It may be helpful to think of general search engine optimization as a large umbrella under which more specific types live, one of which is technical SEO. If SEO is the umbrella, technical SEO is the handle. So, let me ask you this: how well does an umbrella work without a handle? The answer is about as good as a search engine optimization campaign not anchored in technical search engine optimization.
The example is a little cheesy, but I think I’m getting my point across. If you want your website to experience a higher ranking on search engine results pages, technical SEO needs to be an essential part of your game plan. Period.
Priority number one is understanding exactly what technical SEO is and why your website needs it. From there we will talk about the top components to include and who can help you do it all.
What is Technical SEO?
We’ve already established that general SEO and technical SEO have similar goals but may differ in how they are implemented, but let’s break it down a little further to make sure we understand the difference.
General search engine optimization generally refers to a strategy designed to increase the amount of relevant and quality traffic to a website. Once this is implemented, the odds of a sales conversion taking place can go way up.
The term technical SEO refers to the way in which a website is hosted and assembled to increase its rankings on search engine results pages. In a nutshell, using this strategy can result in a website with impressive speed and usability that makes it attractive to search engines. And the more appealing your website is to search engines’ algorithms; the more likely users are to find you in search results pages and that also can increase the odds of a sales conversion.
Why Does a Website Needs Technical SEO?
Ever wonder how a search engine even knows if you’re using technical SEO? It’s a valid question with a relatively simple answer, algorithms.
A search engine algorithm is a formula of sorts that is tasked with searching and indexing websites for specific elements that are weighed in ranking a webpage on a search engine results page. Algorithms run in the background, so you won’t get a pop-up message letting you know your website is being evaluated by an algorithm. It just happens and when it does your website needs to be ready, or its ranking will likely suffer.
It is worth pointing out that most search engines’ algorithms change almost constantly with some experiencing hundreds of changes in a single year. This usually begs the question, “Then how could I possibly know what the algorithms are looking for?”
Fortunately, there are a few elements of technical SEO that algorithms almost always incorporate such as:
- A relatively high page loading speed
- A web design that is responsive
- Links that actually work
- The absence of redirect or loading errors
The Top 5 Aspects of Technical SEO
Technical SEO has many aspects, but if you are looking to start from the ground up, I have some recommendations on a good place to start. In no particular order, here are some top aspects of technical SEO to incorporate in your website:
- Links that work. When a webpage is being evaluated by an algorithm, it is essentially following links to find your content and it is important that those links work correctly. If there are links on your website that are not functioning correctly, an algorithm will count that against you. Making sure links work correctly is an ongoing job, but one that is worthwhile if you want your website to rank.
- A website that shows it is secure usually with a URL that begins with HTTPS, is more attractive to users because they generally feel better protected while on the site. And because this is important to users, it is also important to search engines. If you have a website but lack the SSL certificate to make it more secure, a web design company can help. Most web hosts provide this for free now.
- The faster the better and here’s why. If a search engine is looking for webpages and web sites that download quickly and yours doesn’t, it will likely impact your search results page ranking in a negative way. And the speed with which a webpage loads matters to users too. It is estimated that a user who waits more than five seconds for a page to load is more motivated to move on to a different webpage with faster loading speed. Both web hosting and web design companies can play an integral role in making sure your site speed is adequate.
- Unique content. Algorithms are looking for content that is unique and unduplicated. A webpage that has the same content as another webpage (whether it is on your site or not) can make the information seem uncredible because it is in two places at once. Sometimes this is intentional and others it is not but regardless, an industry professional may utilize canonical links to help control which page of duplicate copy you prefer to have ranked.
- Website crawlability. The term crawlability refers to the ability of your webpage or website to be easily crawled by a search engine. However, there is a little gray area in this element as a knowledgeable web hosting or design company can help customize what content you want to be crawlable via a robots meta tag.
Sometimes It’s All About the Extras: Structured Data
If you are already investing in a good web hosting or web design company, I say go big or go home. So, look for someone who can also go the extra mile and by ensuring that your website has:
- Structured Data. This just a fancy way of organizing the summary information about your business, products, and website in a way that search engines can easily find and understand.
- XML Sitemap. All an XML sitemap does is create a map of the pages on your website, but it is important because it essentially charts the organization of your website for search engines. To assist with sitemaps, it is recommended to use categories, pages, and tags, all of which a web designer can help with.
Your Biggest Asset for Implementing Technical SEO
Now that you know what technical SEO is and how it should look, it is time to find someone who knows how to implement it for you. And trust me when I say that this carries just as much importance as everything else you’ve already read.
Search engine optimization works at its finest when it is incorporated in every element of a website from the hosting to the design to the regular content. To do this there are three main players needed:
- Web Hosting Company. The main function of a web hosting company is to enable an entity to post webpages to the internet via designated servers.
- Web Designer. A web designer assists with the creation, layout, navigation, and usability of a website.
- SEO Company. An SEO company typically focuses on frequently delivering relevant, credible, and quality content to a website.
Yes, it is possible to work with three different companies, but it is not something that I recommend. To have better control of your website and all the different entities that play a role in shaping it, consider putting your website into the hands of a one stop shop that does web hosting, web design, and SEO.
When you have the same company handling every aspect of your search engine optimization, the odds for success can increase dramatically because it is a coordinated effort that creates a culture of SEO which appeals to search engines and users alike. And that is hard to put a price tag on.