can easily be crawled and indexed by search engines. At karma digital, we would say this is one of the most important and most ignored aspects of SEO.
Search engines usually give preference in search results to websites that contain specific technical characteristics, such as secure, responsive design, site maps, loading time, and much more. Making your website faster, easier to crawl, and understandable for search engines are key pillars of technical optimization. Before we ever get into the fun side of SEO, what most people think of, we have to address all technical optimizations – considered the foundation of your SEO.
What is Technical SEO? Why Start your SEO program here?
Benefits of Technical SEO
- Improves Search Engine Ranking (ok, obvious one, but we had to)
A website that is technically optimized usually ranks higher in search engine results. With no other optimizations in place, ensuring Google can easily find the relevant content in your website, gives your site a better chance of appearing on top of a user’s search results. If your website is technically optimized, your site can also appear in featured snippets as well as “people also ask” categories.
- Increase Reach across all Channels
If your website’s infrastructure and content is optimized in a manner that different search engines can easily find, then, your company or business will reach more prospects via different channels. Google isn’t the only search engine, we consider any platform with users searching for content an opportunity. A website that ranks on top of Google or Bing search results is more trusted and more likely to be shared across platforms.
- Better User Experience
For your business or organization, user experience is more important than ever. It’s not just critical for users, but search engines care about the experience they are providing to their users. From the moment a visitor enters your website and scrolls from one page to another, how they feel determines whether they will purchase products or services or not. Their experience (ex: time on site, bounce rate, number of pages visited) can be interpreted by Google (especially if you’re using Google Analytics)you’re your site provides a “better” experience than competitors search engines are more likely to show you to their users. Don’t forget, search engines like Google are also in the business of providing the best user experience! Technical SEO improves your website’s speed and provides easier navigation from one page to another.
Technical SEO vs. On-page vs. Off-page SEO
Search engine optimization is a collection of different strategies that are designed to help improve your visibility and ranking on relevant search queries. We divide the strategies into pillars, technical, content, experience, and off-page SEO (authority). Technical SEO includes aspects such as sitemaps, page speeds, site navigation, URL structure, and much more. Technical SEO is usually the least sexy when compared to other types of SEO because it incorporates the technical part of building your website, often times when we get called in to make a new website because the foundation can’t be fixed. On-page SEO (content and experience pillars) involves optimizing your web pages for specific keywords in order to improve search visibility and traffic. Unlike technical SEO, on-page SEO focuses on aligning page-specific elements, such as tags, headings, content, and internal links with specific keywords. Off-page SEO (authority) involves actions that are taken outside your own website to impact your rankings within search engine result pages. Optimizing for off-page intends to boost user perception of your website’s popularity, relevance, trustworthiness, and authority. Off-page includes having external links that lead to your website and getting other people talking about your credibility. Building quality backlinks is at the very heart of off-page SEO.
Easy Tips to Get Started with Technical SEO
- Use a Flat but Organized Site Structure: Your website’s structure is how all of its pages are organized and connected. Your website pages should be only a few pages from one another to avoid losing the interest of your visitors. A website visitor should find whatever they are looking for with just a few clicks. A flat and organized structure also makes it easy for Google and other search engines to crawl 100 percent of your site’s pages.
- Speed your Site Up: Search engines usually prefer websites that are fast enough. Page speed is a key ranking signal for any site. Here are some tips for better page speeds: use fast hosting, minimize HTTP requests, ensure that image files are as small as possible, use a fast domain name system (DNS), compress your webpages, and much more.
- Implement a Simple Navigation: A website should be properly designed to allow users to easily navigate several pages in their journey through a website. You should maintain an orderly site infrastructure and offer additional layers of accessibility to your website’s users.
- Use SSL: SSL refers to Secure Sockets Layer. This is a security technology that creates an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. Using SSL guarantees search engines and users that your website is secure. In 2014, Google announced that websites with HTTPS are given preference over non-secure ones. So, ensure that your website uses a secure socket layer to transfer information (and that if you’re using am SSL certificate that you’ve properly redirected the non-secure version- you don’t want to have duplicate content living at http and https).
- Optimize your Sitemap: One of the most critical elements of technical SEO is XML sitemap organization. An XML sitemap is usually a file that lists all pages available in your website. Search engines can then use the XML sitemap as a guide when crawling your website. You should ensure that your website has a clearly structured and formulated XML sitemap.
- Create a Mobile-Friendly Website: Research shows that 63 percent of Google searches are conducted through mobile phones. Therefore, optimizing your website for mobile is not a question of whether, but it’s a must. Most probably the majority of your users are on smartphones, and if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’re losing a lot of potential customers. Your website should load in less than 6 seconds on mobile, avoid popups on mobile, and be highly responsive.