What is Technical SEO & Why is it Important?

It is 2021. Attention spans are at an all-time low, and with that, marketers must ensure that their technical SEO is top of the line. If fickle attention spans are not coddled by fast speeds, frustrations rise and it’s “on to the next.” Think of it like dating: it is all about the first impression.

To avoid these types of potential complications, technical SEO best practices dictate that webmasters perform regular technical SEO audits to not only ensure peak performance but also to ensure that search engines are able to scan and index pages with ease.

But it goes much deeper than that. So to gain a broader understanding of why technical SEO is so important, here is some in-depth analysis to help you ensure that you are up-to-speed on technical SEO 2021 factors.

Technical SEO – What is it?

Technical SEO ensures that websites meet search engine requirements for improved organic rankings. The better the technical SEO, the higher the search engine rank.

As Backlinko puts it, “you can have the best site with the best content, but if your technical SEO is messed up [then] you’re not going to rank.” Why have top-tier content if no one can find it?

At the core of a website’s technical SEO is speed. “A technically sound website is fast for users and easy to crawl for search engine robots,” says Yoast. Optimizing the technical aspects of a website will help search engines understand what the site is about and will prevent any confusion brought about by duplicate content or dead links.

Website Optimization – Feel the Need for Speed

Technical SEO is about the “total package,” but at its core is a need for speed. People are impatient. Time is more of a precious commodity than ever, and users are quicker than ever to jump ship if they are not met with instant gratification.

A 2016 study showed that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if their website of choice does not open within three seconds. More recently, that number has fallen to less than two seconds. That’s all it takes. A few idle seconds and then that traffic waves bye-bye. With respect to e-commerce, that’s lost profits.

And this is not lost on the search engine giants. Optimal technical SEO remains the name of the game for Google and the like, as they actively prefer the websites that load the fastest. Moreover, beginning in May 2021, Google will launch Core Web Vitals as an official ranking factor, which are a new set of optimization criteria that goes beyond website loading speed, and measures how fast the website feels

It’s the Wild West out there, and your website needs to be ready. So step one in optimizing technical SEO is testing website speed to ensure the site is fast enough.

Once you find your speed, the next step is to boost that speed by decreasing your page’s size as much as possible. More than any other factor, a website’s total size correlates to its load time. Easy ways to mitigate that include eliminating third party scripts, removing bloated, unused JavaScript & CSS code, as well as testing load times without the use of a content delivery network, or, CDN.

Technical SEO Checklist

Technical SEO, while anchored in speed, covers much more ground. A sound technically SEO checklist should include website crawlability, indexation, mobile usability and up-to-date links. However, to be clear, while broken external links may not necessarily have a negative effect on technical SEO, broken internal links are another story.

Broken internal links make it harder for search engines to find and crawl your site’s pages, so it is beneficial to perform a quarterly SEO audit to ensure the absence of broken links for the future. This process can easily be achieved through most SEO audit tools. Up-to-date internal linking informs crawlability for search engines, meaning, helping the search engines understand the full scope of content per page. Having duplicate content and “infinite space,” such as unending event calendars and the like, will also negatively affect the crawlability of a page.

Implementing these key measures will positively affect the indexing of your webpage via search engines, and optimizing site indexing can be achieved through the simple application of the Google Search Console’s Coverage Report, among other crawling tools.

Lastly, in 2021, it is all about mobile. As users become more and more isolated, the more dependence is placed on mobile usability of the apps and sites they love. This reality should inform the strategies of developers looking to see a high ROI with regards to users finding and absorbing their content. Ensuring optimal mobile usability can also be achieved via the Google Search Console, this time through their Mobile Usability Report. Simply put, this report will indicate whether a site’s page is not properly optimized for mobile users, citing specific issues and providing appropriate fixes.

Technical SEO Informs the Future

So why is technical SEO important? SERP space is more crowded than ever, so webmasters and marketers alike will need to utilize savvy technical SEO practices and keep them a recurring priority in order to see higher gains in traffic and rates of return.

If load times are long, customer drop-off is swift, and a faster competitor is just a click away. But they don’t have to be.