Though most website owners are familiar with on-page SEO, such as using keywords, technical SEO remains more of a mystery and can be somewhat of a challenge. In this post, we’ll try to enlighten you about the different aspects of technical SEO and show you what you need to do to implement it. Here are the key areas of technical SEO.
- Having a fast website
Search engines want to offer their users the best experience when searching the web and this means providing them with links to websites that load quickly. Statistics show that the slower a website is at loading and responding to user interaction, the more people abandon it. Internet searchers today expect fast-loading sites and aren’t prepared to hang around for pages to load slowly. And it doesn’t matter what device the searcher is using or what kind of internet connection they have. As a result, search engines now include website speed in their ranking criteria, making it an essential part of technical SEO.
You can test your website speed and find out what the issues are using Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Speeding up a website can involve caching, minimising scripts, removing unnecessary plugins, optimising images, compression and using content delivery networks. Ultimately, however, what has the greatest impact on speed is the ability of your web hosting to deal with the amount of traffic your website gets. If you are on shared hosting and your website is running slow, upgrading to VPS Hosting can make a significant difference.
- Ensure search engines can crawl your site
For any of your web pages to appear in search engine results, search engines have to know that they exist so that they can be indexed. They do this by using robots that crawl your site, moving from internal link to internal link until they have accessed every page that they can.
An important part of technical SEO, therefore, is to ensure that the pages you want to be findable can be crawled and, at the same time, block those pages that you don’t want to be indexed, such as your admin login page.
To achieve this, you will need to work on your internal structure (categories and subcategories, etc.) and your internal linking (menus, internal links & site maps, etc.) More advanced techniques include editing your Robots.txt file. Done correctly, this will enable you to tell search engines where they can and cannot crawl and what they can and cannot index. Finally, you should also create an XML sitemap, which lists all the links on your site, and upload it to your Google Search Console.
- Remove broken links
Broken internal links don’t just cause a problem for the search engines crawling your site, they are even more frustrating for your users who end up at a 404 error page and are unable to reach the information they want. This is regarded as a poor user experience by search engines and if there are multiple broken links it can affect your site’s ability to rank well.
Thankfully, you can easily find and remove dead links using a plugin. For WordPress users, one of the most popular is the Broken Link Checker.
- Eradicate duplicate content
Duplicate content, where you have more than one version of your content on your website (or other websites) can cause real issues for SEO because search engines will not know which version is the one you want to appear in search results. As a result, search engines might not rank any of them.
A more complicated issue is that you might inadvertently create duplicate content just through the way you organise your website. If you place a page in two different categories, it will have two different URLs, for example, yoursite.com/category1/page and yoursite.com/category2/page. While it’s essentially the same page, with the same content, by having two separate URLs, the search engines get confused. To resolve this, you will need to set a canonical link that indicates to the search engine which is the original page and which URL you want to be indexed.
- Secure your website
The last thing search engines want to do is send their users to websites that might infect their devices with malware, steal their information or defraud them. For this reason, websites that are not secure are unlikely to rank highly and if they rank at all, they will be labelled as non-secure in the browser address bar.
Website security is therefore a key component of technical SEO. One of the most important steps in securing your site is to install an SSL certificate. A good SSL certificate verifies that your website is authentic and at the same time changes how you send and receive data from HTTP to HTTPS, a more secure connection that encrypts your users’ data, like payment information or login credentials, as it travels from their browser to your server.
With an SSL certificate, not only do search engines know your site is secure, helping you rank higher, your users do too, as the secure padlock icon will appear next to your URL in the browser address bar.
Technical SEO is just as important to your website’s ability to rank well in search engine results as using the right keywords. While it can be a challenging process to undertake, there are specialised all-inclusive SEO tools that can provide your website with a personalised roadmap to success and undertake many of the tasks automatically for you. For more information, visit our All-Inclusive SEO Tool page.