Technical SEO is required to optimise the technical elements of a website, such as page speed, rendering, security and overall website architecture.
The objective of Technical SEO is that all pages of a website become faster, more intuitive, provide a better user experience (UX / UE) and are optimised for mobile. Technical SEO is the foundation required upon which all the other SEO ranking factors can be built.
Is Technical SEO Important?
Yes, Technical SEO is VERY important for SEO.
The search engines give preferential treatment in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) to the websites that are 'technically' better than the websites that don't display the technical factors required for a better user experience. These technical factors include strong website security, optimised for mobile, fast loading times, good crawlability, well structured data, correct use of sitemaps and robots files, and correct use of HTML tags where relevant.
Invest your SEO budget in the right areas
When you think about it, investing in your Technical SEO makes perfect sense. Metaphorically speaking, would you spend your budget on a new paint job, or on fixing the engine? A new paint job may well look good, but if your car's broken, what's the point? On a fixed budget, the sensible thing to do here is to fix the engine first, then do the paintwork - this way, at least you'll have a usable car while you're working on the paint.
The same applies with your website. You could have the most amazing, beautifully designed website in the world - but if it's unusable and not attracting and retaining users, and worse still - not generating sales or enquiries, it's not fit for purpose and is fundamentally broken.
As far as SEO ranking factors are concerned, there is now a huge amount of weight applied to the technical performance of a website, the key factors of which are mentioned at the top of the page. The Internet is huge and in order to index all the websites for the SERPs, the search engines have a massive job to do. It's therefore plain economics and business logic that applies to their algorithms that deciphers what to crawl, when to crawl and what and where to rank in their SERPs. If it takes a huge amount of resource to crawl a site, the chances are, the search engines won't like crawling it and it will be crawled less. This virtual cost is referred to as 'Crawl Equity' or 'Crawl Budget' and refers the amount of pages a search engine crawler (search bot) will index in a given timeframe.
Optimise your site for the Crawlers
Now we've established there's a cost or 'budget' when it comes to indexing your site, it's critical to make sure your site is as good as it can be for your next visit from the search bots. Think of your site as a warehouse - if you know a stock check is imminent, it would be a good idea to make sure all the inventory is in the right place and labelled correctly, rather than a huge pile on the warehouse floor with little or no guidance as to where anything is. If your warehouse is in good shape, the stock check will be relatively straight forward, but with the heap on the floor, it's likely to take many times longer.
The same applies with a visit from the search engines. You will use less of your crawl budget if your website has great crawlability, which is achieved by a fast page speed, well structured data, a good URL structure, well placed internal links, a sitemap and correctly configured robots.txt file. Get this right and you'll see the benefits in the SERPs.
Don't Ignore the User
The chances are, if you're reading this page then you've searched for 'Technical SEO' or some other search relating to improving your position in the search engines. Let's park the search engines for a minute and focus on the user - after all, this is the reason why you're wanting to improve your website, right? More users = more engagement = more business for you.
A big part of Technical SEO is actually about ensuring a great user experience, which is a subject in itself. This said, from a technical perspective, there are a number of factors that need addressing in order to maximise the UX on your site.
Technical SEO and User Experience (UX)
These two SEO Ranking Factors are very much connected, there's a more detailed page about User Experience (UX), but see below for a list of the factors where Technical SEO and User Experience come together as one:
- Page Speed - Fast loading pages will provide a better UX
- Core Functionality - It your website functions correctly, it's a better UX
- Responsive technology - Mobile, Desktop or TV - get this right for a better UX
- Well Structured Navigation - Simple navigation will provide a better UX
- Good URL Structure - Intuitive hierarchy and readable URLs will provide a better UX