What Is Technical SEO, and Why Does It Matter?

Most people have heard of search engine optimization, or SEO. It’s a commonly used phrase, even among people who might not deal with it every day. SEO is often used as an umbrella term to describe keyword-optimized content, but what about SEO that is unseen, existing in the backend realm of a website? That’s technical SEO.

The Role of Technical SEO
Like the drywall, concrete and two-by-fours of a building, technical SEO isn’t glamorous. Nor is it meant to be. Technical SEO is foundational, the gateway by which web crawlers see content-related SEO. Without technical SEO, Google wouldn’t see websites — regardless of its keyword optimization, the content would essentially be meaningless in terms of improving page rankings.

Many types of backend structures and processes encompass technical SEO:

Website architecture. Poorly designed websites, especially ones that are particularly large and have been cobbled together throughout the years without a streamlined, consistent development in place, are the bane of Google’s existence. Web crawlers may find the architecture outdated and challenging, which means they’ll move on. A site that has solid elements of technical SEO will be welcoming for web crawlers.

Page errors. Bad links or page URLs that lead to user errors can confuse Google, and lead to penalties or lowered page rankings. Cleaning up the errors and bad links can improve your technical SEO and help you realize more leverage on Google’s search results without changing your content.

Site performance. A slow-loading site is a problem for visitors — and for Google. If it takes too long for crawlers to sift through your site’s pages, you won’t land a strong position in the search results for specific keywords. Technical SEO considers site performance to eliminate the possibility of losing search engine positions because of slower-than-average load times.

Coding. Did you know that the codes used in your web design and development are actually technical SEO elements? Highly trained web designers and developers understand how to maximize the codes that no one will ever see, but that will appeal to Google and other search engine crawls. From meta descriptions to tags, coding is hardly superficial. In fact, it can help raise your profile.

Other aspects of technical SEO are equally as important, and equally as misunderstood. It’s critical to review your website for technical SEO, as well as on-page SEO.

Signs It May Be Time for a Technical SEO Audit

It’s probably time for a technical SEO audit if:
• Despite strong keyword-rich content, you’re still losing page ranks.
• You have been penalized by Google for violations such as bad links, bad redirects, cloaking, etc.
• You are restructuring your website and want to make sure it’s enticing to Google.
• You have noticed that your site is taking a long time to download.
• Your analytics are not improving, despite working on everything aside from technical SEO.

In each of these cases, you can likely leverage technical SEO to bring your site back from no man’s land. Like all SEO, technical SEO won’t work overnight, but it will offer a much better avenue to higher page ranks than on-page SEO content alone.

Add technical SEO to your site improvement efforts, and you’ll likely to see strong returns in terms of page rank.

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