Why you need Technical SEO and Where to Start

Technical SEO

I used to believe that you didn’t need to be a technical person when it came to SEO. That powerful copywriting and awesome outreach strategies can bullishly push your way to the top. I realize today that I was wrong. Dead wrong.

Webmaster’s Note: I’m back from my honeymoon break! It’s a terrible thing to keep you guys waiting. I’ll try to push out another entry within this week to keep you on your toes.

Technical, Copywriting and Marketing

These are the three most powerful components of SEO. Being an SEO specialist who possess all three skills can make you an unstoppable driving force in the industry. That’s one big reason why our SEO School lessons focus on these three things.

Personally, I put the most weight on copywriting since I’m very fond of the art and science behind it (and since I started my SEO journey as a copywriter).

Then I put a little more weight on the marketing.

In fact, when people ask me about SEO I tell them that you don’t really need to be technical to be good at SEO.

Now, I realize that technical understanding is critical to getting ahead.

Structured Data (Schema)

Schema.org

There is no doubt that structured data is the next big thing in SEO. Search engines just love it when you conform to their standards. It makes it much easier for them to achieve their main purpose: to serve the most relevant results to the users.

The future of SEO, as Paul Bruemmer puts it, is going to be led by websites with semantic markup. I’ve written previous entries about Why Schema Might be the Next BIG Ranking Factor and Why Schema is the Future of On-Site SEO

Here’s the bottom line: If you don’t know how to implement Schema or any structured markup for that matter, you’re screwed.

Site structure

internal-linking

It can be a very simple thing to have a good site structure – but what does ‘good site structure’ really mean?

Good site structure doesn’t just mean having an XML sitemap. It means that you have built your site in such a way that users will have a breeze navigating through your site to get to the page they want to go to.

It doesn’t meant hat you have to have tons of pages. Heck, you can have 10 pages and get the site structure all messed up!

Good site structure also means that you care about the link equity distribution of your site. Make sure that the pages in your site you care about are ranking well and are easily accessible by linking to them from all other relevant pages in your site.

You can argue that this isn’t highly technical – however an awesome site structure entails having a good overall understanding of your site. For me, that can get pretty damn technical.

Here’s a simple guide by Justin Deaville on How to create a site structure Google will love or check out How to Design a Site Structure Visitors AND Search Engines Love by Rebecca Churt.

Indexability

Indexability

This is something non-technical SEOs pretty much overlook. Usually when I ask about indexability, non-technical people have no real idea what it is, how it can be improved, and why it’s important to their site’s SEO.

It’s a very sad thing.

Indexing is one of the most basic things a search engine does. That’s why we have it in our Foundational lessons section in SEO School (you can go through it when you sign up for free).

How do you improve indexability?

1) XML Sitemaps

2) Connect your site to Google Webmaster Tools

3) Eliminate Duplicate Content

4) Double-check your Robots.txt and make sure that public pages are indexed properly

For further readings, check out Bruce Clay’s How to improve your site indexation – XML Sitemaps Case Study

Redirects and URL Salvaging (URL or site restructuring)

301 redirect

Sometimes websites revamp their design or restructure. It happens. URLs get all crazied up, pages get lost, content gets thrown out the window, sometimes the entire blog section goes missing! (Yes, it’s happened to me).

Don’t go breaking dishes and uprooting your client’s Zen garden – yet.

BUT If you have no technical knowledge… Okay go ahead and break something.

Otherwise, take a deep breath. Relax.

Here’s what you need to do:

1) Check any possible backup of the restructured or revamped website.

2) Take note of any missing, restructured or lost URLs that are not properly redirected to the current one

3) Make sure to recreate that page if it’s missing OR put in a 301 redirect from the missing URL to the new one to save all that link juice, historical data and reputation

It’s a very critical thing to revive lost pages or missing, broken or edited URLs because of all the data the search engines stored up about it in the past. Sometimes a site revamp or restructure can kill its own SEO. Only technical SEO can salvage such an occurrence.

Nothing else.

I’m not saying it’s what makes SEO tick. But I believe this post makes a pretty damn solid statement about the need to study up on it. What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Kaloyan Banev says

    Just a note – Schema isn’t directly related to SEO, it might improve CTR, but it is not an SEO signal (this is official statement).
    Other than that, other things are described very well.

    • h3sean says

      Kaloyan, It’s pretty much what was said about AuthorRank and Co-citation. It has no official statement BUT it has data-driven tests that were done by third-parties. Personally, I’m not going to wait for the ‘official statement’ especially if it’s going to come from Google. By then, it’ll be too late to implement this and get ahead of the crowd.

      • Michael Korolishin says

        As far as Schema is concerned it already is a little late to think you’re jumping ahead of anyone who is serious about SEO by implementing it today.

        That said, nice piece. People who obsess over copywriting but either ignore/don’t care about technical SEO make me giggle. It’s like writing a book and wondering why nobody will publish it, even though it’s never seen an editor’s desk before.

  2. Sharik says

    Hi Sean,
    thanks for the some useful seo tips, this article is very useful to me, i want to start SEO projects, keep it up waiting for your next stuff.

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