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Technical SEO vs. Content SEO Compared

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TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

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Are you struggling to understand the difference between technical SEO vs. content SEO? Don’t worry. We’re here to help you.

Content SEO and technical SEO are two sides to one coin. They are the main facets of the larger concept that is Search Engine Optimization.

So, to sum it up, they are two very different things, but they are both integral to a successful SEO strategy.

In this article, we will further explain and simplify these concepts so you can be well on your way to making your websites rank!

TL;DR Summary – Technical SEO vs. Content SEO

Below is a guide to help you understand the differences and key similarities between content SEO and technical SEO.

Short on time? Here is a quick summary:

  • Technical SEO and content SEO are two main facets that comprise the larger concept of Search Engine Optimization. They are different, but they are both necessary for a successful SEO strategy.
  • Technical SEO focuses on back-end processes that allow your content to be seen both by users and search engines. These are activities like enhancing page speeds, fixing broken pages, and ensuring crawlability.
  • Content SEO, on the other hand, is all about developing content in a way that guarantees search engines find it and rank it. Activities include keyword research, internal linking, and matching search intent.
  • You need skills like back-end optimization and SSL implementation to succeed at technical SEO.
  • For content SEO, skills like content writing, editing, and keyword research will help you create content that ranks well on SERPs.

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What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is what happens behind the curtains. In a nutshell, it improves the infrastructure of your website so your content becomes more visible to your audience.

There are two main ways by which technical SEO achieves this: creating a smooth user experience and ensuring that search engines understand your content.

Some of the fundamental elements of technical SEO are:

  • Improving page speeds
  • Creating an XML sitemap
  • Making a website mobile-friendly
  • Securing a website with HTTPS

These help search engines crawl, index, and render websites so they rank higher on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).

Compared to on-page SEO, technical SEO focuses on back-end processes, not content creation. But without it, your content has very little chance of getting noticed at all.

Confused, still? Learn more about technical SEO with these resources from TrioSEO.

Why is Technical SEO Important?

Technical SEO optimization is crucial for website ranking because it sets the stage for your content to be seen.

For a website to rank, it needs to please both search engine bots–those that scour the web for content that matches search queries–and users that visit websites.

That’s because search engines like Google don’t only pay attention to algorithms that make a website rankable. They also look at user experience. This is where bounce rates, dwell times, and page speeds come in.

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What is a Technical SEO Audit?

A technical SEO audit checks the health of a website’s architecture. Technical SEO strategists typically go through a checklist to inspect each aspect of a website’s structure to find gaps, fix issues, and maintain what’s working well.

The goal is to ensure a website’s back-end processes are running smoothly so they don’t interfere with your website’s rankings.

You can run a mini-audit every month or do a thorough analysis every six months or so.

Technical SEO Best Practices

The following best practices are your ammunition for fully optimizing your website for SEO:

  • Secure your website with HTTPS: A secure website keeps sensitive information from getting out and is a ranking signal for search engines. You’ll want to install an SSL certificate to authenticate your website and implement secure user access.
  • Optimize for mobile: Google has made its indexing process mobile-first since more people are now using mobile devices rather than desktop computers to view content.
  • Enhance page speeds: Page speed is an indicator of great user experience and impacts web rankings. A nifty tool for analyzing your website’s speed is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
  • Address content duplicates: Multiple pages with duplicate or almost-exact content on your website confuses search engines so they don’t accurately index your site.
  • Fix broken pages: Broken pages make your website look less credible. Any backlinks on these pages also go to waste. One of the ways to spot broken pages is to run Ahrefs’ Site Audit Tool.

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Content Optimization in SEO

Content plays a huge role in SEO. So big, in fact, that most people think that content optimization and SEO are one and the same.

So, let’s clarify things. Content optimization is only one aspect of SEO and involves enhancing content to reach more people and encourage more meaningful engagement.

Most of its techniques are geared toward making content highly visible to and easily interpreted by search engines–in other words, bots. These are strategies like sprinkling content with keywords and optimizing meta descriptions.

That doesn’t mean content optimization is all about the bots, though. The more we focus on providing high-value content for humans, the easier it is for bots to find them!

Let’s dig deeper.

What is SEO Content Writing?

SEO content writing is the process of creating written content in a way that guarantees it ranks well on SERPs. A lot of it means adhering to search engine algorithms, like conducting keyword research.

But that’s not the whole picture.

Content in SEO is also about crafting high-quality material for human consumption. An example of this is ensuring that the content matches search intent.

What is a Content Brief?

A content brief is a document that helps writers create high-quality content. It ensures engagement with readers and ranking on search engines.

A good brief outlines the following details:

  • Search intent: Defines the article’s topic and helps writers shape content to answer specific search queries.
  • Keywords: Includes primary keywords and secondary keywords and desired keyword density.
  • Target audience: Guides writers on language and tone so that the content resonates well with its audience.
  • Internal links: Details top pages relevant to the content.
  • Content purpose and Call to Action (CTA): Defines the action the content should elicit from its readers.

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Content SEO Best Practices

Looking to write knockout content? Consider these best practices in your content strategy:

  • Align content with search intent: “Search intent” is simply the reason behind a search query. Writing to satisfy the search intent is already half the battle when getting pages to rank.
  • Target the right keywords: Thorough keyword research is crucial in delivering your content to your audience. Stay away from too competitive keywords, and sprinkle keywords in the meta description, URL, and headers (not just the article body).
  • Write specific and enticing title tags. Your title tags are your main hooks and play a major role in whether people click on your links or not. Remember to incorporate keywords here, too.
  • Use appropriate HTML tags. Ensure that titles have H1 tags while other headings have H2 to H6.
  • Reel people in with meta descriptions. Meta descriptions give people a glimpse into your content, so make them count. Think of them and your title tags as your primary pitch.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing. Including as many keywords as possible when writing is tempting–don’t do it! Make quality your priority. People will read your content, not bots.

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Technical SEO vs. Content SEO

Technical SEO and content SEO are often confused as the same thing. Let’s help you distinguish one from the other.

Key Similarities

Both technical SEO and content SEO:

  • Are crucial for making websites rank higher on SERPs.
  • Help usher in organic traffic.
  • Involve optimization occurring on-page (as compared to off-page or beyond the website, like backlinking).
  • Enhance user experience.

Key Differences

Here’s how these two concepts differ:

  • Content SEO is focused on what people see on the website. Technical SEO deals with back-end processes.
  • Content SEO is about developing material that your audience consumes. Technical SEO ensures that content gets delivered to your audience.

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Technical SEO – Checklist, Skills, and Tools

Fired up to optimize your website structure? We’ve outlined all you’ll need below:

Technical SEO Checklist

A technical SEO checklist will guide you when inspecting your website’s infrastructure. You’ll need to check for the following essential elements:

  • Crawlability: The ease with which search engines navigate websites and find new content.
  • Indexability: Measures how easily and accurately search engines understand content on your website.
  • Webpage experience: Involves page speeds, mobile-friendliness, and security.
  • Internal and external links: Fix broken links or those that lead to non-existent, outdated, or incorrect pages.
  • Optimized XML sitemap: Allows search engines to navigate your website more efficiently by telling them the overall structure of your website and what to index.
  • Clean URLs: URLs should be as simple and short as possible to avoid crawling issues.

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Technical SEO Skills

These are the top skills you’ll need to implement a technical SEO strategy successfully:

  • Back-end optimization: Involves ensuring website crawlability, indexability, and renderability.
  • SSL Implementation: Ensures that a website can only be accessed via an encrypted link.
  • Establishing navigational elements: Allows users and search engines to find and navigate websites easily.
  • No-indexing low-ranking pages: Maximizes crawl budget by hiding low-ranking pages from search engines.
  • Technical SEO audit: Thorough inspection of a website’s infrastructure.

Technical SEO Tools

These tools are lifesavers, whether you’re running a technical SEO audit or revamping your website’s structure:

  • Google Search Console: Analyzes websites to spot and fix technical errors.
  • Google Search Analytics: Provides a detailed report on your search performance.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights: Measures page speeds for desktop and mobile.
  • Google Rich Results Testing Tool: Pinpoints issues with your Schema coding.
  • Ahrefs: Analyzes your website’s link profile.

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Content SEO – Checklist, Skills, and Tools

Whether you’re just about to create content or are in the middle of optimizing an existing piece, the following will supercharge your content strategy:

Content SEO Checklist

Run this series of checks when optimizing content:

  • Keyword placement: Target keywords should be in the URL, meta description, title tags, headings, and throughout the content body.
  • Search intent alignment: Does your content match the search intent?
  • Content quality: The most important information should be presented first–don’t bury the lede! Content should also be free of grammar or spelling errors.
  • Engaging visual content: Add videos, photos, and other graphics that may enhance engagement. Consider leveraging platforms like FlexClip to easily create and edit engaging videos that resonate with your audience and rich your content.
  • Internal and external links: Provide internal links for easier website navigation. Link only to credible external sites.

Content SEO Skills

These are the skills you need to be a great SEO content writer:

  • Search intent analysis: Determining the purpose behind a search query. Is it informational, transactional, commercial, or navigational?
  • Keyword research: Identifying primary and secondary keywords to target.
  • Link-building: Understanding how (and how frequently) to link to external and internal pages.
  • Content writing: Creating compelling written content targeted at a specific audience.
  • Editing: Enhancing and further optimizing existing copy.

Content SEO Tools

If you’re an SEO content writer, the following are must-haves in your arsenal of tools:

  • Ahrefs: Makes keyword research a breeze.
  • SEOWind: Creates article outlines that ensure content is optimized for SEO.
  • Semrush Writing Assistant: Aids in the writing process and gives recommendations for optimization.
  • Yoast Real-Time Content Analysis: Works like a writing assistant but with the added benefit of on-page analysis.
  • Grammarly: Checks content for correctness, clarity, and tone.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about technical SEO and content SEO:

What is the relationship between SEO and content marketing?

SEO is what ensures that your audience finds your content. Content marketing, on the other hand, helps you develop content that resonates with your audience.

Therefore, an effective content marketing plan needs both quality content and a robust SEO strategy to get your website to rank.

Which technical SEO issues are most important?

Some of the most important technical SEO issues are broken links and pages, sitemap problems, and HTTPS. These make it hard for search engines to crawl, index, and rank websites.

What technical SEO issue can you solve with an SSL certificate?

You can solve website security issues by implementing an SSL certificate that will authenticate your website’s identity and provide secure access for users.

Security is a major factor in how well your website ranks and helps build trust among your target audience.

What is the SEO purpose of adding links throughout your content?

There are two kinds of links that you should sprinkle throughout your content: internal and external. Internal links make it easy for users to navigate your website. External links, on the other hand, bolster your website’s credibility.

How does duplicate content affect SEO?

Duplicate content confuses search engines. It becomes unclear which pages they should rank higher, lowering the rank potential that a single, unique page may have.


With this guide, you should be ready to get your website ranking!

Our key takeaway: technical SEO and content SEO are very different things, but one can’t exist without the other. We need both quality content and sound website architecture to list higher on SERPs.

If you want to delve deeper into SEO, check out these helpful resources from us or get in touch with our team for a free consultation session to check how we can help you scale your SEO.

TrioSEO - Connor Gillivan

Want more traffic and leads? Turn your website into a traffic generation hub. Get started and we’ll conduct a free SEO audit to see if working together is a good fit. 

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Steven is the Co-founder & CEO of TrioSEO. His background is in large-scale blogging where he co-owned 40 websites and helped grow the portfolio to 7-figures within 3 years. Follow him on LinkedIn for daily SEO tips, tricks, and strategies.

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