What Is Technical SEO?
To understand what is technical SEO and how it differs from “regular” SEO, it might be helpful to define it along with the other facets of SEO that complement technical SEO. These facets include:
- SEO strategy — Determining the overall objective of an SEO campaign, deciding how the goal will be measured and setting timeframes and milestones for results.
- SEO tactics — Determining specific ongoing campaign activities. This includes deciding how much of what kind of work is needed, interpreting results and adjusting campaign activities to improve results.
- SEO content creation and marketing — Writing on-site content to support keywords, and writing and placing off-site content (mainly for link building).
- SEO tracking and analytics — Collecting and analyzing data pertinent to SEO campaign KPIs.
- Technical SEO — Development work done primarily on-site to enable search engine crawlers, Google in particular, to properly crawl and index website content and otherwise support organic search engine visibility.
Technical SEO is heavily involved with an SEO campaign at the beginning, since any site issues that impede crawling and indexing (and quite often, there are a lot of them) must be fixed before commencing with the campaign’s monthly activities (there are also, quite often, a lot of them).
That said, technical SEO is not a one-and-done proposition. A website must be monitored monthly, or more frequently, to identify new technical issues that have cropped up. Some of these new technical issues are self-inflicted wounds, such as creating new site navigation that violates best practices. Other technical issues are beyond the organization’s control, such as excessively slow page loading due to hosting malfunctions.
Regardless of the cause of the issue, it is up to the technical SEO specialist to diagnose and repair it.
Common Technical SEO Issues
These are among the most important issues that occupy the time of technical SEO specialists.
- Duplicate content. Duplicate content, especially on very large sites and e-commerce sites, can dilute SEO results by taking organic visibility away from the version of the web page for which you really want to rank. Duplicate content has a number of causes and can be dealt with in a number of ways.
- Internal linking structure. Like navigation, internal links help crawlers understand how the content of a website is interconnected and which content is most important. Best practices for linking, including anchor text and the number and placement of internal links, changes with time, so technical SEO specialists must review and often modify internal links throughout the course of the campaign.
- Page loading speed. Page loading is a Google ranking factor of some significance, and slow-loading pages kill conversions (the goal of SEO) as well. Like duplicate content, page loading speed can be slowed for a number of reasons, some of which are not easy to isolate. Often, issues with loading speed relate to hosting, web design, image configuration and image storing.
- Site navigation. Google crawlers assess a site’s navigation to get an understanding of which site pages are most important, and how information on various site pages is connected. Navigation is usually, but not necessarily, hierarchical, and technical SEO specialists continually review navigation schemes as pages and sections are added.
- Structured data. Structured data involves creating a database that organizes a web page’s content so Google can more easily understand its meaning and relevance. Structured data, which is usually encoded using Schema.org markup, must be done carefully and thoroughly to have the biggest positive impact on SEO.
- URL structures. Intuitive, logical URL structures assist crawlers and, like navigation and fast page loading, improve the user experience. Technical SEO specialists make sure URL structures are user- and SEO-friendly before a campaign kicks off, and should review all URLs for new website pages as they are added to make sure they conform to the initial standards.
Some of these areas of focus require different treatment for mobile and desktop versions of a website — this holds true for organizations with separate desktop and mobile sites, as well as for organizations with a single, responsive design website. In particular, navigation and structured data handling is set up somewhat differently for mobile and desktop.
To talk about your technical SEO issues or a new campaign, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.