Technical SEO involves a web of complex strategies that can be confusing to implement.
If you’re trying to do SEO on your own, you’re up against a massive learning curve that you will probably struggle to get through.
If you’re overwhelmed just thinking about all the components of technical SEO, this article will help.
Here we discuss how to improve the most important aspects of technical SEO to get your website ranking better in the search engines.
Technical SEO is exactly what it sounds like: technical search engine optimization techniques.
In a nutshell, there are numerous ways to get your website ranking in the search engines by performing a variety of technical tasks.
Technical on-page SEO could include one of several hundred Google ranking factors.
There are a variety of SEO components that influence how your web pages rank in the search engines, and technical SEO is critical.
Having a beautiful website with amazing content is important, but won’t make your site rank well in the search engines unless you’ve properly implemented and optimized technical SEO.
In other words, the visual and content aspects of your website make your visitors happy, while technical SEO makes search engines happy. The technical components of SEO communicate the information required for search engines to find, crawl, render, index, and rank your web pages. If your technical SEO is off, your web pages won’t rank well.
When your goal is to implement stronger technical SEO, you’ll need to look at a variety of factors on your website. With some components, you’ll only need to make small adjustments, while other components will require an overhaul.
Here are 8 things to do right away in order to strengthen your technical SEO.
Site architecture is how your web pages are organized, including the structure and hierarchy. Few things can help your technical SEO as much as improving your site architecture. That’s because search engine crawlers can’t navigate and index a site with a complicated architecture. If your site doesn’t get indexed, it won’t turn up in search results.
The ideal site structure is what SEOs call “flat and hierarchical.” This type of architecture organizes your site’s web pages so that they are all connected simply and efficiently. Under this hierarchy, each page is only a few clicks away from your main page.
For instance, say you have 100 total web pages on your site. Each of those 100 web pages can be accessed within three or fewer clicks. Search engine crawlers have a limited time to crawl your site, and if they can’t get to all of your pages quickly, pages will be left behind, unindexed.
To view the complexity (or simplicity) of your site’s structure, run your domain name through an online Visual Site Mapper. It’s a simple tool that can show you so much about your site’s structure.
Ideally, you’ll want to contain all of your web pages within a hierarchy of one directory past your main directory. The more directories search engine spiders need to explore, the more of your crawl budget will be spent, which means fewer pages will get indexed.
Breadcrumb navigation is highly useful for both users and SEO. With this type of navigation, search engine crawlers have an easier time finding additional pages on your website. Here’s a basic example of what breadcrumb navigation looks like:
If you have numerous web pages, use this type of navigation to help both visitors and search engines easily find their way through your site.
Do you know if your web pages are indexed properly in Google? It’s possible that some of your pages haven’t been indexed at all.
There are two ways to discover potential indexing issues. First, perform a site search in Google to see what web pages have been indexed. Go to Google and type in: site:yoursite.com (replacing yoursite.com with your website domain) and you should generate a bunch of search results from your domain. Any web page that doesn’t come up in the results hasn’t been indexed, which means it won’t come up in searches.
Another way to check for indexing issues is to use the Index Coverage Report inside of Google Search Console. This tool will give you more specific information related to any indexing issues Google encountered with your website.
When you find any indexing issues, you can fix them with the following:
Does your URL structure make logical sense? When visitors are on a particular page, does your directory structure and page URL tell them exactly where they are?
For example, say you publish a bunch of photos from your 2020 trip to the Bahamas. A logical URL structure might look like this:
With this URL structure, the ‘photos’ subdirectory is self-explanatory and you can place additional directories under this main category in the future.
This type of organization also helps search engines understand that all the content underneath the ‘photos’ directory is related.
Content optimization serves both visitors and search engines and is a critical part of technical SEO. There are three main ways to optimize your content for SEO in this regard:
If you have duplicate content or thin content, those are the most important areas to focus on first.
While there is no official duplicate content penalty from Google, two web pages that have the same content will end up with one being favored over the other, which means only one will end up ranking in the SERPs.
If you have any pages where you can’t avoid duplicate content, like paginated blog comments that duplicate the blog post on each page, you can use the no-index tag to prevent indexing.
Thin content has a similar effect, but it’s seen more like spam. Google knows when content has little to no value to a visitor and will de-value web pages like this.
If you have thin content, your best bet is to delete it or take the time to expand the content into something meaningful.
Technically, there’s no good reason for having duplicate content. However, if you run an ecommerce store you might have pages with similar content, in which case, Google might view your pages as duplicate content.
If you have similar content you can’t avoid, use canonical URLs to tell google which page is the main page, and Google will know that similar pages are actually different variations of the main page.
Do you publish international content? If so, be sure to implement the ‘hreflang’ tag to identify the geographical target and language of your pages. This tag tells Google that certain pages contain localized variations of the same content and ensures users are given the appropriate pages in the SERPs. It also helps to eliminate the perception of duplicate content.
To get the full scoop on how to implement hreflang tags, check out this helpful guide from Ahrefs.
Although Google won’t directly impose a penalty on your site, broken links can have a negative impact on your SEO in a roundabout way. This applies to both internal and external links.
For instance, broken links make it hard for search engine spiders to crawl your site. Once they hit a broken link, they won’t go any further. This can make it hard to get all of your pages indexed and ranked.
Broken links also make visitors bounce, and when you have a high bounce rate, Google may start to de-rank your site for being low-quality.
To find broken links on your site, use this dead link checker tool. If you get the results and you’ve got broken links, fix them one at a time. If you notice you have a lot of broken internal links, set up 301 redirects that at least go back to your home page if there is no new equivalent page.
As of Google’s June 2021 Page Experience update, PageSpeed is critical for technical SEO. Visitors don’t like slow-loading webpages and they will bounce if your site takes more than a few seconds to load. Slow pages don’t rank well in Google.
Here’s what you can do to increase your page loading times:
Schema markup is important for technical SEO. It’s especially helpful when you’re trying to get your web pages to rank in Google’s rich snippets section.
Not sure where to start? Use our tool to generate a free SEO audit of your website to find out where you can start making improvements. If you’d like a full audit after running the free version, we can perform a full SEO audit for your site and come up with a plan to implement solutions to get your site to rank better.
Are you ready to rank your web pages higher in the search engines, generate organic traffic, and increase your revenue? Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you grow your existing SEO campaign or we’ll create a new one tailored to meet your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started!