The Role of Technical SEO in Website Optimization

by Mark

Technical SEO service is a term used to describe the work that is done to an information-based website in order to improve its performance in search engine results. Technical search engine optimization encompasses on-page optimization factors such as optimizing the title tag, meta tags, body text, hyperlinks, and headlines. It also involves improvements to the underlying code of the website as well as the server that hosts the site. When search engine spiders crawl your site, they are looking for a number of things that involve delivering search results. When you have a website which is focused around providing information and content and not providing a product, it is essential that you employ technical SEO in order to make your site easier to find. Because content-based websites have different goals, it is important to classify content websites into separate categories from e-commerce websites. This is because search results for the two types of sites often yield different results. Contrary to what one might think, technical SEO for content-based websites often requires more attention than it does for product-driven sites. This is because it is generally harder to optimize the code and structure of a content-based site, seeing as there are often many different templates with a lot of unoptimized code.

What is Technical SEO?

– An efficient domain setup, such as redirecting www to the root domain, to the use of a static URL. Also having a fast-loading website to minimize load times. – A website which has a clear and easy to access hierarchical sitemap. – Avoiding things which might cause a search engine to de-index a site, such as duplicate content. – The optimal use of JavaScript and CSS to minimize the effect on page load times. – Efficient use of internal linking. This might involve changing the sitemap and changing anchor text to make it more descriptive.

Technical SEO is the technical aspect of SEO. It has nothing to do with the content of a website or with website promotion methods. It has to do with settings that can be configured so that the website can be easily crawled and indexed. Some of the key areas which technical SEO deals with include the following:

Importance of Technical SEO in Website Optimization

Google has introduced rich snippets which can show users more information about your product or content through the search results. By employing technical SEO of markup implementation and improving your site structure so that Google can better understand your site, you can greatly increase your chances of attaining rich snippets. This can result in having more real estate in the search engine results pages, which, in turn, can increase site traffic. Slightly deviating from technical aspects, creating an XML sitemap and testing it to webmaster tools is also classified as technical SEO. This is a higher-level method to provide easier information retrieval for search engines. An XML sitemap can be used to inform search engines which pages are deemed more important for crawling. Testing the sitemap provides a slight feedback from Google. When there was an error in a submitted sitemap, Google sent a notification message to the webmaster.

Technical SEO is a powerful tool for a website. Optimization requires technical SEO; you cannot clearly explain a related term without understanding this term first. In simple words, we can say “technical SEO is a process of optimizing a website for crawling and indexing” (Ravel, 2013). It is relatively important for better ranks. Without technical SEO, on-site optimization would not suffice. It is like constructing a house without laying the foundations. Technical SEO gives your site a structure that helps search engines to understand the purpose and content of your site. This, in turn, gives you a better chance of ranking higher than sites with poor technical SEO. At a more advanced level, technical SEO only has a certain impact on ranking better than websites that do not employ technical SEO. This is almost certainly true; it is a continual practice by SEOs to test what has an impact on ranking and what does not.

Key Elements of Technical SEO

robots.txt is used to help control search engine crawlers’ access to certain pages on a site. This is important when not wanting certain pages indexed. Although a page can still be reached through a link and subsequently be indexed, the disallowed pages will not show up in search results. This is analogous to a nofollow meta tag.

XML sitemaps are important for the crawling stage of any site. It is essentially a guide to show search engine crawlers all the important pages on the site. A sitemap also tells search engines when changes have been made to a page. This is an indication for the crawlers to come to the site to re-crawl the new content. HTML sitemaps are also deemed beneficial for user navigation and accessibility, but from an SEO standpoint, XML is for indexing, HTML is for usability.

In matters of URL, Canonicalization can be just as important as setting up the structure coming. This is the process of picking the best URL. Essentially, if the same page can be reached by more than one URL, canonicalization prompts you to redirect all the duplicate URLs to the best URL with a 301 redirect. This will avoid any duplicate content from those pages, thereby avoiding indexing the same page more than once.

URL Structure is important in all web development to get an organized page and website. On the SEO side, URL Structure is only deemed important for search engine ranking. Good URL structure will give off the right signals to search engines and reusers, making reach access and re-use convenient. A URL should be static to be SEO friendly. A page with session IDs and query strings essentially has a permanent address to search engines and can typically lead to duplicate indexing.

When clients search on their mobile devices, they should also get the same results they would get on a desktop. Mobile searches now surpass desktop searches in the amount of queries made. If Google knows your site is not mobile-friendly, it will not show up in mobile searches. Mobile friendliness can be checked by running the mobile-friendly test by Google.

Website speed is the first and foremost important element of technical SEO. Many SEO friendly sites are not ranking well due to slow page loading. Website speed plays an important role in search engine ranking. Page speed or load time of a site is affected by improperly optimized images, large contents, lots of flash content, and lack of caching.

Website Speed Optimization

When a website is built, designers and developers are focused on making it “look nice and pretty.” Their primary focus is on the design, layout, and interface of the site; essentially making it look like a piece of art. While it’s important to have a visually appealing website, it’s even more important to faultlessly build the site from the ground up so that it’s search engine friendly. One of the most overlooked elements during website design and development phase is website speed. Nowadays, users are so accustomed to having information in nanoseconds that it’s easy for them to become impatient. If a web page takes too long to load, chances are the user will leave or hit the back button and look for a faster site. And Google recognizes this. Google has said that “faster sites create happy users.” It’s very likely that there’s a correlation between site speed and search engine rankings. While it’s not known for sure, it’s very well possible that faster sites could, in fact, have higher rankings in Google search results. Now that all depends if site speed is made a ranking factor, but it’s definitely a possibility. This is why it’s very important to optimize a website for speed as it will greatly improve the user experience while potentially improving search rankings. In order to optimize a website for speed, it’s important to understand the different factors of what can slow a website down. According to Art of SEO, “we can distill the sources of poor page speed into six key areas: server issues, external embedded media, large images, and excessive use of Javascript and CSS.”


This is an important element to get right. The majority of searches now take place on mobile devices and Google has now implemented a mobile-first index. This means that the mobile version of a website is considered the primary version for the purposes of ranking. If the mobile version of a site is lacking in content or has differences to the desktop version, it will probably not rank as highly. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that mobile and desktop versions are broadly equivalent. It is worth considering structured data testing for this. Also, Google provides a mobile-friendly testing tool that can give an idea of where a mobile site needs improvement. This tool checks for a number of elements that contribute to mobile-friendliness, including the responsiveness of the design and the use of software like Flash and pop-ups that are not common on mobile devices. It is important to remember that currently there is still only one index and it is not split into mobile and desktop, but this is due to change in the near future. When this happens, it will be possible to ascertain the mobile friendliness of a site by monitoring its performance on the mobile-first index. This is a new venture though and details of how to do this have not yet emerged. Schema changes often affect the visibility of content in search. Removing or changing the nature of its presentation, making it less or more visible, can alter the amount of click-through to the site. As such, it is important to consider the mobile traffic when making such changes, as the same content may have a different impact on mobile and desktop devices. Keep an eye on the mobile and desktop data using the segment feature in Google Analytics, to ensure that changes to schema or other elements are not adversely affecting the mobile-friendliness of the site.

URL Structure and Canonicalization

A URL has the following syntax – protocol://domain level domain:port number/path/filename. It has been seen that search engines tend to give their importance to the first few words in the URL, therefore it is critical that the page URL is properly descriptive of the content it represents. Descriptive categories also benefit the search engine as it further categorizes and explains to the engines the content through the URL. This can be illustrated in the following scenario, consider a URL [Link] as compared to [Link] The second URL is more descriptive of the content via URL. This is helpful if the URL is ever copied and used as a link to the website, it can provide beneficial anchor text that again will improve the page rank. Therefore, URL naming should be keyword and high search query phrase centric for descriptive SEO purposes.

URL structure is an important element of technical SEO. It helps organize the website content and provides a meaningful context to your page for both humans and search engines. Correct URL structure can help a new page get indexed and it can get better ranking in search results. On the other hand, a poor URL structure can impede your website’s ability to index and the ranking result. A poorly constructed URL can signal to the search engine that the page has duplicate content, thus hampering the ranking of the respective page as well as the site.

XML Sitemaps and Robots.txt

Robots.txt files are located at the root of the site. They function as a guide for search engine crawlers as to which directories or files they should or should not crawl. This is accomplished by specifying a directive with the use of a user-agent, which is the name of a specific search engine bot, followed by a slash, disallow, and then the file path. An example is shown below where we have disallowed all crawlers access to a specific directory. The Robots.txt file is particularly useful when trying to prevent specific content from appearing in the search results. This file is different from using meta tags in that this is a more effective means to reach the goal because it discourages crawling of the content in the first place.

Sitemaps function as a navigational tool for bots to identify the content structure within the site. The XML protocol is comprised of certain syntax rules and the document structure is comprised of a set of tags. XML Sitemaps contain a listing of all of the site’s URLs and can include information with each URL as to when it was last updated, how often it changes, and how important it is in relation to other URLs in the site. This helps search engines to crawl the website more intelligently and aids in the more effective discovery of new and/or updated content. Studies have shown a direct correlation between having an XML sitemap and an increase in traffic from search engines. This may be due to the fact that sitemaps are particularly useful on large sites with large archives, or on new sites that have few incoming links. In these cases, sitemaps are more likely to be utilized to their full potential in aiding the search engine crawl all content.

Structured Data Markup

Structured data gives search engines a clear idea about what information is contained in each webpage through identifying patterns and content types. When the structure of a web page is not understandable by a search engine, it will be treated as a single object. This often leads to the web page not being included in the search engine’s index. When the web page is indexed, the framework surrounding the main body of the web page is usually not indexed along with it. Using less complex words, structured data is used to describe things on the web in a way that the search engine can understand. It is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. For example, on a movie page, this could be the date of release, genre, movie duration, etc. Major search engines are now able to use this structured data to create rich snippets, which are small pieces of information that will appear in search results. Rich snippets help for better rankings and provide data in a much more organized manner. This will act as an indirect interdisciplinary connection between web content and data engineering. Earlier, before the introduction of structured data, Google only understood the content and displayed it in the form of a list shown in an image below. With structured data, Google not only ranks it but also displays the information with style.

Keyword Research and Optimization

Long-tail keywords are more specific and will usually be a phrase. They are a newer concept and are becoming more popular. Although they generate less traffic, there will be less competition, and it will be easier to target a higher ranking.

Short-tail keywords are between 1-3 words long and are very generic, e.g., “finance,” “shoes.”

Keywords are the foundation of organic search. If a website is not targeting the correct keywords, it can be detrimental to the success of the website and make the rest of the SEO efforts futile. This is a common problem that is often overlooked. Usually, businesses try to target generic keywords that are too broad and competitive. It is important to target the right keywords that will attract relevant and valuable traffic. Initially, it is best to target keywords that are not too competitive. There are two types of keywords to consider.

On-Page Optimization Techniques

Keyword Placement: Keyword placement is one of the most basic on-page optimization techniques. It is the simple process of placing keywords in specific areas of a webpage so that search engine crawlers can identify the topic and theme of the webpage. These areas include the header, title, and meta tags. When placing keywords into these specific areas, it is crucial to make sure that each keyword is strategically placed in their respective area. For example, the main keyword should always be placed in the header tag as this will show search engines that this is the most important keyword on the page. Also, keywords should never be overused in any area of a webpage. At times, people may think that they can rank higher if they stuff an unreal amount of keywords in a certain area. However, this only results in a keyword-spammed webpage that will eventually be blacklisted by search engines.

The actual content of on-page optimization includes the strategic placement of keywords in a webpage, optimization of the meta tags, alt tags, and header tags, and the implementation of an internal linking strategy. Before we begin, there are two good tools that will help us out a lot with our on-page optimization. The first tool is the MozBar, a tool that is used to analyze the on-page elements of a website. It provides critical information on metadata, header status, URL structure, and many more that will help you devise an on-page optimization plan.

Site Architecture and Internal Linking

Site architecture and internal linking are how information is organized and prioritized within a website. Site architecture revolves around the organization and categorization of content to improve the navigability for both search engines and users while they try to locate a particular page. According to Brafton, it is important to make sure that the site architecture is easily understood by human users and search engine crawlers. A well-designed website that is easily understood and navigated is more likely to be “crawled” properly by search engines. If a webpage is particularly deep within a site and difficult to access, it may take longer for a search engine to locate during a crawl. This makes the page less likely to be indexed and available in search results. A “three-click rule” is often used as a model for site architecture since the information being searched for should be easy to find within three clicks. Internal linking is the use of anchor text and clickable hyperlinks to link one page to another page within the same website. This is an important aspect of site architecture because it provides a simple and effective way to spread link juice and prioritize pages for search engines and users. Link juice is a term used to show the page rank that is passed from one page to another when it is linked. The higher the page rank, the higher the ranking in search results. Internal linking can be used to cross-reference similar articles and it can also be used to list relative posts at the end of an article. Internal linking that is descriptive and keyword-rich can improve a webpage’s visibility and ranking for specific keywords. Lurie Children’s Hospital used an internal linking strategy to improve the credibility, search visibility, and overall user experience on the website. A successful internal linking strategy allowed them to increase organic search traffic by 10% and donated revenue by 47%.

HTTPS and Security

It may take 3-4 weeks for Google to re-crawl and re-index all modified URLs, at which point it is possible to begin phased removal of old URLs from the index using the URL removal tool in Google Webmaster Tools. This tool should be used sparingly, only on URLs that have already been re-indexed and where a 301 redirect has been implemented. It is important to monitor the changes in indexed URLs using the site:Search operator over the following months to ensure that no URLs are lost from the index and that the organic search traffic of the website is preserved. This process somewhat mirrors the execution of a site redesign, and it is not uncommon for a temporary loss in search traffic to occur. Despite the potential risks and pitfalls, the end result will be improved security and long-term preservation of keyword rankings and organic traffic. The migration to a secure site will then enable further improvement in search visibility through the use of rich snippets and other structured data markups in the future, an area where schema and security are now a requirement. At this point, it is expected that security will become an even stronger ranking signal, and the migration to HTTPS will be essential for all websites.

A website lacking a secure certificate and HTTPS protocol will have all its URLs indexed as separate entities. This can cause confusion for Google and result in the dilution of a website’s search equity. In order to prevent this scenario from occurring, it is necessary to implement 301 redirects from HTTP pages to their new HTTPS counterparts. This will provide a clear path of communication to search engine crawlers and allow them to re-index a website’s pages under their new secure URLs. A spreadsheet should be used to document all page URL changes and ensure that no pages are left out in the process. This provides an opportunity to conduct an organized analysis of indexed URLs and consider any further changes to site structure or on-page content. Any significant alterations to URLs or site content should be approached with caution, as there is a possibility of short-term ranking and traffic loss during the re-indexing of pages.

Https (secure HTTP) is crucial in ensuring the secure transmission of private, personal, financial information. This is especially important in e-commerce transactions, where a user is required to enter sensitive information in order to finalize a purchase. In a 2014 Google Webmaster Central Blog, it was stated that the encryption of a website would be considered as a lightweight ranking signal within Google’s search engine algorithm. In this blog, it was also implied that the importance of security as a ranking signal may be increased in the future. With the recent consensus that a secure site is imperative in preserving both ranking and user information, making the move towards an HTTPS protocol is now essential. This represents a key transition from traditional SEO to technical SEO, a migration which if executed improperly could cause serious damage to current keyword rankings and organic search traffic.

Monitoring and Reporting

Now, after the thorough trial of technical SEO and implementation, it is time to work on the most important of all technical SEO best practices. It is the documentation, results analysis and reporting. Depending on the amount of SEO work done on the website, it is better to document and note down the changes made. The changes can be in the form of page copywriting/rewriting, title or meta changes, keyword density changes, or any other on-page/off-page changes. Any changes that are recorded, it is better to monitor the effects of the changes to the search traffic and the visibility. By monitoring changes, this can prevent any negative impact to the website by reverting the changes made if necessary. Changes can be monitored using Google Analytics to the respective changes in the organic search traffic. If Google Analytics is not installed on the website, it is better to start using it since the beginning of the technical SEO. After bookkeeping the changes and their effects, now it is time to do the reporting for the SEO work phases summing up to the changes of web visibility. Reporting should be done periodically to the work done. This means if an SEO has done changes to 10 pages’ worth of copywriting/meta title changes, the report should cover the effects of the changes to the search traffic focused on the 10 pages after 1-2 months of change. This is to measure the effectiveness of the SEO work and if the change is positive, copy the method used for the changes to the upcoming work.

Now, the main assumption is that even if a website is built and launched perfectly, there are always chances for errors and mistakes. These mistakes can be in the form of dead links, 404 errors, non-indexing pages, or some other server issues. These mistakes can badly affect the website’s performance on the search engines. In order to get rid of these problems, it is very important to monitor the website on frequent basis. Dead links, broken pages, and server issues can be found using different tools like Screaming Frog, Google Webmaster, etc. Regular checking and fixing website issues can improve search engine visibility.

Role of Technical SEO in Website Ranking

To rank well in search engine results pages (SERPs) and increase traffic to a website, the site must be a part of relevant query results. Websites must have a unilateral focus, i.e. modify code and content in ways that are able to return the best possible result to a search engine. In order for this to occur, search engines must be able to find and identify with your website. This is possible by maintaining the website and its pages within the search engine’s index. When site changes or new pages are added, it is ideal to be able to know whether or not that change has negatively or positively affected the site. This is crucial in the debugging process. If a page cannot be found by a search engine or does not exist within the site, this can create a gap in the SERPs and decrease traffic to the website. Indexation is often known as the “spidering” of pages, where search engines send out a team of robots (or “spiders”) to locate and read all information possible about a page and bring that information back to the databases. If our web pages are linked to from other sites, it increases the likelihood of our spiders arriving. Other websites would then be classified as an authority or a hub to these pages. The best case scenario would be direct submission of a URL to the search engine. This can be done using the “Add URL” page, or by XML site map and is more assurance that the page will be found and spidered in a timely manner. This is a good strategy when new sites are launched with a small amount of incoming links.

Improving Search Engine Visibility

This includes the optimization of the robots.txt file, and the generation of XML and HTML sitemaps. These features are a direct method of communication with search engine crawlers and aid in ensuring maximum accessibility. While creating a robots.txt file is self-explanatory, the most common use for this file is to disallow the crawling of certain areas of the site. This is highly beneficial if there are sections of the site that are non-essential or under development. HTML sitemaps are a page within the site with links to all other pages, and their purpose is to assist users in navigating the site. XML sitemaps are aimed towards search engine crawlers and provide a list of URLs to the site. A common misconception is that sitemaps are used to directly improve search engine rankings. While it is true that a sitemap can provide a list of page URLs to a crawler, the primary importance of sitemaps to SEO is to ensure that all pages are visible to crawlers. An image, video, or news sitemap can be used in the same way to provide a list of media items to the respective specialized search engines.

When a user accesses a search engine and types a query, in order for the site to appear in the list of results, the contents must be visible to search engines in some way. The two most common ways to ensure that a page is accessible to search engines are to create a text-based, browser-friendly site and to avoid elements that are not supported by all user agents. Although some developers are continuously aware of the importance of creating a text-based site, many are oblivious to the fact that search engines are not easily able to crawl non-HTML items such as Flash files, JavaScript, images, and media players. This is where technical search engine optimization comes into play.

Enhancing User Experience

A common and fast way to improve site user experience is to enhance the site speed. As far back as 2010, Google announced that site speed was a new signal in their search engine ranking algorithms. This was to be a new improved way of ensuring that fast loading sites are given precedence in search rankings over slower loading sites. This was verified again in 2018 when Google announced that site speed would also be a ranking factor in mobile page search results. With Google being the most used search engine, SEOs take heed of Google recommendations. Fast loading sites contribute to a higher quality user experience, as users spend less time waiting for slower pages to load. This gratification of immediate information retrieval can also result in more time spent on the site and more return visits. This is a great quality signal for search engines; a site that is popular with satisfied visitors. It has been claimed that site speed improvement can be quite technical, and dependent on the underlying platform of the website. An SEO would potentially need to consult with a web developer to explore methods of server response time improvements, browser caching and reducing large file sizes. A tool called PageSpeed Insights, mentioned in the Leveraging Browser Caching article, can be used to measure the site speed of both mobile and desktop site versions, and gain recommendations of possible speed improvements. This tool presents a report of a site speed score, and can be excellent for progress tracking of speed improvements made to a website.

Enhancing user experience on the website is one of the SEO strategies to improve website traffic, page relevance, and obtain higher search engine rankings. It is also one of the trickier SEO areas to try to guarantee improvements, because the quality of user experience is in the eyes of the visitor. Factors affecting visitor experience are vast, and range from site speed, site design, site information architecture, sometimes the content on the pages. SEO has a part in improving site user experience, though it is more in an indirect way. The reason it is only an indirect improvement to user experience is because the changes made to improve user experience, such as making a site faster or easier to navigate, are usually changes typically made to website for a design or usability facelift. SEOs can convince clients that these usability changes also have the added benefit of improved search engine rankings, though there is of course no guarantee of rankings increase.

Driving Organic Traffic

The important thing is that organic traffic has a snowball effect. An article or product that is popular will continue to attract visitors for months if not years after it was originally published. New products can benefit from organic traffic on a trial and error basis using SEO, determining the best keyphrases to target by using search volume data. Changing a PPC campaign is more of an educated guess based on what you think will produce the best ROI. Changes made to a product or its related articles can provide a lasting increase in traffic from organic SEO efforts.

SEO traffic can provide a general idea of search volumes and user interests over time for different products in different regions. This can be particularly useful information for a new business or a new product for an established business. PPC campaigns are a very useful way to promote a new product, as paid advertising. Using a mix of SEO and PPC for a new product can be a very effective strategy.

Driving organic traffic to a website is an important aspect of optimization. Organic traffic can be of particular benefit to a website. This is because it delivers targeted traffic. Organic traffic delivers results that are specific to what people are searching for, for example, “blue widget,” which means the traffic that the website is receiving is already configured to your product. This targeted traffic is more valuable than traffic from referral sites or PPC campaigns because the traffic often has a higher conversion rate.

Sotavento Medios: Unpacking Their Technical SEO Approach

Sotavento Medios, a Singapore-based digital marketing agency, positions itself as a leader in SEO solutions. While their website  (  doesn’t explicitly detail their technical SEO approach, we can glean some insights based on what they advertise and current SEO trends.

Here’s how Sotavento Medios might be wielding technical SEO for their clients:

Website Crawlability and Indexing: Technical SEO ensures search engines can easily crawl and understand a website’s structure. Sotavento Medios likely optimizes website architecture, robots.txt files, and sitemaps to facilitate smooth crawling and indexing.

Website Speed Optimization: Page loading speed is a crucial ranking factor. Sotavento Medios might employ techniques like image compression, minification of code, and efficient server configuration to ensure their clients’ websites load blazingly fast.

Mobile-First Indexing: Google prioritizes mobile versions of websites for ranking. Sotavento Medios likely adheres to responsive design principles, ensuring their clients’ websites offer an optimal user experience across all devices.

Structured Data Implementation: Structured data helps search engines understand the content of a website. Sotavento Medios might implement schema markup to enhance their clients’ search result snippets, potentially leading to higher click-through rates.

Internal Linking Strategy: Strategic internal linking helps distribute “link juice” throughout a website and improves user navigation. Sotavento Medios likely creates a well-structured internal linking architecture to optimize crawl flow and user journey.

Technical SEO Auditing and Ongoing Monitoring: Comprehensive SEO services include regular technical audits to identify and fix issues. Sotavento Medios might utilize SEO tools and their expertise to conduct regular audits and stay ahead of technical SEO challenges.

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