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What Is Technical SEO?

There are over 200 factors that Google’s algorithm considers when ranking pages. Some of these factors relate to the content on the page, but the majority fall under the umbrella of technical SEO.

Technical SEO addresses concerns such as:

  • Are your pages loading quickly?
  • Are your pages mobile-friendly?
  • Are your pages actually able to be crawled? In other words, is Googlebot recognizing and indexing them correctly?
  • Are you using the correct tags to identify the hierarchy of the content on the page?

Technical SEO doesn’t deal with content, backlinks, or anything of that sort. Instead, it comes down to actions like making changes to your CMS or actions that involve a code change for your website. These actions typically fall under the category of site infrastructure, and now marketers should pay attention to Google’s Core Web Vitals update.

Core Web Vitals

“Core web vitals” is one of the groups of technical SEO factors that Google’s search ranking algorithm uses to evaluate web pages. This is a relatively recent algorithm update from Google, and web pages can end up at risk of being penalized in search results for not meeting the standards of Core Web Vitals. For any curious marketers, you can monitor Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console. Core web vitals can be broken down into these three main factors:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): the length of time it takes the largest element on the page to load and be seen by the user. Typically, 2.5 seconds or less is considered good, while anything longer than 4 seconds is considered poor.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): the amount of “shifting” that happens on the page while the content is loading. If you’ve ever accidentally clicked on something you didn’t mean to because the elements on the page were moving around while you tried to click, you know how frustrating excessive shifting can be for users.

First Input Delay (FID): the length of time between clicking on a page element and seeing the appropriate response (for example, clicking on a dropdown menu and seeing it drop down). Unresponsive page elements are inconvenient for users and can ruin their experience on your page. You should aim to keep your first input delay below 300 milliseconds and under 100 milliseconds is better.

Site Infrastructure

The second technical SEO category Google’s algorithm cares about is site infrastructure. This refers to the way your site architecture is laid out. A well-built infrastructure makes your site easier for Googlebot to index and easier for visitors to navigate.

Demandwell’s SEO Health Scorecard evaluates your site’s infrastructure by examining factors like page speed, mobile optimization, sitemaps, and status code responses. This helps us determine how you can improve your site infrastructure to boost SEO ranking across all your pages.

What’s the Importance of Technical SEO?

The most dangerous kind of SEO issue is one you don’t know about yet. Technical SEO flaws are not always as immediately obvious as flaws in the content itself. Keeping a close eye on how your pages are performing from a technical standpoint ensures you’re well informed about any problems that need to be addressed to keep your pages ranking.

Additionally, technical SEO best practices evolve over time. For example, Google changed the way it uses Core Web Vitals to measure user experience in June 2021. Conducting regular technical SEO audits and responding to evolving best practices are a couple of the best ways to guarantee your page rankings aren’t suffering from poor technical optimization.

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