As an SEO analyst, most of your daily tasks involve using all the tips and tricks that experience has taught you over the years. Still, there is so much to know, and modern SEO trends may at times seem overwhelming.
How can you keep up with the ever-increasing competition that your website faces without necessarily having to fall back on the old ideas?
For starters, you can turn to ‘technical SEO.’ This is not too old an idea; it has been around since Google rolled out its Penguin algorithm in 2015, and when various websites suddenly seemed to lose steam and rankings.
It was then that SEO analysts realised that merely building links was not enough. The era of technical SEO had begun.
What is technical SEO?
Russ Jones and Alexis Sanders, two leading data scientists and innovators in the field of Technical SEO, have defined it as any broad-based SEO technique which can fulfil a model of ranking high on SERPs using the ‘crawl, index, rank’ formula.
This is a model which analyses how much of an SEO strategy can answer these familiar questions:
- Whether search engine bots can actually locate or crawl your website. A bot should even be able to analyse the sitemap and .txt elements.
- Whether such bots can understand what your page contains and thereby index One crucial element which determines this is page-loading speed.
- Whether the page is actually rank-worthy. It includes a wide variety of elements from mobile-friendliness to page latency or more.
Once a moderately talented and curious SEO analyst can answer these questions, s/he can technically be described as a technical SEO professional.
What makes it essential?
There are some advantages of technical SEO. For one, the most obvious plus is that once mastered, it will help your website soar above its competitors in rankings. Google’s Webmaster guidelines have a complete set of do’s and don’ts which every practising and prospective SEO analyst must adhere to. It also has that fundamental point that keywords are a must, but where and how they are used is seminal. This is where technical SEO comes in. Simply put, it helps Google understand that your page is better-equipped and has superior content than any other in that domain.
Consequently, your website ranks higher.
Two, technical SEO specialists understand that a website’s loading speed should be as high as possible, that there should be no dead links and that it must be very easy to navigate. Google and other search engines place a lot of premium on how much a site appeals to a reader. Get all these factors right, add in mobile-friendliness, and you have a winner.
Three, once you have mastered technical SEO and implemented it, you absorb a lot of extra knowledge and you have to push yourself that extra mile. A basic understanding of UX development, voice search optimisation, security implementation and SSL and CSS sprites- among others are necessary.
The pint is that you will be a better-rounded professional.
Tips and tricks for technical SEO
Now that you know a bit about technical SEO, you must be wondering why every other SEO pro is not practising these. The main reason is that your competing professionals may only be focusing on the old SEO tricks. It is the wrong approach.
To successfully hit the high notes in technical SEO, you must remember these tactics.
- Ensure your website is abundantly mobile-friendly. Search engines like websites which can be browsed with ease over a handheld device. Google will always prioritise a website which works flawlessly on smaller screens. Besides, search habits are dynamic, and they left computer screens years ago. You can even use Google’s mobile-friendly tests to determine where you stand.
- Your page-loading speed must be lightning-fast. Some studies show that with every 0.5 seconds extra your page takes to load, you lose visitors. You cannot afford that, can you? Use Google PageSpeed Insights besides services like Pingdom to ensure high speed. Compress pictures, enable site-compression and browser caching to ensure better loading-speed.
- Use SSL certificates. Secure Socket Layer certificates protect your website from mala fide excursions and hacking attempts. It acts as a firewall to defend not only your website; it also helps keep your users’ data safe. Make no mistake: your users love their privacy, and they will surely appreciate a secure website. If you have not already implemented SSL security, do not lose any more time.
- Ensure Google can access your sitemap. A sitemap is essentially a compilation of every page your website has. This is the mother lode of indexing and helps Google find your website better. Creating such a sitemap is not tough. WordPress often does the trick. At times, you may have to use certain APIs. Once finished, submit this map to Google Webmaster Tools console. For added benefit, also submit to Bing Webmaster Tools.
How to handle technical SEO like a pro
First, try and learn as much as possible on the latest trends. Searching on the internet on technical SEO will aid you a lot.
Next, carry out regular security and SEO audit of your website. Keep at improving page loading speeds as much as possible. You already know some basic tricks. Learn and practise some more to ensure that speed does not cross 2.5 seconds, each and every time. This cannot be stressed enough.
Learn from your mistakes and your competitor’s successes. Do not be afraid to fail at times. You will make up for it in the end.
Finally, remember that mere technical SEO agency wizardry will not take you to the top-ten rankings. You will also need to focus on your website’s content. If possible, hire an external agency to make your site’s write-ups as polished and professional as possible.
Above all, make sure you have a well-crafted future strategy. Keep some room for mistakes, unexpected errors and other exigencies.
In combination, these will do the trick.