There is a focus on content in the digital marketing sphere. And not without good reason. Content attracts readers, drives traffic, raises your online profile and improves search engine rankings.
But there is little point in creating quality content if the technical elements of your website are not in place to host it. Technical SEO is the foundation from which you build a successful online business.
Digital marketing is a complex web of interconnected strategies. Furthermore, the components have a knock-on affect which either supports or hinders the entire campaign.
Such is the case with technical SEO. The fundamental workings of a digital business are in the background of your website, and if they are not functioning correctly, your entire online marketing efforts collapse in on itself.
The importance of technical structure
The technical structure of your website impacts on usability, crawlability and performance. If any of these three components is flawed, it does not matter how much content you produce, you will not improve your visibility in search rankings.
User-experience (UX) is vitally important to retaining visitors and increasing conversions. If customers cannot easily navigate your website and find the information and products they are looking for they will leave and check out the competition instead.
The information architecture is one of the first components of a website to address. You need to define a clear purchasing path and make it easy for customers to get from where they are to where they want to be in the least amount of clicks.
The technical structure of your online store or website has to be accessible and presented like a well-organised library of information to search engines crawlers so they find their way around and index each page. If robots cannot locate a page and understand which section a page (like a book on a shelf of a bookstore) belongs to, the content will not be filed and matched against search terms.
Images and videos also need to be properly formatted to improve visibility in search engines. Small actions such as updating alt tags on images can have a big impact on search results, and even more importantly these are there for the use of those to whom accessibility is all important, such as those with visual impairment.
Site performance is another technical issue that needs addressing. End-users do not have the patience to wait and click out of websites that take too long to load (between 4 and 10 seconds.)
The performance of your website is even more critical now the majority of internet searches are conducted on mobile handsets.
Connection speeds on mobiles are typically slower which causes user frustration and content has to be condensed into smaller screens which can make it more difficult for web designers to position products, services and information they are looking for.
Google is also continually pushing for us to present a fast experience across both desktop and mobile for visitors too, so it is safe to say that there will be ranking benefits for this.
Whilst publishing quality content has a significant impact on the success of your online business, it is worthless if your website does not function well enough for customers to use.
Before you even think about publishing content, the technical aspects behind the scenes have to be established in order for visitors to interact and engage with it. If you fail to address the technical components, your online business fails full-stop.