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I had zero interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) back in 1999 when I started learning HTML and creating websites from scratch as a hobby.

The websites I created were terrible-looking and would never win design awards, but I was doing it for fun, just for myself. That whole Internet thing was still new-ish, and it was neat to create stuff and put it on the world wide web.

It wasn’t until 2008 that I really took an interest in SEO. I’d heard of it before, but SEO was some kind of marketing thing, right? I thought marketers were people trying to manipulate you to buy stuff you don’t want or need; why would I want to get involved with something like that?

But, the more I dug into SEO and how it worked, the more interested I became in all things SEO.

I spent a couple years dabbling in SEO on my own, and I had spent a lot of time on content and links but not so much on the technical side of things. I figured Google could find a website on the web, and that was that.

But in 2010 when I took my first job doing SEO for a small agency, it hit me like a ton of bricks when I discovered that there was a whole side of SEO I had no inkling of: Technical SEO.

I discovered that websites frequently have technical problems that negatively affect SEO – some of the most-common being duplicate content, 404 page not found errors, internal redirects, slow page load times, and making it difficult or even impossible for search engines like Google to discover and understand the website’s pages.

Technical SEO is still critical to this day. Webmasters, IT departments, and developers sometimes don’t take into consideration how Google crawls and indexes websites (that’s okay, that’s not their job, that’s the SEO’s job).

How many times have you heard “Content is king” over the past year? Well, of course it’s important. But if you think that all you need to care about with your website is links and content, like I did way back in the day, then look at this recent screenshot of a client’s SEO visibility change when implementing a critical SEO recommendation to fix duplicate content:

It’s easy to think that Google is all-knowing and all-seeing and that your website performance won’t be hurt by a few technical problems. Think again. Technical SEO is as important as ever, and maybe even more important than ever because more and more developers are creating JavaScript-based websites, which often makes it even harder for Google to properly crawl, index and rank pages.

Technical SEO is critically important today and will continue to be so in the future. Ignore it at your peril!