Creating great content is key to an SEO strategy.
But if you neglect the technical side of how your content is delivered, then you are putting up unnecessary barriers for yourself.
Technical SEO encompasses the “behind the scenes” elements of an SEO strategy that speaks directly to search algorithms.
But there are quite a few things to optimize for when building out a technical SEO strategy. For many business owners, it may be beneficial to hire a technical SEO consultant who can handle the nuances for you.
6 Ways a Technical SEO Consultant Can Help Grow Your Business
Regardless of which type of service you hire for, your end goal is to grow your business.
Hiring a technical SEO consultant is no different, and you should go into the relationship with an expectation of results.
A technical SEO consultant will optimize both your website and content so that you are providing the best experience for users, communicating effectively with search algorithms, and ultimately ranking better for your target keywords.
At a high level, the services they provide should lead to:
- More traffic – As your website and content become better optimized, you will inevitably begin to rank better for certain keywords. In some cases, you may enter the first page and even the top 5 search results, where the majority of traffic funnels into. You will also experience more people who stay on your website and consider your products as they optimize aspects such as page speed and mobile-friendliness.
- More customers – With an increase in traffic and higher rankings for targeted keywords, you will experience an increase in customers. As a result, technical SEO can be directly linked to increasing revenue.
To achieve these business outcomes, technical SEO consultants will dive deep into your SEO strategy and uncover elements of your strategy that are currently holding you back.’
Here are some of the elements that they will optimize:
1) Page Load Time
How fast your website loads is a key element in your SEO strategy – both from a user’s perspective and from the search algorithms.
If your page is taking 4 seconds or more to load, for instance, the majority of users will click away, leading to higher bounce rates.
This signifies to the search engines that your website offers a poor user experience, which will make you rank less in the SERPS (search engine results pages).
A technical SEO consultant will check for things such as image size, broken code, and other elements on the page that could cause a slow page load time.
2) Design Optimization
Images and layout are important to make a website more user friendly and attractive. Imagine coming to a website that’s just a wall of text – you will probably click off.
Dwell time – the amount of time a user spends on your site – is a key metric that search algorithms look for. A better, more attractive design increases the likelihood that people will stay and navigate your site.
A technical SEO consultant will make sure that your site can easily be navigated and has an attractive design. They will also ensure that your images are optimized with appropriate names and alt attributes for the search engine.
3) Mobile Responsiveness
As web traffic becomes increasingly mobile-first, having a responsive website has become a major element of how search algorithms rank websites.
This means that your website will need to be responsive in the sense that regardless of which device the user is using, they will be able to see your website in an appropriate way.
A technical SEO consultant won’t likely be able to make your website responsive, as this is a job for your developers and designers.
However, they will be able to point out any pages that aren’t so mobile friendly.
4) Meta Tag Information
Every website has information that sums up what the site is about to both the user and search engines. This information is contained in the meta tag of the website (usually at the top of a website’s code). It contains elements such as:
- Description – This is the short snippet of information that people see in search engines before they click through to your site. A technical SEO consultant will help you write descriptions that increase your click-through rate while also being relevant to your keyword.
- Title – This is the name of the piece of content or page. Having a title with the keyword you are ranking for is a critical part of technical SEO.
- Robots tag – The robots tag tells search engines how and if they should crawl (index) your page. You don’t want every page indexed as it can affect your rankings (if you have duplicate content for instance).
5) Link Optimization
Your technical SEO consultant will advise you on how links can make or break your SEO strategy. There are 4 main aspects of your linking strategy that you will affect your results:
- Broken links – Search engines will punish you for having broken links on your website. These are typically the low hanging fruit that your technical SEO consultant will clean up quickly.
- Internal links – How your website is structured and whether your pages link to each other helps you rank better in search engines. Your technical SEO consultant will help you architect your website and organize your content in the best way.
- External links – Having an appropriate amount of external links to other credible websites with relevant information is another important factor.
- Anchor text – Instead of linking the full URL, a technical SEO consultant will help you write appropriate anchor texts which replace the URL to give a better user experience and context for the search algorithms.
6) Page Structure
How your page is structured is another factor technical SEO consultants will keep in mind – particularly for longer-form content. Factors they will evaluate include:
- Use of headers – Headers are the simplest way to signal to search engines what your page is actually about. Typically ranging from H1 to H3 in terms of weight, headers have to be optimized with primary and secondary keywords for the best effect.
- Featured snippets – A technical SEO consultant will use different formatting such as lists and bullet points to increase your chance of being displayed in Google’s featured snippets. This is a feature of Google that allows people to get information about their queries without actually clicking through.
How to Get Started With a Technical SEO Consultant
If you decide that you need to work with a technical SEO consultant, there are 4 phases of how your working relationship should look like.
In the preparation stage, you will need to make sure that your house is in order so that the technical SEO consultant can do their job. This includes:
- Providing the relevant access to your website.
- Making sure that the timing is right for you to work with a technical SEO consultant. If your business is early stage, you may be better off investing in other digital marketing services.
- Getting familiar with the basics of technical SEO. You need some idea of the field to ensure that you can make a more informed decision when choosing a consultant.
- Setting goals. You need to understand what you want to achieve with your search strategy. E.g do you want to rank for certain keywords as part of a content strategy or just appear locally?
2) Technical SEO Audit
Once you have chosen a consultant, the first thing they should do is conduct an audit of your current SEO implementation. Here are some aspects of a technical SEO audit:
- Using tools such as Ubersuggest to capture surface level points of optimization. SEO audit tools can quickly identify things that are hurting your SEO such as broken links, 404 errors and keyword frequency.
- Evaluating more deeper factors such as website structure, creating a sitemap and disabling or removing irrelevant content.
- Practicing user empathy by considering things that could lessen the user experience such as newsletter pop ups, page speed and poor navigation.
3) Optimizing Technical SEO
Next, your technical SEO consultant will get to work to fix the technical issues on your website. Depending on what needs to be optimized, there are a few things you may need to do also:
- You may have to get your site completely redesigned so that it is responsive or mobile friendly.
- Your images may need to be resized so to increase the page load time.
- You will likely need to go through all of your content with a fine tooth comb, keeping an eye on the little things such as structure, linking and meta information.
Measuring the ROI of Technical SEO Consulting Services
As a business owner or marketing leader, you need to be able to quantify the ROI of a technical SEO consultant.
This can be tricky, as technical SEO consulting can be similar to services like design or development in the sense that there is value created, but it can be hard to measure.
There are however some things that you should keep an eye on that are directly tied to marketing performance:
- Better rankings – Technical SEO provides a strong foundation for your content. As you optimize the technical elements of your SEO strategy, you should see your rankings boost across the board for all the keywords you are targeting.
- More dwell time – With better page load times, website design and structure, you should see users spending more time on your website. You will also notice that your bounce rate – the amount of people that click out of your site before browsing – will reduce.
- More customers – Through a combination of these factors, you should be able to observe an increase in customers over time.
Keep in mind that technical SEO isn’t a pure marketing activity like performance advertising, so you should see it more of a catalyst than a marketing channel itself.
4 Point Checklist For Finding the Right Technical SEO Consultant
If you decide that you need to hire a technical SEO consultant, here are the 4 things you should screen for before signing any contract.
1) Client list – Take a look at the type of clients that the SEO consultant has worked with in the past. Are there any notable brand names? What type of websites do these clients have? Is there any evidence of demonstrable results? Think also about the type of SEO strategy that their clients use and whether it’s relatable to your situation. For instance, do you need to rank for high competition keywords or just compete in your local city?
2) Additional services – A technical SEO consultant should be able to offer you additional services such as content marketing, analytics and other forms of SEO. A consultant who has experience with other forms of digital marketing will be able to help you create and execute a holistic strategy that drives results in tandem with technical SEO.
3) Strong team – Look for a consultant that has a strong team behind them or check that they themselves have an exceptional track record. Years of experience is important, but with SEO it’s important that the consultant you work with keeps track of the new changes that are happening everyday. Search engines like Google are constantly evolving, so you need to work with somebody who has their finger on the pulse.
4) Technology – A good thing to screen for is whether your technical SEO consultant has built out their own tech platform that they use with their clients. Examples of this include Ubersuggest, SEMRush and Moz. Not only will you get to benefit from their technology, but the fact that they have built their own technology provides further credibility and shows that they have real skin in the game.
Technical SEO has a lot of variables to it, so it can be quite tricky for somebody to do it themselves. This is particularly true given the fact that search engines such as Google are constantly evolving.
In many cases, you would be better off hiring a technical SEO consultant who keeps on top of the latest trends so that you can optimize your site more effectively.
Keep in mind also that technical SEO should be done as part of a holistic SEO strategy.
As important as it is to optimize your site, great content and positive social feedback to your site are still king.