Website owners are always told that Search engine optimization (SEO) is an essential part of digital marketing, and that’s true. However, it is not the only tool you have at your disposal to attract visitors and drive conversions. When building an all-round SEO plan, digital marketers can get bogged down and miss opportunities to expand their horizons.
Let’s be clear, SEO should still be the underpinning of your optimization strategy. It is the go-to digital marketing option and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Still, having has many marketing tools at your disposal can help and that’s why technical search engine optimization is increasingly powerful.
Technical SEO can be as equally important as standard SEO at helping to boost the appeal of your website. In fact, technical SEO is one of the optimization buzzwords of recent years and is becoming possibly the most important facet of digital marketing. If you’re asking why, you’ve come to the right place.
In the following article, you can read about why technical SEO has become a mainstay of digital marketing and learn some basic tips to kick off optimization on your site.
What Is Technical SEO and Why Is It Important?
There are two fundamental reasons why technical SEO is important. Firstly, it is a vital component of optimizing your site to appeal to search engines. Secondly, many website owners have completely ignored technical SEO and are only now waking up to its potential.
Even if you have stellar content, your website will not stand out without a strong foundation. Think of your site as a house. The content (SEO) is decorations and belongings, the things that make it yours and make it unique. Technical SEO is the architecture, without it the whole structure comes tumbling down.
An excellent example of a website with a failing technical SEO strategy is one that takes too long to load pages. If page transitions take too long, visitors are more likely to click off and look elsewhere.
Search engines like Google will check technical SEO to see if websites are functional and provide value to users. With a solid foundation, search tools are more likely to rank your site higher. It makes no sense for Google to prioritize websites that are slow, unresponsive, or poorly organized. Doing so could lead to users having no respect for the quality of the company’s search platform.
Technical SEO is the backbone of your website because if your site does not work properly, no-one will be able to read and enjoy your content, no matter how amazing it is. A functioning site is essential for digital marketing success, so going over the technical SEO basics can ensure everything is running smoothly.
Getting Technical SEO Right
Unfortunately, if you are looking for a golden ticket answer to implementing technical SEO, it doesn’t exist. Like standard SEO, you are going to need to put in some hard work and do your research. Plug-ins can help, but there’s no magic hack that will deliver “perfect” technical SEO.
So, if you own or manage a website, technical SEO is something you should pay attention to. Below are some steps you can take to raise your technical SEO game. It’s worth noting the tips below barely scratch the surface, but they are probably the most important aspects of technical SEO.
Be Mobile Ready and Mobile Strong
In 2020, there’s no reason why any website should not be optimized for mobile devices. In fact, it is negligent to have a site that does not play nicely with smartphone and tablet screens. More people than ever are doing most of their browsing on a mobile device, and Google is taking notice. The company is increasingly prioritizing search results for websites that deliver a functional mobile experience.
Don’t worry if you are not on board the mobile train yet, it’s not too late. In fact, Google is making it easy for webmasters to know if their website is mobile-friendly with a simple online tool.
Some websites split their desktop experience from their mobile one by offering two different versions. If you do have a separate mobile version of your site, make sure it still has all the major content accurately displayed, is indexed, is categorized like your main site, and includes full metadata.
Fast Loading Times Entice Users
For many, a site that takes a long time to load is a dealbreaker. These days, people have more choice and less patience. If your site cannot deliver quickly, users will simply move on to another. As mentioned, a fast website is one of the fundamentals of technical SEO.
Firstly, you need to know if your website is providing quick transitions to users or dragging them into a nightmare of long loading times. Again, Google is helpful because its PageSpeed Insights is a simple web tool for providing basic insights on the page of your website. Other tools are available if you want to get more granular with your analysis.
Some basic steps you can take to boost the performance of your site include optimizing images, allowing browser caching, and enabling compression.
If you find your website is running too slow, here are some of the most common reasons for that performance lag:
- Too many plugins
- Operating on a slow web host
- Site not caching
- No content compression
- CSS image requests are too frequent
Be Focused on Security
Security is such an elementary part of the modern web experience that any site with question marks over how it keeps users safe is doomed to fail. How far you need to take on-site security will depend on what type of website you are operating. If you run a small personal blog, you can probably afford some standard security measures. If you are operating a business website or any other large site, security should be at the top of your “to-do” list.
If your site has holes in its security, it won’t rank well with Google. Needless to say, if it is actively unsafe for visitors, search engines won’t rank it at all. One basic way you can show visitors your website is secure is by getting an SSL certificate.
SSL (secure sockets layer) is a site-wide certification that tells users their data is protected. It also manages identity confirmation. For any website looking to build trust, an SSL certificate is a no-brainer.
Clean Up Those Site Errors
Site errors are annoying for visitors. When someone visits a website and they get an error screen, it tests their patience. They may refresh once if they really want to get to your information, but if the site keeps returning an error the visitor will leave… they may never come back. It’s not just visitors, Google also hates site error pages.
Most site errors are caused by missing pages, broken links, or messy redirects. Unfortunately, avoiding those nasty 404 errors entirely is not possible, so you need to know how to fix them. That’s a lengthy explanation but there are plenty of tutorials online showing you how to deal with 404 error pages.
As noted, site error pages happen even to the best websites. One way to at least ease the pain for visitors is to customize your error page.
Other Technical SEO Tips
- Find and remove broken links (there are tools for this)
- Do not have duplicate content on your site
- Order your page categories and groups to make sense
- Submit your sitemap to search engines
Moving Up the Rankings
Like everything in digital marketing, technical SEO is not a magic bullet that will bring immediate success. Even if you implement a stunning technical SEO strategy, don’t expect to go shooting up the rankings on Google and other search engines immediately. However, that does not take away from the importance of technical SEO.
It should be something all webmasters take seriously. It is a slow process but with the correct strategy the long-term results will lead to a website that is more appealing to web crawlers. You’ll also have the added benefit of a website that is functional, fast, and secure.
By Luke Jones