When it comes to lead gen, could technical SEO be the key area to get your customers through the funnel?
When optimising a website, it’s important to incorporate a wide variety of SEO practices to ensure you get the best possible results. The best way of implementing effective SEO across a website is to have a balanced level of on-page, technical, off-page, local and mobile SEO; this will boost the website’s organic traffic and in turn increase the volume of inbound leads into the top of your sales funnel.
On-page SEO is considered to be the most important and effective method of generating quality leads with solid technical SEO being the initial starting point to a well-optimised site. When important technical SEO practices are overlooked or poorly implemented, it can negatively affect your lead generation efforts.
Let’s define technical SEO
Let’s begin by understanding what the term technical SEO actually means as it’s one of the core practices for lead generation and SEO.
Technical SEO is the process of making sure that a website is optimised to meet the specifications of modern search engines in order to improve organic rankings. The presence of certain technical characteristics like a secure connection, responsive design, or a fast page load times can lead to preferential treatment from the search engines.
Working with your web developer on basic technical optimisation can make a significant difference to successful lead generation and help improve the results of your other SEO campaigns. It’s important to focus on laying a strong technical foundation for a website to be fast, clear, and easy to find by search engine robots. This also conveniently leads to an improved user experience for your customers, creating a win-win situation for everyone.
Here are some of the common issues that can occur with technical SEO but could be easily fixed.
Identify and fix crawling and indexing errors
The first task you should undertake when fixing the technical SEO of a website is to run an audit to identify crawling and indexing errors that might be affecting the visibility of your website in search engines. Google Search Console provides an extensive report that helps to identify such errors.
A crawl and index error is any obstacle the search engine faces while trying to access web pages. These errors can be dangerous as they prevent the search engine from reading the content of your website and indexing its pages. Crawls errors can be broadly classified into two types; Site errors and URL errors.
Site errors are critical as they show that the search engine, and therefore its users, are not able to access the website which means there is zero visibility to customers and no lead generation. The three main types of site errors reported during checkups are; DNS errors, Server errors, and robot failure. DNS errors can be resolved easily by contacting your domain name service provider to resolve any issues. Server errors, on the other hand, can be a bit more tricky as there are several types of server errors that can occur, usually the primary issue is that the server is taking too long to respond and Google’s request has timed out. The final error type can occur with reading robots.txt files, these errors that show that the search engines can not find and read the website’s robots.txt file. When this happens consult your web developer or triple check your robots.txt file for the line
Disallow: / and remove it.
These errors show that specific pages of the website are inaccessible or empty, this should be checked on a regular basis, so the error can be fixed as soon as possible. Some of the more familiar URL errors include:
- Soft 404s
- Not found
- Access denied
- Not followed
- Unauthorized (401)
- Some server (5xx) or DNS errors.
These can be found with URL inspection tools and the elimination of broken links and other issues can make your webpage more crawl-worthy, thus improving the indexing process.
A noindex tag, when associated with a URL, can be a reason behind the failure of the indexing of that page. Another commonly seen problem is a “redirect error”, this means that the URL is being redirected to an invalid page. Your web developer can work on these types of issues and resolve them fairly easily so that the pages can be indexed correctly.
Implement schema markup efficiently
The lack of structured data on a website can be distracting for search engines often resulting in lower ranking and invisibility for potential customers, despite other on-page and off-page SEO techniques being implemented correctly. Using Schema markup is the best way of communicating a website’s intent and content type with search engines.
To implement schema markup correctly you should use it to highlight important elements of your website, such as those that have contact and address information, event listings, blogs, news articles etc. You (or your web developer) should then follow the guidelines for Schema Markup to generate structured data markup which gets included in your pages HTML to label and identify this important content. Once this has been done you should test the markup is correct using online validation tools.
Correct use of schema markup will equip your website for semantic search and also helps prepare your site to be ready for emerging developments such as voice search. For example, if your company Acme Ltd has implemented schema markup correctly on an events page and a user does a voice search for “When is the Acme Limited AGM event” the search engine will understand the context that there is an event on your website called “AGM” on the 12th December and return the correct result.
The overall structure and hierarchy of your site also should be documented through XML and HTML sitemaps, a XML sitemap helps the search engine crawlers to analyse a website while a HTML sitemap can help guide your customers through your website.
Avoid duplicate content
Having multiple pages with similar content can create a problem for Google as well as other search engines to determine which page should rank. Including blocks of content across multiple pages that are similar can be considered as duplicate content, this can cause an issue with the organic page ranking.
Onsite duplication i.e. the occurrence of the same content on two or more unique URLs can be easily controlled by the site admin and your web development team by using scanning tools such as SiteLiner that can be used to speed up the process.
When you’re checking for duplicate content be mindful in case a third party has republished your website’s content with your approval or you’ve decided to republish useful information sourced from third-party content. The duplication can damage your rankings and it can take quite a while to fix these problems. Your website’s unique content is important not just for search engines but also for attracting organic leads.
Finally, make your website mobile-friendly
Using technical SEO correctly can be really easy when you understand the basics. The speed of your website when being used on a mobile device can change your ranking significantly. Look at your site’s performance on different devices, implement accelerated mobile pages, and improve the indexability of the website for organic traffic.
Having a mobile-friendly website not only improves your search engine ranking but also improves your customer’s user experience as the majority of internet users today will access most websites through their mobile devices.
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In conclusion, it is important to review the technical aspects of SEO regularly to ensure the performance and rankings of your website remains good. Avoid internal or external linking errors, keep an eye out for broken links and non-canonical URLs, avoid cannibalisation of keywords in your content, and look after on-page and off-page SEO campaigns for improved organic traffic and lead generation.