Eight Strategies to Master Technical SEO
Name three things you’ve done for search engine optimization (SEO) this year. Have any of these tactics revolved around meta descriptions, keyword research and backlinks? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. SEO is based on these techniques. There is an additional set of tactics under the SEO umbrella called technical SEO you should include in your arsenal called technical SEO. General knowledge of SEO's more technical aspects can help elevate your site’s ranking.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is about improving website technical aspects to increase search engine ranking. A technically optimized website is faster, easier to crawl and more understandable by search engines. Technical SEO is part of on-page SEO, which focuses on improving elements on your website to get higher rankings. Have a read through our previous posts regarding on-page and off-page SEO to become familiar with these tactics before pressing on.
Why Technically Optimize Your Site?
When it comes to rankings, Google’s robots crawl and evaluate web pages on a multitude of factors. Search engines do this to provide the best results. When you improve the technical aspects of your site you help search engines better crawl and understand your site. Technical SEO done well can result in higher rankings and more.
What Are the Characteristics of a Technically Optimized Website?
A website that is fast for users and easy for search engines to crawl is technically sound. Performing these technical aspects will help ensure visitors and search engines do not end up at a dead-end caused by non-working links while removing duplicate content. Let’s dive deeper into the aspects of a technically sound website.
1. It’s Fast
We all know attention spans are short. People are impatient by nature and don't like to wait for pages to open. Slow websites lead to frustrated people and less traffic for your site. Page loading speed has been a Google ranking factor since 2021. You need pages that load quickly to ensure you meet this critical factor.
2. It’s Crawlable By Search Engines
It’s vital to have an effective internal linking structure so robots can crawl, or spider, your website. This enables them to understand what the most relevant content on your site is. It is possible to block them from crawling certain content if you don’t want them to. You can even allow them to crawl a page, but tell them not to show it in the search results. You can also tell them not to follow the links on that page.
The robots.txt file allows you to give robots directions on your site. This powerful tool needs to be handled carefully. Even the smallest mistake could prevent robots from crawling (relevant parts of) your site. We recommend some supplemental reading about robots.txt if you want to learn how it works. Or, call the experts at Alley Kat Web Consulting for your free needs assessment today!
3. It’s Secure
Any technically optimized website will be secure. One of the most crucial things to do is implement HTTPS using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates. This ensures nobody can intercept data sent between the browser and the site. It’s easy to check if your website is HTTPS in most browsers. You can find it on the left-hand side of your browser's search bar. If you see a lock, it’s safe. If the words “not secure” appear instead, you (or your developer) have some work to do!
4. It Doesn’t Have (Many) Dead Links
We’ve already said slow websites are frustrating. It’s even more frustrating for visitors to land on a page that doesn’t exist. If a link leads to a non-existent page on your site, people will encounter a 404 error page and the user experience becomes negative. Search engines hate dead links even more as they follow every link they find, no matter how hidden. Realistically, most sites have (at least some) dead links. After all, a website is a work in progress.
5. Bonus: It Has Structured Data
Structured data is critical. It helps search engines better understand your website. It also allows you to provide details about your products or services. Find the fixed format (described on Schema.org) in which you should provide this information to ensure search engines easily find and understand your site.
6. Bonus: It Has An XML Sitemap
Every website has an XML sitemap. You can think of it as the road map for search engines to navigate your site. This ensures search engines don't miss relevant content. The XML sitemap is usually categorized by posts, pages, tags, or other custom post types. It includes the number of images and the last modified date for every page.
7. It Doesn’t Confuse Search Engines With Duplicate Content
Search engines get confused when you have the same content on multiple pages of your site — or even on other sites. As a result, search engines cannot tell the difference between the pages and don't know which one to rank higher. This means they could give all pages with the same content a lower ranking. Fear not. There is a technical solution to this thorny problem. By using a canonical linking element, you can indicate what the original page — or the page you’d like to rank in the search engines — is.
8. Bonus: International Websites Use Hreflang
In today’s global world, most sites target multiple countries where the same language is spoken. Search engines need help understanding which countries or languages you’re trying to reach. When you provide this help, they can show people the right website for their area in the search results. You can do this through Hreflang tags. Rather than having the same webpage competing for users in Britain and Australia, you have alternate pages that pop up at the top of SERPs optimized for that country’s language, privacy laws and currency. Be warned that Hreflang tags are one of the most complicated parts of technical SEO. Unintentional mistakes can keep people from accessing your site.
Want to Learn More About This?
We hope you found our technical SEO in a nutshell helpful. Don’t forget to read our previous posts on the various SEO tactics available and check back for future posts answering all your web-related questions. Don’t forget to reach out to the experts at Alley Kat Web Consulting today to create your winning SEO strategy.