Technical SEO focuses on the performance and indexability of a website.
It covers many things such as site speed, mobile-friendliness and user experience. Perhaps the most important part of technical SEO is making sure all pages can be found by search engines and successfully indexed.
If pages can’t be found and indexed, your website will never get any traffic.
Unlike other types of SEO, which focus on content (on-page SEO) or links from other sites (off-page SEO), technical SEO is all about the infrastructure of your website.
These elements are crucial because even the best content won’t rank well if search engines struggle to crawl, understand and index your website.
How Search Engines Work (in Four Steps)
This is a simplified description of how search engines work (from a business owner’s perspective).
- You publish content on your website
- Search engines discover your content through ‘bots’ or ‘spiders’ that crawl the internet
- Search engines index your page and evaluate your content
- If search engines like what they find, they include your content in the search results
No Technical Expertise? No Problem!
You don’t need to be a tech wizard to grasp the basics of technical SEO.
This guide is designed to walk you through the fundamental concepts in an easy-to-understand manner.
Just like you don’t need to know how to build a car to drive one, you don’t need to understand the intricate details of website coding to improve your technical SEO.
Simple changes and an understanding of basic principles can make a significant difference in your website’s performance on search engines.
1. Why it’s Important to Nail Technical SEO
How Search Engines Work
Imagine search engines like Google as matchmakers in the vast world of the internet.
When someone searches for something, the search engine sifts through billions of web pages to find the most relevant and useful results.
It does this by sending out ‘spiders’ to crawl websites, understand what they’re about, and index this information. Just like a librarian categorises books to help you find what you need, search engines categorise web pages.
The easier it is for these spiders to crawl and understand your website, the better your chances of appearing in search results.
Why Technical SEO is a Game Changer for Visibility
Technical SEO is like giving these spiders a VIP tour of your website. It ensures that your site is structured in a way that search engines can easily access and understand.
This includes having a fast-loading site, a logical structure, and secure connections, among other things.
If technical SEO is done right, it dramatically increases the likelihood of your website ranking well.
Think of it as laying down a red carpet for search engine spiders – the easier and more inviting you make their journey, the more they’ll favour your site.
A Real-World Analogy: The Well-Organised Library
To understand technical SEO, let’s compare your website to a library.
In a well-organised library, books are neatly arranged, properly categorised, and easy to find. Similarly, a website with good technical SEO has content that’s well-structured, pages that load quickly, and information that’s easy for search engines to process.
Just as a visitor can quickly find a book in a well-organised library, search engines can easily find and display your website in search results.
On the other hand, a poorly organised library, much like a website with poor technical SEO, frustrates visitors and they may leave without finding what they need.
2. Key Components of Technical SEO
One of the key pillars of technical SEO is website speed.
A slow-loading website can be a major turn-off for visitors. Studies show that a delay of even a few seconds can lead to increased bounce rates, where users leave your site without engaging.
Moreover, search engines like Google consider site speed when ranking websites. Faster websites provide a better user experience, which search engines value highly.
Optimising your website’s speed is akin to ensuring your shop’s doors open quickly and smoothly – you don’t want to keep your customers waiting outside!
These days, more people browse the internet on mobile devices than on desktop computers.
This shift has made mobile-friendliness an essential component of technical SEO.
A mobile-friendly website adjusts smoothly to different screen sizes, ensuring a seamless experience for users on phones and tablets. Search engines favour websites that are optimised for mobile users.
Think of it as having a shop that’s accessible and comfortable for all customers, whether they walk in through a large door or a small one.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a technology that encrypts the connection between a user’s browser and your website, ensuring that any data exchanged is secure and private.
Websites with SSL display ‘HTTPS’ in their URL, signifying a secure connection.
This is crucial for website security, especially for sites that handle sensitive information like personal details and payment details.
Google and other search engines prefer secure websites, as they aim to protect users from potential security threats. Having SSL is like having a reliable security system in your shop; it builds trust and reassures customers that they are in a safe environment.
3. The Benefits of Optimizing Technical SEO
Improved Website Ranking
When you optimise your website’s technical aspects, you’re essentially making it more appealing to search engines.
This includes ensuring your site loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and has no broken links or crawl errors.
By ticking these boxes, you increase the likelihood of your website appearing higher in search engine results. Higher rankings mean more visibility, which can lead to more traffic and potential customers.
It’s like polishing your shop’s sign and making sure it’s visible from the street – the clearer and more prominent it is, the more likely people are to come in.
Enhanced User Experience
Technical SEO isn’t just about pleasing search engines; it’s also about providing a great experience for your visitors.
A fast, secure, and mobile-friendly website makes browsing a pleasure, encouraging visitors to stay longer and explore more of your content. This can lead to increased engagement, lower bounce rates, and higher conversion rates.
Just as a well-organised, welcoming store encourages customers to browse and buy, a well-optimised website can lead to more engaged visitors and potential sales.
Boost in Organic Traffic
By improving the technical aspects of your SEO, you’re more likely to attract organic traffic – visitors who find your website through search engines rather than through paid advertising.
Organic traffic is often more sustainable and cost-effective in the long run – it can provide a steady stream of visitors to your website. Plus, visitors who find you organically are often more engaged and interested in what you have to offer.
4. Getting Started with Technical SEO
Assessing Your Website’s Technical Health
Before diving into technical SEO improvements, it’s essential to assess the current state of your website.
This assessment will help you understand what’s working well and what needs improvement.
Start by checking your website’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall user experience.
Look for any broken links, errors that appear on your website, or pages that don’t load correctly.
Using Tools and Resources: Your Technical SEO Toolkit
Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert to start evaluating and improving your website’s technical SEO. There are several user-friendly tools available:
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights: This tool helps you understand your website’s loading speed and offers suggestions for improvement. It’s crucial since speed is a significant factor in both search rankings and user experience.
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: With the increasing importance of mobile browsing, this tool lets you see how well your website performs on mobile devices. It also provides feedback on what can be enhanced.
- Google Search Console: This is a more comprehensive tool that offers insights into how Google views your website. It can highlight crawl errors, security issues, and indexing problems.
- SSL Checkers: If you’re unsure about your website’s security status, SSL checker tools can verify whether your website has a valid SSL certificate.
- Broken Link Checkers: Tools like Ahrefs or Screaming Frog SEO Spider can help you find and fix broken links on your website, which can improve user experience and search engine rankings.
Taking the First Steps
Once you’ve used these tools to identify areas for improvement, start with the most critical aspects, such as fixing broken links, improving page loading times, and ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.
Remember, technical SEO is an ongoing process. Regular check-ups and adjustments are needed to maintain and improve your website’s health and performance over time.
5. Common Mistakes to Avoid in Technical SEO
Overlooking Website Speed
One of the most frequent mistakes is neglecting website speed. A slow website not only frustrates users but also negatively impacts your search engine rankings.
Regularly test your website’s speed and take steps to optimize it. Compress images, leverage browser caching, and minimise the use of heavy scripts and plugins.
Ignoring Mobile Responsiveness
With the majority of internet users accessing websites via mobile devices, it’s crucial to have a mobile-responsive website.
A common error is designing a site only for desktop viewing. Ensure your website is responsive, meaning it adapts and functions well on various screen sizes, from desktops to smartphones.
Neglecting SSL Certificates
Failing to secure your website with an SSL certificate is a significant oversight. SSL certificates encrypt data between the server and the user, enhancing security.
Websites without SSL (those not using HTTPS) are often penalised by search engines and can deter visitors who are concerned about online security.
Poor URL Structure
A complicated or inconsistent URL structure can confuse search engines and users. URLs should be straightforward, readable, and consistent.
Avoid long strings of numbers or characters and use clear, descriptive words related to the page content.
Not Using Alt Tags for Images
Alt tags are often overlooked, but they play a crucial role in SEO. They provide a text alternative for images, which is vital for search engines and users who use screen readers. Ensure all images on your site have descriptive alt tags.
Forgetting About Regular Updates and Maintenance
Technical SEO is not a one-time task. It requires ongoing attention and updates. Regularly check for and fix broken links, update content, and stay informed about the latest SEO trends and algorithm updates.
Continuous Learning: The Key to SEO Success
The world of SEO is ever-evolving, with frequent changes in algorithms and best practices.
Staying informed and continuously learning is vital.
Follow reputable SEO blogs, attend webinars, and consider joining SEO communities to stay updated with the latest trends and techniques.
This proactive approach will help you avoid common mistakes and keep your website optimised for both search engines and users.
Reiterating the Vital Role of Technical SEO
As we’ve explored, technical SEO is a cornerstone of your website’s success in the digital realm.
It’s not just about appeasing search engines, but about offering a seamless, secure, and efficient experience for your visitors.
From boosting your site’s visibility in search results to enhancing user engagement, the benefits of technical SEO are extensive and crucial for any business looking to thrive online.
Taking the First Steps: Your Journey Begins Here
Embarking on the journey of optimising your website’s technical SEO can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.
Start with small, manageable steps.
Use the tools and resources mentioned earlier to assess your website’s current state. Focus on making incremental improvements, such as enhancing page load times, ensuring mobile responsiveness, and securing your site with SSL.
Each small step will collectively contribute to a significant improvement in your site’s performance and user experience.
Seeking Professional Guidance: We’re Here to Help
If you find yourself needing more detailed guidance or if the world of technical SEO seems overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out for professional assistance.
Our team of experienced SEO specialists is here to help you navigate through the complexities and tailor a strategy that suits your specific needs.
Remember, optimising your website is an ongoing journey, not a one-time task. With continuous learning, adaptation, and a little help from experts when needed, you can significantly enhance your online presence and drive more traffic to your website. Start taking those steps today and unlock the full potential of your website!