Search engine optimisation (SEO) involves more than keyword research and content creation — it also requires backend tasks not visible to the end user. This is referred to as technical SEO and is the foundation upon which SEO strategies are built.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what technical SEO is, why it’s important, what to include in your technical SEO checklist and more.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO involves maintaining and updating your site to allow search engines to crawl it more efficiently. Search engines send crawlers to your site to analyse HTML code, JavaScript, performance, structure and more, letting them know what your site is all about and whether or not it’s informative.

It typically starts with a technical SEO audit, which includes improving your site speed, making it more discoverable, fixing the architecture and more. Simply put, technical SEO focuses more on what search engines see, rather than what your visitors see.

Why is technical SEO important?

Google does not see your website as a user does. Technical SEO is the foundation of your SEO strategy and ensures that search engines can properly index and navigate your site. Some notable benefits of investing in your technical SEO strategy include:

  • Increasing your website visibility
  • Getting better rankings
  • Improving page speed
  • Identifying site structure issues
  • Eliminating duplicate content
  • Enhancing user experience

What should your technical SEO audit include?

Being able to reap the benefits of technical SEO involves a lot of nitty-gritty work, such as conducting a full audit of your site. Some of the tasks you can cover in your technical SEO audit include:

  • Checking your site speed — Search engines use your page speed as a ranking factor. This is because your site’s speed directly affects your end-user. The slower it is, the more likely they are to bounce.
  • Ensuring your site is discoverable for search engines — Submitting an updated sitemap to search engines is a key way to ensure all your pages are discoverable by its crawlers.
  • Ensuring your site is crawlable for search engines — Similar to being discoverable, your site needs to be crawlable. This means utilising XML sitemaps and robots.txt files currently, using internal links in relevant pages, setting up canonical tags and more.
  • Seeing if your pages can be rendered — Search engines should be able to render or understand your content’s layout through your code. This applies to both web and mobile browsers.
  • Removing dead landing pages — Pages with nothing on them can be detrimental to your site and can increase your bounce rate. You will need to deal with 404 pages quickly and correctly, and ensure you have no orphan pages.
  • Eliminating duplicate content — Duplicate content is something search engines penalise. Ensure that most of your pages have unique content.
  • Maintaining a consistent URL structure — A well-structured URL makes your site easier for users to use, navigate, and share.
  • Securing your site — Keeping your site secure is a top priority, and search engines look at that too. Making sure your site adheres to the best security practices is imperative, even for your SEO strategy.

Advanced technical SEO opportunities

Once you’ve done a basic technical SEO audit and are ready to take it up a notch, here are a few advanced technical SEO opportunities worth considering:

  • Structured data
    Using structured data makes it easier for search engines to understand your site. This involves implementing a markup on a webpage’s code, which gives search engines more detail about what’s on the page and how to understand it. As a result, a site may benefit from enhanced search results and relevancy signals.
  • Faceted navigation
    On sites that deal with many listings, faceted navigation (or faceted search) is used on category/archive pages. By utilising multiple filters based on listing attributes, it’s easier for users to find what they’re looking for. In simpler terms, faceted navigation involves making pages with product listings easier for users and bots alike to filter through.

Investing in technical SEO can be challenging for business owners who have no firsthand experience. A solid technical SEO audit and strategy can be the key to online success for your business.