With technical SEO, you’re mixing basic SEO knowledge with development skills. It’s hard to answer any technical SEO question because everything requires one person to take a really good look at it and try to come up with some creative solution for it.
Example 1: Page Speed
If your pages are loading slowly, something is wrong. If I wanted to optimize a page for something like page speed, I would need to take a close look at that specific page and see what is causing it to load slowly.
How big is the webpage? How many megabytes to download that webpage? Let’s just say that the webpage is 50 megabytes, which is a lot.
Images Taking Too Long To Load
Without even seeing the webpage, I could just assume that it’s probably a media-heavy webpage, with lots of images that are probably at least three to five megabytes each, and there’s a whole bunch of them on the page. So when you load the page, it adds up to 50 megabytes.
So if you ask, how do I optimize my page for page speed? Well, shrink the images down, shrink the quality of the images down, get the file size of those images from five megabytes to 500 kilobytes. That will remove 90% of the loading time coming from images, but there are a lot of other things that affect page speed.
Scripts Causing Too Many To Work At Once
What kind of scripts are running on that page? If you have ads on your website, you are running a script that is loading those ads. It’s pulling them from Google and downloading them. Tracking page views and clicks with Google Analytics is always running on every page. So there’s another script.
Themes and plugins use scripts to make a web page look nice, using moving elements and other cool effects. When you have more of that on a page, then it just makes the page load longer. So it just comes down to cutting as many things as you can without actually ruining what the page looks like. It’s a fine art to do page speed optimization.
Example 2: Redirects
Redirects are one of the most powerful tools an SEO can use. When used correctly, it can save a website’s life. If used incorrectly, can cause a lot of headaches.
You might load a page and it flickers and it’s reloading over and over. In which case you could assume that page is redirecting maybe to itself over and over. And it does two or three redirects before it actually gets to the page. This is a redirect chain.
There’s a technical issue that should be resolved. First of all, why is it redirecting a whole bunch of times? Fix that, get it to load the page it’s supposed to load.
Automatically Created Redirects
It could just be that the navigation is out of date. You just have to update the navigation. It’s pointing to an old page, but that page knows about the new page. So it’s redirecting automatically. So when you click on the menu item, you’re clicking an old link, but it’s redirecting to the right link.
So go into your navigation and fix that link, make it link to the page it’s supposed to go to. Don’t let it fix itself because that’s what you get, unwanted redirects.
Example 3: Broken Links
A link placed somewhere on your site isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. It could be linking to the wrong page, or worse, it could be linking to a page that doesn’t exist. There are several kinds of links to keep an eye on:
- Navigation menu
- Contact forms
- Links between web pages
- Links to resources, other websites
It may not seem like a big deal if a link doesn’t work. The user, if they even clicked it, would just have a slightly lower quality experience on your website. What you should be concerned with, though, is that Google uses these links to get around your site.
If you imagine the classic arcade game Frogger, links are like the lily pads Frogger uses to cross the river. Google is Frogger and it doesn’t want to fall into the river.
When a link is not behaving the way it should, the entire website’s health starts deteriorating. Broken links need to be patched up.
Monthly SEO & Reporting
That’s just scratching the surface. There are a lot more technical issues that come up with a website and things that the website is doing that are affecting the entire website’s SEO. Just page speed and redirects are probably the easiest ones to go after. This kind of ties into why SEOs are paid on a month-by-month basis.
It’s not just like a one-and-done thing because these kinds of technical issues do come up over time and it’s on the SEO who you’re paying to spot those things and fix them.
I like to believe that if you don’t hear anything from your SEO, then they’re doing a good job. They’re monitoring your website. They’re making sure everything’s up and running. And even though you don’t hear from them, they are tracking what’s happening on your website.
Weekly Site Audits
I have software that, once a week, scans my client’s websites. And it tells me if anything’s wrong. And usually, you get this whole laundry list of errors. And most of them are negligible. You don’t really have to give it attention. Most of them are false positives. But usually, once in a while, there’s one big issue that’s I realize, oh, this is really bottlenecking what’s going to work for our site.
It’s going to take me 30 seconds. And that’s it. The next scan that comes is going to be a much cleaner scan and the website will be healthier and the SEO will be stronger. Over time, you just grow it and strengthen it and keep it in tune, keep it in shape.
For my clients, I’ll send them a monthly report. If there’s anything worth mentioning, it will go in that report. All the little things are left out because they don’t need to hear that. They don’t need to hear I optimized an image on their website to load faster just a little bit.
They might like to hear that, but it doesn’t help with moving things forward. It’s easier to just stick to the best parts of what should be in the report, which is usually just like here’s where your keywords sit right now. Here’s what the competition looks like right now. Here’s what we did last month. Here’s what I propose we do the following month and what we can expect going forward.