Without a technically-sound website, any content or keyword updates made with the goal of boosting search engine rankings will have little to no effect. Creating a site with strong SEO comes as a result of integrating complementary services like web design, content, social media, video, and creative search. Successful SEO is dependent on cross-team collaboration, and whether it’s the most interesting topic to you or not – it’s important and feasible for anyone to grasp what technical optimization for SEO does without getting overwhelmed.
Optimizing your site means making it as friendly and intuitive to a user as possible – and that requires eliminating any technical errors that arise when search engines “crawl” each page of your site. If your SEO were a ship at sea, crawl errors act like anchors, pulling your SEO ship down while your content and keyword efforts are paddling away furiously in an attempt to propel your search engine rankings upward.
For your keyword and content updates to have the desired effect, it’s necessary to remove those technical “anchor” issues first. By resolving technical website problems, many issues with page content and metadata may automatically be resolved too.
The foundation of technical SEO is the three main programming languages that combine to create your site – understanding what each does can make optimizing your site a lot more straightforward.
Hypertext Markup Language
HTML is the written content on your site, from headers to paragraphs and other copy. Search engines examine the HTML elements on your site when deciding what queries your content is relevant for.
Cascading Style Sheets
CSS determines how your site looks, including design layouts, color, and fonts. Compressing your CSS files for easy download and storing them separately from your HTML for a given page can make the page less code-intensive and richer in content. These tips boost page speed and result in better indexing from search engines.
JS allows your site to have dynamic or interactive content. While this is great for users, it’s important to make sure that the search engine bot crawling your site has a good experience too. Crawlers may be blocked from seeing JS content properly on your site so developers should double check that any necessary JS files are accessible to search engines, and internal linking is implemented with HTML.
Site Hierarchy and Usability
Search engine optimization is about optimizing your website for the search engine, but it’s also for the users themselves who are doing the searching. Search engine algorithms reward sites with the best user experience, so it’s important to easily help a user find what they’re looking for. That means:
- Structure your content on any given page with the most relevant information and call-to-action links at the top of the page, such as scheduling an appointment or booking a service. Help the user get where they want to go ASAP.
- Deliver content in digestible bits by breaking it up throughout a long-scroll format page, or by adding in bulleted lists and visual content.
Different Devices and Platforms
Images and Responsiveness
Visitors bounce from your site back to search results if they have to wait more than a few seconds for your page to load – especially those on mobile. Images are a major culprit of slow page speed and sites that aren’t mobile friendly, so either use fewer images or images of a standardized size that correspond to different devices, ensuring fast page load speed for all users.
When you have a multilingual site or offer similar products, it’s essential to plan accordingly so you avoid redirect issues or crawl errors related to duplicate content. Be aware that if you reroute users based on language settings, the search engine may not be able to locate and crawl every variation. While it’s best practice to use different URLs for different language versions of your webpages, a crawler may see the identical content on those multiple pages unfavorably.
It may penalize your sites search rankings because it doesn’t know which page to index in its listings. The canonical tag (“rel canonical”) was devised to combat this by telling the crawler which version of the page content is preferred. It says “Hey crawler bot, I’m the page you want! You can leave those copies alone”. By canonicalizing, you’re attaching any unique content on your site to one unique URL.
Still have SEO questions? From measuring the value of your rankings to specific crawl error remedies, link building, specialized tracking tools, and more, there are a number of nuances to technical search engine marketing. We know this blog post only scratches the surface of technical SEO, and as a Seattle creative firm providing ad services – we’re here to help with any of your Seattle search marketing, brand strategy, or marketing agency needs. Contact us today to see what CMA can do for you.