It’s no secret that SEO relies heavily on technical components to drive site rankability, and with so many emerging technologies, new tools, and metrics (cough Core Web Vitals cough), you might be wondering whether these constant updates will affect your more technical work.
To find out more about the state of technical SEO in 2021, we asked seven industry experts for their thoughts. The overwhelming answer? Keep doing what you’re doing.
“The core essentials in 2021 will remain about the same — every SEO needs to understand the fundamentals of crawling vs. indexing and the technical basics that have to be met before a site can rank,” says Moz Search Scientist, Dr. Pete Meyers. “All the fancy footwork in the world won’t get you anywhere if there’s no floor beneath you.”
But what should that floor be constructed of? Read on to find out!
1. Focus on the fundamentals
Technical best practices are the “best” for a reason, so having a strong foundation of basic technical SEO skills is still a must.
“For me, the most underrated technical SEO strategy has always been the fundamental best practices,” says consultant Joe Hall. “It might sound surprising to some, but the vast majority of my clients have a difficulty in grasping the importance of best practices or just the basic fundamentals of SEO. I think this is in large part because of our community's focus and attention on the ‘next best thing’, and not very often talking about the basic fundamentals of technical SEO.”
Those fundamentals include hard skills like understanding how to recognize and fix crawlability, indexation, accessibility, and site performance issues, but also how to prioritize the issues you come across.
SEO expert Lily Ray notes that prioritization is an area of improvement that novice technical SEOs need to address first, as they may be more inclined to cite small things as major problems when they’re really not: “It is common for new or junior SEOs to send a laundry list of technical items as exported by [SEO tools] directly to clients, without prioritizing which ones are the most important to fix, or knowing which ones can be ignored,” she says. “In many cases, the tools don’t even flag some of the more severe technical issues that may be affecting crawling, indexation, or rendering… Good technical SEOs are able to pinpoint real problems that are having a significant impact on the website’s ability to rank well, and they know which tools or other resources to use to be able to solve those problems.”
So start taking note of not just the what when it comes to technical issues, but also the influence those issues actually have on your site.
Need to brush up or build on these hard skills? Not to worry — Moz Academy recently released a Technical SEO Certification that can help you do just that!