Technical SEO: What It Is, Why It Matters and How It Can Transform Your Website

<span class="copyright">Hinterhaus Productions | Getty Images</span>
Hinterhaus Productions | Getty Images

In 2019, a case study done by Analytive proved that the use of technical search engine optimization (SEO) could increase a software company's database traffic by 26 times in eight months. Another study by BrightEdge Research showed that 68% of online experiences began with a search engine.

In other words, if you operate your business through the Internet, your customers will most likely be reaching you via Google or a similar search engine — and the volume of those customers will be dictated by your use of technical SEO.

Whether you are an entrepreneur looking for a way to sell your newly invented product, an online marketer seeking ways to help your clients, or a new business owner setting up your first-ever website, technical SEO is an imperative, transformative tool that you need in order to enhance your website's credibility and success.

Related: Learn the Technical SEO Skills Needed to Rank Higher on Google

Putting the 'web' in 'website'

"SEO" stands for "search engine optimization. The goal behind it is simple: To ensure your website is at the top of the results in a search engine.

But in order for your website (or one of the web pages within your website) to get into the 5.429785400000 million search results in the first place, it must first be indexed. This means it has to be recognized by a search engine and added to its search index. In Google's case, that means a network of hundreds of billions of web pages.

Search engines such as Google use crawlers, also known as web spiders, to crawl through and index web pages. This software starts with one web page and crawls its way into all of the pages that are linked to that first one. It repeats the process in those new pages, spinning and weaving its way through millions of hyperlinks — until it's created a massive web of pages that it can add to its index.

Once your website and its web pages are indexed, there are separate branches of SEO that ensure they reach the top of the search results. For example, on-page SEO is about optimizing the content within your web pages.

Off-page SEO is about how you market your product outside of your own website, using tools like backlinks or social media. These optimization strategies are vital, but neither one of them will do much good if those pages are not indexed to begin with.

That's where technical SEO comes into play.

Related: Why Exceptional SEO Is Crucial for a Successful Business

The technical side of things

While on-page and off-page SEO are about the content of your website, technical SEO is about the structure of your website — how it is built.

There are specific structural and framework requirements crawlers will look for, and your website will have to display these in order to be found and indexed. Technical SEO is the means by which you can tick those requirements off your list of accomplishments. Here are a few techniques you can use to do just that:

  • Increase your web page speed: Crawling algorithms take web page speed into account. If your web page doesn't run quickly enough, it is likely to be passed right over by crawlers. If it is indexed, it won't rank highly in search results.

  • Obtain an SSL certificate: An SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, protects your users by encrypting any data they enter. It adds the "s" to the "http" at the start of a URL, or it displays a lock to the left of the URL, giving users an automatic sense of security. It follows that search engines will give preference to websites that are secure, as will users.

  • Build links into your content: You have undoubtedly stumbled across a helpful web page by clicking a link within another web page, and this is precisely how both crawlers and other users can find your web pages, too.

  • Only use links that are authoritative and that work: Broken links or links to advertisements or non-related information cheapen your credibility to crawlers and users.

  • Create a sitemap to help Google find your website: This will also help Google find all of the web pages within your website, generating more traffic — and ultimately more success — for your company.

  • Make your website mobile-friendly: With each new generation of smartphones, this becomes increasingly important.

  • Invest in a technical SEO audit: If you aren't certain how to employ technical SEO, an audit will show you exactly where your website needs improvement.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Google to Index Your Site (That Actually Work)

Technical SEO is worth the time

Although it requires a certain amount of technical knowledge and skill and can be time-consuming, getting technical with the structure of your website is imperative if you want to run a successful online company.

Google has just about monopolized web traffic, with over 90% of global traffic being linked to Google search, Google maps and Google Images. If you are going to successfully garner business online, you need to ensure your site makes it to the top of Google's search results — and a major stepping stone to that end is via technical SEO.

With the successful implementation of technical SEO, you can increase your web page speed, strengthen your website's security, give it more credibility through authoritative hyperlinks and ultimately, increase your online business's success.