List three things you’ve done this year that pertain to search engine optimization (SEO).
Do these tactics revolve around keyword research, meta descriptions, and backlinks?
If so, you’re not alone. When it comes to SEO, these techniques are usually the first ones marketers add to their arsenal.
While these strategies do improve your site’s visibility in organic search, they’re not the only ones you should be employing. There’s another set of tactics that fall under the SEO umbrella.
Technical SEO refers to the behind-the-scenes elements that power your organic growth engine, such as site architecture, mobile optimization, and page speed. These aspects of SEO might not be the sexiest, but they are incredibly important.
The first step in improving your technical SEO is knowing where you stand by performing a site audit. The second step is to create a plan to address the areas where you fall short. We’ll cover these steps in-depth below.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to anything you do that makes your site easier for search engines to crawl and index. Technical SEO, content strategy, and link-building strategies all work in tandem to help your pages rank highly in search.
Technical SEO vs. On-Page SEO vs. Off-Page SEO
Many people break down search engine optimization (SEO) into three different buckets: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO. Let’s quickly cover what each means.
On-page SEO refers to the content that tells search engines (and readers!) what your page is about, including image alt text, keyword usage, meta descriptions, H1 tags, URL naming, and internal linking. You have the most control over on-page SEO because, well, everything is on your site.
Off-page SEO tells search engines how popular and useful your page is through votes of confidence — most notably backlinks, or links from other sites to your own. Backlink quantity and quality boost a page’s PageRank. All things being equal, a page with 100 relevant links from credible sites will outrank a page with 50 relevant links from credible sites (or 100 irrelevant links from credible sites.)
Technical SEO is within your control as well, but it’s a bit trickier to master since it’s less intuitive.
Why is technical SEO important?
You may be tempted to ignore this component of SEO completely; however, it plays an important role in your organic traffic. Your content might be the most thorough, useful, and well-written, but unless a search engine can crawl it, very few people will ever see it.
It’s like a tree that falls in the forest when no one is around to hear it … does it make a sound? Without a strong technical SEO foundation, your content will make no sound to search engines.