3 quick ways to improve your technical SEO

Tech­ni­cal SEO changes often, and always involves a fair bit of tin­ker­ing to keep things run­ning opti­mal­ly. How­ev­er, here are three tips that can be the foun­da­tion for improv­ing your tech­ni­cal SEO.

Sam Osborne By Sam Osborne from Vertical Leap. Join the discussion » 1 comment

Tech­ni­cal SEO is not con­tent opti­mi­sa­tion (well, it is a bit), it’s not key­word research (actu­al­ly some bits are) and it’s not web devel­op­ment (scratch that, it can help here too).

Is tech­ni­cal SEO the evo­lu­tion of SEO? No, but it’s increas­ing­ly impor­tant. Is it old school SEO? Nope, it’s actu­al­ly one of the most for­ward think­ing areas of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing!

Is tech­ni­cal SEO awe­some? Yes, very!

Let’s put this into per­spec­tive a lit­tle bit; you’re look­ing to write some new con­tent for your blog. Opti­mis­ing this con­tent and pub­lish­ing on your site is just the begin­ning. There are a huge vari­ety of tech­ni­cal ele­ments to con­sid­er for this sin­gle page:

  • Does it load quick­ly?
  • Is it mobile friend­ly?
  • Does the AMP page load prop­er­ly?
  • Have I used the appro­pri­ate search queries on ALT tags and titles?
  • Do I have the right schema types added?
  • Have I set up track­ing on call to actions or down­load but­tons?

And the list goes on…

Almost every­thing we do as dig­i­tal mar­keters can be improved to some degree with the appli­ca­tion of tech­ni­cal SEO. Remov­ing the con­tent; text, images, video etc from a site leaves us with a HTML blue­print that the search engines are going to have to dis­cov­er, request, load, ren­der and nav­i­gate. Ensur­ing that these build­ing blocks are per­fect can boost the exist­ing val­ue of any con­tent put on top of it.

What is technical SEO?

Tech­ni­cal SEO enables search engines to crawl your site and index your con­tent effec­tive­ly, to ensure any giv­en web page can achieve the best vis­i­bil­i­ty pos­si­ble. It can help search engines iden­ti­fy which pages to index, improve click-through rates through schema, and speed up the load times of your site.

Ulti­mate­ly, tech­ni­cal SEO should be an inte­gral part of any search mar­ket­ing cam­paign an after­thought. Great SEOs know and under­stand the require­ment for ensur­ing a web­site has the best foun­da­tions pos­si­ble, they know that with­out this their con­tent may nev­er be found by search engines let alone appear high in the results.

3 quick ways to improve your technical SEO

1. Keep an eye on the sim­ple things

Tech­ni­cal does­n’t have to be com­pli­cat­ed, most of the time a week­ly check­list can help to ensure that things are run­ning smooth­ly. Check­ing for error pages still receiv­ing impres­sions or ensur­ing robots.txt file is updat­ed to keep a clean crawl can make a big dif­fer­ence to the over­all traf­fic of the site.

Oth­er quick and sim­ple actions include:

  • Reg­u­lar updates to your XML Sitemap (if it does not update dynam­i­cal­ly of course)
  • Keep­ing your CMS up to date (and check­ing the site still works cor­rect­ly
  • Check­ing the speed of new pages and mak­ing minor tweaks to assets
  • Updat­ing schema to include new sup­port­ed ele­ments
  • Mon­i­tor­ing and mea­sur­ing crawl rates and pages indexed by Google
  • Improve HTML and cod­ing skills until you are 100% awe­some. (Learn­ing to code will ben­e­fit you more than you think. Under­stand­ing HTML, CSS and JS will get your 75% of the way to being much more awe­some at tech­ni­cal SEO.)

Learn­ing some oth­er pro­gram­ming lan­guages to a basic lev­el will get you anoth­er 20% of the way there. Lan­guages such as php is almost a must but oth­ers such as asp.net can be very handy in many sit­u­a­tions.

The oth­er 5% is know­ing what goes on with web­sites host­ing, under­stand­ing this enables you to have effi­cient con­ver­sa­tions with devel­op­ers and host­ing com­pa­nies about serv­er issues and poten­tial solu­tions. It can help with wider aspects of your job too, keep­ing a good rela­tion­ship with devel­op­ers or clients is price­less.

2. Keep your site healthy

There are a vari­ety of actions that fall into this cat­e­go­ry and some over­lap with oth­er areas men­tioned above, but at the end of the day it all adds to the over­all val­ue of your web­site.

For exam­ple, ensur­ing that redi­rects are kept to an absolute min­i­mum means users will rarely end up on a dead page guess­ing what to do next. Anoth­er impor­tant part of this is to ensure that your 404 page, when used, is infor­ma­tion­al and pro­vides links to key loca­tions with­in the web­site. Often, pro­vid­ing NAP (name, address, phone num­ber) on 404 pages can help to increase leads even when the user lands on an error page.

Oth­er items such as canon­i­cal URLs help to ensure the search engines index the cor­rect pages. Too often I see a page with a ran­dom fil­ter or sort para­me­ter append­ed to the orig­i­nal URL rank­ing high­er than the actu­al page. Ensur­ing the search engines are pro­vid­ed with a clear URL to index (some­times one with set fil­ter or sort para­me­ters), ensures you are dis­play­ing the search engines and user the right infor­ma­tion.

3. Track all the things!

Learn how to use Google Tag Man­ag­er. The jump from Ana­lyt­ics to basic tag man­age­ment is not that big and the poten­tial to track such a huge amount of things will leave you jump­ing for joy.

Advanced Tag Man­ag­er can be daunt­ing so make sure you brush up on your reg­u­lar expres­sions and CSS / DOM ele­ments to ensure your track the right thing.

Learn­ing how to use the pre­view con­tain­er mode prop­er­ly is also a very good idea. You can track in real time when your tags are fir­ing, when they are not and what they are report­ing back to the data lay­er.

What are your top tips for tech­ni­cal SEO?

Sam Osborne

Written by Sam Osborne

Technical SEO Specialist, Vertical Leap

Sam Osborne has worked in digital marketing for more than seven years and, prior to joining Vertical Leap as a Campaign Delivery Manager, worked as head of digital for a digital media agency.

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