Technical SEO is a part of Search Engine Optimization, which focuses on the technical optimization possibilities of a website. These include, for example, the source code, operating systems, and server configurations. Technical SEO is never solely responsible for a good ranking of keywords, but rather a prerequisite for further optimization actions.
When the Internet became more and more successful in the late 1990s, search engine optimization (SEO) developed its own branch of online marketing, which ensured good placements of websites in the SERPs of search engines.
The possibilities for optimization were still relatively primitive. It was usually enough to fill a homepage and subpages with appropriate keywords, both in the meta area and on the page itself, in order to rank well for a particular keyword. At the same time, it was very easy to influence the ranking with a mass of backlinks. Link popularity was the key factor, not the domain popularity or domain trust of a website.
Because of the increasing complexity of search algorithms and the increasingly differentiating web search, as well as an exponentially increasing number of new websites, the demands on search engine optimization has likewise increased. These changes can be found today mainly in Technical SEO. Thus, this part of search engine optimization is given increasing importance today. For example, the availability of a website or the number of 404 errors of a website are ranking factors at Google.
The “technical SEO” phenomenon is comparable with Formula 1 racing. It is no longer just the best driver who will win, but the one with the technically best-equipped vehicle. Today it is no longer a great art to put a website on the Internet. But a wealth of know-how and expertise is required to optimize websites for search engines. Particularly in highly competitive areas, small technical differences such as faster loading times or a “clean” source code can be the tipping point on the scale for better positioning in the SERPs.
Today, technical SEO is not just a game for nerds, but a “must have” for search engine optimization. If you want to optimize websites, you should at least know the basics of common programming languages or markup languages. Only if you understand the page architecture and the functionality of servers and websites, will you be able to give programmers meaningful instructions about optimization and understand which steps and/or work will be necessary. Knowledge in technical SEO is therefore also important in order to improve the workflow of projects and to calculate possible costs more precisely.
Since Google officially made mobile optimization of a website a ranking factor in April 2015, demands on the technical optimization of websites increased again. For example, a website must be able to be used without problems with mobile devices such as a smartphone in order to rank well in the mobile search.
Useful tools exist to perform technical SEO. An initial review for technical aspects of a website can be done in the Google Search Console or the Bing Webmaster Tools. A variety of workable tools are offered on the Internet. An overview of 100 different SEO tools can be found in the Moz blog, for example. Google offers two tools, the Page Speed testing tool and tool for testing mobile device friendliness, which can be used without logging in to a Google account.
The individual aspects of technical SEO can be divided into different groups:
Technical SEO has the purpose of making a website optimally usable by every user. This includes that all content is easily accessible and that users can easily find their way around the website. Regarding the actual optimization for search engines, technical SEO plays a big role in regard to shorter loading times. These play an important role, especially for the number of possible conversions. A study in 2015 found that the number of conversions increased by more than 20 percent for each second of reduction in loading time. Google itself also takes into account shorter loading times when evaluating a website. Thus, technical SEO fulfills a dual purpose. It serves the usability optimization and is an important prerequisite for better ranking.