What is the Difference Between Technical SEO and On-Page SEO?
When you hear the word “technical” combined with SEO, you may feel a little bit intimidated. After all, if you are not used to writing code or creating algorithms, you may feel some trepidation about learning technical SEO. However, with today’s advanced technologies to support you, technical SEO does not have to be considered scary. First, let’s review the definition.
How Is Technical SEO Defined?
Technical SEO references what is needed to enhance the technical aspects of a website so it increases its rank in the search engine page results (SERPs). That means you need to focus on the following:
- Increasing the speed of your website;
- Making your site easier to crawl, or more understandable to the search engines
- Reducing the number of dead links
- Keeping your site secure
Technical SEO is part of developing on-page SEO, which focuses on improving the elements on a website to receive higher rankings. Definitively, on-page SEO is the opposite of off-page SEO, which is designed to generate interest for your site through other channels.
Why You Need to Optimize Your Website Technically
Because search engines want to give users the best results for their queries, robots crawl and assess web pages based on several factors. For example, these factors may include the following:
- The User’s Experience (such as page load speed)
- Structured data – revealing to robots what your pages represent
Therefore, technical SEO enables the search engines to crawl and comprehend your site and gives the user a more pleasant navigational experience. The site, itself, should work well – be clear, fast and simple to maneuver. By producing a strong foundation technically, you will create a better search engine and user experience.
The Traits of a Technically Optimized Site
A technically sound UX (user experience) designed site creates a fast and easy-to-navigate format and simple-to-crawl platform for the search engine robots. Therefore, a properly integrated site prevents confusion and makes things easier to understand. To make this happen, you need to remove duplicate content and keep the search engines from ending up at dead-end destinations through non-working links.
Also, as mentioned, technically optimized sites must load fast. That means your site should open in under three seconds or people will leave your platform and move on to a faster-loading website. That can really impact your traffic flow. Slower web pages end up further down on the SERPs, which negatively affects the number of site visitors.
Use a CDN to Speed Up Your Site for SEO
You can use various tools to check your site’s speeds as well as take advantage of a content delivery network or CDN. To give you an idea what a CDN does, you have to define latency. Latency is the distance between the server and client, or the web browser.
Therefore, latency represents the time the server needs to respond to a request. In turn, a CDN moves your site closer to the visitor. Besides reducing problems with latency and speeding up loading times, a CDN reduces the amount you spend on the bandwidth and enhances security and scalability.
Making Your Site More Crawl-able
For search engines to crawl and understand your site’s pages, you need to create an internal linking structure. Doing so will help the search engines determine what content is the most important. When you get technical with SEO, you can also get creative.
For example, you can guide robots by directing them not to crawl specific content if you don’t want them to journey there. You can also direct them to crawl a page but tell them not to reveal the page in the search results, nor follow the links on that page.
A Robot Meta Tag
You can provide the above details by using a robot meta tag – a small piece of code that a visitor cannot detect or see. The meta tag is scrunched inside the source code in the main section of a page. The robot reads the section to see what it will find on a page and what it should do with it.
For instance, if you want a search engine robot to crawl a page but, for some reason, want the page to be excluded from the search results, use a robot meta tag. Use the same tag to direct a robot to crawl a web page but to veer clear of following a page’s link. Therefore, you can noindex or nofollow a page or post by implementing technical SEO.
404 Error Pages
What is even more frustrating than a slow-loading web page is being directed to a landing page that does not exist. If a link leads a visitor to this destination, he or she will see a 404-error page. Neither a site visitor nor search engine favors this type of discovery. However, most sites do have some dead links because they are works-in-progress. Therefore, it is important to find tools that will keep people away from those 404 error discoveries.
Tools You Can Use
You can refer to three webmaster tools that will provide indexing reports that show 404 errors. These tools include:
- Bing Webmaster Tool – Look under the classification Reports and Data and Crawl Info.
- Yandex Webmaster Tool, Search under the category Indexing, then Excluded Pages, followed by HTTP Status: Not Found (404)
- Google Search Console – Find under the section Coverage and then Errors
What is amazing about search engine spiders is that they even run across 404 error pages that regular users will never see. That is because spiders will crawl just about everything on a site’s pages, so even those concealed links will be found and followed.
Also, as mentioned, you want to avoid duplicating content. Those spiders find everything and will rank all your content lower if you do not direct them to do otherwise. To fix this type of problem, you need to establish a canonical link element, which indicates what page should rank in the search results.
Add HTTPS and an XML Site Map
To optimize technical SEO, it is also important to maintain a safe and secure site. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to implement HTTPS. HTTPS ensures no one will retrieve the data transmitted between the browser and the site.
Make sure you see that small iconic lock on the left in your browser. Also, you need an SSL certificate to include HTTPS. Google always ranks secure sites higher than sites that do not feature HTTPS. In addition, include an XML sitemap to ensure that the search engines can read your site’s roadmap – or posts, pages, tags, and posted images.