What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is related to all the bits of search engine optimisation that don’t fall into off-page SEO or the content creation.
Sure, writing can be technical, but it is usually seen as more creative than technical, whereas technical SEO is more to do with the code, and structure of the website, and also the server.
Why does all that matter?
Well, if you imagine a race between two cars, one is a sports car and one is ready for the scrap pile. Sure, you make them both look pretty with a fresh paint job, but that won’t help the write-off win the race. You need to make sure the engine is good and well maintained, and that the tyres are going to grip the road.
The way a page on your website looks is more to do with on-page SEO, design and user experience (UX). But the speed the page loads – that is all about what’s under the hood and is known as technical SEO.
The idea of winning a race isn’t an arbitrary analogy – Google pits every web page against each other, and the winners rank higher. More and more, Google is putting emphasis on page speed and load times. Why? Because the racing car deserves to be in the race and the road car doesn’t. Likewise, search engines see websites with money spent on them as being more important and giving a better user experience, such as quicker page load times.
So On-Page Besides Content?
Yes, exactly that, you need to have some great content and copywriting, you need to have some content that will keep people engaged, such as images or videos, and that is all on-page SEO, the technical SEO is all the stuff behind the scenes. Things like browser caches, and image optimisations. What else? Let’s have a look.
Fast Site = Better Rankings
All things being equal in an A/B test, the speed that a page loads, will be an important factor in who ranks higher – just like that race we mentioned earlier.
What can help with page speed?
Lots of factors will affect page speed, things like image size and HTTP requests will determine how fast a page will load, along with the server you use and the version of PHP you are running. Everything has an impact, so it’s good to get everything running optimally.
Images should usually be the first thing that you think about optimising, why? Because one image can be the same size as your entire HTML page. That means that having one large image will double the time it takes to load your site. When we add many images, the size of the page and the data that has to be loaded goes up astronomically.
Everyone loves images, but make sure they are used properly! If you need them on the page, make sure they are a decent size and compressed for the web.
I recall once back in the dial-up days, I went to a university website and there was an image that was resized to be about the size of a postage stamp, but I could see it loading… I wondered why it would take to long, so I opened it in a new window and guess what? It filled my screen and was around 2MB in size – this was a while ago when 2MB was a lot.
Loading images that are far too big and resizing them in CSS or HTML is one of the biggest mistakes out there. Sure, retina screens brought around a mini-resurgence, but you should still be smart about it.