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Technical SEO refers to backend website improvements such as page speed, internal linking, and usability that assist web crawlers and visitors in better understanding and utilizing your website, perhaps leading to higher positions in organic search results.
How Does Technical SEO Work?
What is technical SEO? Technical SEO is like peanut butter in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for search engine optimization (SEO). Your website won’t rank #1 (or even on page one) if it isn’t technically optimized.
This tutorial will assist you in learning more about technical SEO by providing answers to queries such as:
- What is technical SEO?
- Why is technical SEO important?
- How is technical SEO different from on-page and off-page SEO?
- How do I get started with technical SEO?
Continue reading to see how technical SEO may help your website rank higher in search results, resulting in more visitors, leads, and revenue.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is a collection of website and server improvements that make your site simpler to comprehend and utilize for crawlers and visitors. Optimizing for technical SEO may help your organization rank higher in search results since you provide an excellent user experience (UX) and high-quality content.
Learn More About Technical SEO
- 7-Point Technical SEO Checklist for Beginners
- Why You Should Learn Technical SEO
- Your Cheat Sheet to Technical SEO
- How to Do a Technical SEO Audit
Why is technical SEO important?
For a variety of reasons, your organization should improve the technical SEO of your website, including:
- Technical SEO has an impact on your search engine rankings.
- Technical SEO influences the actions and choices of your website visitors.
- Website’s conversion rates, lead generation, and revenues are all affected by technical SEO.
- Technical SEO allows your company to compete with other businesses that employ SEO.
- Technical SEO helps you get the most out of SEO as a digital marketing approach.
If your company spends time, effort, and money on SEO, you want to get the most bang for your buck. Whether you run your SEO in-house or with the help of an SEO company, you must include technical SEO optimizations in your approach.
How is Technical SEO Different from On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO?
It’s useful to describe on-page SEO versus off-page SEO when discussing technical SEO definitions. On-page and off-page optimization are compared in the chart below.
Alternatively, continue to the next section to discover how to get started with technical SEO!
How to get started with technical SEO
Are you ready to start optimizing your website for technical SEO and gain the advantages of SEO, like higher ranks and more sales? Then have a look at this SEO checklist for technical SEO. It includes a collection of technical SEO suggestions and action items.
1. Make a Google Search Console account
You should create a Google Search Console account if you haven’t already. Don’t worry; it’s completely free. You can examine your website’s overall performance in search results and the performance of specific pages in Google Search Console.
You should utilize Google Search Console because it provides an inside look at how Google views your website. It can assist you in submitting pages to Google, monitoring Google ranks, and fix Google crawling issues, among other things. You may also see any issues that Googlebot, Google’s crawler, discovers when visiting your site.
Follow our Google Search Console setup tutorial to get started with Google Search Console!
2. Create a robots.txt file
Next step is to create a robots.txt file. For web crawlers, a robots.txt file acts as an instruction manual. You may even provide explicit instructions to site crawlers like Google’s or Bing’s.
These instructions should be used to prevent crawlers from overloading your server with requests or visiting uninteresting sites. You don’t want to prevent web spiders from accessing your whole website. When you stop web crawlers from seeing your site, search engines cannot index it.
That implies your website will not display in search results, and you will have difficulty attracting visitors to it. The good news is that Google can assist you in creating a robots.txt file that is SEO-friendly.
In addition to a simple explanation on how to create a robots.txt file, Google provides a robots.txt test tool that you can use by logging into your Google Search Console account.
You may use this free tool to examine your robots.txt file and ensure it gives web spiders the appropriate information.
3. Build an XML and HTML sitemap
Your website should include an XML and HTML sitemap in addition to a robots.txt file. Crawlers utilise an XML sitemap to locate the most important pages on your site, such as those that describe your products or services. An XML sitemap will not be used by users.
It’s simple to create an XML sitemap, particularly using WordPress. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin on your WordPress site, the plugin will generate an XML sitemap for you. Instead, if necessary, they’ll refer to your HTML sitemap (more on that later).
Do you have a WordPress site but don’t know where to start? It’s no issue. Make your sitemap using one of the hundreds of free XML sitemap generators available, such as Screaming Frog.
Then, using Google Search Console, send your XML sitemap to Google. Move on to constructing your HTML sitemap when you’ve completed that section of our technical SEO checklist.
Crawlers and people alike may utilize an HTML sitemap as a road map.
HTML sitemaps are often found at the bottom of a website or (sadly) upon landing on a 404 page. On the other hand, these sitemaps aid crawlers and users in their exploration of your website, which is why they’re useful. The most significant pages on your website, such as basic product or service pages, as well as about pages, will often be included in your sitemap.
It will not include every page on your website. If you include all of your website pages in your HTML sitemap, your sitemap’s usefulness to users will be diminished. Take a look at the HTML sitemap for Apple as an example: The firm identifies several key pages, including:
- Locate an Apple Store
- Take control of your Apple ID
- The Genius Bar
- Plus a lot more
Your HTML sitemap should ideally be limited to 100 pages or fewer. However, keep in mind that the most relevant and useful sites should be chosen. Instead of adding 100 pages, focus on the most helpful ones.
4. Use HTTPS
Go to your webpage. Check the URL bar in your browser now. Is your website’s URL preceded by a padlock or a “Not secure” message?
If you don’t see a padlock, your site must be upgraded from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTPS enhances the website security by establishing a secure connection that encrypts any data given by a user, such as a credit card number, email address, or phone number. Because people are purchasing and chatting online, HTTP is a must-have for every company.
You’ll additionally require HTTPS for the following reasons:
- HTTPS is a ranking factor for Google, which means it may help your website rank better in search results.
- When purchasing online, users look for the HTTPS padlock, affecting sales.
- HTTPS encrypts consumer data, allowing your company to secure its brand.
Purchase a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate to transition from HTTP to HTTPS. SSL certificates typically range in price from $0.80 to $125 per month. However, depending on your website hosting provider, you may be eligible for a free SSL certificate.
If you need help installing the certificate, ask your web host if they can help.
If your website server does not supply an SSL certificate, you must purchase and install your own. You’ll also need to set up the required redirects from your HTTP to HTTPS sites in addition to the installation.
Obtain the assistance of someone familiar with SEO, such as an SEO consultant, for this phase. They’ll be able to set up the required redirects and adhere to SEO best practices. Incorrect redirection may harm your SEO (and rankings), which is why SEO-friendly HTTPS redirects are so important.
5. Establish an SEO-friendly navigation
It doesn’t matter whether your website is little or large; you should always check its navigation. Your primary navigation menu, which is normally found at your website’s top or left-hand side, is sometimes referred to as your navigation. However, your company may have extra menus that customers may utilize to locate more information in other circumstances.
Focus on your primary navigation menu and these key practices for this technical SEO checklist:
- Limit your main menu to seven main menu items.
- Consistently use the same primary navigation menu across all pages.
- For navigation elements such as “Residential Landscaping Services,” use keyword-rich anchor text.
- If necessary, organize menu items into sub-menus.
Consider your most useful pages when deciding which pages to include in your main menu. Product and service sites and informational pages about your company and policies are common examples.
6. Follow an SEO-friendly URL structure
This technical SEO checklist includes a task that helps your site’s navigation and URL structure be more search engine friendly. If you want your website to be easier to find and use, technical SEO can help. This checklist for technical SEO includes a task to improve your site’s navigation and URL structure. To get the most out of SEO, make sure your URLs follow these rules:
- Use lowercase letters wherever possible.
- Use “-” to separate words.
- Keep URLs to a minimum (most URLs will feature your target keyword)
- Stay away from symbols like “#” and “&,” as well as dates.
You should also nest your URLs correctly and follow these recommended practices.
For example, if you produce an article, you should nest it beneath a page that includes or houses useful resources. You may have the URL www.example.com/resources/example-article/ rather than www.example.com/example-article.
Nesting your material in this manner may give both users and crawlers context. They get the idea that they’re looking at a piece of material that’s more likely to be informative than sales-oriented. That added information may help search engines better rank your content, giving you a higher chance of ranking your chosen keywords and reaching your target audience.
7. Develop a mobile-friendly website
Every company needs a mobile-friendly website, particularly for SEO purposes. Google now uses a mobile-first index, which crawls and indexes your site from a mobile user’s viewpoint. Your company’s search result rankings will suffer if it does not have a mobile-friendly website.
Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to verify whether your page is mobile-friendly.
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you should invest in responsive web design. Thanks to responsive web design, your website will be compatible with all platforms, including PCs, tablets, and smartphones.
An alternate option is to build, manage, and optimize a second mobile site. There are responsive web design companies you may employ if you don’t have the capabilities in-house to construct a responsive website. Some technical SEO agencies, such as Rank Fire, also provide responsive web design services, allowing you to manage your SEO and web design projects in one location.
These services will assist you in launching a mobile- and SEO-friendly website on your schedule.
8. Optimize page speed
Page speed is a ongoing SEO optimization that is critical. When you optimize your page performance, you assist in reducing the time it takes for a page to load. Users will spend less time waiting if the load time is quicker.
They may begin reading your material and engaging with your website sooner, increasing the likelihood that they will remain on your site longer. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to determine the speed of your pages. To satisfy the expectations of 83 % of users, websites should load in three seconds or less.
This tool will provide you with personalized advice on how to increase the performance of your website. You may also follow to several page performance recommended practices, such as:
- Making use of browser caching
- Creating a distribution network for your material (CDN)
To study and execute these best practices, you’ll almost always require the assistance of a developer. You may outsource the process to page speed optimization services if you don’t have an in-house developer. For example, Rank Fire provides page speed optimization services in the United States.
Check out our site speed checklist for additional information on how to improve your page speed.
9. Improve internal linking
Internal linking, like sitemaps and navigation menus, aids crawlers and visitors in discovering and staying on your site’s content. Internal links may also provide information about the emphasis and keyword targeting. As your website expands, internal linking should be included in your technical SEO plan.
Take the following text, with the underline signifying an internal link: “Get a decent pair of oven gloves before you start baking your first batch of cookies.” You may probably infer that the link links to an article on how to pick a pair of oven gloves based on the anchor text “excellent pair of oven mitts.” Alternatively, the page may construct a list of A-rated oven mitts. In any case, you’re aware that the post is about high-quality oven mitts.
Use descriptive anchor text and internal links between pages on your website. Make it a habit to generate one to three internal links to that new page while posting material, for example. This method will aid crawlers in finding and indexing your material more quickly, as well as providing useful context.
10. Add structured data to relevant pages
Structured data is another time-consuming but important investment in technical SEO. Structured data is a sort of markup that gives search engines more information about your websites, such as if it has a recipe, a product, or a review. Structured data may, in certain situations, provide your website a more appealing appearance in search results, which people will notice.
The recipe markup often generates the following information:
- Preparation time
- User feedback
Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool may be used to see whether a page uses structured data. There are a variety of structured data types to choose from, including:
- Job advertisement
- Plus a lot more
Add structured data if it’s relevant to your page. To markup existing sites, use a free tool like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. This application simplifies your job by enabling you to produce structured data by highlighting page components such as price, rating, and other factors.
After you’ve finished marking up your website, use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to double-check your work. The Yoast SEO plugin will automatically add structured data to your WordPress site.
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