Technical SEO refers to any SEO work that is done aside from the content. Essentially, it’s laying a strong foundation to give your content the best chance to rank for relevant keywords and phrases. It focusses on allowing search engines to crawl your website and index your pages well; in other words, it is your website’s performance.
On-page SEO is about having quality, fresh content on your website and optimising it well, while Off-page SEO is mainly getting authority websites to link to your pages, which are considered by search engines as a vote of confidence in your website.
Modern search algorithms consider all three types of SEO when they rank a page, but is one more important than the others?
In old times there was only technical SEO; It feels like ages ago, now. You set up a website, stuffed it with keywords. Often, keywords in your website did not even have to be related to your content: so you could look for the buzzword of the moment and use it your website regardless of whether it had anything to do with your business and it would still bring traffic.
Even your content did not have to be particularly good; in fact you could just “lift” content from another site, build link farms and the ranking trick was done. Then search engines saw that the web was becoming the kingdom of irrelevance, (and they also saw an opportunity to make advertising revenue) so they devised different approaches and changed their search algorithms, favouring a surgical approach rather than hacking your way across a jungle of useless information. Search algorithms were developed so they served the needs of searchers, rather than websites; for example. Thanks to the Knowledge graph, Google was able to give searchers the information they wanted, often in the form of answers to direct questions.
This was an earthquake: Google became so powerful that websites and search engines had to adapt to Google’s algorithms or disappear. Since 2012 Google’s strategy has been to put the user at the centre serving the most relevant useful content as quickly as possible.
Is Content King?
There is a debate on whether Technical SEO is now more or less important than content-led SEO or Linkbuilding. The three need to work together: technical SEO is your website’s performance, On-page SEO is how you shout out your website’s quality and Linkbuilding is your authority. You need all three equally, to succeed in the modern web world, but there is an order to follow.
TECHNICAL COMES FIRST.
The first thing we do, here at Broadley Speaking when we conduct SEO is to make sure the technical aspect of a website is good enough to ensure it will perform well (like a well-oiled engine). We conduct Technical SEO using third party tools which allow us to crawl every single page and discover issues which prevent search engines from seeing pages.
CREATE GOOD CONTENT.
Remember; your website must serve searcher’s intent; know who will be searching for your content and create content which will give solutions to their problems. This can be in the form of articles, videos, infographics, gifs. Evergreen content will generate traffic for years while topical content will create a buzz and disappear; you need both.
Make a content calendar and plan your content; plan around 80% of your content and allow for a 20% on-the-spot content. This way you will never run out of material but you will be able to respond quickly to the need of creating topical content if an occasion arises. A content calendar will also allow you to keep track of what you publish, on which platform, for which audience, addressing different stages of the buying funnel. It will be invaluable when you want to repurpose some of your best performing content.
Push your best content using e-mail marketing and social platforms and always measure how it is received.
Linkbuilding is about outreach (this will be the topic of a future post). Find the most authoritative website in your field, reach out to them and ask them to link to your content: if it is good enough, they will do it and this will transfer their authority to your site. Google will love this!
STAY ON THE GOOD SIDE OF GOOGLE.
Google now strongly penalises black-hat SEO and getting a manual penalty will make your website disappear potentially damaging your site and brand forever, so keep on disavowing spammy links (although with the latest Google Penguin developments and penalties being meted in real time, recovery from penalties seems to be faster, too), serving useful content and reaching out to get natural links.
Remember that your content and outreach strategies will only be useful if the technical side of your website is working well: “technical SEO underpins your reach, engagement, authority and depth” (D. Tapp, The Organic Agency). If your site is not fast, well-structured, easy to navigate and mobile-friendly, no-one will see it.