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
SEO is about tweaking your website in a way that portrays itself as the best relevant site. While practicing technical SEO, you must adhere to the technical guidelines of search engines. For this, you need to work on your site’s load time, compatibility, sitemaps, tags, etc. In short, it should enhance your website’s functioning. It is advisable to avoid using copied content. Also, work on adding internal links, robot.txt, etc.
2. To make your website indexable
The next step after crawling is the indexing of the web page. In this, the search engine stores the most relevant web pages of your site in their database. Just check whether these pages have been indexed or not. It is where Google Search Console assists you. It has various in-built tools that let you know about the technicalities of your site.
3. To make your website mobile-friendly
One of the essential aspects of technical SEO is the compatibility factor. Make sure to make your site mobile-friendly. More than 50% of traffic use mobile smartphones to surf the internet. The mobile-first indexing (launched by Google) has enabled separate ranking for mobile version websites. Therefore, having a mobile compatible website can influence your search rankings. You can test your site’s compatibility via Google’s Mobile-friendly test.
4. To remove content duplicacy
While practicing SEO, you need to keep both the users and the search engines in mind. However, publishing duplicate content on your site can go against your plans. Your site’s ranking will get demoted or penalized. A duplicate content hinders the process of analyzing your site by the search engines. It might get confused among web pages and thus affect your ranking. So, make sure to avoid these habits.
5. To improve page speed
The page load time/speed is also an essential aspect of technical SEO. A visitor can opt-out of your website if your page speed is 3 seconds or more. It might increase the bounce rate of your site and demote your search rankings. Luckily, Google page speed insight can help you out. It assesses your site speed for both mobile and desktop versions. It also gives a possible solution to make your website load faster. Just paste your site’s URL in the tool to identify the page load time.
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), etc. Thus, having a checklist can help you tweak your site’s technical parameters. So, here are the most relevant technical parameters that need to be implemented on your site.
1. Set your preferred domain
Suppose you’ve started a website named ‘mysite.com.’ The very same domain might have multiple URL variations such as:
With SSL, it will look like:
Note that these many URLs contain the same content. It’s just the difference in the URL links. Unlike humans, web crawlers cannot understand this. They’ll consider each of them as different sites. Therefore, search engines will mark these websites as containing duplicate content. It might hamper your rankings in the search listings.
The preferred domain helps you convey your domain preference to the search engines. Earlier, there was an option given in Google Search Console to add your domain preference. But now it has changed. You have to work on canonical URLs for this.
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
It is a tag/file that lets you exclude your site’s specific pages from the web crawlers. With the help of the robot.txt tag, you can layout crawl instructions for the web crawlers. This way, they (crawlers) can understand how & what to scan on your site.
4. Work on site structure to ensure easy navigation
No matter how good your content is, make sure that your site is user friendly. Visitors might access specific web pages of your site. In this process, navigating your site should be hassle-free. Therefore, make sure to manage and improve your site structure. The web crawlers should find your site relevant, understandable, and easy to crawl.
5. Create breadcrumb menus
The 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. Thus, it is advisable to add a breadcrumb menu on your site to improve the site structure and navigation.
6. Use structured data markup (schema markup)
It presents the search engines with a context about what your web pages are all about. While searching for cars, you’ll come across various websites in search engine listings. Every site will showcase glimpses of their web page. Before visiting the landing page, visitors will check these glimpses out. That makes it simple for the search engine to understand the website. Based on the search queries, the search engines will rank your most relevant web pages.
7. Use canonical tags correctly
Your website’s single domain name might have different URL variations, such as http://www.mysite.com/, http://mysite.com/, and many more. The search engines identify these as unique websites even though these URL links consist of the same content.
Hence, the search engines might penalize the site for having duplicate content. It is where ‘rel=canonical’ (canonical tag) comes to the rescue as it informs the web crawlers about the master URL.
This tag enables the web crawlers to identify which URLs to be displayed in the search engine listings.
8. Fix the 404 page error
While building or rebuilding your website, changes in the web pages are inevitable. You might remove or change a particular web page/URL. It can hamper the visitor experience of your site. Both the visitors and the web crawlers will encounter a 404-page error. Therefore, it is essential to optimize the 404 pages to keep your site’s bounce rate minimal. Adding 301 redirects can help the visitors to navigate from one web page to another.
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. Now for the 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. Hence, make sure to add the most relevant web pages in the XML sitemap. 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 credibility. Every leading website today has the security level enabled. 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. You might have saved your passwords or financial information on a well-known website with an SSL. Every web-hosting platform already includes SSL certification in their hosting plans. So check that out and enable it on your site.
11. Site compatibility
There has been a massive shift in online activities. Now, users are moving from desktop to mobile smartphones. Moreover, mobile compatible websites are pretty responsive in terms of sharing content on social media platforms. They’re visually appealing to the visitor, too. If you’re looking for achieving a more fabulous user experience, then make your site mobile compatible.
12. Don’t overlook the website speed
In technical SEO, website load time plays a significant role. Research states ‘1 in every 5 visitors’ will opt-out of your site if your site’s page speed is more than 3 seconds. Therefore, look for free tools like Google page speed insights, Pingdom, etc., and start using them. This way, you can self-check your website speed. Go through their in-depth recommendations to improve your site’s speed.
13. Choose the new technology – AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Today Google, emphasizes more on speed for mobile-based websites. Thus, it launched AMP open-source project a few years ago. It basically increases the pages’ speed by converting the standard HTML of your site into simpler HTML copies that load faster. In short, it makes your existing web pages lighter and more appealing. These lighter pages are termed as AMP pages, which are stored in Google servers. Therefore, creating AMP pages can exponentially increase the speed of your site on mobile.
14. Optimize international websites with Hreflang tags
Suppose you run a website with content for a dual audience in the US and the UK. In this case, search engines seek your assistance in determining which specific country or language you are targetting. That is where Hreflang tags can help you. If you manage a multilingual site, using this tag is essential. In simple words, if your website has a Spanish version available, then the search engine will show it to Spanish speakers instead of displaying an English version.
15. Use multiple webmaster tools
Unlike other parts of on-page SEO, technical SEO is a complicated process of improving your site. But it is a vital aspect of SEO. There are free tools at your service, such as Google Search Console. It has so many in-built features that look at everything in detail. Just register yourself in it to unleash the potential of technical SEO.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Below are a few common questions that will expand your learning about technical SEO.
Technical SEO is important because it enables your website to adhere to the search engine’s technical guidelines, which will help you grow your website in terms of visitors and search listings.
2. What are the different types of SEO?
SEO can be divided into three types: On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and technical SEO.
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 can get technical if you wish to learn about in-depth SEO. Gaining technical expertise (CSS, HTML, etc.) can get you the results faster.
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.