The different types of SEO
Content SEO, also known as on-page SEO, refers to the content on your site. This marketing strategy uses the content you control (alt text, keywords, meta tags, etc.) to drive interested users to your site and increase your reach.
Ongoing and off-page SEO is also beneficial for increasing the ranking of your site. Strong content (incoming links from other sites) helps your site rank higher in keyword searches more than “weak” content (unoriginal content not providing new information). Stronger content is more credible and will always outrank “weak” content.
Technical SEO refers to the foundational elements of your website. These elements are often code-based and affect things like site architecture, optimization, and speed. Strong technical SEO allows search engines to easily crawl and index your site.
Why does Technical SEO matter?
While content and ongoing SEO practices can be changed frequently to impact reach and rankings, technical SEO massively impacts search engine rankings since it directly impacts user experience. Sites that are designed to meet the needs of users will rank higher than sites that forgo the user experience. When used in conjunction with a strong content strategy, these SEO practices help your site to rank highly in search.
A guide to technical SEO
Crawlability refers to the ability for search bots to search your site and access information. If your site is not accessible to these bots, your site is losing the ability to be indexed and ranked in search engines. Below are a few tips for optimizing your site’s crawlability:
- Optimize site architecture. Site architecture boils down to how your pages are organized. Similar pages should be grouped together—think blog posts nested under a key blog page. By structuring your site where related elements are housed together, audiences and search bots can easily crawl and index your site.
- Establish a URL structure. Having a clear URL structure works in tandem with strong site architecture to make it easier for users and search engines to navigate your site. There is no “standard” approach for URL structure; the only important thing is that whatever system you use is consistent across your site. General guidelines include using lowercase characters and keeping URLs as short as possible while including keywords and phrases.
- Employ the right protocol. When a bot crawls your site: they check the protocol set up, also known as the /robots.txt file. This determines which bots have access to view and crawl your site. You can customize these settings to allow search bots to view certain sections of your site, or block them from viewing your site entirely.
- Leave a trail. Websites use breadcrumbs to help users navigate back to where they started. Your site should use visible, structured breadcrumbs so audiences and bots can crawl through your site with as little difficulty as possible.
Indexing is the process by which search bots interpret and analyze information on a page. With a better understanding of your content, search bots can then match information from your site to search results. Below are some general guidelines that ensure a smooth indexing process:
- Audit your site often. Ensure that redirects are working properly and your site is accessible. Errors on your site impact the ability for bots to index your content. Finally, ensure that content is not duplicated. This makes it easier for bots to read and categorize your content without confusion.
- Optimize your site for mobile. Indexing takes site-responsiveness into account, and if your design doesn’t work across a variety of devices, it’s negatively impacting how your site is indexed.
Ranking is where your website falls on the search engine results page. Rank can be improved by understanding technical strategies or via paid tools.
- Links matter. Links are tools for search bots; when your site has a variety of links, bots are able to understand the purpose of a page and translate that in search results. The more relevant your links, the higher your site will rank.
- Understand the importance of backlining. Backlinking is when an external site links back to your site. This adds credibility to your site, showing bots that other sources view you as reliable and worthy of crawling. If these backlinks come from quality sources, the results are even better for your rank in organic search.
- Strive for rich results. According to HubSpot, rich results are “elements that don’t follow the page title, URL, meta description format of other search results. For example, a video carousel and “People Also Ask” box”. These rich results appear above organic results. People want the fastest solution to their problem, so claiming stake in rich results generally benefits both your site and inquisitive audiences. To earn rich results, focus on structured data, clean code, and relevant content. The more times a bot can easily search and index your content, the better.
In addition to the list above, here are some items that ensure your technical SEO is working to boost page rank:
- Check for orphan pages. Orphan pages are those that don’t link out to other internal pages. These pages lack context on your site, making it more difficult for bots to index the material.
- Consider loading time. Google metrics show that visitors typically wait 6 seconds for your website to load. Long loading times can negatively impact things like bounce rate and rank. Consider compressing files and code to keep things running smoothly.
- Limit redirects. While linking to internal and external pages is helpful for rank, too many redirects can slow down your site. Review redirects often to ensure that the material you’re linking to is necessary for your audience.
- Keep page depth shallow. Page depth is the number of clicks a page is from the homepage. Inevitably some pages, like resources and FAQs, are going to have a higher page depth. Key pages should be a maximum of 3 clicks away from the homepage to ensure audiences can navigate to them quickly.
Combining a winning technical SEO strategy with a strong content strategy will set your site up for success in organic search and beyond. At Supergiant, we build sites with technical SEO in mind. If you’re looking for a site that provides a strong framework of SEO strategy and inspires your audience, reach out for more information.