When most people think “search engine optimization” they think “title tags”, “keywords” and “content”. The majority don’t realize that the technical elements also play a very large role in how successful a site becomes.
The cleaner a site is “technically” the easier it will be for search engines and users to find it. All the on-page optimization in the world can’t help your site if no one sees it.
What got me thinking about this?
Today I was day dreaming about food (per usual) and I decided to see if there were any deals on gift certificates. I typed restaurant.com into my address bar and what did I get? An error page!
Now you might be thinking WWW.restaurant.com works just fine and search engines obviously have the site indexed so what is the problem?
Well, in this case it’s more of a usability issue that is typically addressed during the initial technical SEO audit. As a user I see that Restaurant.com does not work. I am wondering if the site is no longer there or if I typed it wrong so I now have to go to Google and search. I search “restaurants”:
The first result isn’t Restaurant.com it is Restaurants.com. These are not the same sites and I bet a lot of the people that were originally looking for Restaurant.com are now visiting Restaurants.com
How can this be prevented?
There are of course several ways to prevent this; the first being to make sure both your A and B domains resolve (www and non www).
But we always recommend to clients that their website resolve to one URL (ideally http://www.site.com). Whether you want to use http://www.site.com or http://site.com, the one you don’t want should 301 redirect to the desired domain.
So what other types of things make a site “technically” clean?
I am not going to get into all of them for this post but here are few other factors to consider:
Duplicate Pages – Search engines shouldn’t have to figure out which URL is the correct one. You should only have one page. Although for those unable to do so, there is now a canonical tag that can help.
Clean URL structure – The easier the URL is to read the better for spiders and users.
Sitemap – It’s basic but it helps. You may also want to include a search engine sitemap.
Bottom line: The technical side to SEO is just as important. Avoid silly mistakes like this. And Restaurant.com…please fix your site.