Prioritising Technical SEO

Sam Martin-Ross
Technical SEO
Technical SEO

Have you ever been told you need to add ALT tags to all the images on your website for SEO reasons?


We’ve heard that recommendation too many times. It’s a fix-it-all approach at best, and a lazy SEO approach at worst, any SEO tool can deliver an automated report detailing which images don’t have ALT tags. Either way it’s diverting resources from work that will really drive SEO growth and so the result is the same, slow SEO progress.


Websites of all sizes and formats can face technical SEO issues that ultimately impact revenue and growth. The issues tend to escalate the bigger a site gets, and so fixing everything is always the easiest SEO recommendation to make, however this can quickly become expensive and/or impossible to achieve.


At a minimum, and this applies to websites of all sizes, this approach requires more resource than is necessary for technical SEO, which ultimately diverts resource away from actions more likely to increase organic traffic (content and backlink building).


If you take the time to identify which images really need ALT tags, you will have less technical work to do and faster SEO results, and this applies for all technical fixes.


This is why it is important for all digital marketers to prioritise their technical SEO work, and especially for agencies to prioritise prior to sending recommendations, to ensure those SEO goals are achieved as efficiently and quickly as possible.


How to Prioritise Technical SEO

The key to being able to prioritise effectively is having clear SEO goals, knowing what keywords positions you want to improve and with what pages. If you know that, it will help make prioritising technical SEO as efficient as it can be.


Following that, you will want an SEO tool to scrape the website a pull together lists of automated issues, our suggestions for this are Ahrefs or Screaming Frog.


The following four categories are in order of importance, with point 1 the most important.


1. Site-wide Issues

Any issue that is blocking your site from being crawled and/or indexed by Googlebot needs to be tackled first, and this almost goes without saying. This is generally caused by the following;

  • An SEO-unfriendly content management system
  • No sitemap
  • Robots.txt file

Additionally running your site without an SSL certificate installed, or incorrect implementation of HTTPS should be looked at here too.


2. Core Content

Following that, any pages at the very top of your site structure and any pages that you want to rank for certain keywords need to be prioritised. You want to have these pages as optimised as possible and this could include;

  • All meta tags
  • H tags
  • ALT tags
  • Structured data
  • Hreflang data
  • Canonical tags
  • Errors in Search Console

If you have an SEO goal and know what pages you want to rank for what keywords, you can really narrow down the scale of this section, rather than trying to complete the above points for all pages.


3. Supporting Content

Depending on the size of your website, the next area to focus on is content or pages that support pages from point two. In terms of technical optimisation, it’s the same as the points above too.


4. Unnecessary Indexing & Other Content

Lastly is finding any pages that do not need to be indexed by search engines. If the pages are not part of, or supporting, your target keyword positions it’s likely they fall in this category. Our suggestion is to no-index them as ‘streamlined’ sites tend to rank higher. For ecommerce sites, typically on Shopify, this can also be pages where you have duplicate content e.g. variations on product categories where there is no unique content.


These page you don’t need to technically optimise in order to improve organic traffic. These are the pages where it’s ok to leave images without ALT tags (for SEO reasons anyway) in order to save yourself considerable time and get SEO results faster.

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