At WooRank, we like to define SEO as “the strategies, tactics and techniques used to rank highly in search engine results for the keywords used by your target audience in order to increase your reach and conversions.” However, marketers and website owners have to decide which tactics and techniques to focus on. Especially those with smaller teams, or doing it all themselves.
Often, this decision comes down to choosing technical SEO vs. content.
But which one is more important? Where should you focus your time and effort?
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is, basically, the way your website is setup to help search engines read and/or interpret your page content, and to provide humans with a great user experience.
Technical SEO includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Robots.txt: Text files that live in your website’s root directory, robots.txt is a set of instructions that tell crawlers what they can and can’t crawl. Disallow low value pages, duplicate pages and other content you don’t want indexed.
- Meta robots tag: Similar to robots.txt, the meta robots tag uses the content=”” attribute to tell crawlers not to index a page (NoIndex), and/or follow any of the page’s links (NoFollow). Note that the NoFollow command applies to the whole page. Add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to an anchor tag to nofollow individual links.
- XML sitemap: Sitemaps contain the list of every page on a website, along with some important details about those pages. Search engines use them to find pages, as well as figure out how often is should crawl a site. Any page you want to appear in SERPs should be in your sitemap.
- Page speed: Page speed and load time are really important for user experience and SEO. Optimize your images, caching and redirects; and use G-Zip compression to improve load time.
- Structured data: Structured data, like RDF, microdata or JSON-LD, help computers interpret the context of the words used in your text. It’s how you harness the power of the semantic web for your benefit. Google relies on structured data to create its rich search results, and the better they can interpret what’s on a page, the more likely they are to serve it for a relevant query.
- Responsive design: Websites that use responsive design via the mobile viewport are more likely to be seen as mobile friendly by search engines. Responsive design scales a website to render according to the device screen, creating a better mobile user experience. This eliminates the need to create alternate versions of your website that serve based on user-agent, which is even more time and money for your development team.
What Makes Technical SEO So Important?
If you do some research, you’ll notice that other than site speed, most aspects of technical SEO aren’t ranking factors on their own. All things being equal, a site with a robots.txt file isn’t necessarily going to outrank a site without one.
So why should you spend all this time working on something that’s not going to give you a boost in SERPs?
Because technical SEO can have a huge indirect impact on your rankings, and your ability to even get indexed in the first place.
Think about it: without a robots.txt file or sitemap, Googlebot could waste all of its crawl budget trying to access a folder full of images or videos. Or, if you don’t use canonical URLs, people linking alternate versions of a page will dilute your website’s link juice. No structured data? Your Knowledge Panel isn’t going to look too robust, either.
So, without technical SEO, your website isn’t going to go very far with Google.
What Is Content Marketing?
First a definition:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
– Content Marketing Institute
Second: a truism:
Content is king.
You’ve probably heard that before – it’s been around since Bill Gates published it in 1996.
What makes content king?
Content is the whole reason people go to your website from search results. They want to read, watch or listen to whatever is on the landing page (and, hopefully, take an action based on that). Inbound marketing like SEO relies on quality content to attract leads and customers.
The Value of Content Marketing
The value of content marketing is twofold: SEO and conversion rate optimization.
Content has several SEO benefits:
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