In the final part of my series called ‘The Three Pillars of SEO’, I am tackling ‘under the bonnet’, or the more technical way to influence SEO. There are a lot of areas that could fall into this category, so I am not going to cover all of them: I will just deal with just 4 of these that I think are pretty important. You probably have a different view, but remember: – if we knew how search engines prioritise elements of SEO, we would be wealthy people!
Case sensitive URLs: very few people actually capitalise a web address into their browser, but when you go to sites which have been managed by non-digital experts, you will often find capitalised URLs. Google may think that even though the words in the URL are the same, the capitalisation denotes something different – which means that you may have a duplicate content issue, which you really don’t want. Most developers would be able to sort this problem out pretty quickly.
Site Speed: this is one of the most over-looked areas of SEO and general website user experience. In the modern age with high speed internet, a slow pay load may really kill off your chances of conversion. 47% of consumers expect a page to load fully in 2 seconds, so the window is small. Solutions to page load speed can get a little technical, so consult and expert who knows your site.
Upload an XML sitemap: you are able to upload a sitemap of your website to Google to ensure that when Google are crawling your website, they are looking for every page. There are free tools which you can use from the web to generate a sitemap, and they can be uploaded via Google Webmaster Tools.
Keep tagging: When you read about search engine’s sophistication in 2013, it is easy to forget how much information they still need to be told. This information is told to the search engines in the shape of tags – small pieces of data which tell a search engine what the page is about. This is the information which should go into your meta descriptions, as well as your alt tags for images.
The Three Pillars of SEO hopefully illustrate to you that SEO works best when there is activity happening with all three pillars – a website that is not technically sound will remain problematic even with some amazing off-page activity, and vice versa. And SEO is a moving topic – there will always be updates from Google and other search engines which means that great SEO practitioners will have to continually adapt.