A Framework for Performance
Technical SEO is the umbrella term for designing and/or optimizing the technical components of a website to ensure the site performs well in online searches. Technical SEO includes some of the most basic elements that must be in place for search engines (SEs) to find and crawl your website. And it includes other more complex elements that are fundamentally essential for a website to achieve SEO success, particularly in competitive searches.
Technical SEO Basics
Is your website designed so that search engines can find your website’s pages, and crawl them easily and quickly? Can a user easily use your website to find what they are looking for on any device? These are the questions technical SEO seeks to answer.
The basic elements of search engine optimization explained below are the critically important factors that you must get right in order to have your website easily accessible to search engines and human users alike. If you were to ask a technical SEO consultant to evaluate your website, these areas would be among the first to be scrutinized.
How is your site organized? Is there a multilevel hierarchy or does it have a flat structure? When it comes to site structure, one size does not fit all. Simpler websites with fewer pages can benefit from a flat structure because users don’t have to make as many clicks to reach your important content.
But if you have an ecommerce website with thousands of product pages, your site will need a multi-level structure. In general terms, a flatter site structure is easier for search engines to crawl but fortunately, the technical SEO experts at Globe Runner employ techniques to ensure search engines are able to crawl your complex, multi-level site.
If a page on your website take too long to load, a user will just go to another website to find what they are looking for. Search engines know this and that’s why page load speed is an important component of technical SEO. There are many reasons why a website can have slow loading times. A technical SEO expert will know what to look at and correct to improve site speed.
One of the ways to help a search engine find all the pages of your site, regardless of its structure or complexity is to provide XML sitemaps. Sitemaps give search engines a roadmap of all a site’s URLs, images, videos, mobile pages, etc. and thereby make it easier for crawling and indexing.
Internal Link Structure
Internal links help human and search engine users access various pages of content more easily. Top level pages link to secondary level pages which may then link to additional pages. This establishes your site hierarchy, as discussed above, and helps spread link equity (the authority or value a site derives from backlinks) to other pages on your website.
It’s not unusual for a website to have a few crawl errors, but if your website has a large number of “page not found” (404), “access denied” (403), or server (500) errors, search engines cannot crawl your site efficiently. Reviewing a website from crawl errors and then making corrections to resolve them is an important part of technical SEO services.
Once a page is crawled and indexed by a search engine, it will return to that page periodically to check for changes and update its index with the most recent version. When a page is removed from your website, it’s important to redirect search engine and human traffic to a replacement page. Every website uses redirects but it’s essential that the right kind of redirects are used so that search engines can follow them and update their index.
HTML- Hypertext Markup Language
HTML is the progamming language that describes the structure of most web pages. Proper use of HTML code allows Internet browsers to understand and render text and images correctly, and tags written in HTML give search engines important information about the page, it’s main subject, secondary elements, etc. HTML tags are one of the most basic components of technical SEO but it’s surprising how many websites don’t make use them correctly, or at all.
The structure of a URL is one of the most basic ways users can determine what a page is about at a quick glance. Search engines take note of this and reward websites that use human readable URLs that are not overly complicated. Websites with complicated architecture will have more complex URLs–each slash indicates another level in the site’s hierarchy.
This is the file that tells search engine crawlers what URLs on a site they can access and index.
If you’ve done much reading on the subject, it may seem like the only purpose for technical SEO is to achieve good results in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Actually, the criteria that earn a website a high rating for technical SEO are the same criteria a website must have in order to function well and be easy to use. That’s because Google (and the other search engines) reward good websites, that function well and are easy to use, with positions on page one of the SERPs because they want to provide good results for every query received.
When you think about it, this makes sense. Search engines are serving customers, too. They need to keep online searchers happy, by giving them good search results. If they don’t, customers will go use another search engine. This desire to earn and maintain search engine market share is what makes Google offer new, useful search features (e.g., Google shopping, “People Also Ask” questions, image search, knowledge panels, etc.) and refine its search algorithm hundreds of times each year in an effort to constantly improve its product.
Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest– Internet users, website owners, and search engines–when businesses create websites that work well, load quickly, are easy to navigate, and can be easily used on a mobile device. These and many other elements of technical SEO are common components of good website design and development that allow websites to be successful in online searches.
Advanced Criteria for Strong Technical SEO
It’s helpful to consider some critically important element of technical SEO right on the drawing board. Today’s websites that land on page one of the SERPs were designed with search engine performance in mind. So what area the elements of technical SEO to consider when designing and building a website? In other words, what does a website look like that has strong technical SEO?
Mobile friendly – Responsive Design
A website with good technical SEO will be easy to use on multiple devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and even TV screens. That’s very important because mobile searches account for more than half of all global website traffic. Websites that can adapt to work on multiple devices are made with a design that can adjust to fit whatever size screen it is on. This concept is called responsive design. If your website was not designed responsively, there are some ways a technical SEO expert make help it perform better on mobile devices.
Structured data is standardized formatting for web pages that helps search engines understand and categorize the contents of the page. For example, if your pages contain recipes, reviews, products, or FAQs, applying structured data will help search engines better understand what is on these pages, likely increasing their performance in searches. When you consider the vast amount of data that search engines crawl and categorize, anything that website owners can do to help their web pages be better interpreted and utililzed by search engines is beneficial.
Hopefully this gives you an idea of how incredibly complex–and important–technical SEO is to the success of your website. If your site could use some help with its search engine optimzation, the team at Globe Runner can help. Our technical SEO service will whip your website into shape and get it performing better in Google searches.