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What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO refers to the steps people take on their web pages to ensure their sites can be easily followed, not followed, indexed, or not indexed and that search engines can crawl their pages with ease.

Search engines take these cues from your web page, so to avoid technical SEO issues, make sure you understand the fundamentals.

In this article I'll explain the importance of this area of SEO, as well as 4 components all technically optimized websites possess.

Let's dive in!

Why is Technical SEO important?

It's one way to boost your organic traffic because you allow Google and other search engines to render and crawl your page properly. Without this crucial element, your dream of climbing the SERPs is that much harder.

When you give your favorite search engine what they need to do their job, the ideal outcome is that your efforts will go further.

Imagine I bake you the most beautiful 4-layer chocolate cake, but I put it on a shelf, in a room under lock and key with a tiny electric shock buzzer on the doorknob. You know, just to make things interesting.

How much will you appreciate the cake if you can only see it, but never taste it, experience or savor it?

Search engines appreciate technical SEO because you allow them to seamlessly gather the information they need to bring your content or your website to the people looking for what you have to offer. Without it, your long-form blog content, your article, your website or your listicle is quite literally just decorative.

On-Page SEO vs Off-Page SEO:

Technical SEO falls under the umbrella of on-page SEO because it involves performing tasks that directly affect your website or blog post. Think internal links, fixing broken links, eliminating duplicate content and overall site structure.

Off-page most commonly refers to building trustworthy and reliable backlinks, or links that point to your content as a respected reference. Here, what you're trying to build is relevance, trustworthiness and authority.

Both, however, contribute to search engine optimization, and when combined make for a whole and complete SEO strategy.

Technical SEO Audit: 5 Questions to Consider

  1. Are you comfortable navigating Google Search Console? Do you understand which aspects to focus on?
  2. Have you designed the structure of your webpage with the user's experience in mind? Have you factored in mobile users, and made that rendering seamless?
  3. How often do you perform a site audit to catch any low-hanging technical SEO fixes?
  4. When's the last time you checked your site speed / page speed? Do you have proper meta tags which improve readability? Is your meta description compelling?
  5. Is your XML sitemap accurate?

What are the benefits of technical SEO?

  • Appearing in more search results: when you adhere to Google's best practices, usually, it pays off.
  • Safety: one aspect on everyone's technical SEO checklist should be security. No spammy, sketchy, questionable sites here, folks!
  • Clear URL structure: this helps Google better navigate your site, and it's also more aesthetically pleasing. www.No OnE WaNtS.//a.UrL-lIKE_thIs.com, right?

I'm not sure if it's clear yet, but technical SEO strategies usually have one goal in mind: make your page easily crawlable, indexable and searchable.

Also, am I the only person on the planet that didn't know that URL stood for Uniform Resource Locator? *scratches head*

4 Components All Technically Optimized Webpages Have:

  1. Fast load time!

Page speed is fundamental to organic traffic because, well, human beings are impatient, simple creatures. If your site can't give them the answers they're looking for within an acceptable amount of time, they'll find a site that can. Is this acceptable amount of time reasonable? That, friends is up for debate.
Did you know that Surfer's Audit feature has an option where you can check page load time to see if you're in optimal range or not?

Implementing technical SEO using Surfer's Audit tool
Implementing technical SEO using Surfer's Audit tool

2. Zero to few dead links!

If you're at all like me, you've tumbled down your fair share of Wikipedia black holes, yes? There's nothing more frustrating than coming to an involuntary standstill because of a dead link or non-existing page. Search engine spiders feel the same as users in this case: irked!
Remember: if you delete or move a page, make sure there's a valid redirect in place. Keep an eye on duplicate content or multiple pages which confuses and complicates the search engines' index process. You don't want to miss any low-hanging fruit in your technical SEO strategy.

3. Structured data

Structured data refers specifically to information presented in an organized way that helps search engines crawl your website. Think of it like site architecture. When you clearly organize your website's content, the spiders and crawlers can also pull information for the more fancy, shiny features of the SERP such as rich snippets and knowledge boxes!

Structured data is a markup language of sorts and not visible to those folks visiting your site.

If you're interested in learning more about meta tags that can improve your SEO efforts, check out this article!

4. XML Sitemap

Imagine inviting an ant to a mansion, and not giving them a map or any directions? This is probably on the top of the list for technical SEO best practices! Not all sites need one if your webpage is clearly organized and has a very solid internal linking strategy, but it does act as backup!

Technical search engine optimization is one way to bring more organic traffic to your site and climb the search results pages. This along with proper keyword research, proper meta descriptions,  link building strategies and mobile-friendly sites tells search engines that your website is ready for eyes!

May these technical SEO fundamentals help your pages rank!

Happy Surfing!

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics