Write all the fluffy blog content for SEO you want, if you’re not doing Technical SEO right then you might as well down your margi, and call yourself an Uber now cos you ain’t going anywhere special, darl.
Is this going to be a flirty article about “SEO secrets to make you money instantly?” Negative, Ghost Rider. Sorry to disappoint you on that one, (NB: Most of those articles are dead clickbait that just want to sell a Webinar). What it is going to do is explain the Technical SEO elements to those of you who actually just want to know the basics of what it is and why you need it.
For example, if you are relatively new to modern SEO and might be interested in working with us, this will introduce you to everything we’ll do to raise your Organic profile. And by ‘modern’, we mean white hat, user-centric and useful SEO. The stuff you should be spending your money on as a brand, not the toxic black hat crap of the past. Nobody likes that guy.
Can you really be bothered to read this? As we hinted earlier, it’s not as attractive as an instagram feed, sorry again on that one. But, the more you understand as a prospective or current client, the more empowered you will feel as a business owner or in your job role, and the better we can work together. It will bring you a higher return on your investment, and that (like a good back massage) makes everyone feel better about their day, especially us.
So then, What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is essentially a list of technical elements that are needed to keep search engine’s algorithms (or best practice rules) happy, and therefore fairly rank your website. The riddle in this, is these ranking factors can change, and some frequently do. There are daily small algorithm updates, and then larger core updates which usually have names and are prolific in their effects on search results, search behaviour and organic performance.
(Further reading on some if you’re feeling nerdalicious: BERT, RankBrain, E-A-T and YMYL)
The main reason for these core algorithms’ existence is high web standards, aka good search UX (User Experience), aka providing the best possible service for every individual online searcher. Think of good UX as the charming, positive energy bestfriend you can’t wait to invite to a night out because they make sure everyone has a good time. Bad UX is your best friend’s neggie, self-centered boyfriend you hope just can’t make it along because he never fails to ruin the vibe for everyone. If new algorithms are rolled out, it’s usually for the better, and to make the internet a less frustrating or misleading place for users.
Remember, Google, Bing, Yandex and Baidu search engines want the most credible, and most appropriate search result to appear for the unique person looking for it. They also want sites to be accommodating to users who have accessibility needs, and rely on us as webmasters to make sure they can access the same information that other internet users can. We have a responsibility to ensure everyone can find the things they need, so they can spend more time doing what they love.
Being a Technical SEO gun and staying on top of all the factors that please algorithms means you’re in the best possible position to be in front of the people that want and need you.
Don’t mess with algorithms, and they won’t mess with you
Things that don’t please algorithms will impact your traffic and how you are seen. Returning our point about writing as much fluffy content that you want, …if your site is a mess and you’ve not improved the Technical SEO no one’s going to see your “cool” blog anyway.
If you try and do dodgy things like keyword stuffing, or don’t look after how your site is structured for users, this will bump you down in the SERPs. You’ll lose organic visibility, traffic and conversions.
Duplicate content is a common big no. Making false expert claims without facts to back them up by a qualified professional is a reaaal no (see E-A-T & YMYL guidelines). Having multiple cross-site issues where your navigation doesn’t work and redirects people all over the place is just frustrating and boring. It’s bad SEO, and bad UX. Algorithms reward those who care and are attentive to their users, it’s just nice.
Put simply, Technical SEO has two elements, On Page SEO and Off Page SEO.
On Page SEO: Everything you can do to your website, how it’s coded/structured, and how content is designed and presented to your unique users to ensure search engines value your business as trustworthy, credible and authoritative in what you do. And, by doing so ensure you rank higher in the SERPs (“Search Engine Results Pages” ie Google, Bing, Baidu, Yandex) for your location. This includes your onsite content and it’s metadata, information architecture, site speed, schema mark up, external and internal linking, site accessibility and usability.
Off Page SEO: Everything you can improve and optimise externally of your own website to appear trustworthy, credible and authoritative in what you do. It includes how you interact with other real life entities, other websites and social media platforms.
This includes toxic backlink management, high DA link acquisition, brand partnerships, local partnerships and google platform optimisation (such as Google My Business). Many of these factors fall under the “Digital PR” banner and need to be part of ongoing SEO strategy.
Think of On Page like what you can do in your brick and mortar store. You can design beautiful decor, have mood lighting, play the slow jams, hire interesting staff members and ensure excellent customer service to make your business or brand successful.
Think of Off Page like what you can do outside of your brick and mortar store in terms of traditional PR style tactics, like have arranged deals with killer partner brands, have good transport links so you can be found locally, and get exciting media coverage about yourself.
But where does blogging come into this? Isn’t blogging SEO?
Writing blog content is an extended part of an SEO strategy, it shouldn’t be the core of it. If you speak to an SEO agency and their sole message is just adding blogs to your site, run for the hills. The technical stuff is the foundation of how and what is there for your users, and whether they can actually access your content in the first place. For example, crawling the site and ensuring the right pages are indexed correctly for the core converting keywords you want to rank for, and that your relevant blogs are linked to from those pages is Technical SEO. Writing the blog that helps someone discover you through long tail keywords on another platform when they didn’t know about your brand previously, is part of a content strategy which sits within the SEO remit. So it’s still important, hell this is a blog! But it’s not the only thing that SEO entails which is a common misconception, there’s a lot more housekeeping that needs to go on behind the scenes.
How Do You Ensure Doing Technical SEO Works?
Set real life objectives, but make them realistic and achievable. It takes a while to fix technical issues first after an audit, which will not make a dent on your revenue spreadsheet overnight, but are as important as having strong foundations for your house. Working with a team who are hot on analytics, using the right tools and finding trends in your unique data helps to develop SEO strategies that actually do what you want them to do in real life. Stuff like raising brand awareness, increasing relevant website traffic, and ultimately being successful in what you do, which usually includes making actual real world moola. These things are real world business objectives, and are more likely to get you a promotion or help you love your job.
Unlike other channels like Paid and Display advertising, Technical SEO could take months before you start seeing real pick ups. Truthfully. And, because of this, a lot of brands can neglect their Technical SEO due to not understanding the implications of not attending to it. Hopefully this article has helped with that. Water your garden, it will grow.
Written by Tess Underhill