Are you worried about your company’s online presence and equally worried about who can help you stand out from the pack on Google?
Well, you should be worried, and here is why.
The way websites function has changed forever. Your audience are now more demanding than ever and will have no problem moaning about your website or leaving a bad review if something does not work out as they would expect.
We live in the age of ‘right here right now’ and things such as a slow loading page, a page which does not look good on mobile or even a page which does not answer their question as quickly as possible will put them off your brand.
However, though this may seem demanding, this is exactly how it should.
As a company or website owner, you need to ensure that your users are getting the best possible experience and that search engines can easily access and crawl your website.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO relates to any technical element which Google require in order to find your site, crawl it and show it to your audience for related searches online. Technical SEO helps Google understand your website structure, coding, content, and internal architecture.
Generally speaking, a potential client or subscriber on your website will not care about technical elements, however, they will not engage with your site if there are technical flaws.
What are a few examples of elements relating to technical SEO?
Website speed and load time:
Do you enjoy waiting around while a page loads? Definitely not. The same goes for the majority of people in the world as well as search engines. Google want your website to load as quickly and efficiently as possible so that their users have a great experience on their website.
In fact, in the middle of 2018, Google announced that it will be officially monitoring for slow loading websites and penalising them in the search results. It was officially called the ‘speed update’ which requires all websites to load as close to the 3 second mark as possible.
Slow loading pages also give Google are hard time when crawling your pages as it can confuse the site crawlers. It is common knowledge among the SEO community that website speed is a ranking factor which can impact your site in a positive and a negative manner.
Any SEO consultant worth their salt will know about website load time and be sure to make the website load as quickly as possible.
Broken pages and 4XX errors:
It goes without saying that a broken page is frustrating and will cause a bad user experience. Search spiders will try to access the page but will abandon the crawl when it encounters the broken page. An error will then be logged.
The website owner or webmaster will be notified of any broken pages and errors with an encouragement to fix the pages. Websites which have a lot of broken pages do not perform well and often have high bounce rates.
In a nutshell, structure data (mark-up) is additional code which wraps around your content in order to help search engines understand your content more efficiently. It is absolutely essential to have the correct structured data on every page of your website.
Google describes structured data as a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. The more Google can understand and classify your content, the more chance you have at ranking high for core search queries.
By using Structured data, you also have a chance to rank for various visual elements in Google search known as ‘featured snippets’. What is a featured snippet? Featured snippets are visual elements shown directly in the Google search results to answer a user’s question instantly.
These snippets are shown at the top of Google’s organic results below the ads in a box. Examples:
Picture yourself driving on a road which you may have never seen before and you are trying to find a hotel or restaurant for lunch. You will keep a look out for signs and traffic lights, but more importantly you need to know which roads to follow to get to your destination.
This is the same with internal links. Internal linking helps both the user and the search engine crawlers follow pages on your website and flow through your website with ease. If there are no relevant internal links guiding a user from one desired page to the next, it can hinder site engagement and reduce the overall time on site.
It is very common for a technical SEO consultant to run a dedicated internal link audit and analyse how each page is linking to other important pages in order to build a logical flow and hierarchy to a website.
Here is a very high-level example of a small internal link structure I did for a client within the security industry. Notice how each page links to each other, yet all supporting articles are pointed to the main service page (money page) in order to boost visibility and rankings on that page.
Multiple versions of a website:
Did you know that you can have multiple versions of the same website? For example, you can have the same website but have a secure version and a non-secure version of the website which is seen as duplicate content. Here is an example:
These are the exact same websites with the same content but have two different http addresses. Welcome to a world of duplicate content.
Likewise, you can have a version of your website with the www and without the www. This can be confusing! Example:
This is a massive issue which I have seen on multiple occasions. An experience SEO will need to be able to identify multiple versions of a website and be able to consolidate all versions into one primary domain.
Scraping may sound rather strange but is a common way to gather a large amount of technical data and information about any website or search results. A good technical SEO consultant should have experience with web scraping tools as well as knowing when to use them.
Here is a technical summary of web scraping:
Web scraping, also known as web data extraction, is the process of retrieving or “scraping” data from a website.
A common way to utilise modern day data extraction and scraping tools would be to monitor the web or competitor sites for data which shifts or changes frequently. Some use these tools to monitoring price fluctuations and inflation rates.
Web scrapers are incredibly powerful for market research. The data needed for extensive market research has to be quality, high volume, reliable and insightful. Many market research companies use web scrapers for the following:
- Market Trend Analysis
- Market Pricing
- Optimizing Point of Entry
- Research & Development
- Competitor Monitoring
An SEO analyst could use scrapers and data extractors in order to have access to a huge library of data fast, or to analyse competitor metrics and content changes. The possibilities are endless.
Technical SEO can be overwhelming and confusing. However, it is one of the most essential parts of your ongoing strategy to boost online visibility and business objectives. Just be sure to do a lot of research before hiring an SEO consultant and examine their track record and historical projects.
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