Content and creative are the sexy, fun side of SEO marketing. It’s what your customers see and it’s what will ultimately get them to buy.
Over the past few years though, all the focus on content, video and user experience has proven one indisputable fact; Good technical SEO is the foundation for a great user experience and page ranking.
There is a good chance no one will ever see your awesome content without good technical SEO. With this in mind, let’s explore it a little deeper to understand:
- Why is investing in technical SEO really an investment in your content?
- What makes for good technical SEO?
- What common issues should you look out for?
- How do you identify the best technical SEO solution for your business?
Why is Technical SEO Important?
Think of technical SEO like your computer. It’s a great tool unless the power’s out. Then, it is a great paperweight.
Likewise, poor technical SEO is like the power being out. Site visitors encounter the dreaded 404 error page, click links that go nowhere and have an otherwise poor user experience. A page’s ranking can also be affected too as search engines do not capture the true purpose of a page.
Good technical SEO turns the power on. It’s the foundation for your off-site SEO and on-page SEO efforts. It guarantees web page usability the same way electricity guarantees that you can use your computer.
What are Elements of Good Technical SEO?
Technical SEO audit tools often highlight all the data points in their analysis. Ultimately, whether the tool evaluates 20, 40 or 100 possible data points, every point will answer one of three questions:
- How does the site perform?
- How crawlable is your site?
- Are your pages indexing well?
Page speed is probably one of the most common and easily recognizable site performance issues. Broken links are another. Site performance directly affects the user experience.
really refers to whether a page makes it easy for a “GoogleBot” or other search engine spider or crawler to identify and collect the relevant data about a page. Search engines extend a limited crawl budget to any site.
What is a crawl budget?
Google calls crawl budget the “crawl rate limit”, the maximum amount of time a GoogleBot will spend collecting data on a site. Duplicate content, or pages that can be reached through multiple URLs on a site, affects crawl budget. So does faceted navigation, a potential problem for e-commerce sites which allow filtering of products by elements like price, color or material.
What is indexing?
Indexing refers to the important information about your page being stored in Google’s giant “library,” so when a search is done, it knows which pages best answer the user’s search request. It’s like making sure you have all the right information on and in a paper file so you can find what you’re looking for when you go to the file cabinet.
So, how important is crawlability and indexing?
While page crawlability takes place in the digital space, poor crawls lead to poorly indexed sites. This, in turn, can result in Google (or any other search engine) passing over one of your pages for a search on the keyword that page has targeted. So, crawling and indexing has the potential to have serious effects on a page’s ranking.
What are Common Technical SEO Issues?
Any technical SEO issues can be an impediment between you reaching your audience for any given keyword. SEOClarity identifies 8 common – and easily fixable – technical issues as:
- No HTTPs security
- Improper site indexing
- An absence of XML sitemaps
- Incorrect robots.txt file
- An incorrectly NOINDEX tag
- Slow page speed
- Multiple homepages
- A problem with a Rel=Canonical tag; thus confusing search engines on the original content when it encounters one of those dynamically, filtered e-commerce pages
The absence of schema markups, or structured data, can also negatively impact page indexing.
A good technical SEO audit will evaluate the data points related to these factors and many others too. Different experts may highlight different technical SEO issues, but the reality is, any technical issue is a problem.
Now, in addition to a technical site audit, you will also want to test links. Some technical SEO tools include this feature though there are independent tools to do this too.
What is the Best Technical SEO Solution for You?
Do a quick search for the “best technical SEO tools” and you’ll see a lot of options. Free tools usually offer a certain amount of data. To see everything, you need to sign-up for the paid service.
Any technical SEO tool will provide you the audit of your site, and the errors that need fixing. If you have the expertise in-house to make the fixes, you’re set. But, if you need to outsource this job, you’re better off hiring an agency rather than using a tool. An agency can provide both the expertise and the tools so you can focus your time on making the content your audience loves.