Optimize for Search Engines, Browsers & Users

Optimization sweet spot

Optimization sweet spot

Search engines have a technical view of the Web and social networks. So do browsers. Your website’s search rankings and user experience depend on technical processes. The best business idea, sold in the most ingenious way, counts for little if the underlying technology isn’t correct. For an online or digital offering, the optimization Sweet Spot includes search engines, browsers and users.

Your customers use the Web but machines run it. To successfully engage with your end-user customer, you have to first communicate successfully with two other important customers: search engines and browsers. To do so, you need to speak their language — machine language. We do. We replicate as closely as possible how Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, and desktop and mobile browsers ‘see’ your entire site and social profiles and how they interact with them. Then we optimize everything to:

Optimize for Search Engines

Optimize Search Engine and Browser Journey Through Site

Technical optimization starts on the server (which is where Google – and your users’ browsers – start when they access a website. They then progress through any site-wide software to the pages. They do not start on the pages). Websites consist of layers, or stacks, usually three. We apply technical optimization at every layer:

  • Host server. Everything here affects everything below, good or bad.
  • Site software. Everything here affects everything below, good or bad, but nothing above.
  • Pages. Pages can’t affect anything above them but they impact browsers.

Like DNA (good and bad), server configurations and website settings (good and bad) are passed down, not up, and are passed on to users’ browsers from a page. Google pays close attention to this.

3 Website three layer stack

Optimize Search Engine and Browser Journey Through Site

Website layers are made up of different types of applications and code. Humans don’t see code (they see words, images instead), but search engines and browsers do. Code is all they see: They can’t “see” words or images; instead, they “read” coded representations of them. In fact, search engines never see pages as you do, they only see page code on the server. So your webpages, site-wide software and server need to be configured to work with how they operate. Technical optimization removes obstacles to them and increases the features that help them traverse your site easily, download it cleanly and index it accurately in order to rank it:


Google has specific preferences for how a server is set up. The way you do this can make or break your site. Server settings control how your content is stored, served and consumed. All those beautiful brilliant pages will count for little if your server settings are wrong. They’re important for other reasons too: For example, Google specifically scores how well your site performs for social, local and mobile criteria. Many of the key points to deal with these criteria aren’t on a page – they can only be configured on the server or in site-wide software.


Your site structure and much of its performance are determined here, in the space below your server but above your pages. Some software and settings operate across the whole site, not just on an individual page. They affect everything to do with how your entire site is laid out and presented, and they affect how every page is displayed to users. The way these are handled technically is critical for Google as well as for browsers.


Webpages. On-page, from a technical perspective there are three things that matter to how your site performs in search results.

  • Clean code, which is essential if you want your webpages to perform well in search results and on users’ browsers.
  • Associating pages with each other using new code formats that Google looks for instead of query-keyword matching. This is a step beyond putting keywords on your pages, and it’s accomplished using technical methods separate from the actual words on the page.
  • Making sure your site can be socialized in ways that prompt the types of user engagement which Web and social search engines value.

Social profiles. Social networks don’t allow access to their servers and site-wide software, so technical optimization is on-page:

  • Methods to stimulate and amplify the interaction between your users, your profiles and your site in ways that Google recognizes and counts favourably. Google looks closely at links, likes, follows, tweets, shares, etc., but it grades them differently (some it values more than others, certain things it will penalize you for).
  • Ensuring your social profiles reference your website correctly and that activity on them benefits your website’s search results position. And vice versa.
  • Adding new code formats to the profile code (which humans don’t see but search engines do).


Backlinks (links pointing to your site) are critical to your search ranking. Google values some (not all) types of links highly because they indicate an independent “vote” for a site. The wrong type of links will get you penalized and possibly banned from Google’s index. We implement technical methods with site-wide software and on-page to ensure you keep all the credit from good links people do point to you. Just as important, there are steps we can take to get rid of bad links – the links Google will penalize you for.

Link building is a separate aspect of optimization because, like social network activities, it’s off-site. Neither you nor we can control them — they’re made by other people — but we can help you influence the quality.

Optimize for Browsers

Browsers are the go-between between your site and your users. People don’t actually “visit” your site, they download pages from your server to their browser. Your site needs to perform on an ever-increasing array of browsers, devices, operating systems and networks. Search engines check this, and your users will certainly notice. Which means your technical setup has to account for four things:

  1. 1. An ever-increasing range of browsers
  2. 2. Devices with widely varying performance characteristics
  3. 3. Operating systems with different capabilities
  4. 4. Networks with varying connection speeds

One of the things Google does is mimic how you site behaves on the above combinations: Good SEO = good browser performance = happy users = happy Google = better placing in Google search results. Technical optimization methods enable your website to anticipate each visitor’s combination of the above and adjust the site’s content for them. These are enabled exclusively on your server, site-wide software or pages. Even if you’re not counting on search engines to refer much traffic to your site, we’ll still optimize your site for the browser to give your users the best experience of it irrespective of how they got there.

Optimize for users

The user experience is about more than design and copy. The best content will underwhelm users (and underperform in search results) if the underlying technology is poor. The technical structure and quality of your website should encourage, not hinder, users to do what you want them to do.

Once users are finding and visiting your site and getting a great experience on their browsers, the final step in technical optimization is to get them to take the action you want. This will vary by your businesses’ needs – you might want them to sign up for a newsletter, buy something online, subscribe to your blog, follow you on a social network, share your content, order online for pickup in-store, call your sales office, etc. But whatever it is, the key is to guide users to perform the action you want by funnelling them to a Call To Action.

Our technical optimization methods work with your creative presentation and commercial messaging to bring users to your desired Call To Action in as few clicks as possible whilst also ensuring they get the best overall experience of your site.

Technical Optimization

There’s a temptation to concentrate on page design, copy, multimedia. They’re critical to users but… first, you have to get your site in front of users and keep it in front of them. Which means you have to satisfy Google’s technical checks and the varying performance characteristics of different browsers. There’s also a temptation to focus on on-page SEO. That’s important, but it can’t make up for bad server and site-wide optimization. And, given Google’s direction of changes, and the growth of different devices, operating systems and browsers, it’s less effective on its own than it was.

Technical Optimization for Search, Browsers & Users

Technical optimization underpins the three most basic but essential online outcomes for a website:

Technical Optimization for Social, Local, Mobile (SLoMo)

Beyond that, the next most important outcomes for any site in almost any business category are Social, Local and Mobile, or SLoMo. Google wants to see a site that is socially engaged (part of an active community), locally relevant (to queries for local products or services) and mobile friendly (performs well on all devices, mobile and desktop).

If you’re using Google AdWords/keyword buys, we’ll optimize your landing pages so that you’ll pay less for ads and get better positions for them — Google takes landing-page quality into account when determining prices and positions. No matter how users arrive at your site, you’ll also want to optimize your site to “convert” them — to get them to do something you want them to do.

At a more complex level, technical optimization is indispensable for websites that run special software for specific tasks, for example, a database application, a content management system, a shopping cart or a transaction system, and for sites that have large amounts of frequently changing content or content in multiple languages.

Technical Foundation for Online/Digital Strategy

Optimized technology is the foundation of any online/digital strategy. No matter what activities you’re planning, they’ll be more effective if your technical set up is correct.

Step 1 – Technical Foundation

First, we optimize your entire Website and profiles as discussed (and your blog). Once we’ve set them up correctly (new build) or fixed them (re-build), you’ll only need to re-visit the technical side of things periodically and can concentrate on executing your strategy.

Step 2 — Outreach and Promotion

Then comes outreach and promotion, which can involve link building, social media, blogging, content marketing, advertising — and continuing to add new content to your website as well as your profiles and blog. We’ll work with you to make this into a series of coherent, joined up actions that send the right activity signals to Google rather than being seen as a series of unconnected events that send the wrong signals — or none at all. Content may be King, but distribution is Queen.