What is Technical SEO and how can it help my website?
Seasoned digital marketers will tell you that enhancing your website’s organic ranking is both a science and an art, and we agree. There are a lot of factors that determine how your website will fare when it comes to organic search results. This basic guide will outline the important steps that you should follow to ensure your technical SEO is done right, optimizing your website structure and security to meet the expectation of search engine algorithms.
Start with these basic Technical SEO steps.
Technical SEO consists of practices that help search engine spiders crawl and index your website more efficiently and thus improve your organic search rankings. Search engine spiders prefer websites that are technically sound. Here are some of the steps you can take to ensure that your website is treated the same:
1. Secure your website.
SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer, creates an encrypted link between web servers and browsers. Secure websites can be easily identified by both crawlers and users, as their URL starts with ‘https://’ rather than with ‘http://.
Google prefers secure sites over non-secures ones (Source: BigCommerce) and obviously, so do users. Although some web builders include SSL by default, it’s always better to check and install an SSL Certificate if that’s not the case.
2. Ensure your website loads quickly.
Loading speed is another important factor for Google when it comes to deciding organic rankings. Your website’s loading speed, recommended to be around 3 seconds, can be improved in various ways: by using fast hosting, a fast DNS provider, minimizing media sizes and cleaning up the website’s code wherever possible.
3. Make your website mobile-friendly.
By mobile-friendly, we mean websites that adjust automatically based on the device it’s being navigated on. Most users today use mobile devices to browse the net, which leads to Google preferring responsive websites and ranking them higher than those that aren’t.
4. Avoid content duplication.
Content duplication, whether deliberate or not, can manipulate organic ranking — which led to Google looking down on the issue. Make sure that there’s no duplicate content on your website to make it technically more sound.
The Nitty-gritty of Technical SEO
The steps mentioned till now were guidelines — broader in character than the ones coming up now, which use very specific tools. These, however, are equally crucial components of technical SEO, making them useful when it comes to increasing your website’s ranking.
1. Enable AMP.
AMP-enabled web pages load quickly on mobile platforms — making them more likely to be shared by users. Moreover, with AMP being a Google-backed project, such webpages are often highlighted in search results. Enabling AMP will thus give your website the prized search bump
2. Create an XML sitemap.
An XML sitemap acts as a roadmap for the bots crawling your website while containing lots of important information about your site’s functionality — modification dates, how frequently pages are updated, priority webpages, etc. Hence, it pays off big time to use a sitemap generator.
3. Use Structured Data Markup
Structured Data adds prices to the product/service offering your website has, gives them ‘stars’ or reviews and presents information about the reviewers — making your content more reliable. Not only does that aid in increasing CTA clicks, but it also helps improve the website’s organic rankings.
4. Register with indexing platforms.
Register your website for free with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools — Google and Microsoft’s indexing platforms, by submitting the website’s XML sitemap. These platforms also provide you with other important information such as backlink details, usability report, etc.
5. Use Google MyBusiness
This step has gem-like value for small businesses. Providing updated and complete information on Google MyBusiness can significantly increase your ranking on the platform.
6. De-index Repetitive Content
Certain webpages such as print-friendly versions of blog, thank-you pages, pages with contact information, etc. are better excluded from indexing processes. De-indexing will help you lessen duplication on your website and help the bots focus on your valuable landing pages. You can either add a robots.txt file to the specific pages you wish to de-index or add ‘noindex’ or ‘nofollow’ metatags to your pages or certain links on them.
7. Create URL Slugs.
A slug is basically the part of the URL that tells the reader what the page is about – usually the part after .com. Having slugs for each of your webpages also helps your rankings as it lets you add relevant keywords to the URL and hence, make it easier for the reader to access it.
8. Links to Orphaned Pages
Orphaned pages are those that neither the search engine nor the user can reach — mainly because they’re not linked to any other page on the website. Using a crawling platform, make sure that your website’s internal linking is sound, with no dead-ends and orphaned pages to ensure a smooth indexing process.
9. Use Canonical Tags.
This factor is again important if you have multiple versions of webpages with keyword-heavy content. Canonical tags help the crawling bots identify which one out of these pages is the primary page — leading them to index that page. Unless specified by you, the bots will classify the primary page themselves — which may or may not be the one you intended.
A technical-sound website gives you a strong base to build your SEO efforts on.
We recommend that you run an SEO Audit to make sure that everything’s in place.
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