Content is king! This is something that many SEO articles keep touting, and of course with good reason. It is a search engine’s job to find the most useful content for their users so it makes a lot of sense to spend a good lot of time writing content that search engines would deem useful.
On the other hand, why should we make it hard for search engines to find and index our content? Search engines have a lot of web to crawl, and the fact of the matter is if they can find your content easier than your competitors, all other things considered you will probably fair better than them.
With this in mind, I am going to talk through some of the things we can do from a technical SEO point of view that will help give our content a bit of an edge.
## Making appropriate use of title and heading tags
Lets start from the top (of the page!) and talk about title tags, this is an easy one but given the fact that yourshows up almost all search results relating to your site making sure you have one inside of youris important.
You should make sure the title is relevant to the content on the page, far too many sites will do something likeMySiteName – My Generic Terms which makes zero sense!
Next up I want to briefly mention heading tags, these are to and should be used to semantically structure your content,
basically means this is the most important heading in the current section. A couple of years ago I would have said the most important heading on the page but that isn’t the case anymore. Since the changes introduced in the HTML5 spec you can have multiple H1’s in various
## Using canonical tags
There is usually more than one link that can be used to access your content, for examplehttp://foo.com/my-page and http://www.foo.com/my-page and http://www.foo.com/my-page.html are all subtly different pages.
Unfortunately what this means is that sometimes different people will link to you in a variety of ways, and even if you are internally linking to content you might do it a couple of different ways. This doesn’t feel like it is an issue but it is because search engines don’t know what page is the most relevant and you might end up listing both, this can lead to duplicate content issues where a search engine could penalize you because it thinks you are trying to game the system or are stealing content.
The fix is very straight forward, in yourelement add a tag with a rel attribute of canonical, for example;
This means if someone links to http://www.myawesomesite.com/my-main-link a search engine will know to give the non-www version the link love!
## Alt text for images (and also when images are bad)
This is an old topic, but it is important. Computers are not very good and working out what images are, which is why screen readers and search engines rely on things like alt attributes to give them a bit of a clue. By doing something as simple as the search engine will know what the image is and can help to index your page accordingly.
Having said that, images should only be used when they semantically make sense, so using images when really text should be used is a massive no no, even if it might look better you are locking content away in an image, it makes no sense. Nor does it usually make sense to use images for things like navigation, again text here would make more sense and would be favoured by search engines.
## Making sure your site is fast
You should want to make your site fast anyway because it improves the experience for your end user, search engines have taken load times into consideration for their rankings too, and it makes sense, it would be a poor reflection on them if they sent their user to a site that takes 10 seconds to load, it isn’t helping the user find the information they need.
There are many ways to help make your site fast, I don’t want to go into them all here because there are better articles out there for it.
I always recommend checking out ySlow or Google’s page speed tool.
## Plugins to make your life easier
If you are using a content management system like WordPress to manage your site then there is a lot of help available in the form of plugins. WordPress SEO is one example of an excellent SEO plugin for WordPress that will take care of many of the things I have already mentioned in this article, plus a lot more!
I would also suggest looking at getting a caching plugin for your site, this will really help with page speed issues.
## Over to you
I would love to hear what technical SEO tactics you employ on your site to give your content a fighting chance, and certainly if you have any questions please feel free to comment