Technical SEO

Technical SEO is a discipline within Search Engine Optimization that focuses on ensuring that your website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines.

In contrast to On-Page SEO, which is mostly about optimizing your content, Technical SEO is focused on optimizing a websites html markup, performance (load time), and how search engines crawl, index, and render pages on a site, as well as a site’s overall architecture (and/or hierarchy).

Common Situations That Require a Technical SEO Consultant

Website Migrations

A bad website migration can cost a business massive amounts of traffic due to pages not being redirected (or properly).

Any time the URL of an existing important page is changed, the old URL must be redirected to the new one.

If this is not done before a new site is pushed live, requests for the old URL will return 404 Not Found.

The only time a 404 HTTP status code should be returned is if a removed page has no replacement or logical equivalent.

Random Loss of Keyword Rankings

When a site loses its rankings out of nowhere, it is typically due to either an an algorithm update, technical issues like soft 404s aka (redirecting users to another page, such as the homepage, instead of returning a 404 aka “not found”), or the removal or replacement of an XML sitemap.

It would be very unusual for on-page rankings factors such as Title Tags and H1s to cause such a drastic shift.

Moreover, if your rankings have taken a significant hit out of nowhere, you should have an SEO audit conducted as soon as possible.

Internationalization

The hreflang HTML attribute is used to specify the language of a page on a multilingual site, and also target specific geographic locations.

Using this the hreflang attribute can help search engines, such as Google, serve users the appropriate version of a globally relevant website.

Important to note is that while Google and Yandex both use hreflang this way, Bing and Baidu do not. Instead, they use the content-language HTML tag.

Common Technical SEO Issues We Fix

  • Pages Loading via standard HTTP (Non-HTTPS)
    • This is often caused by mixed content (the page loads resources via HTTP) or SSL errors
  • Pages/content being improperly indexed
  • No XML Sitemap exists
  • Missing or Incorrect Robots.txt records
  • HTML Meta Robots tag is mistakenly set to noindex
  • Slow site speed / unoptimized resource priority on page load
  • Site crawls show multiple versions of the homepage
    • Typically caused by www and non-www versions or http and https versions return 200 OK
  • Incorrect rel=canonical attributes
    • These indicate to search engines that a the specified URL is the the authoritative (master copy) of a page
  • Duplicate content exists (very common)
  • Images with missing Alt tags (insanely common)
  • Broken internal links
  • Pages contain invalid structured data (JSON-LD) or a lack thereof
  • Mobile friendly optimization (responsive design) and/or poor performance on 3g networks
  • Improper Technical Internationalization (users experience unoptimized version of a multilingual site)

How to Identify a Qualified Technical SEO Consultant

A sure-fire way to spot a legitimate Technical SEO is if they understand how to navigate/interact with a shell/terminal/command line. Most probably use, Bash/Zsh (MacOS) or PowerShell (Windows). However, there are absolutely exceptions.

Most qualified Technical SEOs will also identify as Web Developers. They might not be full-stack engineers, but they’ll know the basis of front end development (HTML, CSS/SCSS, and JavaScript) and at least be able to read/understand server side code (PHP/Node.js).

There’s no “I” in “Team”. An SEO that knows their stuff could absolutely work with a developer to successfully get the job done. If you work with an agency, you might not know who does your work. That’s just the reality, unfortunately. In those cases, we absolutely recommend educating yourself on the basics.

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