Updated: Feb 12, 2022
You might have never thought of SEO, Search Engine Optimization, as a tool to help your business grow. But, it is one of the most important foundations to make sure your entire digital marketing strategy flows smoothly and produces traffic, visits, conversions, and ultimately sales and revenue.
Beyond creating optimized, relevant, and valuable content, technical SEO tactics are concerned with the backstage processes and setup needed to make sure your website runs smoothly and is properly built to let search engines better crawl and index it, and to offer a superb user experience (something Google and other search engines love).
Technical SEO is relatively easy, doesn’t take much investing and resources, and brings in results consistently and in the long run. However, you also will need a regularly revised and updated SEO strategy to keep up with algorithm changes, updates, user preferences, and your competitors.
Types of Seach Engine Optimization Tactics
There are two main types of search engine optimization tactics. Those you have more control of because they happen on your website are called “On-Page” SEO tactics, and those that happen in other websites connecting to yours (backlinks) and are known as “Off-Page” SEO tactics. Let’s dig a bit deeper.
1. On-Page SEO
Tactics performed on your site to help it rank better in search engine results pages (SERPs)
Using focused, deep keyword and competitor research to create blogs, landing pages, and other content to attract high-quality traffic.
Optimization of the structure and backend elements of your website to facilitate and boost search engine rankings.
SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
2. Off-Page SEO
Tactics you perform or promote off your site to help it rank better.
Earning backlinks from other websites will help you rank better thanks to their relevance, domain authority, and traffic.
Social media & E-mail Marketing
Promoting your content on relevant social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, or even LinkedIn (great for B2B and C-level executives) and through email (newsletter, i.e.) and getting engagement sends signals to search engines about the trust and authority of your content and thus helps rank it better in search results.
Let’s focus on the on-page aspect of your SEO. This is important because even if you have awesome content, badly configured technical SEO issues can definitely foil your frontend SEO efforts and send your site plummeting to Page 2 of search results, also know as “the place where no one goes”.
Technical SEO Aspects That Help Your Business Run Smoothly and Grow
Without indexing there is nothing. By indexing your pages, search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) know which of your web pages you want to appear in search results, and which you want to exclude. Pages that are usually excluded include order-processing pages and other internal pages that aren’t that “useful” to Google. Other pages you might not want to index include:
Any duplicate pages on your site or between multiple web properties you might own.
Internal search results pages.
Thank you pages.
The easiest way to tell if it’s indexed by Google is to perform a simple Google search of your domain. If it appears in SERPs, you know your site is indexed. If not, you’ll be prompted to use Google Search Console to submit your site to be indexed by Google.
These are the most crucial tasks to make sure your site is indexed properly:
Create a Google Search Console or a Bing Webmaster Tools account to index and monitor your website.
Index your site. Search engines will do this on their own once your site is live, but you can also request Indexing in Google Search Console.
Create an XML sitemap and upload it to Search Console. This file is a list of every important URL on your website and it t helps Google index your site quicker and more regularly.
Use the <meta name=”robots” content=”noindex”> tag for pages you do not want indexed. Yoast and other tools allow you to do this without having ot know how to code. For pages that have already been indexed, you will have to submit a de-index request via Search Console by using the rel=”nofollow” tag.
Submit a robot.txt file to Google Search Console.
2: Make Search-Friendly URLs
Common sense and keeping it simple are the best ways to approach your URL structure. The objective is to make them easy to understand for search engines and human users alike. Follow these tips to make sure you ace your URL structure:
Shorter is generally better.
Use plain-text, easy-to-understand terms.
Use hyphens to separate words.
Use all lowercase.
Limit the use of underscores or special characters.
Make sure you include the main keyword you’re trying to rank for within the URL.
3. Page speed
Speed is one very important SEO ranking factor. It directly affects rankings (slow sites rank lower) and it also directly impacts other metrics like bounce rate. It’s very important to keep a close eye on your site speed and regularly maintain and improve it.
Here are the technical SEO aspects you should take a look at regularly to ensure a fast website:
Use PNG for simple graphics and JPEG for photos and advanced graphics.
Start using the SRCSET attribute in your HTML code (to have multiple versions of images for different uses).
Use CSS sprites for images that you use frequently like logos and buttons so there are fewer HTTP requests.
Use browser caching to improve loading time for users.
Prioritize above-the-fold content to give the user something to see and interact with while the rest of the page loads.
Use Async to ensure the browser won’t pause site assembly when it needs to fetch a script necessary to display the rest of your webpage.
Google crawls and indexes websites on a mobile-first basis. This means optimizing your content and you site for mobile is crucial. Most SEO principles are the same as for desktop, but you do need to adjust for correct display and user experience. The Google Mobile-Friendly Test is a great tool to find out if your site is mobile-friendly.
The following factors are key to make sure your site is mobile-friendly:
Use responsive design to automatically adjust your site to the different screens (mobile, tablet, desktop).
Use Viewport Meta Tag (Copy <meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″> in the code for each of your webpages).
Remove Flash from your site
Focus on page speed
Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to create a compressed, stripped-down version of a page to improve its speed and performance. This tactic is not for every page and should be evaluated before applying.
Make sure your website is accessible for all kinds of users. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) should help you cover your bases. But make sure that:
All content is navigable via keyboard.
All images have alt text.
Content should not blink more than 3 times per second.
Use semantic markup (<H1>, <H2>, <p>, etc.).
Use Aria labels to help screen readers and other assistive technologies better understand the purpose of certain navigation features.
Use sufficient color contrast.
Use text alternatives for graphs represented as images.
Provide captioning and/or descriptive text.
6. Schema markup
Structuring your data with markups helps search engines more easily understand your website content. There are two types:
Semantic markup helps search engines understand the structure of the site better (e.g., title tag, headers, etc.).
Schema markup helps search engines better contextualize subject matter.
These are simply tags that tell Google and other search engines what an element is. There are three different schema markup languages you can use to help better structure your code for Google:
7. HTTPS Encryption
HTTPS encryption is a certificate that ensures your website is secure. Not having it will make search engines and users lose trust in you.
HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It indicates to a user that their browser’s connection to a website is secured with encryption. This is a direct ranking signal for Google, Bing, Yahoo, and others, so migrate your site to HTTPS as soon as possible if you haven’t done so already.
8. User Experience
User experience is more of a category of factors than just one factor itself. A good user experience will keep visitors longer on your site, they’ll visit more pages, and click more links. All great ranking signals Google will pick up. To optimize your UX make sure you’re doing the following:
Look at bounce rate, session time, CTR, conversions, and other Google Analytics data to diagnose potential UX issues.
Optimize your site’s page speed.
Optimize for mobile.
Create an HTML Sitemap that is visible to users.
Perform a website audit to find more insights and issues.
Drive positive engagement by using strategically placed calls-to-action and conversion tools.
9. Crawl Optimization
When search engines are trying to crawl your site and they get a site error such as a DNS error, 500 error, or timeout, that indicates that a search bot is unable to access your site at all and that is very bad. This can lead to lower rankings or to your site being dropped from the index altogether.
Another type of error that can hinder or affect your site’s crawlability is URL errors. Your site has probably dozens or even hundreds of thousands of internal and external links. These may have moved, changed, or be broken, thus making search engines unable to crawl them and hurt your rankings. Regularly scanning your website with a tool like AHREFS or Semrush will help you identify and fix issues and errors like:
404 errors indicate that a page could not be located by a web browser.
Soft 404 errors (pages with no, or very thin, content, may cause this error).
403 forbidden errors mean that a certain page is absolutely forbidden to anyone without the proper credentials.
301 vs 302 redirects
A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect of one page to another page.
A 302 redirect is temporary.
Do not mix them up: A 301 redirect will pass most SEO value (link equity) from the original page to the new page. A 302 redirect, on the other hand, retains the SEO value on the original page since it is only meant to be temporary.
10. Duplicate Content & Toxic Backlinks
Content that is the same but shows up in two unique URLs is duplicate content. This confuses search engines since they don’t know which version of the content to index and rank.
To fix duplicate content:
Identify duplicate content on your site.
Use the rel=canonical in the duplicate page to point to the original version. This is a soft redirect.
Also use the rel=canonical for any content you syndicate – meaning, any content you post on your site and on another blog or industry source.
Toxic backlinks are any links back to your site from untrustworthy or spammy sources.
To fix toxic backlinks:
Perform a link audit using SEMrush Backlink Audit.
Disavow the backlink through Google Search Console.
Technical SEO Will Help Your Business
Just like in a race, search engine rankings are all about being in the first spots to get the prize (more traffic, clicks, conversions…). And, just like in a race, your car needs to perform well mechanically in order to win. Both now, and in the future of SEO, technical search engine optimization is the “mechanical” part of your website that ensures your machine runs smoothly and is able to finish the rave and outperform the competition.
To make sure your racecar is running smoothly, you can hire an in-house mechanic that might have to do all the work by himself. Or you can outsource to a team of professionals that will make sure everything is running smoothly so you don’t have to worry at all.