Businesses around the world have the opportunity to connect with and sell to customers from nearly any corner of the earth. Thanks to the power of the internet, this reach is immediate and can give small, otherwise unknown companies standing among some of the biggest and best brands. However, none of this can be achieved without the help of search engine optimisation, or SEO.
With a sound SEO strategy, businesses can extend their efforts far beyond their physical location, but this requires some know-how behind the scenes. When most companies consider their strategy for SEO, it is common to think about content first, followed closely by link-building. Although these aspects of SEO are crucial to ongoing success, technical SEO is just as pertinent. Here’s what businesses need to understand about technical SEO and how to get started.
What is Technical SEO?
In its simplest form, technical SEO involves an in-depth analysis of a business website from the perspective of a search engine, not necessarily the website visitor. This means ensuring a business page can be found online and rank relatively high in search engine results, and it is based on a handful of driving forces. When a search engine is trying to return page results based on a user’s inquiry, they use web crawlers, often referred to as spiders, to gather information relevant to that search from pages across the internet. Technical SEO ensures that the crawling process is made easier for these search engine spiders, which ultimately helps a page rank higher in search results.
Tips for Getting Started
Technical SEO may seem like a daunting concept, particularly if a business is already familiar with the content and keyword side of search engine optimisation. Fortunately, there are some straightforward steps a company can take to get started down the right path toward building a strong technical SEO foundation, beginning with a focus on page speed.
In the SEO universe, both from a user and a spider perspective, site speed is an important factor in the success of a business page. Search engines lean heavily on site speed to help rank a page in its results, and the faster a website can load, the better off it will fare. If a search engine cannot find the information it is looking for, or indexing that information takes far too long, where a business ranks in the results is lowered significantly.
Optimisation for Mobile Use
Even with a fast site, businesses must spend some time and effort on ensuring that page translates well to mobile. Millions of users rely on a mobile experience to make their decisions on what they will consume on the internet, and so it is not surprising that web crawlers that account for this in their ranking of pages. Businesses should have a site that is responsive first, meaning it automatically is optimised based on the device being used to view it. That means content is displayed in a way that is user-friendly, not a deterrent.
Site security is yet another factor that plays a role in technical SEO. A few years ago, the leading search engine explained that having an HTTPS site was going to be an essential component of ranking in search results. With this type of secured site, businesses are able to harness the power of security technology which provides encryption of data, integrity of information, and authentication. Securing a site takes a few relatively easy steps, and it should be a priority for businesses trying to boost their technical SEO.
Technical SEO also requires some specific files that can be found on a website. An XML sitemap is one of the most important, as it provides a guide to the pages on a site, not unlike a roadmap. A sitemap helps a web crawler understand – and ultimately index – site structure, based on details such as when the last update was made, how often updates are made to the site, and the priority of those updates. Several tools exist to help businesses audit their sitemaps to ensure spiders are able to find the information they seek quickly and efficiently.
Technical SEO may seem a bit more challenging than content or keyword SEO strategies, but using the tips mentioned above can be helpful in getting started. For businesses who want to improve technical SEO without getting into the weeds of the process, hiring an SEO digital agency can be smart move. These agencies often perform an audit of a current site to determine what can and should be corrected behind the scenes to boost technical SEO efforts.