Every digital marketer or business shares the common goal of getting their online business found, viewed and engaged with. While creating valuable content is a great way to give people what they want, those people will never see it if they can’t find it. This can be solved with good use of technical SEO.
Search engines have technical ways of finding your content, so it’s important to use technical optimization strategies to show the search engines where your content is and what it’s about.
How search engines find your content
Search engines find your content with two technical functions:
- Crawling: Crawling is the process that search engines use to search for and find content. Similar to how we use a search engine to search for and discover content, search engines must first find this content to be able to display it.
- Indexing: Indexing is the process that search engines use to store the content it finds in the crawling process. The search engine will use an algorithm to determine what your content is about and how to best organize it in their database. It will use every technical aspect of the page to rank it accordingly in their search results.
The importance of technical SEO
There are three types of search engine optimization techniques that you can use to increase the chances of your content being found:
- On-page SEO: how you optimize your content to rank better in search engines
- Off-page SEO: how you promote your website on other sites and pages
- Technical SEO: how you ensure your content is crawled and indexed properly
Search engines take all three of these factors into consideration when ranking your website and pages. To have a fully optimized website, it is critical to focus on all three of them. Many companies and marketers understand at least a few techniques for optimizing the content on their sites (ex: keyword optimization and fast loading pages). Many also understand at least a few ways to promote their business using off-page SEO (ex: advertising and backlinks).
One aspect of SEO that many companies still fail to fully understand is technical SEO. Before a search engine can rank your pages based on your on-page and off-page optimization, it uses your technical optimization to perform its crawling and indexing functions. Put simply, your content will be easier to find by your target audience if you make it easier for search engines to locate and understand it, and that is achieved with technical SEO.
How to help search engines crawl and index your site with technical SEO
There are a variety of technical optimization fixes we implement for our clients to ensure their websites can be easily found and better organized by search engines. With business and brands who have already established an online presence, these technical items alone have dramatically improved the crawlability and indexability of their sites.
To give you an idea, here are some overviews of the technical strategies you can use as a digital marketer to help search engines crawl and index your site.
To help search engines find your business online, placing links on other websites that navigate users to your website is an excellent way to do this.
The higher the rank this external website holds, the easier it is for search engines to find your link and follow it to your site. Here are two essential pages to link to:
- Home page: Linking to your home page allows search engines to start their crawl at your primary page. With a solid site architecture, a search engine should be able to crawl your entire site from your home page.
- Pillar pages: Linking to your pillar pages show the search engines what your most important content is, and your pillar pages will have numerous links to related content, which helps a search engine understand how your pages relate to each other. For e-commerce companies, your pillar pages will be the front page or category page that link to your product pages.
Once the crawler gets to your website, having a clear internal linking strategy helps the crawler navigate around your site, which ensures that all your pages are indexed.
Here are a few internal linking strategies that help a search engine crawler navigate your site:
- Primary navigation bar: Having a primary navigation bar that shows up on every page allows a search engine to navigate to all the pages in your navigation.
- Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumb links leave a trail of links that shows how a user browsed your site. These breadcrumbs show a search engine crawler how your content is structured, helping the search engine navigate your site easier. For an e-commerce business, when a visitor is on a product page, they will see a breadcrumb link structure at the top of the page that shows the sub-category, category, main section, and front page of the online store. This helps both user navigation and search engine crawling and indexing.
- Related links: Adding links to other relevant pages of your site gives another opportunity for search engine crawlers to find all of your pages. A blog would display related posts, while an e-commerce business would display similar products.
The internal linking strategies explained above are all examples of how you can help search engines navigate your site easier. This is part of the process of creating a robust site architecture.
To have a good site architecture, you must make your site easy to navigate. Users shouldn’t have trouble getting around your site and should be able to find any page of your website within a few clicks.
From your home page, think about the path you must take to get to a specific page of your site. Making this navigation clear and straightforward is the act of building a strong site architecture.
Besides using internal linking and building a strong site architecture, an additional technique you can use is creating a sitemap for search engine robots to find.
Your sitemap is an XML file that you submit to a search engine like Google that contains a list of every single URL on your site. Search engines will use this file to crawl and find your pages.
Besides submitting your XML sitemap to Google, it is vital to create a good site architecture and make it easy for search engines to crawl your site. When you add additional pages to your site like new products or blog posts, you can’t rely on your dated sitemap or expect to submit a new sitemap for every new page you create. You will have to rely on solid site architecture and an extensive internal linking strategy.
Technical SEO creates a foundation for your online business to succeed. Digital marketers who use technical SEO will have an easier time with optimizing their online business because search engines reward solid technicals.
If you need help with your SEO performance for your business, take a look at our SEO and consulting services here.