As I sat on the plane on my way back from SMX Advanced in Seattle, reviewing my notes, organizing my key takeaways and preparing information to distribute to the team, I was beyond excited that it was obvious that some aspects of SEO, Technical SEO to be specific, still mattered.
The Search Engine Optimization arena has evolved a lot. From exactly X number of keywords in the meta-data, to precise keyword density to link building on steroids, there’s been quite a few changes over the past 10+ years. The search engines have done well in updating their algorithms to focus on the user and not the tactics so much. They have gotten smarter and more sophisticated, to the point now that you have RankBrain, Google’s machine learning technology helping deliver search results.
SEO can no longer live in this small little office on the side of the building. The emergence of Content Marketing forced brands to really look hard into their online strategies. Everything a brand does regarding marketing (both online and offline) is a signal to the search engines and plays a role in your website’s overall organic search visibility. Truly, SEO needs to be integrated as the foundation to your overall marketing approach.
Again, ALL Online Marketing strategies offer benefits to brands. Please don’t take this as me claiming that SEO is the only way to go. But from someone like myself who came into the Search Engine Optimization world straight from college with a Marketing and Management Information Systems degree, focused on the code and backend side of things, the constant articles about Content Marketing, Content Promotion, Inbound Strategies, SEO is Dead, etc. has become a bit overwhelming. The basics of SEO has always been where I see value and opportunity for brands, so all of these new tactics and approaches has made my head swim through the years!
Have no fear! Technical SEO is NOT DEAD, nor is SEO itself!
Though Search Engine Optimization has grown up and is finally starting to be recognized as an essential piece of the Marketing puzzle, the details and components make it one of the trickiest. SEO still has countless moving pieces. Though each piece, on its own, may have limited effect when compared to the past, when all the pieces come together, success is your end result.
Technical SEO is a very complicated and always changing piece of the puzzle. Each website is different. Each CMS, each shopping cart, each developer, all have unique attributes that make Technical SEO even more complex. It’s a problem solver’s dream (I may not be a doctor, but I'm telling you that as a passionate problem solver and lover of technical SEO)!
What Technical SEO items should be on your brand's to do list?
Below are three specific areas that many of the experts presenting at SMX Advanced discussed last week. Whether you have an old website or are in the process of building a new one, these apply. If they are not on your brand’s punch list, I recommend you start working them into the workflow’s ASAP.
- Markup your website with structured data
- Location information
- Product information
- Everything possible!
- Mobile friendliness
- Does your website work and look good, across all devices?
- Can you incorporate AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) into your website?
- Are the pages loading fast enough (under 3 seconds)
- Is it providing a good user experience for mobile visitors?
- Website maintenance
- Up to date CMS and shopping cart technology
- Moved to https or are planning to
- Fix your broken links
- Minimize internal redirects
By taking care of these fundamental Technical Search Engine Optimization items, you’ll be a step ahead of those competitors who are reading (and believing) that SEO is dead. These steps won’t take you to the top of Google by themselves, but nothing will anymore. SEO has to be the foundation of all your marketing tactics, but if your users can’t navigate and don’t understand your website, neither can the search engines.