Search engine optimization is an exciting category of marketing because it never stays the same for long. This is also a reason SEO can be a challenge for many brands. Sure, there are basic rules in SEO that will be around for the long haul, like organizing your information architecture using <h> tags. However, as technology and search engine algorithms evolve, marketers need to evolve along with it.
Technical SEO is the unsung hero of search. Without it, users wouldn’t get access to the useful information on the web, and your brand may not get the attention from prospects that it deserves. Whether you’re new to technical SEO or are just looking for a refresher course for 2023, let’s get into how you can leverage this B2B marketing tactic at your business.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO describes a collection of behind-the-scenes elements that optimize a website for search engines. Essentially, these elements help search engines find and rank your web pages so they can be delivered to users searching for information. And while technical SEO focuses on making improvements for search engines, these changes often benefit web users directly, but more on that later.
A few examples of technical SEO might include optimizing site speed and architecture, implementing structured data, and removing or properly tagging duplicate content.
What are the benefits of technical SEO?
Simply put, the primary goal of all SEO is to help a web page rank for relevant search queries. Without it, you risk going unnoticed by search engines, which means your ideal audience is less likely to connect with your content and your brand online.
In our minds, you can’t have SEO without technical SEO, which is often considered the very foundation of SEO itself. Creating keyword-rich content is fantastic, but if your website isn’t loading properly or is filled with broken links, you’re not going to see the best results you can from your efforts. And rightfully so, since competition is fierce and users expect a polished experience in 2023 and beyond.
Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of technical SEO for B2B brands.
1. Search engines can actually find and index your pages
Two of the most fundamental aspects of technical SEO are crawlability and indexability. By optimizing certain aspects of your domain and its pages, you can ensure search engines are able to find your pages and store them in their database (or “index”).
Search engines use bots, often referred to as spiders, to “crawl” the web in search of pages and resources. They do this by following links and transferring the data found back to their servers. By optimizing elements that affect crawlability, such as page discoverability and accessible links, you can ensure that search engines can find your web pages.
Indexability describes a search engine’s ability to properly analyze and index a page. Think of the index database as a sort of digital library. When a web user types in a search query, the search engine pulls web pages from its index to populate on the search results, the way a librarian might pluck a book from their shelves. If your page isn’t indexable, it won’t be able to populate for applicable searches.
2. Boost user experience and engagement
Have you ever been on a website that loaded painfully slow? How about clicking on a link just to realize it doesn’t lead anywhere? Maybe these issues caused you to exit the site altogether.
A poor user experience is a surefire way to scare off customers before they have a chance to truly connect with your brand. In today’s digital world, people are used to high-performing websites that load quickly, are easy to navigate, and help them find the information they need. It’s no surprise, then, that Google has the same expectations for your site, and will disprefer a domain that doesn’t offer this kind of polished experience.
Technical SEO can help you structure your website in a way that’s conducive to the user experience, which may lead to added bonuses like decreased bounce rates, increased time on page, and better engagement with your content.
3. Create a more efficient and secure website
Your company’s website is one of your most valuable marketing tools. It provides customers and prospects with a place to learn from your expertise, explore your products or services, and, ideally, get in touch with your sales team.
Technical SEO can help ensure your website is functioning at its best. Organized website structure not only helps visitors easily navigate your site, it also enables crawlers to locate and index your pages. Optimized page speed can help users stay on page for longer so they can explore everything your brand has to offer. Technical SEO can also signal to search engine algorithms that your web pages are worthwhile, leading to better overall rankings.
Certain aspects of technical SEO can also make your website more secure. For example, URLs with HTTPS rather than HTTP helps protect sensitive information like passwords, addresses, and credit card details.
5 ways to implement technical SEO for B2B
Now that we’ve covered what technical SEO is and how it can benefit your business, let’s dive into how you can actually begin using this marketing tactic. Keep in mind that this isn’t an exhaustive list. There’s a lot to B2B SEO, but this is a great jumping off point to get you started.
1. Optimize page and site speed
Both web users and search engines prefer fast loading times. For users, it reduces frustration and encourages people to stay on your site longer, and search engines love it because it signals that your page is optimized for UX.
Here are a few ways you can improve your site speed:
- Upload images in ideal file format (JPEGs v. PNGs v. .webp)
- Compress and optimize images
- Reduce redirects to speed up page response
- Cache your web pages so your site loads quicker for returning users
- Use lazy loading, the practice of deferring slow loading page elements like heavy images below the fold
- Use asynchronous loading to control when files are requested and streamline the perceived page load
2. Maximize your metadata
Metadata is more than a description of your web page. It’s used to translate important data to the search engine so it better understands how to index your page and how relevant it may be to certain searches. Metadata also helps classify data, such as keywords, title, publication date, and author.
When managing your metadata, be sure to include the following at a minimum:
- Title tags - The descriptor that appears in search results
- Meta descriptions - Summary of information on your web page
- Alt tags - Description of your images
- Note that the “meta keywords” field has been deprecated and is not a ranking vector in modern SEO; no need to waste time filling those in for every page, unless you’re doing it to help organize your own efforts
3. Use schema strategically
Similar to metadata, schema transmits information to search engines to improve how they represent your content on search engine results pages. You can think of schema like metadata 2.0, because it provides you with even more ways to accomplish this, and the areas in which this information appears (especially in Google) are constantly evolving… even month to month.
Schema helps surface useful information on SERPs like key moments in videos or featured snippets that answer a web user’s query directly on the results page. It can also help populate information in the right-hand Knowledge Panel that provides details about your company, product cards that help customers shop easily, and more.
The bigshots of search, including Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex, got together to determine how to effectively use schema on the web as it becomes more prevalent in search with each passing year. To learn more about schema, head to the official website to get started.
4. Prioritize on-page SEO elements
On-page SEO is a broad term that refers to the intentionally optimized structure of various components on your website to fit Google’s best practices for content they prefer to surface in search. Like many of the tactics we’ve discussed, on-page SEO aims to optimize your page for both search algorithms as well as your real-life web visitors, because these elements all tend to contribute to a positive user experience as well as SEO benefits.
To stay on top of your on-page SEO, we recommend looking at the following elements:
- Page content that is in line with Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines
- Proper, natural use of selected keywords within your copy
- Metadata and schema that properly and helpfully flag what the page and its elements are about
- Use of embedded media other than raw text (images, video, etc), marked up with alt tags and schema as appropriate, with file naming conventions that are descriptive
- Helpful linking structure and strategy; fostering link connectivity to other pages on your domain, as well as links out to relevant sources that the user would find useful
- URL structure that logically fits with your domain’s macro information architecture
5. Keep good Google Search Console hygiene
When prioritizing technical SEO, there’s arguably no better place to spend your time than within Google Search Console, which gives you a great look at your domain through Google’s eyes… well, one of their robot’s eyes, anyway.
Google Search Console provides up-to-date information about your site’s alignment with Google’s best practices for technical SEO, right down to the page level. Here, you can see URLs that Google considers good, okay, or downright bad, as well as some action items to improve them. You’ll also see some pretty in-depth information about the way Google classifies various areas of your site and how it “perceives” your content from an originality and quality standpoint.
You’ll also be able to see very clearly if Google’s spotted any 4xx or 5xx errors that could be harming your site’s technical SEO health, as well as other issues like unparseable data, duplicate content, crawlability or indexability issues, and much more. Google Search Console is a veritable gold mine of data that an experienced SEO professional can use to quickly learn about a domain and find actionable insights to improve its technical mettle.
Give your B2B SEO a boost
Ready to give technical SEO for B2B a try? Try implementing the ideas above and staying on top of them as part of an evergreen approach to SEO. Don’t have the bandwidth or knowledge to dedicate to your SEO strategy? BOL has been on the cutting edge of B2B SEO for nearly two decades. Learn how SEO can help you achieve tangible growth and results without any associated media spend.