Technical SEO

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SEO or search engine optimisation is a fantastic way to increase the visibility of your website. What’s the point in putting in all that hard work and money into creating the website if no one is ever going to see it?

That’s why SEO is so important - it helps users who would be interested in your site to find it with ease. Technical SEO can provide even more in-depth ways to improve your site and therefore increase traffic. This page covers what technical SEO is and offers an in-depth checklist of what you need to get fantastic technical SEO for your website.

What Is Technical SEO?

So, what is technical SEO? Technical SEO refers to any type of optimisation which can help search engines crawl and understand your site more easily. This can help them crawl and index it more effectively and thus improve your search engine rankings. Technical SEO is also related to anything that improves the search visibility of your website.

Technical SEO refers to a broad range of techniques that you can use. It includes everything from site structure to sitemaps to structured data mark up and much more!

Unless you’re going to use these techniques yourself, you don’t need an in-depth knowledge of them. Instead, you just need to make sure that you understand enough to effectively describe your requirements to your website developer. This will help you a great deal with communication and getting the outcome you want.

SEO Technical Checklist

What you need to do to check how your technical SEO is going is to conduct a technical SEO audit. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds. Well, not if you follow the below checklist we have laid out for you. It contains many of the best practices you should include in your SEO technical audit.

Keep reading for the list of things you should be doing for technical SEO on your website to get the most out of it. Do a technical SEO audit and if your site ticks all the boxes below, then you have made a fantastic start on getting your website noticed by search engines!

Site Structure

Site structure refers to the organisation of your WebPages. Often when people first start a website, they aren't paying attention to what their page structure is. This can make it highly confusing to navigate around the site, not only for users but for search engine crawlers as well.

The best structure you can adapt to help search engines understand your website is a flat structure. This is especially essential if you have an eCommerce store with thousands of products, as your web page structure can get complicated incredibly quickly. The more you add, the more complex it gets and soon it can be out of control without you even realising.

Your website structure should, therefore, look something like this:

https://cdn-backlinko.pressidium.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/flat-site-structure-768x296.png

Flat site structure

And not like this:

https://cdn-backlinko.pressidium.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/bad-site-structure-768x406.png

Bad site structure

You can see from the above example that it would be much easier as a site visitor to navigate your way around the first website as opposed to the second image with a complicated site structure.

Clean URLs

Clean URLs are related to the above point about your site structure. Every single page on your site should have a clear and easy-to-understand URL based on the page structure for technical SEO.

If your page is under a certain category on your website, it should follow that same structure in the URL. Then name the actual page something descriptive and simple.

It’s much easier to create clean URLs every time you make a new WebPage rather than doing a huge clean up of overcomplicated URLs later on. A little bit of effort now can save you a lot of time in the long run.

For example, on our website, we have the URL sitecentre.com.au/design. If we were to add a page coming off about website loading time, we would name it something simple like sitecentre.com.au/design/loading. This creates no confusion and is a clean and easy to remember URL.

Breadcrumbs

Also related to URLs is using a breadcrumb navigation structure. This helps users to navigate back to category pages and see where they are at on your website. If you’re going to use them, you should add them onto every page of your site.

It’s a great way of adding internal links that also helps the user experience. Users can easily head backwards by clicking a link on your site rather than using the back button in the browser.

That’s why whenever you can and it looks good, you should try to use breadcrumbs on your website.

Structured Data Markup

Structured data is a complicated topic all on its own as there is a lot of discussion around what it means and how best to do it for SEO. However, in essence, it refers to any organised data. Structured data mark up is when you add extra information to data so that search engines can categorise it more easily. This can help with search indexing and therefore it can help your website to come up under more relevant searches.

Structured data mark up also makes the search results more informative for the user through additions to search engine results. These may include breadcrumbs, review stars, images, information, and product prices. Structured data mark up can allow all of these to show on a Google search result without the person having to click through to your website.

This additional information from the structured data mark up can increase your click-through rate (CTR), as people already know the price and can see if a product is well-reviewed. Having a better CTR can boost up your rank in search results well.

Site Speed

A truly crucial factor that comes under the umbrella of technical SEO is your site speed. Slow-loading websites are a huge issue for many businesses who want a fantastic looking website with plenty of images. However, if this is slow to load, site visitors may get frustrated and quit without even looking at your website. This will increase your bounce rate which can take down your search engine ranking.

Page speed is indeed a crucial ranking signal for search engines for the above reasons. Here are some of the best practices for improving your technical SEO by speeding up your loading time:

  • CSS Style Sheet Optimisation - using just one style sheet quickens the loading time considerably.
  • Reduce Page Size - the total size of a page has a high correlation with how long it takes to load. By reducing the size of your WebPages, you can make them load much faster.
  • Lightning Speed Hosting Services - where your website is hosted is one of the biggest factors in the loading speed.
  • Clean Site Code - by minifying your website code and removing unnecessary indentation, spaces, and line breaks, you can speed up your site.
  • Image Optimisation - there needs to be a balance between fantastic quality images and the size of these so they don’t load too slowly.

If you’re not sure how to do any of the above, we can help you with any of these optimisation requirements. Get in touch to discuss your needs and we can advise you on different ways we can help you improve your loading speed.

Mobile Optimisation

These days, the majority of people are going to access your website on their mobile phones or tablets. That’s why it is so critical that your website is optimised for mobile use. Websites which weren't designed for use on mobile often don’t fit on the page, are glitchy, and incredibly hard to use. This negative user experience can deter customers from buying your products or services.

Avoid these missed opportunities to sell by investing in getting your website optimised for mobile use. Entice customers through fantastic user experience and you will be seen as a more reputable and reliable company.

Not only that, but search engines prefer sites which are mobile optimised and will rank these in search results over those which are not. Any websites that have been optimised for mobile will go first, followed by those that aren't. This is, therefore, a critical part of technical SEO that can help elevate you towards the top of search results.

AMP

AMP is the acronym for accelerated mobile pages. It does exactly what the name suggests - quickens the loading time of your website on mobile phones. By using AMP on your site, you can offer super-fast loading to any of your mobile visitors. It uses cache servers rather than your site to offer the fast content delivery it is known for.

If your website is too slow to load on mobile, then it’s worth looking into AMP. Faster mobile loading could greatly decrease your bounce rate and keep people on your website for longer. More traffic staying on the site = more sales for you!

No Repeated Content

Duplicate content issues are rife across the internet. Whether it’s across your own pages or plagiarised content from other sites, you can find it everywhere and unfortunately, it affects technical SEO.

Content that has been duplicated across your WebPages, such as a description of your services, can be seen as spammy by search engines. That’s because many people use duplicate content to manipulate their ranking in search results. Plus, it’s irritating for users who find your website repetitive.

That’s why duplicate content issues need to be resolved right away. Search engines aren't a fan of duplicate content and they might ask you to change it. This problem can be resolved using 2 methods:

  1. Canonical Link Element - this tells search engines which is the preferred or main version of your website content.
  2. Content Management System - you can use your CMS to hide duplicate elements from search engines using a robots TXT file. If you want to use the robots TXT file, a great CMS takes you through the process to do it easily even without prior knowledge. This will hide and therefore solve your duplicate content issues.

You can find out if you have duplicate content by using an SEO audit tool. If you Google it, you will find plenty of these online that you can use to find out whether you have any duplicate content on your site. Beware that you also shouldn’t duplicate content from other websites. Most of these tools will just look into whether you have duplication across your own website. Hopefully, if you have duplicated from other sites (which you shouldn’t have), you are already aware of it and can just go ahead and change that content.

XML Sitemap

Recently, Google announced that having an XML sitemap is the second most important way that they find your site's URLs. An XML sitemap is how Google finds URLs and crawls your website. It is much like a map for the search engines which tells them where to find each section of your website.

It contains a lot of information that search engines are looking for, such as how often your site gets updated and when a page was last changed. That’s why you need to make sure that you have an XML sitemap - if you’re not sure how to go about this, you can get in touch with us and we will help you create one.

Working Internal Links

Google says that broken backlinks on your website aren't a problem for SEO and search engine rankings. Best practices still dictate that you should fix them for the purpose of good user experience. However, broken internal links are not so great for technical SEO. These can confuse search engine crawlers and misdirect them when indexing your site.

That’s why you should regularly check that all of your internal links are working. Make sure that you do this especially when cleaning up URLs or after restructuring your website. This is critical for ensuring that your site gets effectively indexed. Most SEO audit tools will let you easily check whether your internal links are working or not.

SSL

SSL is a part of technical SEO that stands for secure sockets layer. It is a type of security which lets you encrypt a link between the browser and the server. You can always tell which sites use SSL because the URL changes based on it. Any website using SSL is 'https' rather than 'http' at the start of the URL.

It’s been known since back in 2014 that Google will offer preference in rankings for search results to sites that use HTTPS as these are more secure. That’s why you should start using SSL as part of your technical SEO suit. Simply add an SSL certificate to your website.

International Optimisation

Does your site serve international audiences? This won’t apply to all websites but if you can offer your products and services to anyone in the world, you need to think about optimising it for this purpose.

Otherwise, those who are overseas may have trouble finding or reading your website. Maybe you offer your website in multiple languages or you might have a site that serves different regions. If this is the case, there is a couple of things you can do to improve your SEO for an international audience.

  1. Multi-Regional Site - if you have visitors worldwide on your website you can change the URL structure to make it easier for people to find. This includes the use of relevant country codes so people can type in your URL with their country code and it goes to your website. For example, ours is sitecentre.com.au. If we chose to target France as a potential customer base, for example, we might consider having a sitecentre.fr site as well.
  2. Multiple Languages - if you offer your website in more than one language, good on you as it’s a whole heap of work! Make sure that this work gets recognised and seen by adding an 'hreflang' tag to it. Then search engines will see that there is more than one version of your site.

Conclusion

So that’s the answer to the question 'what is technical SEO?' and now you know what’s involved in conducting a thorough technical SEO audit.

Take your site to the next level with fantastic technical SEO behind the scenes and let us handle it all for you. If you are still not sure where to start or need help with some of the things on this list, feel free to contact us. We provide free no-obligation consultations to discuss your website and how you can improve the technical SEO to get more traffic and improved search rankings.

https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/technical-seo-guide

https://backlinko.com/technical-seo-guide

https://moz.com/blog/category/technical-seo

https://www.bigcommerce.com.au/eCommerce-answers/technical-seo/

https://webmasters.Googleblog.com/2016/03/continuing-to-make-web-more-mobile.html

https://seranking.com/blog/best-cms-for-seo/

https://www.seroundtable.com/google-xml-sitemaps-second-important-discovery-28120.html

https://moz.com/blog/structured-data-for-seo-1

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