You may be familiar with two types of SEO (Search Engine Optimization): on-page SEO and off-page SEO. But hold on a minute, you miss something very crucial. Technical SEO is a critical part of your overall SEO process and a big topic to talk about.
If your website is not correctly optimized for technical SEO, it is not going to rank on number one and even appear on first-page search results. This means you can’t generate your desired output from your site and all your SEO efforts waste without practicing proper technical SEO procedures.
Fortunately, Once you do a technical SEO audit of your site and fix the problems, you won’t perhaps come across these issues again.
In this guide, we will discuss almost all aspects of technical SEO that you must need to know as a beginner. So, you may fix the potential issue and get the most out of your business. Let’s deep dive into the technical details of technical SEO and learn more about it!
What Is Technical SEO?
Generally, technical SEO refers to the process of your server and website optimization (such as XML sitemaps, redirects, structured data, HTTP responses, page elements, etc.). It ensures that your website meets all search engine guidelines and requirements so it can rank on top in search results (more organic traffic & more revenue) as you offer high-quality content and an incomparable user experience.
Furthermore, it is called technical because it mainly enhances the infrastructure of your website and ensures that your site is problem-free. It has no concern with actual content and link building process.
Moreover, technical SEO directly or indirectly impacts the crawling and indexing phases of search engines and ultimately leads to a higher ranking. It makes your website understandable for both the original users and search engine spiders/crawlers.
In other words, you can say that technical SEO is the foundation of your website that clears the way for your website to shine in the search results which translates to more organic traffic and the growth of your business.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
You invest your money, time, energy, and possible efforts into your site’s SEO to get your expected result out of it. But what if your organization misses opportunities to communicate with search engines and intended users or even it become entirely unreachable by both (customers & search engines) at worst due to technical issues. Technical SEO addresses the potential issues and fixes them as well by applying different solutions.
You should always include technical SEO optimization in your SEO strategies because of several reasons such as:
- Technical SEO helps search engine spiders to crawl, understand, and index the content of your website.
- It impacts site speed and helps to load pages faster.
- Technical SEO helps your business to stand out from competitors.
- It boosts the ROI (Return on Investment) from your SEO strategies.
- Technical SEO help you to rank higher in search results
- It influences the actions & decisions of your website’s visitors.
- Technical SEO has a direct impact on your site’s conversion rate, sales, and lead generation.
- Resolve common technical issues that may affect some or all pages of your website.
Search Engines and customers do not like websites with issues that lead to more bounce rates. So, it is crucial to make Technical SEO optimization a part of your SEO strategies and plan whether by hiring the services of any reputed technical SEO company or manage it by yourself. Keep in mind that, it may take time to detect problems and implement solutions. So be patient while measuring the impacts.
Is Technical SEO Different From On-page & Off-page SEO?
Many people may consider that technical SEO combines the factors of on-page and off-page SEO. Well, It’s somewhat indeed, partly not really….
On-page SEO focus on the actual content and helps you to make it more relevant according to the user’s searching behavior and needs. Besides, the off-page SEO focus on promotions and link building to increase trust among customers. While Technical SEO focuses on the activities to improve crawling, indexing, and other technical aspects of your website to increase its ranking. It has nothing to do with backlinking and content optimization.
Mainly, technical SEO, off-page SEO, and On-page SEO are three pillars of SEO. Let’s get a clear image in your mind by looking at the diagram below.
SEO: Three main pillars of SEO
You may notice in the above diagram, there are no obvious boundaries between these three pillars of SEO. Because they work together to make your website fully optimized.
Elements of Technical SEO
1. Accessibility- Website Speed & Performance
The general rule of thumb is faster is always better. Therefore, page load speed is one of the top ten SEO ranking factors and plays a vital role when it comes to your site’s performance.
Frits and foremost, customers don’t wait to access their required information and products. According to Google, the bounce rate increased by 123% with a 10 seconds page load speed. That’s why accessibility and speed is a critical component of technical SEO.
You can measure your site’s speed by using technical SEO tools such as Ahref, PageSpeed Insights from Google, and GTMatrix. These tools identify high-priority issues that may affect your site speed. You can increase load speed and make the user experience smoother by caching, CDN, server optimization, and so on. Let’s look at some factors that help you to make your website faster.
Use Simple Templates
“Less is more” when it comes to your Website components. More elements such as extra plugins, widgets take more time to load, and your user is not going to wait for even 3 seconds. Therefore, try to keep your design and template minimalist and well-organized. Besides, you should achieve a healthy balance between a complete design and necessary elements to cut down the overall load time.
Heavy images and videos can disturb your loading speed and leads to more bounce rate. So, always use rich media compression/image optimization to make your visuals sharper but not heavier. Additionally, it is recommended to use jpg format for images and png for graphics.
Multiple redirects mean more waiting time that negatively impacts your site’s performance and encourages visitors to end the session. So, make sure to use a single redirect on a web page and possibly limit the number of redirects.
You can identify page errors (3xx, 4xx, 5xx status codes) using the Google search console and handle them wisely. For instance, when there is a “page not found issue”, you can’t avoid a 404 error. You can implement a permanent 301 redirect here or design a custom and user-friendly page that guides users back to your home page or any relevant part.
You can make use of browser cheche and set it according to your needs. It stores the website resources and significantly provides fast loading speed to returning users.
2. Mobile Friendliness
Mobile-friendliness is another important element. According to Statista research, 90 percent of internet users (more than 4.28 billion people) use their mobile devices to go online around the globe. This new era of mobile search encourages Google to update its ranking algorithms accordingly. So, if your site is not responsive on mobile phones or tablets, there are fewer chances of ranking on top.
Thus, you should check your website for mobile responsiveness and friendliness and optimize it to load faster and run smoother on smartphones to get more tangible benefits out of it. You can hire the services of technical SEO agencies to make your site’s design responsive across all devices.
3. Website Architecture (Crawling & Indexing)
It is important to shape an SEO-friend site architecture to optimize the crawling and indexing of a website. For technical SEO, both crawling and indexing are like peanut butter and jelly. This element covers URL structures, robots.txt files, sitemaps, internal links, user-friendly navigations, site security, and more. Let’s look at some important ones!
On 6th August 2014, Google announced that HTTPS is a part of their ranking factor list. So, you always choose HTTPS (secure protocol) for your site architecture. It not only boost your ranking but also protect and secure your site. Additionally, you get more analytical benefits with this protocol. However, you should also follow all search engine constraints to maximize your ranking opportunities. You can switch from HTTP to HTTPS via an SSL certificate.
A robots.txt file work as an instructional manual for web spiders/crawlers. You can specify certain commands for specific search engine crawlers (Google, Bing, and others). You may want to prevent crawlers from viewing trivial pages. However, make sure you don’t block them from crawling your entire website as it doesn’t allow crawlers to index your website on search engines. So, getting organic traffic becomes more challenging for you.
Luckily, you can create and test an SEO-friendly robots.txt file using the Google Search Console tool and ensures that it provides the right guidelines to web spiders. Moreover, a robots.txt file and sitemaps are essential elements of savvy site architecture.
HTML/ XML sitemaps
Web crawlers use XML sitemap as a map of your website and locate the most valuable pages of your website with its help. Users don’t use XML maps, they utilize HTML sitemap (if your site has any). You can easily create an XML sitemap with different available tools and submit it to Google. On a WordPress site, the Yoast SEO plugin will do the job perfectly.
The next step of our technical SEO checklist is creating an HTML sitemap that works like a roadmap for crawlers and visitors as well. This sitemap usually appears in the footer and is quite helpful on a 404 page. Besides, it helps users to explore your site and view the most important part of your website.
SEO-friendly navigation is mandatory either you have a small or large website. Breadcrumbs navigation allows you to track your current location on the site and transparently represent your site’s hierarchy. Additionally, it makes it easier to jump directly to the home page or any other section of the website.
Furthermore, breadcrumbs serve the purpose of secondary navigation and are an extra addition to your website. Never use it to replace the primary navigation menu of your site.
Consistent URL Structure
Clear and consistent URLs are crucial for a cleverly designed architecture. URLs are readable text that point to specific resources on your website and should be understandable for users and search engines as well. Additionally, they also serve as a ranking factor so make sure they are brief and descriptive. Besides, you can add a target keyword in your URL to increase your chances of ranking. Here are some rules to make your URL structure SEO-friendly.
- Use lowercase letters.
- Separate words using hyphens (“- “).
- Avoid dates and symbols like hashtags or ampersand.
- Minimize the number of words (should not be longer than 2048 characters).
- Showcase your target keyword
Along with following these practices, make proper use of nesting to provide additional context to your user and web crawlers. It will be helpful for search engines while ranking your content.
Silo Content (Internal Linking)
Last but not the least, Silo defines the hierarchy and network connection of your website. Internal links play a key role to enhance the visibility of your older articles that relates to your newly published content.
A wise architecture is one that categorized your site’s content and links all relevant pages lies within one category. So, your user may make use of your older posted information ad services. In a well-designed website, the silo structure resembles a pyramid.
4. Structured Data Markup
Structure data markup is another critical element of technical SEO and helps search engines to better understand your site’s content. Besides it assist search engines for effective indexing and providing more relevant results.
Although Google identifies the resource type by analyzing your on-page optimization and content, the structured data help them a ton by the addition of rich snippets. You can provide information like star rating, number of reviews, product prices, and reviewer information using rich snippets that help you to attract more users. So, rich snippets that show in search results make your content more appealing and useful that translates to more CTR rate and additional traffic.
Overall, structure data markup is worth your efforts, and you should add it to your website for gaining maximum results.
5. Content Quality
Content quality matters a lot because it is the king and actual thing that ranks in search engines. You are not going to rank in search results with poor-quality content. So, make sure the quality of your content by analyzing, detecting, and fixing the content quality issue that impacts its quality such as entity optimization, canonical link elements, thin and duplicate content. Let’s explore some more details to fix content quality.
Generally, thin content refers to content that provides little value and doesn’t answer a search query properly. It can be scrapped, poorly written. short and not informative at all. As your main objective is to rank higher and get more traffic, it is necessary to add valuable and exclusive content to your site. You can fix thin content by:
- Adding more information, points, and details.
- Replace and rewrite valuable and relevant content.
- Remove it altogether and move on.
Mainly, duplicate content is confusing for your website’s visitors and search engine spiders. Google focuses on quality content and doesn’t hesitate to penalize the websites having duplicate content issues. duplicate content makes your website look spammy. So, you must be aware of this issue and fix it to avoid any potential trouble. You can fix this issue by:
- Rephrase it or entirely remove duplicate content.
- Avoiding your CMS from publishing multiple versions of a post and page.
- Make use of canonical tags to let search engines know the source of your content.
Other Important Technical SEO Issues To Consider
We highlighted some common issues while discussing technical SEO factors such as unoptimized images, serving content without using HTTPS, loading speed, excessive use of plugins, expired headers, and duplicate content.
However, some more technical SEO factors may create issues and are worth considering. These factors include:
- Mobile AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Schema markup, Microdata
- Domain changes, CMS changes, and website migration
- CDN (content distribution network) for static files
- Web hosting
You can collectively focus on technical SEO by considering these factors.
Technical SEO Checklist- How to Get Started?
Now you reach a point when you have an obvious idea about what is technical SEO and how it improves the overall user experience and ranking in search results. It is always recommended to execute a technical SEO audit of your website to check whether it is SEO-friendly and optimized or not.
Here is a technical SEO checklist to initiate your technical SEO process.
- Specify a preferred domain, web hosting, and enable HTTPS
- Register your site with Google search console and Webmaster tools.
- Create, optimize, and check the robots.txt file of your website.
- Create, optimize, and submit your XML & HTML sitemaps to Bing and Google.
- Make your website responsive and mobile-friendly.
- Test the loading speed and make it faster.
- Revise your site structure and navigations
- Include breadcrumbs to pages and posts.
- Add structured data markup and rich snippets to the site’s homepage, other pages, products, and posts.
- Optimize the URL structure of your website.
- Optimize 404 pages and limit redirects.
- Check and fix duplicate and thin content.
- Check canonical URLs, multilingual settings, and pagination.
- Consider enabling AMP to speed your site up.
You can pick more checks and technical SEO audit tools for checking the further optimization level of your site.
Benefits of Technical SEO
Now, you know the worth of technical SEO in optimizing and ranking your site. Let’s look at some major benefits you get via technical SEO services:
- Improves overall SEO results
- Make your website fast and secure
- Increase positive interaction and enhance user experience
- Boost organic traffic and conversion rate
- Handle growing mobile traffic & improve efficiency on smartphones
Additional Technical SEO Tips
Here are some quick tips for making your SEO more powerful and beneficial:
- Implement hreflang tag, if you have separate page versions of your site for different countries and languages.
- Detect and remove dead links from your site as they may trigger a problem during the crawling phase.
- If you have a huge site, always validate your XML sitemaps.
- On the WordPress website, we recommend to noindex category and tag pages.
- Periodically, check your website’s mobile usability issues.
The Bottom Line
Unquestionably, technical SEO is a vast and never-ending topic. It involves a broad range of subjects that can’t be covered in a single technical SEO guide. We hope this guide is sufficient for getting basic and major knowledge about technical SEO and helps you to clear your queries and confusion.
Feel free to ask any query in the comment section below. You can also contact our technical SEO consultant to get a free consultation and hire our technical SEO services!