A Beginner’s Guide To Data-Driven Technical SEO

Big data is an invaluable aspect of modern technical SEO that you can't afford to ignore.
data-driven seo
Shutterstock Photo License - By Nikolay Klimenko

Big data has been a crucial aspect of modern SEO. There are a number of new ranking factors that Google depends on, which means that using data analytics and AI technology can help immensely.

Utilizing Big Data in Your Technical SEO Strategy

Technical SEO encompasses a wide range of optimizations that help search engine robots crawl and index your site more effectively. You need to understand the role that modern data analytics and machine learning play in this process. Search engines favor websites that display certain technical characteristics, and technical SEO is what you need to ensure your website displays these characteristics.

In this post, we take you through a few important guidelines that you need to prioritize when using big data in the process of optimizing your website for technical SEO. Some of these strategies like internal linking and site speed optimization might require you to add a bit of automation, including learning Python or similar programming languages.

Internal linking

It is no secret that linkbuilding is essential to SEO. However, too many linkbuilding strategies center around external backlinks. Internal links are hyperlinks that lead to pages on the same website. They make it easy for users to navigate your website and can help pages rank quicker. Using internal links strategically can boost the authority of important pages, also known as PageRank.

Big data can be very useful when it comes to internal linking. Here are some ways that you can use data analytics to improve your linking strategy:

  • You can use data mining tools like Ahref to see the internal linking strategies your competitors are using.
  • You can use AI tools to look for inconsistencies in your own internal links, overuse of anchor texts and identify broken links.
  • You can use data analytics tools to conduct regression analyses to see how different internal linking strategies appear to affect the search results.

Some of the best practices of internal linking for data-driven SEO professionals include:

Use keyword-rich anchor text in your internal links

Google recommends inserting keywords in your anchor text to help the search engines understand what the page is about. You can use data analytics to identify new keyword opportunities, since modern SEO tools often recommend new anchor texts for your links.

Link to important pages

When you link a page on your site, you send authority to that page, which can boost the ranking of that page. Use Ahrefs or other SEO tools of your choice to find the pages on your site with the most authority and link from those pages to the ones you want to rank most.

You can again use data analytics tools like Google Analytics to see which pages seem to get the most traffic and play important roles in your sales funnels. This data can help you choose which pages to link to.

Don’t confuse Google

Avoid using the same anchor text for two different pages as Google sees both pages as the same. Data analytics tools will help you analyze your site for different anchor texts and avoid using the same ones on different pages.

Be strategic

Link strategically from your homepage to pages that require juice.

Run regular audits

Audit internal links with Google Search Console and other data analytics SEO tools to see how your internal links are set up. This can find low-quality pages.

Sitemap

This is simply a file that contains all the pages in a website to help search engine robots to crawl the site more effectively and quickly identify pages. You can visualize it as a roadmap that leads search engines to each page. A site map offers useful information about each page, such as when a page was last modified, how frequently it’s updated, and what priority a page has on-site.

Although a website will still work without this file, Google stresses that it will function more effectively with an XML sitemap. Google adds that it’s the second most important source for locating URLs.

When creating an XML sitemap, remember these things:

  • Add only canonical URLs
  • Apply UTF-8 encoding containing only ASCII characters
  • Use hreflang as a way to indicate different languages
  • Use consistent URLs structure to make it efficient for Google to index pages
  • Include various extensions to cater to varying types of content in your sitemap, such as news, images, videos, etc.

If you want to check whether your SEO sitemap is functioning correctly, head over to your Google Search Console account and look at the sitemap section.

Use SSL

Secure Sockets Layer, commonly known as SSL, is a technology that creates an encrypted link between the browser and web server. Google adds a ‘Not Secure’ warning on sites without HTTPS and says that it may harm the ranking. So, it’s vital to install an SSL certificate on your website to ensure your site is secure. Luckily, most top website builders already include SSLs by default.

You can use machine learning technology to identify issues with your SSL certificate, so you can update it when needed.

Site speed

Improving your site speed is a key technical SEO strategy that can bring a lot of organic traffic and give your technical SEO an immense boost. Check out these three ways to use analytics tools to assess and boost your page speed:

Reduce web page size

One of the major factors that hold back your page speed is the web page size. In fact, experts say that a web page’s size affects speed more than any other factor. Yes, compressing your cache and images might work a bit, but if you don’t trim your web pages, it will still take more time to load. If site rankings matter the most for you, you can reduce the page sizes for faster loading speed.

Test load times with and without CDN

You might have heard about Content Delivery Network (CDN), which comprises servers that minimize web loading delays by ensuring users are as close to the server as possible. However, CDN can also lead to worse page-loading times if incorrectly set up. That’s why it’s necessary to test your site speed with and without CDN to test whether it’s working efficiently. You can use the webpagetest.org platform to check your website speed.

Eliminate 3rd party scripts

You are probably aware that each third-party script on a page can negatively impact your site’s load time. Sure, you might need some scripts like Google Analytics, but you need to check those you can remove.

Big Data is Essential for Modern Technical SEO

Big data is becoming more important than ever in SEO. To this end, it’s worth mentioning that what we covered here is only a tip of an iceberg of what technical SEO comprises do to improve rankings with data analytics and machine learning technology. Even so, these basics are a good place to start if you are looking for some quick wins. You must recognize that big data is vital to modern SEO.

Sean Mallon
Sean is a freelance writer and big data expert. He loves to write on big data, analytics and predictive analytics.