As a developer, I try to help our clients understand what we're doing to support their SEO efforts and what they should expect from us. I recognize it’s not always clear what developers can or should be doing to optimize a site for search and sharing, so I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the technical side of SEO and how you can talk to your developer about it.

What is technical SEO?

As you may already know, search engine optimization (SEO) is the ongoing work to help machines understand your content, and rank it in search engines like Google.

Imagine pouring your best content into a bucket, hoping to attract thirsty search engines. But alas, your efforts are in vain as leaks drain all your hard work! Technical SEO plays the crucial role of patching those leaks, ensuring your valuable content reaches its full potential in search results.

While on-page SEO focuses on creating high-quality, relevant content, and off-page SEO builds your website's authority, technical SEO optimizes the very foundation of your online presence. It ensures search engines can easily crawl, understand, and index your website, paving the way for higher rankings.

What are developers responsible for?

Optimizing shouldn't stop when you launch your site, it's an ongoing project that requires regular attention. Here's a brief overview of what developers should be implementing on your behalf:

Foundation Pillars:

  • Website Speed: They ensure your website loads fast on all devices, keeping both visitors and search engines happy.
  • Mobile Friendliness: They optimize your website to look and function flawlessly on various screen sizes, catering to today's mobile-first world.
  • Security: They implement measures to protect your website and user data from vulnerabilities and attacks.

Content Clarity:

  • Structured Data: They implement structured markup to help search engines understand your content's meaning and context, boosting its relevance.
  • Open Graph: They craft clear and concise descriptions and titles for your pages, enticing searchers and influencing rankings.
  • Sitemap Optimization: They create and maintain a sitemap, a roadmap for search engines to effectively crawl and index your content.

Technical Tidbits:

  • Robots.txt: They configure this file to guide search engines on which parts of your website to crawl and index.
  • URL Structure: They establish clear and user-friendly URL structures that search engines and visitors can easily understand.
  • Internal Linking: They enable you to build a logical network of internal links connecting your content, helping search engines navigate your website and understand its overall structure.

Let's dive deeper into some of these topics...


In recent years it’s become even more important to make sure your site is performant - especially for users who reach your site via Google search results. This is because search engines know better than anyone how many users give up on a website because of its poor performance.

In an effort to combat this, Google share key metrics that they use to identify and de-prioritize sites that aren’t optimized. These metrics are referred to as Core Web Vitals. Here are a few that you should keep an eye on for your site;

Largest Contentful Paint

LCP is how long it takes to load the largest thing on the screen. Google expects this to happen within 2.5 seconds. So you’ll have to be careful about loading videos and big images on your site.

First Input Delay

FID is the time before a user can interact with the functionality on a page. This should be under 100ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift

CLS measures one of the most frustrating things about websites. Have you ever gone to click something only for it to move down because an image or advert loaded in? THIS is cumulative layout shift, and Google is incentivizing websites to stop it.

Recommended tools for measuring performance

The easiest way to measure your sites performance is with Lighthouse, or Page Speed Insights. Though this does not tell the complete picture, it's a simple and user friendly way of understanding where your site has room for improvement.


Search engines are quite smart and can learn a lot about your content with no optimizations whatsoever. However, they can make mistakes, misjudge the importance of something or not understand the nuance of your content.

This is why websites should leverage metadata to explicitly communicate the important parts of each page and take control over how the site is understood.

Open Graph

The open graph protocol is one of the shared methods of tagging content for each page. This is commonly used to unfurl links and give a preview for your pages. When you’ve sent a link in a chat or on social media and it’s displayed nicely with an image - this is probably because of open graph meta tags.

Open Graph is widely used by many platforms but you should also consider if platforms important to your company have their own tags. For example, Twitter allows you to define how preview content should be displayed in tweets, and Pinterest allows you to determine if content from your site can be pinned.

Structured Data

A more advanced technique that can be used in addition to open graph is Structured Data, or Microdata. This helps search engines to gain a deeper understanding of your page and present your content in more desirable locations.

When searching on google, you might notice special layouts for certain kinds of content. From FAQ's and articles, to products and reviews - this is because that site has supported their content with Structured Data.

With SchemaOrg you can let computers know that a page isn’t just about your company, but that your company is a local dry cleaning service, or a self storage center. You can indicate that your content isn’t just an article, it’s an FAQ page that Google can use to show customers that your company is a reliable source of information on this topic.

Recommended tools for website metadata

Final Thoughts

Technical SEO is just one building block of your SEO strategy. Having your site SEO ready is a very important optimization for most businesses, but it’s important to acknowledge that the content on your site the most important factor when ranking on Google. That’s why these technical tips should be paired with content advice from an SEO strategist or content marketer.

I hope you learned a thing or two! If you have any questions, or you notice anything I've missed - shoot me an email.

6th July 2021
6th March 2024

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