As an online marketer, you probably know that SEO , or search engine optimization, consists of three pillars: content, authority and technique.
These parts are very different from each other.
What should you prioritize when getting started with SEO? And what weighs more?
Strong content, or a website that is fully technically optimized?
This is difficult to say, because the three parts go hand in hand to achieve the best organic search results.
I’ll take you through how your website should be built SEO wise and then go deeper into the technical aspect within SEO. Read on quick!
The SEO pyramid
When you want to optimize your website to be found in different search engines, where do you start?
Take the SEO pyramid into account.
Technology is the basis of your website. You want to have optimized this as much as possible.
When building a new website, also take the technology of your website into account.
Do you already have an existing website and have you not taken technical SEO into account from the start? Then try to straighten as much as possible.
You will find things you should pay attention to in the next part of this blog.
When you have made the most of the technology, you will fill the website with content.
Take into account the search terms for which you want to be found and create your content around this. In addition to text, images and videos, also think of strong H headlines, alt tags, meta title and meta description.
Make sure that the topics of your content are always relevant to website visitors.
This results in your content being valued by both readers and the Google algorithm, and it can even generate backlinks in the long run.
Is your website completely up to date, but are you not yet ranking high enough?
Authority is then the last step for top positions in the search engines of Google and Bing, among others.
Create a good internal link structure and build a strong link profile by actively link building or, for example, by means of an outreach strategy in which you create shareable content.
You need to show the search engines why your website is better than all the others.
Once you have completed all these steps, you will have the best version of your website.
Technical SEO: what you should pay attention to with your website
You now know that technology is the basis of your website, but what exactly should you pay attention to?
I will highlight a number of topics for you.
The following topics are the absolute basics and can be used as a checklist for technical SEO.
First of all, you need to have a robots.txt file on your website.
With this file you can tell the search engine which pages should be indexed and which pages should not be indexed.
This allows you to exclude unnecessary pages.
Handy, because Google uses a certain crawl budget per website.
There are only a limited number of pages that Google sees per day. And it is precisely these pages that Google visits that should matter.
XML site map
A good website always has an XML sitemap in addition to a robots.txt file.
Together with the robots.txt, a search engine takes the XML sitemap as the basis for your website.
Of course you want all web pages, and also all new pages, to be available in the sitemap.
If you don’t have this, you run the risk that the search engine will miss pages (for example because your internal linking is not good enough).
This will then have a negative effect on the findability of your website.
Something no one wants!
Always place your XML sitemap in your robots.txt file, because then you know for sure that it will be found.
This allows you to prevent duplicate content.
For example, do you have one type of product available in multiple colors on separate pages?
Then there is a good chance that the content on all these pages is the same. With the canonical tag you actually indicate which of these pages is most important for your website.
Google will crawl this page and not the other pages.
This way you can be sure that the right page will come up for a certain search term.
If you do not set the canonical tag, Google will choose a page to display. And there is the danger of cannibalization.
But… How do you set up such a canonical tag?
Fortunately, that’s easy!
Give your “main page” a self referencing canonical and give the subpages a canonical to the “main page”.
Core web vitals
You’ve probably heard about the Core Web Vitals (CWV) by now.
The CWV mainly respond to the speed of your website, but also to shifts on your page.
All this to optimize the user experience of website visitors.
Make sure your website meets all the standards set, as shown below.
Tools that help you gain more insight into this include PageSpeed Insights and the data from Google Search Console.
An extra that you can take with you on your website is setting up structured data.
Structured data makes it easier for search engines to read your website.
As an added benefit, rich snippets may be displayed with your search results.
This ensures that you stand out more in the search results. And that of course increases the chance that someone clicks on your search result.
Technical SEO for international websites
Do you have an international website? Then you have to take other factors into account than for a website that has only been developed for one country. I share them with you below!
Country code in the URL
First of all, you always want the country code included in the URL.
For example, if you add in, co, nl etc. , Google sees this as a signal that this page is intended for that specific country.
With this you can partly prevent your page from being displayed in the wrong places.
However, you’re not going to get by with just incorporating the country code into the URL.”
There is also such a thing as Hreflang.
Suppose you write a Dutch page about ‘tennis’ that is intended for Dutch people.
The keyword is exactly the same in the Netherlands and Germany.
However, you do not want to be found with this page in the German search engine, since Germans will not understand the text.
In addition to the fact that the needs of Germans do not match this page, it also has negative consequences for the relevance of your website (and is ultimately “punished” by search engines).
With Hreflangs you can indicate on a page which search engine it is intended for.
In this case it could be done by adding the following tags to the source code:
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”nl” href=”https://www.yourdomain.com/nl/tennis/” />
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”https://www.yourdomain.com/de/tennis/” />
You may also have visitors from regions for which no page has been written. You can serve these people by using a so-called x-default Hreflang.
This could be an English page, here you know that most people will understand the page.
<link rel=”alternate” href=”https://www.yourdomain.com/en/tennis/” hreflang=”x-default” />
International XML sitemap
With an international website, the XML sitemap will look different.
You probably have a page with the same content per country, with the difference being the language.
To show a search engine that this is the same content, but that the pages are intended for a specific country or a specific language within that country.
Specify your content by country
In addition to international technical SEO, it is important that you do not have to translate the Indian content one-on-one into another language.
Write content specific to the country where the website will go live.
Not every country is the same.
There are many cultural differences that you need to take into account when translating a page.
What works well in the Netherlands often does not work in Belgium or Germany.
Take the time to create strong content, because this ensures that your website will also be successful abroad.
And now? Get started with the technical optimization of your website!
As you have read, technical SEO is the basis of your website.
This blog gives you some tips to get you started.
When you have all these basics in place, you can make your website a lot easier to find.
In addition, after reading this blog you are well on your way to becoming an SEO specialist.