You’ve developed a great website, and you’re confident it will pull traffic. But without a technical SEO audit, your traffic estimations are just a pipedream. In this blog, you will learn what is technical SEO and how you can use it to optimize your website for maximum traffic.
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is the practice of improving the technical aspects of your website to boost traffic and increase ranking. It focuses on technical parameters (e.g., website speed, compatibility, sitemaps, etc.) of your site to make it easily crawlable by search engine robots.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO focuses on the technicalities of your site. Below are the key reasons why you need technical SEO.
1. To make your website crawlable
Technical SEO enables your website to be crawlable. It allows search engines to index your pages and list them in the search engine results pages. Creating a robots.txt file is one of the most basic and important parts of technical SEO.
2. To make your website indexable
After ensuring that your website is crawlable, technical SEO’s next most important objective is to ensure your website is indexable. The search engines need to understand that pages on your website are to be indexed and technical SEO helps create valid pages without technical issues.
3. To make your website mobile-friendly
Google introduced mobile-first indexing in 2019 and since then the mobile versions of pages received a lot more priority for determining search engine rankings. Technical SEO ensures that your mobile pages are optimized and offer the best user experience.
4. To remove content duplicacy
Technical SEO helps identify any duplicate content on your website and helps you manage your content better. Duplicate content can negatively affect your SEO and the use of canonical tags and other technical SEO methods can help eliminate such problems.
5. To improve page speed
Website load speeds are important when it comes to search engine rankings. No matter how good your content is, bad website optimization and networking will lead to a lower page rank for your content which is where technical SEO comes in.
How to Do Technical SEO?
Technical SEO involves complex procedures that need to be followed to meet the criteria of search engines. For this, you have to work on your website speed, user-friendly design, secure connectivity (SSL certificate), and a host of other parameters. So, here are the most relevant technical parameters that need to be implemented on your site.
1. Set your preferred domain
In SEO terms, the preferred domain is the version of your domain that you want to be listed in the search results. It is also the domain that you want users to redirect to if they do not put in “www” in the search bar. By default, Google sees “example.com” and “www.example.com” as two separate entities and it can easily be solved through technical SEO optimization by specifying your preferred domain.
2. Keep the URL structure short and SEO-friendly
You can either present your site’s URL structure like this:
http:// www.xyz.com/profile?=123&sort=price=1 (Old Dynamic URL)
Or like this:
The latter seems to be a well-optimized URL structure. It is short, descriptive, & there are no special characters. So, make sure to optimize the URL structure of your site in the same manner.
3. Use robot.txt appropriately
Your robots.txt file ensures that your website is crawlable and Google is able to index your content pages. However, it is also important to make non-searchable pages not be available in the search results. You can refer to the Google webmaster guidelines to get a good understanding of what should be searchable and what should be avoided.
4. Work on site structure to ensure easy navigation
Site structure is an important part of your technical SEO strategy. Google uses site structure as one of the criteria to determine which pages on your website are the most important. If you can influence the search engine and help it identify which content on your website needs to rank the highest, you will be able to get more traffic to your website. Good site structure involves a great UX, fresh and unique content, and high-quality internal link building.
5. Create breadcrumb menus
A breadcrumb menu lets you know where you are on a specific site. It is a set of links containing essential locations of the website. It looks something like – home>blog>current page. Google added the feature back in 2018 to its results pages making breadcrumb menus very important for SEO. Breadcrumbs in Google’s search engine page results help your audience understand where a particular content page is on your website.
6. Use structured data markup (schema markup)
Structured data is an advanced version of on-SERP SEO as it helps your content be featured as snippets on Google’s search engine page results. By adding structured data to your content, it makes it easier for Google to understand what your content is about and show excerpts and snippets at the top of search results. Even if your content is not featured as snippets for the associated keywords, the content is more actionable and appealing, which will boost the user experience for your audience.
7. Use canonical tags correctly
If your website has duplicate content, you can make use of canonical URLs to help search engines identify which one of your links should be regarded as the canonical URL. If you have duplicate content and do not use canonical URLs, the search traffic gets distributed across multiple URLs. It also hurts your page visibility as multiple pages compete for the same keyword in the search pages.
8. Fix the 404 page error
The best way to optimize your 404 page through technical SEO is to prevent your visitors from ever landing on them. There are numerous ways to monitor any 404 errors including Google Search Console and Google Analytics. By using Google Search Console, you are automatically alerted whenever any “not found” errors are discovered. Both 404 and 503 HTTP error codes are tracked. By using Google Analytics, you can create custom 404 error reports that automatically lists all pages that return the error code. You can manually make changes to your website to remove the dead URLs and optimize your website.
9 Create XML sitemap
Suppose that you are traveling to a new place. How will you find the exact location of that place? Simple, you will find it through a road map. For search engines, the XML sitemap is the road map of your website’s structure. It enables search engines to configure your website technicalities. From this, they can crawl, index, and rank it. You can publish your optimized XML sitemap in Google Search Console.
10. Ensure security with SSL and HTTPS
The secure socket layers (SSL) & HTTPS (Hypertext transfer protocol) represent the latest security protocols. It ensures the transfer of data between the user to the server or server to the server is secured (encrypted). Just look for the ‘lock’ symbol near the website URL. Having both certificates is one of the easiest ways to boost your SEO ranking and you should implement them whether you collect user information or not. Every leading website today has the security level enabled.
11. Site compatibility
Google adopted a mobile-first approach for SEO recently, which means that if you website is not optimized for mobile devices you will negatively affect your SEO rankings. Having responsive pages that work great on all platforms and devices is a must if you want the best SEO rankings for your website.
12. Don’t overlook website speed
Since user experience counts as an important metric for SEO optimization, having good website speed helps you rank higher in search engine page results. Google Pagespeed Insights and Pingdom are the best tools to assess your website’s performance and you can use its metrics to make changes to your website’s technical aspects to improve its performance.
13. Choose the new technology – AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
If you post a lot of static content on your website that does not involve much user interaction, optimizing your pages for AMP is a must. AMP pages load significantly faster than traditional HTML pages and allow you to rank your pages much higher on the basis of faster load times.
14. Optimize international websites with Hreflang tags
Hreflang is an HTML attribute that allows you to specify which geographical region and language your website is targeting. In case your website has multiple versions in different languages, you can use the hreflang tags. These tags help Google identify the best pages to list depending on the geographical region and language.
15. Use multiple webmaster tools
Webmaster tools can benefit your website greatly as it ensures that your website is in good health and as efficient as possible. The toolset allows you to gain insights on your website through search statistics that are displayed by Google. You will also get data on all incoming links and internal links. Any crawling errors are instantly detected including spam, virus, and other threats. You can also measure how effective your on-page optimization has been for your website including keyword efficacy and indexing activity.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are a few common questions that will expand your learning about technical SEO.
Technical SEO is important because it helps search engines know that you have high-quality content that deserves to be ranked higher. As long as you are creating the best possible content for your selected keywords, technical SEO ensures that you rank high on search engines.
2. What are the different types of SEO?
There are three types of SEO – technical, on-page, and off-page. Technical SEO overlaps with on-page SEO at times but it focuses on the structure and technical aspects of your webpage more than the on-page content.
3. What comes under technical SEO?
Technical SEO is all about enhancing the technical parameters of your site. It involves various activities such as adhering to search engines’ technical guidelines (Crawl, Index, Render, Site Structure). Also, it considers website speed, compatibility, breadcrumb navigation, robots.txt, site maps, etc.
4. Is SEO a technical job?
SEO has technical aspects to it but it does not necessarily have to be a technical job always. There are many aspects of SEO that can be performed without knowing HTML, JSS, etc.
5. What is a technical SEO audit?
A technical SEO audit is a process that involves checking all of the technical aspects of a website’s SEO and preparing a report on everything that can be fixed or improved. Search engines crawl pages and websites and any technical issues present in your website can negatively affect your SEO. Performing periodical SEO audits prevents any technical issues from affecting your search rankings.
6. How do I fix technical SEO issues?
Fixing technical issues involves improving website performance, avoiding broken links, removing duplicate content and other actions that directly affect user experience for your audience. If you can fix the underlying technical issues with your website’s SEO, you will be able to rank much higher in search results.
Technical SEO may require you to deal with some specialized tasks, such as optimizing page speed, using Hreflang tags, adding markup, etc. Even though it may seem difficult, the effort you put in will be rewarded by higher web traffic. It will undoubtedly help you gain higher rankings in the search engines.