Most of us have heard of On-Page SEO – Off-Page SEO but did ever Technical SEO cross your mind? Well, Most SEO experts are inadvertently pursuing it, but it requires a certain level of mental presence of mind and meticulous planning to pursue to get the desired results.
Herein, we present a comprehensive guide to impeccably optimize your websites with technical SEO.
Before we jump onto the bandwagon, lets dig deeper …
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is all about optimizing website for the crawling and indexing phase. While you’re spending hours and hours to stimulate organic traffic, without eliminating the technical errors, you may end up with underwhelming results.
With technical SEO, you’re allowing Google and other major search engines to crawl, and index your website without any problems.
As per Russ Jones, Search Scientist at Moz,
Over years, Technical SEO has gained its pace and relevance as innovation comes to the fore enabling companies to push the envelope. It includes the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP); however , many companies are slow to adapt to the need of the hour.
From the graph, it can be seen the level of interest in technical SEO has visibly spurred with the extension of technology (“JSON-LD.”).
In this article, we will focus on 7 such areas that help boosting discoverability and in extension, ranking of your website.
Without much ado, let’s dive in …
A sitemap encompasses the URLs of a website. It allows Google crawler to identify the structure and the content on the website.
And this is pursued with XML sitemap which fundamentally lists out the content on different web pages to encourage crawlability. That’s not all, there is more information sitemaps can tell to search engines that includes
- Location of the webpage – URL – <loc>http://www.example.com/mypage</loc>
- When was the page last edited?
- How frequently the page is edited?
If you look clearly, sitemap establishes the authority of your website as the original creators and not the holders of duplicate or unauthentic content.
- Error free sitemap
- Brief – Say No To large number of URLs
- Add to Search Console or txt file
Google has the authority to remove sites from its index if it fails to meet quality guidelines or plagued with some error.
Ideally, all the web pages should be indexed. However, you can disallow some pages if you want Google not to index.
Google bot or spider is supposed to crawl your website before it is indexed. Ideally, all the web pages must be crawled unless some unexpected error stops it.
- Site Errors:
They prevent Googlebot from reaching the website due to some temporary or core issue. They include DNS error, server errors, and robots failure.
- URL Errors:
They do not allow search engine bot tries to crawl specific URLs of your website. For instance, you have 404 Not Found errors if the page does not exist. Use 410 page enabling Google bots to remove from the crawl index and prevents unnecessary crawlability.
If there are multiple pages with similar or duplicate content, you can use:
- 301 redirect to move permanently
- 302 redirect to move temporarily (Not recommended as link equity is not passed)
- Meta Refresh (Not recommended as link equity is not passed)
Explore your sitemap and make sure all the internal pages are updated.
Do you have stand-alone pages (also known as orphan pages)? They exist on your website but are not internally linked. Google bot will not or least frequently crawl them. You can disallow them to restrict Google box.
Broken links can chew away your crawl budget. Remember, they trigger the 404 error page and are often exhausting. Use Google Analytics to find and fix the broken links.
Every website must have a logical site structure for Google bots and users as well. There are certain factors to check:
- Click Depth: Ideally, your most important or valuable pages must use least number of clicks from the home page. Make sure Google bot doesn’t have to spend much time.
- Broken Links: As already discussed, broken links can prove to be costly to your crawling budget.
Over 80% of websites examined had 4xx broken link errors, according to a 2017 SEMrush study, and more than 65% of sites had duplicate content.
Remember, they are dead links which do nothing for Google bots and puts your website authority under question. Get rid of these 404 links.
- Orphan Pages: A web page that stands disconnected from others is hard to crawl, let along indexed. Use SEMrush to find the such orphan pages.
Google has migrated to HTTPS content for it protects your website and the users from hackers.
As per a SEMrush study, HTTPS is considered a strong ranking factor for websites. Login Google Search Console to get a detailed report on crawl errors that include many common URL errors.
Check if your website is riddled with the following errors:
- Mixed Content
Mixed content comes to notice when your often-secured webpage has content such as images, videos, scripts from an insecure HTTP connection. A non-secure webpage can be openly accessed and edited putting your users and business into jeopardy.
Finding and fixing mixed content errors can be time-intensive. You can sort it out manually or through simple tools.
Improve Page Speed
Google has ranked page speed very high to improve website ranking. It is a matter of few seconds before a user exits from one page to another.
As per Google Speed Update (2018), Google’s Zhiheng Wang and Doantam Phan wrote:
The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.
There are tools to assessment the page performance – Chrome User Experience Report, Lighthouse, PageSpeed Insights.
Google has been steadfast in its commitment to better user experience. Mobile first indexing means Google will index and rank mobile version of the content.
Determine the factors:
- Develop high-quality and valuable content including text, images, videos etc.
- Use same structured data markup for both mobile and desktop version of the website.
- Smart and similar metadata for desktop and mobile version.
- Use mobile URLs’ hreflang directing to the mobile version of your country or language variants. Likewise, for desktop URLs should be connected to the desktop versions.
- Include Social metadata (OpenGraph tags, Twitter cards, Pinterest Rich Pins, Google+, Facebook and other social metadata) must be inserted on the mobile version and desktop.
- All the links to XML and media sitemaps should be accessible from the mobile version of the site.
- Search console verification for mobile version is a must.
- Make sure your host servers can manage enhanced crawl rate.
- Use Switchboard tags to link mobile and desktop version.
These are seven broad areas that SEO experts must be wary of. Collate with your developers or programmers to get all the help to quickly fixes the glitches and get back on track.
Technical SEO has become important more than ever. Most SEO experts are vigilant towards on and off page SEO, but do not overlook technical discrepancies that can hamper user experience and deteriorates website ranking.
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