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Technical SEO: A Beginner’s Guide

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If SEO (search engine optimisation) wasn’t confusing enough already, then get a load of this: there are different types of SEO!

And I’m not talking about things like local SEO or worldwide SEO, I’m talking about the three real fundamental processes of SEO: technical, on-page, and off-page.

For people with an interest in the subject already then this will be common knowledge to you, but for people just trying to get to grips with SEO as a concept then this may sound like another hurdle to your learning.

Well, fear not. Your pals at Blaze Media are here to give you a quick run through of everything you’d need to know to have a sound knowledge of technical SEO. You know, enough so that you could make conversation down the pub!

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into our beginner’s guide to technical SEO.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the art of understanding how search engine crawlers crawl a site and how you can optimise for it to make your pages rank higher. It’s different to on-page SEO because it refers to more of the server side of things rather than the user facing elements of a website like content.

And while most people are in agreement that on-page is the most important part of SEO, it’s technical that’s required in order for you to rank in the first place – never mind rank well.

If crawlers can’t navigate through your site then you won’t be able to be indexed and therefore won’t be visible. So it’s a good idea to invest in your technical SEO to make sure that all of your other SEO efforts aren’t completely wasted.

“For many, technical SEO means optimising for crawlers, but ultimately it’s the end user that matters the most so it’s probably wise to optimise for them too!”

Tom Johnson – SEO Manager

How does crawling work?

Google’s crawlers trawl through websites by viewing a sitemap and travelling from page to page as they’re linked to gather as much relevant data as possible. They collect information from a website much faster than you or I could though, as they have to crawl through the billions and billions of websites across the internet.

A crawler will take a look at your pages and follow the link structure and when it encounters new pages or pages that have been updated, it will add them to Google’s Index provided that there are no errors.

In order to get through this massive catalogue of websites, Google’s crawlers have a crawl budget which means they will only view so many pages on your site over a given time. Sometimes this can be daily, other times it can be weekly. Google are quite sneaky about stuff like this.

How Technical SEO helps

It goes without saying that good SEO helps your website rank higher on search engines. Technical SEO is no different. In fact, tech SEO is so crucial that if there any mistakes made then you could be preventing your site from being indexed at all.

When technical SEO is working well, not only does your site rank, but it ranks well and your users get a more enjoyable experience navigating your website. For example, sites that are working appropriately should be fast and responsive, which not only is a ranking factor but also makes your site more enjoyable for the user to use.

You can use technical SEO to guide Google’s crawlers and influence their behaviour. By placing robots.txt in your site directory, you can tell crawlers what pages they are or aren’t allowed to crawl.

If configured correctly, your site should be set up so that important pages get crawled and pages that provide no value to your user don’t get crawled. You should think about it like you’ve got a budget (much like pocket money!) that you need to use wisely to make the most of your allowance.

There are situations where you’ll want pages not to rank on your site. This is usually the case when you have duplicate content or pages that compete with each other. For example, on our website, we don’t want our blog category pages to rank because they’ll compete with our service pages which are important to us that they rank.

Quickfire technical SEO facts

There’s so much to consider in technical SEO. You could go down a rabbit hole and keep learning more and more and more until your head is full of jargon and information.

For now, here are some quick facts about technical SEO that you should know as a beginner:

  • Page speed is important to SEO. Your pages should load under 2-3 seconds for optimal benefits
  • If a page is not completely unique, stop it from indexing. Most websites have a privacy policy and terms and conditions etc, these are worthless when it comes to ranking
  • You can use Google Search Console to see how crawlers are operating on your site and whether you’re using all of your crawl budget
  • The robots.txt file is finnicky. It must be all lower case and placed into your site’s main directory, and there is a limited form of syntax that you can use to communicate with crawlers. You can’t just say whatever you like!

Complete SEO agency in Liverpool

Of course, this is just a brief overview of technical SEO. If you want to know more, or if you want an agency to take charge of your SEO for you, then hit us up at our SEO company in Liverpool and our SEO experts will get back in touch with details on how we can help.

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