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First Steps: Technical SEO

I got asked quite a lot if I could give some advise on how and where to start a journey like mine. I hope the following posts will help you. Like always, any questions? Drop a comment.

Technical SEO (my) Definition

My approach to this whole SEO/Online-Marketing thing is very (very) technical.

I don’t care about the exact position of every word to create the highest impact when a user is visiting, turning him into a customer.

SEO, as the name implies, is optimizing things for search engines, not for users. Search engines don’t care where you position your lead gen contact form, or which color the button has.

You could say that the dwell time on your site could be interesting for search engines, or how well a user perceives your site, but technically it doesn’t really affect what is actually transferred to the user in terms of what he is seeking for, the content he’s reading is, thus the impact of the actual design on the rankings can be considered minimal.

Therefor, I don’t see optimization like this as part of my ‘job’. This is the job of ‘experts’ in other fields like copywriting, (web)design, psychology.

The Job

My ‘job’ is the technical part and only the technical part. This begins with picking, registering and setting up the right domains, includes the proper use of HTML (maybe Javascript if you want to mix it in), properly serving the HTML through webservers, taking care of HTTP Headers, optimizing those webservers and databases for speed, indexing your content and of course, monitoring and logging all the above.

The description above also includes many parts which might be the job of a sys admin normally, and I think a regular ‘technical SEO’ would be shifted a bit more towards the marketing side of things, but this is no rocket science and if you want to have more than just shallow knowledge, you should dig into these as a technical SEO. Even if it’s just for setting up some quick tests on a VPS.

And yes, the automation of the whole process above is part of my ‘job’. Which is the most crucial. You can have all the great ideas and methods and strategies, if you aren’t able to scale them, you will make nothing from them.

If you see this differently, go and do it your way.

Your Roadmap

I’ll just list here some points you could start learning and experiementing with. This is your kind of ‘roadmap’, a loose guide.

You are learning best by practice. So just test out a simple thing you always wanted to test out. Just index a few pages and see that it could be done. Then move on from there.

Start by learning these things:

  1. Shell (I prefer bash)
  2. Basic webserver (Apache/Nginx) setup + config on a VPS/Dedicated
    2.1 MySQL installation
  3. Basic OnPage SEO (Title, Headlines, meta desc, finding errors in HTML)
  4. Basic site health checks (online, speed, size, More advanced: broken links, 404)
  5. Meta Robots + robots.txt
  6. Sitemaps
  7. Redirects (HTTP 301/302, JS redirect, differences)
  8. Check for mobile friendlyness
  9. Understanding/optimizing server logs
  10. mod_rewrite (apache)

There’s more, definitely, but start with this. Your goal is to have a simple domain running on your own VPS so you can start testing without having all this CPanel loser crap installed. This is your foundation, everything will be built on top of this.

Learning & Improving

You will have plenty of questions. ‘Where can I find this in the file system?’, ‘How do I add sub domains to Apache’. Just google them or ask Chat-GPT. Over time you’ll become an expert.

We aren’t working here on some large corporate website. We are running our own stuff. This means we can hack everything together, being fast and efficient.

Stick with it and have fun

Just focus on the above. If you have nothing to do, do this full time, if you work somewhere, do it as a hobby. Just have fun and play around with it like if you were a kid. That’s how we learn. Don’t listen to the ‘adults’ in the SEO industry. Just play your game.

If you do the above, you are actually learning valuable skills and not wasting your time on some quick scheme.

Enjoy the ride.

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