Over 600,000 searches are made every second on Google. If your site is not indexed on Google, you miss thousands of opportunities every second. This is where SEO kicks in. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that help a website rank higher in organic search results on a search engine.
It makes the website more visible to the people who are searching for products or services related to your site.
Practicing best SEO techniques can drastically improve the website’s ability to get ranked in search engines and find the right audience & achieve potential customers.
On-Page and Off-Page the types of SEO practices performed for a website. On-page SEO deals with website content optimization, Title tags, meta tags, header tags, and URL structure. Off-Page SEO deals with link building, spreading content and establishing relations between websites.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is an aspect that focuses on how well the crawlers of search engines crawl your site and index the content. Technical SEO is considered as a process of optimizing your website for crawling and indexing phase. With the help of technical SEO, your website gets the best possible marketing environment so that you can gain popularity on search engines without any obstacles.
It is called “Technical” because it has nothing to do with website content or content promotion instead deals with the overall infrastructure of the website. Its goal is to optimize the structure of a site. Therefore, we can say that there are three types of On-Page, Off-Page and Technical SEO.
Importance of Technical SEO
The primary purpose of Technical SEO is that the website should attain maximum suitability of crawling algorithms and guidelines dictated by search engines. There is no complete guide given by search engines regarding technical SEO, but with trials and experience, top-notch digital marketing firms have given specific parameters to work upon to improve indexing.
Although site configuration & website build form a large part of technical SEO, ever-changing algorithms with regular updates, market situations, and customer behavior are all interlinked with it. Technical audits can be conducted on all types of website to improvise and refine the crawl.
Best practices for Technical SEO
1. Check the indexing
Start the site audit with checking whether the website is indexed in the particular search engine. Check the indexing of a website by “site:domain.com” on a search engine. WebSite Auditor is an SEO crawler that can be used during site audit to check to index.
The number of pages should be exact of what is allowed to crawl, excluding the ones which are not permitted to index. If not, review the non-indexed pages for any issues.
2. Specify the preferred domain
While setting up the website, you need to specify the preferred domain. Defining a domain instructs the crawlers to follow the same for the lifetime throughout of site.
Sites can be accessed with “www” or without it. While it is not of much concern to the users, improper domain confuses the crawlers and can lead to improper crawling. Problems such as duplicate content, non-indexing of pages, loss of page rank can occur due to this. Ultimately it affects the overall visibility of the website.
3. Optimize the robots.txt file
Robots.txt is a text file residing in the root directory of a website which instructs the robots (web crawlers) about the pages which need to be crawled and indexed or not. The format of a robots.txt file is straightforward.
It is a part of Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) which is a standard that regulates the crawling and indexing of web pages with its subdirectory or site-wise instructions for links.
Ensure that there are no false blockings which interrupt the pages to get indexed by the crawler.
4. Optimize the structure of URL
Optimizing the URL for efficient crawl by robots is essential. Revising the list of URLs is a crucial part of site audit. Follow the best SEO practices such as using only lowercase characters, avoiding unnecessary words, using ‘–’ between words and keeping it short & descriptive helps improve page visibility.
If you’ve ever used WordPress, you must’ve noticed that it creates the URLs based on the title of content automatically. Using target words in URL and meta description improves page rank in search engine.
5. Redesign Navigation and Website Structure
To keep the website structure and navigation smooth is of high importance in achieving efficient indexing. A typical example of the improper structure has all content under a single category.
According to Google guidelines, a well-defined structure helps webmasters to pinpoint the main content on the website. It helps to push the pages with quality content to rank higher in particular searches.
6. Check Your Canonical URLs
Creating canonical URLs is a way of notifying Google that which version of the page should be taken into account while indexing the website. It is defined by adding a simple tag in the head of the webpage and posts.
Canonical URLs can be used when the pages have similar content, for paging and removing the possibilities of duplicate content with another website. It is recommended to specify canonical URLs to all the pages of a site.
7. Optimize Your 404 Page
“Error 404 – Page Not Found” is a quite common error that exists on the internet. It is shown when the crawler is not able to detect the particular page URL on your website. Sometimes when a page is deleted, or URLs are changed, this error gets displayed.
Even if the page isn’t in existence, it is recommended to notify the user that the page they are searching for no longer exists. You can also suggest some other page as an alternative to 404 page. Make sure a custom 404 page is shown instead of a page that doesn’t exist.
8. Add SSL to Make Your Website HTTPS
Providing security to your website is essential. Nowadays it is vital for sites to have SSL certificate installed. HTTPS is a known security protocol that protects the websites. It also acts as a ranking signal as Google gives priority in ranking the sites that have installed SSL and “https.”
When SSL is installed on a server, the website is accessed by “https” and not “HTTP”. It is an indicator that authentication details and private information can be securely transferred on this page through the HTTP protocol.
If no SSL exists on your website, contact your IT service provider and ask to install SSL on your account. A migration procedure follows it to activate the SSL certificate.
9. Mobile Friendliness
With the introduction of new page ranking algorithms by Google, mobile first indexing is in action where rankings are given to those websites that are responsive or have a mobile-friendly version. The Google Index is updated from the searches done on mobile phones.
Mobile friendliness is a necessary part of Technical SEO. Once you have a properly configured mobile-friendly version of your website, the rankings would improve drastically. There is no need to worry about mobile first index if you already have a responsive website.
Some of the crucial points to remember during the creation of a mobile version of the website is to keep the content same in both. Avoid opening popups on mobile as web searchers do not like them.
10. Test and improve page speed
Page speed isn’t just Google’s top priorities but also a ranking factor in the search engine. Google focuses on page speed recommendations in all its SEO recommendations. Studies have confirmed that faster websites perform better in attracting traffic when compared to slower sites.
Google’s own PageSpeed Insights Tool is an integrated tool to check the page speed of a website. If the website doesn’t pass the test, Google gives recommendations to fix problems and improve page speeds. Generally, images need to be compressed for loading the web pages faster. Many such detailed factors affect the page speed. They need to be corrected and optimized.
Technical SEO is a broad concept that includes various other techniques and tricks to improve the visibility and rankings of a website. Many checks and settings are needed to be optimized to help search engines index and crawl your site without any problems. Once technical SEO audit is done, no in-depth research and maintenance is required for the website, except the periodic checks done with changes in the algorithm.
This article is a beginner’s guide to Technical SEO. There is a lot more to explore in the vast arena of Search Engine Optimization. Analyze your website for errors and apply these changes to optimize your website for search engines.