As the brisk breeze turns to bone-chilling temperatures and the autumn leaves fall to the ground, our community in Colorado Springs becomes a bit spookier this Halloween season. While kids bundle up in costumes and coats and parents hide the best candy from the trick-or-treating haul, business owners may have slightly scarier things on their mind. As a small business owner, you understand the lingering concerns that reside in the depths of trying to master every aspect of starting, managing, and growing your small business in Colorado Springs. When sifting through the complications involved with marketing your small business, one of the most daunting aspects of your website may creep into your thoughts: technical SEO. At Succeeding Small, we want to shed some light on technical SEO to help small business owners see that the discipline is not as scary as it seems.
What Is Technical SEO?
At its core, technical SEO consists of any technical improvements to your website that are designed to improve your ranking on a search engine. Technical SEO deals with the crawl, index, rank model which is ultimately how a search engine reads your site, stores it in their database, and how it determines when and where your website will be shown to an audience.
Why Does Technical SEO Matter?
When a search engine sends crawlers through the web to discover new, updated, and broken content, you want to make sure your website is ready to be discovered. Once discovered, a search engine stores your website in a massive database, or index. Your website must be proficiently crawled and indexed before it is eligible to show as a result in a search engine (rank).
Technical SEO is vital, because if there are internal issues that block a search engine from crawling or indexing your website, then your content won’t show to your prospective clients when they search for your product, service, or brand name. On the human-side of the equation, technical SEO determines the user experience that your audience will have on your website which directly equates to website traffic and conversions.
Technical SEO Traits
There are five core traits that a technically optimized website should embody. Together, these characteristics appear as a massive Technical SEO monster, breaking each component down makes optimizing your website much easier to combat.
1. Site Is Fast
When your website is slow, it greatly reduces your ability to rank as it produces a poor user experience. If your site acts like a mummy and takes more than 2-3 seconds to load, then users will likely back out of your site and find another source. Poor user experience leads to frustration and is a determining factor when a search engine decides where your website will rank. A great way to check if your site is slow like a mummy is by using a tool like GTmetrix.
2. Site Is Crawlable
Search engines send out crawlers (also called bots or spiders), to discover new, updated, and broken pages throughout the web. These crawlers discover new URLs by bumping into new pages through links. Aside from internal links pointing the crawler to additional pages, you can also submit a sitemap to google in efforts to have the pages of your website indexed. Through Technical SEO, you can guide the crawlers across your site and even block pages you do not want indexed with the robots.txt file. By controlling the path they take, the spiders are less creepy and much more helpful.
3. Avoid Dead Links
When you have a dead or broken link on your site, it is like trying to catch a ghost. This is where crawl errors typically occur because these pages don’t exist and cause major confusion to bots while significantly harming user experience. Error codes fall into two categories: 4XX codes (site issue) and 5XX codes (server issue). Technical SEO deals with shining a light on these ghosts and fixing them or using a band-aid solution like a 301 redirect to tell searchers and search engines that a page has moved.
4. Avoid Duplicate Content
Just like the plague, duplicate content can embed itself throughout your site and cause serious health issues before you even recognize the symptoms. When duplicate content cripples your site, bots get confused because if multiple pages show the content, then how would the bot know which page to rank highest? Instead, the bots rank all pages with the same content lower. While duplicate content should be detected during a content audit, the best medicine is a canonical tag. Canonical tags allow you to indicate either the original page or the page you would link to rank.
5. Security Is Key
There is nothing scarier than an unsecure website. The best way to comply with data protection laws is to make sure your website is secure. Ensuring your website is safe for users and guarantees their privacy is a basic requirement and a determining factor when search engines rank your website. Having a SSL certificate allows you to implement HTTPS on your website, which makes sure that no one can intercept data sent between a browser and your website.
Don’t Let Technical SEO Scare You Away | Succeeding Small
At Succeeding Small, our team understands the importance of technical SEO and we value being intentional about every piece of code on your website to ensure that technical components help your website rank. Our team of lifelong-learners and problem solvers will monitor your site health to always tackle any concerns, should they arise. Whether you are a small business owner with a site that has gotten a bit too spooky, or if you are looking for a brand new website that truly embodies your brand, then we can help. Connect with us for a free SEO audit including a site health overview so we can shed some light on your website.