Technical Search Engine Optimization

When most people think about SEO they think about stuffing keywords on specific pages so the world knows that this page is meant for people searching “this” term. Well, there’s a couple problems with that, first of all; it doesn’t work anymore, and second of all it could easily get you penalized by the google gods and have your page or even your entire site removed from the index. It’s called keyword SPAM and it’s definitely a no-no. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use your keywords on the page, it means don’t OVERUSE it.

What Is Technical SEO

In a nutshell, technical SEO is making sure your site has all the technical requirements to beĀ  properly crawled by bots and that your content is arranged in a way that makes sense. So while, yes it’s important to have matching headlines and Ad copy, but technical SEO is more about making sure every page has headline code, ie H3’s or H1’s and they’re at the appropriate level. It also means that you have a working sitemap, micro-data, and that your Javascript or ajax is optimized to be crawled, your CSS is minified and your site is responding as quickly as possible.

I always try to build sites with this in mind, but as a web developer, I often get to adopt projects and sites that I didn’t build from the ground up. Technical audits are usually one of the first things I do when starting on a new project, remember if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it; so you need to figure out where your measurements are at and what’s important to measure, then start working on improvements. In some cases your measurement can literally be the sites error.log.

Traditional SEO

Usually once all the technical issues are ironed out, you’ll find that traditional SEO is of less value. Of course your copy should be relevant to whatever you’re doing or selling, but most of the time that’s not the biggest problem. Often people that have a real understanding of the service or product they’re selling, the words they write about it are usually spot-on, and conveys authority. It’s when you get a site selling affiliate products that don’t know what they’re doing and re-canning descriptions that you run into content issues (because it’s regurgitated garbage).

Search engines are good enough now that keyword matching isn’t the only way they operate, sure it’s still a small part but they’ve got a lot more data now to make sure they’re sending you to relevant results. So when you’re writing for your site, write it naturally, don’t try to stuff in search terms every chance you can get. Describe your product or services accurately and robustly, search engines are also looking for “other terms” that are often found in the similar subject matter to determine if you know what you’re talking about. For instance if your subject matter is Volkswagen and they can’t find any mention of a “bus” or a “bug” then they probably won’t consider you an expert on VW.

What kind of SEO do you do on your site? Do you think it’s actually optimizing it? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

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