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What is Technical SEO, and Do I Need a Developer?

What is technical SEO? That’s a great question! It’s quite often quite a misunderstood one; there appears to be quite a bit of confusion for what pertains to technical SEO, and what falls under the umbrella of development.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the art of making a website as accessible as possible to devices, search engines and users as possible – but unlike other optimisations (e.g. content, CRO etc), technical SEO changes aim to improve performance, readability, how easily content can be crawled/indexed, and a host of other factors which may affect how well your website does in the SERP (Search Engine Results Pages). 

Due to the nature of these changes, at certain points, developers may need to get involved to ensure the code-base of a system can be changed to adequately meet the requirements of the webmaster guidelines. An example of this would be page speed, and looking into server configurations; if you evaluate that cache-headers and gZip compression is the way to go for a client, you’ll need to evaluate how to best go about implementation.

If The Client Has A Developer

If the client has a developer, make sure that your recommendations are concise, well-researched, and contain the predicted outcomes of the fixes – most developers work on either a quota or an hourly rate, so to avoid your client being billed for more than is necessary, always prepare everything which is needed in advance:

  • Make a plan for changes (recommendations document) 
  • Explain why the changes are required, and potential gains from these
  • Work with the developer to ensure implementation has worked
  • Test & monitor results

If The Client Doesn’t Have A Developer

If the client doesn’t have a developer, but the fixes are essential, you could try fixing this yourself, but there are meticulous steps which need to be taken to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible:

  • Make a plan for your changes (recommendations)
  • Research the least impactful time (via Analytics) that you can implement your fixes, this will help you avoid disrupting users
  • Alert the client to any changes which will be made to the site, and always get a sign-off before making any changes. 
  • If you’ll be working via FTP, always make a backup, regardless of how small the change is – if a website/CMS has been built bespoke for a client, take no chances.

Index Management, A Common Example 

Almost every site at some point will have content indexed which shouldn’t be indexed, this is quite normal, but good index management ensures that these pages are diagnosed and removed before they become an immediate danger to your rankings.

There are many tools available, from Mageworx (Magento), Yoast (WordPress) to apps and extensions like “NOINDEX and SITEMAP manager” for Shopify. Usually, these tools function fantastically when dealing with indexation issues, but there are certain circumstances where additional scripts or headers may be necessary. 

(Yoast Implementation on WordPress)

An example of this is the likes of .PDFs, .DOCx & .txt files becoming indexed, this requires the usage of x-robots-tag: noindex, as opposed to traditional methods available through extensions – as mentioned above, plan, consult the client, and either alert the developer to the specific changes, or backup & implement changes as needed. 

Do I Need A Developer to Ensure my Website has Good Technical Health?

In short, no; most developers do not class themselves as SEO specialists, and this is why choosing the right SEO agency is important – many agencies employ technical SEO specialists with a wealth of development experience to guarantee that no matter what CMS or platform a website is being run on, issues can be evaluated, changes can be tailored to the specific needs of the platform, and results can be ensured. 

If you think you may be suffering from a penalty, induced by a technical fault on your website, we’re always more than happy to jump on, evaluate your site, undertake an audit and talk about the most efficient solutions to any problems the website might be facing. We have a range of monthly packages & one-off penalty resolution/prevention services available. Interested in improving the technical health of your site? Drop us an example at seoteam@colewood.net, or speak to a member of our team on 0845 123 2908