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Technical SEO (Best Practices)
Technical SEO (Best Practices)
Sam Smith avatar
Written by Sam Smith
Updated over a week ago

To achieve the best results when it comes to SEO, businesses and marketers need to both understand and deploy the best website possible. This includes a variety of items, including your company’s brand, quality content, points of conversion and more.

While most of these things come natively to marketers though, technical items relating to your website and how it renders (to both bots and visitors) can sometimes go unnoticed. And in certain circumstances, those can prevent your site from receiving the traffic it rightly should.

Technical SEO factors are the coded elements on your website, that Google pays attention to as primary factors for ranking and performance. Understanding these items, and ensuring your website adheres to standards, is the best way to ensure your site performs well in organic search and attracts and converts the right people.

Demandwell is your full-stack SEO solution, and our platform and services are geared toward identifying the best opportunities you have to improve your site to achieve organic results. Our Health Suite enables users to crawl your primary domain for critical SEO errors to get them fixed.

Let’s explore the importance of technical SEO, why it’s critical for your marketing metrics, how Google understands your website, and how to prioritize fixes on your domain.

Your Site’s Code & Google’s Algorithm

Despite the user-friendly front end, you see in your browser, your website’s back end is an interconnected system of plugins and coded files hosted on a remote server. Users access these files via your site’s URLs and then view the fully rendered final experience.

Google can read your website as well, but it also reads the entirety of the internet on a daily basis. Its crawlers are optimized to read your website’s content as quickly as possible, so it may understand your information, assign the right value, and move on to the next page and the next website.

Optimized technical SEO means creating a website experience that facilitates the right information to both Google and real live visitors. It’s enabling Google to understand the content on your site and to load in the correct way to showcase good user experience, and keyword value.

Readability for Google

Whatever your CMS is, your website outputs code that a browser renders so visitors can engage with your content and dynamic information. Browsers today utilize advanced code and functions to do very cool things, but ultimately Google wants to read the simplest version of your site possible. As such, Google’s spiders pull the source code of your website, to read the final HTML files of each page, to get a quick snapshot of the information published.

Ensuring this source code outputs in the correct way is critical to organic success. Some websites today leverage Javascript to the point of forcing a browser to render content, instead of the browser reading HTML from source code in the way Google would. Doing so means Google must either take the time to load your page like a browser or just ignore your content altogether!

Having the right technical elements to facilitate a crawler to read your entire website (via a Robots.txt file, SSL, URL structure, etc) gives you the best possible chance to rank for the terms you’re targeting.

Coded Keyword Value

Within your HTML source code are various tags that assign content priority.

  • H1’s are the primary headline for a page

  • H2’s are section sub heads

  • H3’s and lower are even further deprioritized

  • Paragraph text is long form content on a page

Ensuring you align the primary keyword you are targeting for SEO success, within the right coded elements within your site, ensures you send the right signals to Google. Having your keyword written once in your copy is the minimum requirement for you page to rank at any level for a keyword. For it to rank well, you will need it to be prioritized in the right coded copy, and repeated elsewhere, utilizing related terminology.

Additionally, other places like within the URL slug, meta information, and in image alt text, sends the right signal to Google for a given keyword. To perform well, your site will need to showcase this coded information to Google, and you’ll need to control that information to align with your SEO strategy.

Site usability, for visitors and Google

While it’s important for Google to read your website, they also take into consideration user behavior. Google still serves their own searchers and wants to provide the best results possible. As such, they only want to deliver their searchers to the best-performing, most relevant sites possible!

Google’s algorithm, therefore, requires websites with good user experience features, ones that load quickly and provide a good overall experience. Pages jammed with ads, that load too slowly on mobile devices, or throw up too many errors will cause high bounce rates from SERPs.

Your technical SEO elements must then balance loading the right information for both bots and real visitors. Sites that only adhere to users will have great engagement, but no one will ever find it. Sites that only adhere to bots will have great traffic, but sub-par on-site performance. SEO is balancing both!

Access & time on site for Google

Another key element for technical SEO performance is ensuring that Google’s bots frequently return to your website and online assets. You may submit your sitemap to Google for indexation, but Google will also find links from other sites and resources, and follow them back to your domain. When this happens at scale, Google will assign more value to your website, as it understands the importance of your website to others, and it will re-read your content more frequently.

Generating backlinks to your website is often thought of as a staple of SEO strategy because Google will understand a hyperlink’s anchor text, and where it points to. With enough backlinks, your URLs can gain more relevance in the eyes of Google.

However, approach backlink generation with EXTREME care. Google also understands that external links can be manipulated to influence search performance.

Any links found on low-quality domains, or ones published too quickly, may get flagged, and your website could suffer for it. Demandwell recommends focusing on backlink strategies as an advanced SEO technique. Your website should be loading as efficiently as possible, with quality and relevant content, before exploring backlink opportunities.

Another critical SEO technique is leveraging internal links to enable crawlers to flow throughout your site’s pages. Utilizing the right map of internal links ensures bots re-examine certain pages and gain keyword value from the link’s anchor text.

Audits vs. Monitors

All of these technical items should be configured to give your site the best chance to perform well according to Google’s algorithm. Doing so means when you publish SEO performance content, with the intent of ranking for a keyword, Google will read and render the right information to assign maximum value to your page. Putting the right copy in the right places then enables your team to make adjustments to outmaneuver the competition.

Demandwell’s platform showcases the top technical SEO recommendations to fix for improved organic performance. Audits are led by professional consultants and paired with active site crawling via SEO Monitors.

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