Addressing the Technical SEO Elephant in the room
So, you have a website, right? It’s a beautiful, functional website that hopefully we designed for you…but this website — you can’t WAIT for people to find it, start booking your services or buying your products. You’ve shared the website with your followers, sent out a newsletter, and you’ve even got your social accounts linking to it. That’s enough, right?
Designing a beautiful website, launching it, and then making sure that people have the link to it is not enough to be found. Your website is not going to be found in search results unless it has a bit of a helping hand.
That’s where technical SEO, or on-page SEO, comes in — SEO is search engine optimization. When carried out properly — and over time — SEO puts your website in the best position possible to be found by the appropriate people…you know, the ones looking for your services on Google or Bing.
Simply putting your website out there is not enough, and a single-time optimization (though helpful) really isn’t enough either.
We like to use the marathon/sprint analogy with SEO. We can’t say enough that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a slow & steady race to the top…of the search results. It requires constant training (optimization) in order to be successful. And, if you want your website to stay “in shape,” you’re going to need to make sure you’re making the right decisions! If you stop training, your competitors are gonna catch you.
As with any decision for your business, we want you to be informed.
What is technical SEO?
In a nutshell, technical SEO prepares your website to be crawled & properly indexed by search engines.
Why is it important for your website to be properly indexed?
Only indexed website pages are served up in search results, so if your website is confusing to search engines, you have almost zero chance of being discovered, ever. At the time of writing, there are a little over 1.743 billion websites online & you can literally watch that number grow right in front of your eyes.
Why does it matter how many new websites exist?
Think about it – if you’re Google, how are you going to look at a brand new website? Probably with a pretty hefty amount of skepticism & you’re going to force them to earn their reputation & this particular phase is called the sandbox, which is not where you want your website to be & a well-executed SEO campaign focused primarily on technical SEO can get your site out of the sandbox more quickly.
How do I get my website out of the sandbox?
Provide quality content & focus on improving your technical SEO. Search engines are really focused on quality content these days, since there is so much online data to choose from as you can see by the ever-growing number of websites in the first link. So first & foremost, a new website owner needs to focus on creating quality content for their audience but in addition to that, as the article headline suggests, there are technical tasks that need to be performed on a website to set it up for success with search engines.
What if I’m not very good at writing?
Use a content creation service! There are plenty of people who love to run their mouths both in print & in person, so don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to, it’s all about working smarter & not harder than you really need to. Our own SEO services, which we provide currently only to Business Support clients, do provide content creation for whatever is being optimized, we provide the copy for your approval & after editing based on your feedback & it’s approved, we post it up for you. There are also copywriters out there that specialize in specific subjects so the possibilities just keep growing.
How do I focus on my technical SEO?
Start with an audit of your website’s current SEO – check your website URL pattern is consistent, your website is registered with the search engines, which you can do for free here & here (primarily), and that your pages are crawled & indexed. If this is already the case, you should monitor your indexing status periodically to ensure that there are no coverage issues that need to be addressed because there are Google updates on an almost daily basis & they rarely make the news but when they do it’s almost never a good thing.
After you’ve run through that, you should focus on your page structure – do you have a single H1 tag on each page that’s relevant to what that page is about?
Are you making appropriate use of the page’s focus keyword in that page content & image alt text without overusing it (keyword stuffing)?
Does your website display in a way that’s optimized for clicks in search results? If your search listing is confusing to people, they probably won’t click on it & will move on to the next, more relevant search result – that is if your site even turned up in search results for them.
Are you fighting an uphill battle on your focus keywords or are you wisely choosing your battles?
Speaking from our own experience with clients, it’s incredibly difficult for a wedding planner to rank for certain keywords like wedding planning or wedding venue because they’re fighting against the likes of The Knot & Wedding Wire in search results, so maybe they should instead focus on your audience & identify which niche they’re actually serving, which should give you what’s called a long-tail keyword that you can focus on. For most wedding planners, they will be serving a specific area, which makes it a lot easier to rank for relevant search results so right away you know your long-tail keyword will be (My Location) Wedding Planner, which right away starts to clue Google in that your website is a candidate to be served up for people in your location searching for wedding planners. There are several other things that can be done to improve on local search results but let’s not get too distracted.
The second part of this three-part series, of course.
Part 2 of this series will provide a bit of insight into a question we get asked often: what keywords should I focus on?