Excellent Technical SEO: Foundation for Great UX and Ranking
In the race to the top of the search results, a Chicago technical SEO agency can give businesses the tools to get there quickly.
This article explains the relationship between ranking, user experience (UX), and technical optimization through the following points:
- Explanation of the ranking systems
- Primary ranking signals
- How technical search engine optimization (SEO) helps sites meet three of these factors
- Best practices to optimize pages for crawlability, indexability, and UX
Learn more about this underrated optimization technique below. This can be the missing piece to dominate search results. Let’s go!
Watch this video to learn how Digital Authority Partners tackles Technical SEO!
Technical SEO Meets the Ranking System
Digital Authority Partners (DAP) has discussed technical SEO basics. Essentially, this approach involves fixing or preventing “behind the scenes” errors to improve the site’s crawlability and indexability; accessibility, especially on mobile devices; and user experience (UX).
How does this approach help you rank and get the best positions on the search results page? By letting you satisfy the factors influencing the ranking system.
What Is the Ranking System?
Search engines are all about UX, and this clearly shows in the ranking system.
The ranking system is how online searches work. Search engines send bots to crawl millions of web pages, analyze their content, and store them on servers. Think of Google or Bing as huge libraries with catalogs organized according to different topics.
When someone searches for information (e.g., “best hotels in River North"), the search engine’s unique algorithm and artificial intelligence (AI) go to work. They comb through the catalog and pull out the pages that match the query. They then display the results according to relevance, with the closest match at the top.
How does this affect your brand? It helps you generate more sales and leads:
- First-page positions deliver the most website traffic, increasing the conversion rate.
- High-ranking pages also improve people’s perception of the business.
The Ranking Signals and How To Use Technical SEO To Satisfy Them
Search engines consider many factors when ranking pages, especially when they share the same keywords and contain similar content. Google and Bing have never revealed all the signals, but they usually fall into five categories: relevance, quality, usability, meaning, and context. Technical SEO matters the most in the first three of these categories.
Search engines apply several signals to determine whether search results are relevant to a query. One example is the exact-match domain system.
However, they also want to provide the most useful content, not just pages that match keywords. They analyze the content's images, videos, and messaging and study user interaction data.
A technical SEO agency does not modify content directly, but it helps search engines understand the relationship of its elements better:
- Structured data or schema markup provides explicit clues about the content. Marking up ratings, for example, means the page must be about product reviews.
- Optimizing crawl settings with robots.txt and XML sitemaps informs spiders or bots where to go and which pages to pay attention to.
- Canonical tags tell search engines which version is the “official” page that should be indexed.
- Clear and descriptive URLs give search engines (and users) a hint about the content. Compare /guide-chicago-parks to /page123.
- Proper internal linking with relevant anchor text, especially when building topic clusters, distributes page authority and adds more context.
- Writing descriptive filenames and alt tags on images and videos helps determine their subject.
- Using header tags (e.g., H1, H2) effectively emphasizes content hierarchy.
Even after sifting through virtual mountains of content for relevance, search engines still end up with a huge number of results. Which ones should they show first? To determine this, they look into every article’s quality.
- Can people trust the content?
- Does the website show authority and expertise?
- Is the publisher experienced enough to discuss the topic?
- Are they helpful and original?
- Who is linking or sharing the page? Are these credible websites?
- Does the content include new information that many still do not know about?
On-page and off-page optimization take much of the work. Technical SEO supports these two approaches in the following ways:
- Identifying and managing duplicate content
- Finding and fixing broken inbound links
- Updating the sitemaps to encourage crawlers to visit the page often and index it with fresh information
- Applying 301 redirects when consolidating or moving pages
- Preventing chatbot conversations from getting indexed and introducing inaccurate information with “data no-snippet” or “robotted iframe”
- Considering dynamic site rendering while dealing with indexing or crawlability issues
A competent Chicago technical SEO agency is also cautious about disavowing “bad” links or deleting low-performing pages.
Disavowing sometimes results in rejecting potentially legitimate, beneficial backlinks. For instance, these might be low-domain-authority URLs from niche sites. Consider Chicago blogs talking about the best pizzerias in town, including yours. Search engines, especially Google, have become better at detecting and devaluing spammy or low-quality links.
Meanwhile, just because a page is underperforming does not mean it has not accrued SEO value over time. Some pages target very specific, long-tail queries. Although they drive low traffic, the leads they attract are highly qualified and valuable.
Deleting pages also disrupts the site’s internal linking structure and degrades UX. It also calls for many 301 redirects, adding to server overhead.
All other things being equal, search engines rely on usability to break the tie. This is why UX matters and where technical SEO shines the most.
When all the pages deliver helpful content, Google and Bing then analyze UX. Those considered accessible often rank better than their competitors.
How do search engines judge UX, though? Google, for one, uses the Web Core Vitals (WCV). These metrics assess a website’s loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability:
- The interaction to next paint (INP), which replaces first-input delay (FID), determines the amount of time before a website responds to an interaction, such as a click.
- The largest contentful paint (LCP) refers to the page-load performance. An optimal score is 2.5 seconds or less.
- The cumulative layout shift (CLS) concerns the page’s stability while it loads. Even the tiniest shifts can cause someone to press or tap the wrong button.
Technical SEO improves WCV scores with these strategies:
- Compressing images, using modern formats (e.g., WebP), and serving responsive images according to device size
- Considering a content delivery network to enhance server-side rendering
- Splitting long-running code tasks into smaller asynchronous ones to keep the main thread free and make the site more responsive
- Setting the size attributes for videos and images to minimize or prevent content shifts
- Avoiding inserting ads dynamically
- Reducing animations during page load
- Creating mobile-friendly, responsive sites
Marketers hail technical optimization as an unsung hero. After all, it supports the entire organic search strategy and improves UX. Most of all, it helps you meet the most vital ranking factors.
Pay more attention to it now with professionals. DAP is a Chicago technical SEO agency that assists brands in auditing, consulting, and managing data-driven, high-converting campaigns. Contact us today for more information.
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