SEO, or search engine optimisation, is a broad marketing term that encompasses several different elements, with ‘content’ and ‘technical’ both falling under that umbrella. Though both work in tandem, they are, in fact, different strategies that require their own, unique approach.
To help clear up the differences between these two areas of SEO, we’ve put together this quick guide detailing everything you need to know about both entities and how they play into your wider campaign.
First, let’s start with technical SEO. This is the data side of your marketing campaigns and isn’t quite as glamorous or creative as content, but it’s integral to the success of your overall strategy. Technical SEO informs a lot of creative decisions, so it’s crucial you prioritize this when considering your timings and task allocations.
Essentially, technical SEO looks to please Google. It looks at algorithms and determines ranking factors that aren’t necessarily content-related. To help you better understand what falls under the bracket of technical SEO, here are some of the main things it covers:
If your website is built on a platform like WordPress, the site will automatically create a Robot.txt file for you. This is a file that presents your website to Google. You have a certain degree of autonomy over this file in the sense that you can hide bits of information from Google if you deem them irrelevant or think they could negatively impact your rankings.
Whilst most website platforms will create a Robot.txt file for you, it’s worth knowing a bit more about them so you can customize them in the future if you see fit.
Broken links and site errors
A big part of technical SEO boils down to the user experience. This means Google focuses a good portion of its efforts on analyzing the usability of your site. Whilst Google can’t locate errors on your site on its own, it does notice when users quickly bounce off your site due to errors.
If people are clicking links that are taking them nowhere or that flag up error pages, they’re likely not going to trust your website or its content, and they’re probably going to exit your site. This can affect your overall rankings in SERPs, so it’s important that you make time to ensure all your links work and go to the right pages. If errors keep popping up, investigate why this is. Doing so will keep your website clean and usable – just what Google likes!
The final core element of technical SEO is site speed. In the same way, users don’t like broken links, they also don’t like slow websites. There are a few things that can affect your site speed, including images, plugins, and site structure, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on all of these elements to keep your site running smoothly and quickly.
Content SEO is often directed by technical SEO and can feed directly into it, hence why the two are often paired together. Content SEO typically involves a lot of the core marketing buzzwords you’re probably used to hearing, with some of those being:
Keywords are a pivotal part of marketing. They are what users are typing into Google and how, if your content is good and your site is technically sound, they will find your website. Finding the right keywords is a mixture of common sense (if you’re an independent coffee shop in Slough, you’ll want to target generic keywords like ‘coffee shop Slough’, or ‘places to get coffee in Slough’), and technical data (looking at other keywords that indirectly link to your industry).
Coming up with a keyword strategy typically requires some help from an SEO tool like SEMrush, some of your own organic research, and information on your audience. The more you understand your customers and what they want, the better your strategy will be.
Keywords tend to be weaved into content like blogs, as well as headers, metadata, and URLs.
Organic content remains the biggest driver of traffic to a website, so it’s important you have informative content on your website that aims to capture the attention of organic users. A really good way of doing this is by creating high-quality blogs centered around things your audience wants to know the answers to.
When done correctly, organic content can get you a featured snippet on Google or land you on the first page and can drive lots of traffic to your site. It plays a central role in how people discover and view your brand and can help Google see your website as authoritative, knowledgeable, and trustworthy.
Technical and content SEO feed off of each other and work together to bolster your overall marketing campaigns. If you do either wrong or neglect them, you can inadvertently harm your site.
If you’re unsure about how to go about either approach, hiring a digital marketing agency is a good first step. They will have the knowledge and know-how to ensure your site is technically sound and has rich content, and they can teach you more about both of these aspects of SEO, too.