Technical SEO is one of the areas of Search Engine Optimization that can seem like smoke and mirrors to a client who is unfamiliar with these strategies. The first step in our proposal process is to audit and explore technical errors found on a website. These items are indicators to Google and other crawlers that your website is clean and efficient. Many items such as dead pages, broken links, and improper header structure can have negative impacts on rankings if not addressed properly. Here is a deeper breakdown of some of the technical aspects that can have a drastic impact on search engine rankings.
REDIRECTING OLD OR DEAD PAGES
Old and dead pages on your site are often unmonitored areas for technical errors to fall through the cracks. Maybe in the past, you offered a service you have since removed. If you don’t have the proper redirect in place users and robots will hit the wrong page, forcing Google to not index the proper page or leave the page out altogether. On the same hand, if you have links being sent to a page you have since removed, you will not gain the value from that link unless you create a redirect to make sure the value is passed properly. Cleaning up items like this can seem trivial, especially since there isn’t much direct impact on your users. Removing that triviality, we have seen excellent results for clients in redirecting pages to proper live pages within their domains.
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL LINKING
Links are similar to the roads you utilize to move around your city. They connect each domain with the internal pages within the site as well as external domains separate from the client’s site. Each link can be loosely described as a vote for a certain domain. The more links from other websites pointing to your site, the better you will look in the eyes of Google from a basic perspective. In a more granular perspective, it is important for those links to go to the right place. As with the example above for old or dead pages, the same follows for links. There is not much control we have on the way other sites link to our client’s sites, but one thing we can control is where those links (and the value they possess) end up. Our tools are able to explore the incoming links and make sure they are being directed to the proper pages. This becomes a heavily impactful tactic once your domain has run through a few redesigns or structure changes. Left unchecked, you can leave a lot of SEO value on the table if these errors are not cleaned up.
Semantic HTML structure is a technical aspect of web design that often goes unattended. Novice developers implement changes to header structure related to the look and feel rather than the hierarchy HTML structure should follow. The top header on your page should be an H1 tag (and be the only H1 found on the page). This is like the introductory copy found at the beginning of a paper. It should clearly describe what can be found on the page, establish the importance, and do so in a clean and elegant manner. After implementing your H1 tags, the rest of the headers should cascade down in order of importance. Here is an idea of optimal header structure for a landscaping company in Denver:
- H1 – Denver Landscaping
- H2 – Landscaping Services
- H3 – Weekly Mowing Packages
- H3 – Retaining Walls
- H3 – Water Features
- H2 – Other Services
As you can see, the most important aspect is the “Denver Landscaping” header, and then the overall services, with a further breakdown of individual services beneath. Then the last header is similar in value to the Landscaping Services header. Look at HTML markup like making sure your address at your home is displayed in all the typical places so your postman knows where to look to confirm your address. A postman should not have to look in a different place for each house he attempts to deliver a package. Having the address on your mailbox, the front of your house, and potentially your driveway, are all indicators to make sure your mail is delivered to the right place. This is the same way Google works. We want to make sure the right page comes up in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when a certain keyword is searched. Optimizing the HTML structure ensures this is set up properly.
As you can see, technical aspects can have a massive impact on SEO results. Each of these items may individually seem like small beans compared to overall copy and site design, but piled together, these items can help SEO efforts considerably.