What’s the difference between technical SEO and content SEO?

team discussing both technical and content seo

When you consider SEO, you tend to think about keywords and meta descriptions. But that’s only one part of effective search engine optimisation (SEO). In order to improve your site’s ranking on search engines, your SEO strategy needs to incorporate both technical and content elements. Here, we’ll explain technical SEO and content SEO, and share the benefits of both.

What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the behind-the-scenes, code-based component of your website. It’s all about setting up your site in the best way for search engines to crawl, interpret and index your webpages. Done well, technical SEO will power the reach of the content strategy. Key aspects of this are website architecture, mobile optimisation and page speed.

Technical SEO focuses on Google ranking factors primarily. This includes using the best tags for the page’s content, appropriate meta title tags, employing a schema markup content structure, maintaining an SSL certificate, and optimising the site speed. We explain this further below.

But it’s not just about making your site work for Google and the like. You need to ensure a positive user experience too. Neither your visitors nor your search engines like text too small to read or page modules jumping around during load for example. Technical SEO work ensures all of those aspects are working well to keep your site visitors and search engines happy.

Technical SEO doesn’t work in isolation though. SEO strategies specify how technical SEO works in synergy with the content strategy, and link-building strategy with the aim of getting your website ranking highly in search.

What are the key components of technical SEO content?

Let’s look at the main elements of technical SEO.

Page speed optimisation – neither Google nor users abide sites with slow loading speeds. Site speed is one of the core web vitals that Google measures. Reduce page loading times by compressing files, optimising images, caching data and limiting redirect links.

Crawlability – make it easy for search engine bots to access and go through your website’s content.

Structured data – organise your content so it’s easy for search bots to understand it. Using a specific language (schema) and structured data, this tell bots what’s what on the page (eg, image, video, text, author etc).

Indexing – telling search engines which pages we want to be seen publicly. Include a robots.txt file to exclude pages that you don’t want to be indexed and discovered by Google (eg login, thank you or duplicate content pages).

XML sitemap – this provides crawlers with a handy roadmap of your website – a list of internal links. It must be kept up to date and submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.

Canonical tags – duplicate content baffles search engines, so use canonical tags to make sure crawlers disregard these pages.

Mobile responsive design – with the majority of people accessing websites via mobile devices, it’s important to have a responsive design that adjusts according to the device being used.

SSL secure web server – this security technology creates a protective layer between a web server and a browser (its the https at the start of URLs!).

Getting these technical elements right will greatly enhance your website’s performance. Using a web developer to do this and keep your website free of technical issues will really improve your technical SEO effort

What is content SEO?

Whilst technical SEO strategy focuses on the behind the scenes work, content SEO is more front of house. The content on your website gives users their reason to visit. A content SEO strategy will define the best, most relevant content to match a user’s search intent and the steps required to achieve that. The goal of content SEO is twofold – to boost site rankings on search engines and to drive more users to your website.

SEO content writing is done in a way to achieve a spot on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs). The focus is on keyword research and creating relevant, high quality content.

Well-researched and written SEO content will increase organic traffic to your site, ideally bringing your target audience to you. It will engage people and encourage them to return to your site again. It’s a cost effective form of content marketing as it continues to attract an audience ongoing unlike paid advertising. Consequently, it’s an integral part of your overall marketing strategy.

What are the key components of SEO content writing?

Before you start any new content creation, it’s important to do your keyword research. You need to understand your audience and their search intent so that you can create relevant content that solves their problem or answers their question and engages them.

Descriptive keywords – your research will identify the relevant keywords and phrases that your users are likely to use to find your content. Optimise your content to incorporate these all important keywords, but make sure it sounds natural. It’s important to use these keywords in valuable, such as headers, the url, image alt text and headings.

High quality content – well-written, researched, accurate, compelling and engaging content beats flimsy, irrelevant and poorly-constructed content every time. That’s from both a user and a search engine’s perspective. When a user values your content, they stay on your website longer and search engines recognise that. It can impact your site rankings positively. It also positions you as an expert in the field which increases trust. It’s also easier to secure high quality backlinks from other websites and social media channels when the content is valuable and good quality (linkbuilding is another important part of a successful SEO strategy).

On page SEO – these techniques make your content easier to read for both users and search engines. Incorporating descriptive, relevant keywords into meta descriptions, titles, headers and body text, as well as organising content clearly, all help to optimise web pages.

Creating high quality SEO content is a true balancing act. The SEO content creator needs to write for the user first, whilst being mindful of search engine algorithms and optimisation. Getting this balancing act right, will engage your users and encourage them to stay on site longer and return again, and it will also tick the relevant boxes for Google too.

Why are technical SEO and content SEO important?

There’s a lot to consider with SEO, so is it really worth the effort? If you want to attract your target audience to your website, then the answer’s a resounding ‘yes’!

As we said at the beginning, technical SEO and content SEO need to work in tandem. Focusing on both types of SEO effort will improve your website’s performance, user experience and search ranking. Ultimately, that’s good for your business and its bottom line.

But remember, it’s not a one time only SEO effort. You need to continuously monitor various metrics of your site’s performance. People change, Google changes its algorithms and trends come and go. It’s important to be aware of this, and able to update your optimised content or tweak your content strategy accordingly.

We have a wealth of experience in providing trusted SEO services to businesses like yours. Contact our SEO experts, to discuss your business needs – a technical SEO audit, SEO content writing or an SEO strategy – we can help to improve your site ranking.