Technical SEO, aka onsite optimization, refers to the process of optimizing a website’s backend to ensure the best possible SEO campaign moving forward. Generally speaking, taking care of onsite SEO is the first priority an SEO specialist will have when beginning a new campaign. According to BigCommerce, “Technical SEO refers to website and server optimizations that help search engine spiders crawl and index your site more effectively (to help improve organic rankings).” In order to understand what this looks like, below you’ll find a few examples of typical technical SEO tasks.
If you’re unfamiliar with title tags, don’t freak out! In fact the vast majority of websites that we at Firestarter SEO look at do not have optimized titles. So, in essence, a title tag is essentially an indicator to Google of what specific keyword you’re looking to be ranked for on any given page of your site. By not including optimized titles on each page, you can say that you’re doing your site a disservice due to the fact that when a crawler visits your site, it’s not sure what each page is supposed to be about. For example, a common title that we’ll see on a home page for an auto repair shop is something like “home- Jim’s Auto Repair.” Seeing as Jim’s Auto Repair is likely not looking to rank on a national level, creating a proper title by including their location will help Google understand how to rank them. Therefore, a proper title would read “Auto Repair Denver – Jim’s Auto Repair.” In doing so, you’re now optimizing your site to rank specifically in the Denver area.
Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time surfing the internet over the years has come across these annoying errors. In case you’re unaware, 400 errors occur when you attempt to access a page that has either been deleted or removed from a website. This obviously makes sense when you read “page no longer exists” when clicking that link. The big problem with these errors is that when a crawler comes across them, it’s more or less equivalent to it hitting a brick wall and not knowing where to go from there. If numerous, these can have a serious impact on your site’s rankings. Therefore, fixing these swiftly will immensely help your campaign.
In order to understand what these are, you need to understand search engine crawlers. Crawlers are nifty, hardworking machines that Google sends all over the internet on a daily basis in order to understand how to rank websites. It’s these guys that look at your title tags, meta descriptions, etc to make that happen. One thing they’re not good at however is looking at photos and videos. When a crawler comes across a photo on a page, they have no idea what they’re looking at because unlike us humans, they don’t have eyes. In order for them to understand what photos are depicting and how they tie in to each page’s content, we need to provide them with alt attributes. A good alt attribute will contain around 125 characters and offer a brief, yet descriptive tidbit about the contents of the photo. That way, when a crawler comes across the photo they’ll have an understanding of how it ties in with the content on the page. Keep in mind that these are extremely common. Letting these add up on your website can have an impact on your rankings so having them fixed quickly is of the utmost importance.
Clearly this is a very short list of only 3 of the numerous other errors and issues that are typically addressed when undertaking technical SEO. Among some of the other errors you will likely come across are missing meta descriptions, broken internal and external links, html tag errors, etc. Still, this article should give you a better understanding of how cleaning up the errors on the backend on your website will help set you up for ranking success, especially when coupled with content optimization, and link building.