“We want our site to do better”, or some version of that phrase, is more often times the single most requested SEO objective that we have to write down as a Key Performance Indicator. Vagueness aside, there are bazillions of ways to accomplish that wide ranging request. However, one particular strategy is to focus on a solution that will not stop benefitting a site the moment the contract is ended. Our solution? Technical SEO.
What is TECHNICAL SEO?
Technical SEO has many faces. But we see it as your website’s ability to be seen and indexed by spiders as optimally as possible.
You could have the most poignant, world changing information on your site, but if nobody sees it, it’s like going to an art gallery with a blindfold on. So, a better question that gives a more direct answer is what does technical SEO cover? And THAT starts a conversation that is fun to have!
Technical SEO is all about the ability of your website to present itself in the most accessible way, with utter completeness, with the least amount of obtuseness, at the highest level of efficiency, and absolute clarity to spiders that are looking at your site trying to figure out if it is relevant for anything that people are asking it for. But even if you know that, then you still might not know what a company will work on to improve your technical SEO. Just for fun, let’s take that gloriously assembled sentence and give a coupe examples of each of those abstract criteria to paint a clearer picture.
Is your site accessible to the world?
A spider, or bot or crawler, is basically a little seeker of what it can find on the internet. It finds a published domain and goes knocking on the door to see if there’s an answer. Sticking with the little house metaphor, imagine if you were a spider walking down the street and saw that there was a beautiful house, or website, that you wanted to learn more about. So, you go up to where you think the property entrance is and there’s a brick wall with no way in. From a spider’s perspective, they’ll just pretend that the house doesn’t exist until somebody builds at least a door in the brick wall. Websites have directives built into them as well as the servers that host them. One aspect of Technical SEO is to make sure that you don’t have any brick walls, or moats, or thorny thickets blocking spiders from seeing your site.
Now that a spider can see your site, can it see all of it?
Just because a spider can see your site doesn’t mean you’re giving it enough instruction to know how to peruse ALL the content on your site. Analyzing sitemaps, page depth, and overall structure of your site help tell a spider not only the easiest ways to get around the site, but also what the most important parts of the site are. Sometimes, there are parts of the site that we DON’T want the spider to crawl because they don’t have content and are dynamic pages like a shopping cart; so, we also have to tell it where not to go.
So far, we’ve had to beef up a lot of our ability to let spiders know if they can come in and where they should go by giving them a map, but what if some of the rooms don’t have signs on them?
Can’t Spiders just take a hint?
No. Spiders don’t really get the concept of hints.
But more than often, the maps we give to spiders to browse our house are full of rooms that might have the same name, or be built nearly identical, or be completely empty, or not even exist at all! What’s a spider to do?
Well, it’d be our job to make sure that no matter where a spider manages to find itself on our site, it is clearly labeled, purposefully built, and contextualized against all other rooms as to how important it is. This where we look at page errors, duplicate content, server errors, and a bunch more to make sure that spider never bumps into a wall and is left with a question.
You ever been chased by a spider? They quick.
Spiders don’t like setting up camp on your website, they are busy little bodies. They like sites that help them do their job faster so we must make sure that these spiders can get in and get out as quick as possible. This means that when they want to look at a page, it shouldn’t take a much effort for them see the page, see the contents of the page, see what is important on the page, or for them to have to wait for the page to finish loading while they wait. You can’t stand in the way of a busy spider. Page speed is a true fundamental component of a healthy site and Technical SEO spends a good bit of time focused there.
You try to confuse? You Lose.
Being clear about your website purpose and what it its message and relevancy is makes it easier for spiders look at your content and understand it. Schema markup is one way that looking through your site content helps clarify and speeds up the most requested data. If you’re an e-commerce site, you need product data so the world will know what you sell. If you have multiple food locations, you need to make sure that each location is identified and the spider knows what menu belongs to each location. And so on.
The Root of Organic SEO
Even after all that, there are so many more areas that are looked at for Technical SEO. In fact, at Summit SEO Design, we look at over 170 areas of your site to make sure that you aren’t inadvertently slowing down your own success.
But in the end, the BEST part of Technical SEO is that once your site is running efficiently and clearly, it creates an absolutely SOLID foundation from which you can then begin to focus on content and message to target any audience and be supremely confident that your message won’t be stifled. The true power of message relevance and clarity is reflected in your Organic SEO strength. Technical SEO is an often overlooked aspect of SEO and to some extent not the most sexy, but it is what gives any Organic SEO gains its true staying power.