Updated June 20, 2023
Introduction to Technical SEO
If you own a site, you would know that SEO matters greatly for online business. We all know content is the lifeblood of SEO. But SEO is as important as the content. Technical SEO refers to any SEO activities that do not include content. It is a foundation that gives your content the best chance to rank in the search engines through relevant keywords and phrases. Technical SEO is the main reason search engines crawl to and index your site. Technical SEO can analyze the search engines’ techniques in accessing and crawling your site.
If the search engine crawls to your site easily, then there are more chances for ranking higher, bringing more traffic to your site.
Why is Technical SEO Important?
Imagine a car with a super sporty body and a good fuel capacity, but if it does not have good mechanics (like engine, brakes, etc.) to run with? Will it be powerful and successful? Definitely, Not. The same is with SEO. Even if you have great content on your site and your website is not technically sound, users will not find your website great. Technical SEO should be combined with other SEO factors to make your SEO campaign successful.
Aspects of Technical SEO
In this article, let’s look at a few of the technical aspects of SEO.
1. Conduct a technical SEO audit
Technical SEO audit is discovering if any issue is hindered when the search engine crawls to your site. It also lets you know the possible opportunities to improve the site’s performance. The simple way to conduct this audit is to create a template of all the technical problems and then resolve them individually.
This audit involves solving multiple H1, internal linking errors, duplicate content, search engine robots blockage, URL structure, page speed, and other areas.
There are also tools available to conduct technical SEO audits. These tools will do a lot of work for you in finding and fixing the errors.
2. Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization has become necessary because mobile users have significantly increased more than desktop users. It is a bad sign if your site is not optimized for mobile yet. Mobile traffic has overtaken desktop traffic recently. It means that the mobile users are the ones who visit the site and make a purchase.
You always need to be where your users are. You need to optimize your site for mobile users. People should be able to use your site effortlessly. This will help you to increase the conversion rate of your site.
Ensure your mobile site works properly on all mobile devices and networks. Do this with a simple check; open your site on a mobile. But this isn’t the only way to check your site. Because later, people might get trouble opening your site on some other phone. There are tools to check if your site is mobile-friendly. One such tool offered by Google is Mobile-Friendly Test. In this tool, you can enter your website, and then the tool tells you if there is any issue, including the HTML and CSS.
3. Check the Robots.txt file
The robots.txt file will tell the search engine which parts or pages of the site are to be crawled and which are not. The crawled pages are visible to the users, and the pages not to be crawled are visible to the site administrators. The reason to check for this file is that sometimes the entire website may have been blocked by the site owners. This is normal to happen during the development stage of a site. And when the site comes live, the site owners forget to update this file, and as a result, the new pages of the site or sometimes the entire site is not indexed and crawled by the search engine.
Check your robot’s text file frequently to ensure that it is updated to the changes you make to your site. Robots.txt file should always be your preferred factor to check whether your site works properly.
4. Duplicate Content
Search engines hate duplicate content. Duplicate contents can be found both on-site and off-site. You need to be careful in finding out both. If a website has more duplicate content, the search engine will penalize the site. The most common form of duplicate content is using facets. To avoid this type of duplicate content, you need to differentiate one page from the other using the title, heading tags, and meta description for those pages.
Your home page content always needs to be unique. You need to regularly update your site’s content to ensure that your content is unique. If you copy the content from any famous site, then the site will outrank your site.
Creating canonical URLs’s the best way to eliminate duplicate content in URLs.
5. Site Structure
You should use your common sense when structuring your site. Your site architecture should be the best for users and search engines. If your site has a clear structure, then the search engines can easily crawl to your site, and the users can easily navigate around the site. When you structure your site, ensure all the necessary pages are linked from the home page.
Keep your site simple, with logical paths and clean URLs. Whenever you update your site structure, implement a 301 redirect from the old page to the new one. You might also use canonical tags.
6. Page or Site Speed
Page speed refers to the time taken by the search engine to load the content of a page. Speed is considered an important ranking factor by Google. A fast-loading site will most likely get a better ranking in search engines. If the site loads slowly, the visitors will lose interest in your site, increasing your site’s bounce rate. An increase in bounce rate will decrease your sales.
Google’s Page Insights is a good tool to find out if there is any issue with the site’s loading.
7. XML Sitemap
A sitemap.xml contains all the URLs of all your site’s pages and shows your site’s structure to Google and other search engines. It tells the search engine what the site is about and how it is structured. Through the sitemap.xml, search engines can easily find a page that otherwise would have been hard to find. Ensure your XML file is current and contains all your site’s important pages.
Content Management System will help you to create such XML files. You can also write your code.
8. Error Pages and redirects
When the search engine crawls to a site, sometimes you might see a page error and a code. These codes are called status codes, and the most common codes are explained below for your reference
- HTTP 200 – When you try to crawl to your site, you will get this code, meaning that the request is successful and the page is found with the content.
- 301 – 301 is a permanent redirect. This is shown when a page is moved to a new location or deleted permanently. This tells the search engine to move the link juice from the old URL to the new one.
- 302 – This is a temporary redirect. This informs the search engine to retain any link juice on that URL only and not to redirect to the new page.
- 404 – This code says that the page is not found. Getting a 404 error is sometimes dangerous. It should be avoided. If you find any 404 error in your site, find out where it is coming from because sometimes it might be due to a simple spelling mistake in the URL.
- 503 – 503 means the service is unavailable. If you take your site offline for maintenance, send out these error 503. Search engines will consider this code as a temporary not working site. You can also redirect your site, mentioning that your site is under maintenance.
9. Force a Single domain
You can have two or more domain names for your site. But the best practice is to have a single domain name to reach your site. Set the correct HTTP headers for that single domain to be known.
10. Structured Data
Structured data is the main component of any data or information. Search engines have created a common language to read the data. Such language includes Schema, microformats, microdata, and RDFs. People use these languages to explain in detail the information.
11. Meta Tags
The meta tag you should be more concerned about is the Meta description. It does not greatly impact your ranking, but this is the main reason for the browsers to click on your site. A meta description briefly describes your site in the Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs). But don’t stuff your meta description with keywords. Every page of your site should have a unique meta tag with a proper title and a clear description. This should tempt the user to click on your site.
12. Optimize your images
Compress the images of your site. Sometimes the images might have metadata that will occupy a lot of space. Delete such data. Use a tool or a plug-in to compress the data. Combine many small images to form a single file called ‘sprite’. Usually, navigation icons and logos are included in sprites. If you are using Sprite, you can intimate the browser through CSS to tell which part of that image will be used.
Alt tags can be added to an image that includes a brief description of the image. The alt tags can also have keywords. You can add a name to the image which is relevant to it.
13. URL structure
The URL structure is yet another important technical factor in SEO. In the early days, the URLs were so confusing. But nowadays, the URLs include keywords which makes the search engine easy to understand what the page is about. These URL’s also attract users to click on the link. Examples are given below.
URLs in the early days
When making your URL keep all these simple tips in mind
- Do not include extraneous characters in your URL
- The shorter the URL’s, the more effective they are
- URLs can contain numbers and alphabets
- Avoid underscores
- Subdomains rank better
14. Semantic Page Mark-up
Use the HTML like H1, H2, H3, and so on. People use H1 for the most important titles, H2 for the next level, and H3 for the next level. The search engine will use such tags as a guideline to understand the content and crawl to the pages. HTML sitemap will also help visitors to navigate through your site easily.
15. Create a Podcast
You can create a podcast if you are more scared to deliver the messages to a live audience. You can deliver messages in your expert area through Podcasts and drive more traffic to your site. In the beginning, you will feel like you don’t have enough audience to listen to you. But gradually it will increase. Try to promote your podcast on social media, which will help you get more listeners.
Another way to make your podcast popular is to invite a guest who has many followers and can request them to promote your podcast.
Learn to attract new customers through web traffic. Discover how to analyze and optimize your site. Practice Onsite and Offsite Optimization.
This article is just a beginner’s guide to technical SEO, but there is much more to explore about technical SEO. SEO experts learn in detail about these tactics of technical SEO and practice these skills for years to become an SEO experts. Apply this technical SEO to your site and fix any errors to make your website perfect.
This has been a guide to Technical SEO. Here we have discussed the basic concept, why it is important with 15 significant aspects of technical SEO in a detailed manner. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –