What is Technical SEO? Is it something I need to worry about for my business website?
The phrase, Technical SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has been getting a lot more discussion recently. Technical SEO refers to improvement of the structure, code and security in order to allow better access to Search Engine bots or spiders. ***the non-keyword or content parts of optimizing your website. Basically the stuff you need a web developer for and my not be able to do within a content management system.
This is not a new thing. In the early days of SEO work, a lot of our time was spent on cleaning up HTML code. Our goal was to make the code as clean and streamlined as possible with the idea to make the actual content part or the stuff search engines used to determine rankings, as easy to find as possible.
What I think is new and different about what is happening now is that Google especially has been communicating and publishing technical requirements for website best practices a lot in 2018. Where as in the past a lot of our technical techniques may have come from more trial and error and figuring out what works. Now there is a lot less guessing. We know more about what Google needs from our website code and increasingly we are given deadlines to get things done.
Should I worry about Technical SEO?
In short, if you are planning on using Search Optimization as a marketing tactic to drive traffic to your website, then yes, you need to worry about this. Google is giving very specific instructions on what is needed to have your website appear in search results. If you want search traffic to your site from Google, why wouldn’t you pay attention to these technical requirements?
I have been asked many times in the past few weeks if a business owner would agree to spend time and money to work on Technical SEO, will that get them a number one ranking in Google? Part of the problem is, this question represents old misconceptions about what Search Optimization is and how it works. By asking this question, the business owner is really saying, “is there some short cut or secret magic trick that will propel them to the top of the rankings,” without having to work too hard it.
Going forward, I believe that in order to appear in Google’s search results, your website will need to be built and maintained to a certain standard as defined by Google. To reach that standard you will not be able to ignore your business website for weeks or months at a time. That will be the price of admission to search rankings. Without it, you don’t get in. Having it will get you in the front door, but does not guarantee a front row seat. You have to decide is it worth it to your business to get past door and give yourself a chance at a good seat.
Depending on what state you website is in, a good technical upgrade could make quite a difference in your ability to attract search traffic. We still see plenty of websites built without search optimization as a priority and struggle to gain search visibility. If you are one of those website owners who constantly hear feedback from customers, prospects or even your own sales team, that your website is really hard to find in search, I would have a review of your website done right away to see if technical issues are holding you back. ***
Levels of Technical SEO
To really improve the performance of your website for search and for users, you need to address the many layers of technology that make up your website. Be prepared to increase your website budget to solve technical SEO issues. Some things may require a project by a web developer. Some things just need on-going maintenance and continued attention over time.
Here is a list of the different levels that make up your website and examples of issues to check.
- Server Level – Check to make sure your account has plenty of space to operate your website.
- Navigation Structure – Check that all of the core pages of your website can be accessed from your homepage.
- Code/Templates – Make sure all of your CMS software (ex. WordPress, Joomla, etc.) is running the latest version.
- Device or Display – Check to make sure all of your page elements display on a mobile screen without having to horizontal scroll.
- Page Level – Are you using headings in your page text? At least one H1 and one H2 on each page.
- Meta Data – Each page should have a unique SEO Title and Meta Page Description.
- Structured Data – Check your Contact Us page to make sure your Business Name, Address and Phone Number include Structured Data code.
Is it Even Possible to Improve Technical SEO?
In order to make these improvements, you need to have access to the systems to make these improvements. If your website sits on a server owned by your old web developer and you don’t have access to it, you can’t make needed changes. If your website will built using a subscription service where you pay by the month to post a few pages, you don’t have access to structure or code or maybe even page level optimization. All is not hopeless. Talk to your vendor who publishes your website. Ask them about the upcoming Google deadlines and what their plans are for compliance. See what they say and then decide if that’s going to work for your business.
If you would like more information on where your website stands with Technical SEO, sign-up for a Cybervise Free Website Consultation. We would be happy to give you an initial overview.