Technical SEO is ever-changing, and website owners must keep up with the latest strategies in order to be viewed favorably by Google and other search engines.
There’s a common misconception that SEO is all about content, link building, and finding the right keywords. While these are incredibly important elements, optimizing your website with technical SEO strategies is just as essential to rank in the SERPs.
Let’s break what technical SEO is first.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO involves any actions taken to optimize a website beyond the content. The techniques involved are intended to increase the chances of a website ranking in the SERPs and focus primarily on user experience and search engine bots’ ability to render, understand and analyze your site.
This includes but is not limited to:
- Mobile Optimization
- Page/Load Speed
- Site Structure
As Google’s algorithm becomes more sophisticated with each update, it has become increasingly important to find new ways to gain organic traffic beyond well-optimized content.
With that, we give you SEO do’s and don’ts for business owners of all sizes:
- Optimize Your Images – Technical SEO
The size of your images play a huge role in UX; if they’re too large, they could affect your page speed (see #3) which is a big no-no in the world of SEO. Before using any images in your content, be sure that they’re sized appropriately.
What many website owners don’t realize is that if an image is uploaded large yet displayed small, it will still affect page speed. A 3000pix wide image still needs to be fully loaded even if it is only published at 300px wide.
So, even if you select one of the many sizing options that WordPress offers, the actual file size will remain the same.
You can optimize your images by compressing them with tools like WP Smush directly in WordPress while maintaining quality. You should also optimize your images with captions, alt text, and the file name.
- Alt-Text: This text is used to describe an image if it can’t be displayed to a reader. It is also used by search engines to understand what the content is about. Your SEO keyword or phrase should ideally be included in this text but only if it makes sense.
- File Name: Your SEO keyword or phrase should be included in your file name.
- Captions: The eye naturally gravitates toward a text that stands out, like captions, and while captions aren’t 100% necessary for SEO, they are a great opportunity to provide your reader with more information. However, we would suggest only using captions when it’s appropriate.
- Map Your Content Around Keywords
Conduct your keyword research before creating your content. Not only will this save you time, but it will also help you construct your posts around words and phrases that make sense for your ranking potential.
In your research, you should compile a list of seed and long-tail keywords and analyze them against your competition to see what the difficulty is.
Understanding keyword metrics such as keyword difficulty and search volume is essential in any SEO strategy. Your title, metadata, and content body should all contain variations of your keywords.
They should make sense in the context of the content and they should be relevant to your website.
- Pay Attention to Your Website’s Load Speed – Technical SEO
It’s pretty simple: if your website is slow to load, visitors will often leave rather than wait it out. Patience may be a virtue, but it seems that web surfers are getting more and more impatient by the day!
If your site takes more than just a couple of blinks, you’re likely to lose almost half of your potential readers and customers. If an e-commerce site makes $100,000/day, a ONE second page delay can cost them $2.5 million in lost sales a YEAR.
Now, I dare you to tell us that page speed doesn’t need to be a priority.
The user experience of your website is just as important as properly optimizing your content for keywords. Not only will you lose potential readers, but you could get knocked by search engines.
When Google sends through bots to crawl your website, one of the things they are checking for is how fast your website loads.
- Optimize for Mobile – Technical SEO
In 2018, 58% of website visits from mobile devices, making up 42% of the total time spent online. This means that if your website is not optimized for smartphones, your visitors will have a frustrating user experience.
Today, we are used to accessing websites from our phones and having a seamless visit. When we have to zoom in and out to see content and navigate our way around the site, it’s a turn-off; so much so that we would rather go elsewhere than deal with the inconvenience.
However, UX is not the only reason a website should be responsive. Google favors websites that are mobile-friendly. When your bounce rate is lower, your SEO will be better.
A responsive website is a happy website that is more likely to rank on search engines.
- Use Analytics to Measure Site Performance
Not sure what to focus on? Look at your Analytics!
Take the time to utilize the bevy of information Google Analytics and Google Search Console have to offer to gain a real understanding of your website’s demographics, what content is getting the most hits, and what keywords are already getting you traffic.
These tools contain some of the most valuable information a business can get their hands on and they shouldn’t be ignored! Optimizing your website around this information is a surefire way to grow what is already working for your business.
- Use Black Hat Techniques – Technical SEO
Don’t be one of those marketers who think they can get away with black hat SEO. You are not an exception, and it isn’t worth it.
Practicing such tactics to get your site to rank higher in the SERPs goes against search engine guidelines and can result in a penalty. Some common black hat techniques include:
- Keyword Stuffing
- Unnatural Links
- Link Schemes
Examples of unnatural links include comment spam, buying or trading links with other website owners, hidden links, article directories, and link farms.
- Overuse Keywords
These days, search engines can understand the context of an article and the language that is used; they don’t need you to keyword stuff. In fact, keyword stuffing is highly frowned upon and can do more harm than good.
Search engines prefer value over spam. This may seem obvious but there are still several websites out there that overuse their keywords, placing them within their content as much as possible.
Instead, they should be focusing on a few instances and variations of their keywords and ensuring that their technical SEO is up to par as well. Not only that but your readers will quickly catch on to keyword stuffing and quickly exit.
- Use Too Many Plugins
The more plugins you have, the slower your site will be.
Revert back to “Do’s” #3.
- Neglect Your Site Map – Technical SEO
A sitemap is an XML file of all individual pages on your website that search engines use to crawl and index your content. They’re important for SEO because they help search engines understand your site’s structure, functioning as an archive of sorts.
Search engines favor valuable information, so the more pages they are able to index, the more trustworthy your site will be.
If you are a business owner that wants to take your SEO strategy to the next level, be sure to keep these tips in mind to increase your chances of ranking in the SERPs!