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    Technical SEO 101: 8 Methods for Improving Technical SEO

    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.

    What is technical SEO?

    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.

    Why you need technical SEO

    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.

    8 Critical technical SEO components to implement immediately

    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.

    1. Optimize your website architecture

    Optimize your website architecture

    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.

    A hierarchical site structure is best

    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.

    Limit the use of subdirectories

    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.

    Use breadcrumb navigation

    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:

    SEO.co > How Long Does it Take to Rank on Google?

    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.

    2. Resolve all web page indexing issues

    seo sitemap for beginners
    A clean, effective sitemap is critical to optimizing on-page and on-site SEO.

    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:

    • Create an XML sitemap for your website. XML sitemaps have been around for a while and are still an important source for search engine spiders to find URLs. Not sure if your sitemap is correct? You can check your sitemap here.
    • Create more internal links. When you have web pages further away from your home page, they’re harder for search engine spiders to crawl and index. Creating internal links helps search engines find and crawl more of your web pages.
    • Use Google Search Console’s “Inspect” feature. This tool will tell you exactly why your web pages aren’t indexed and will show you how Google renders your pages that have been indexed.

    3. Create a consistent URL structure

    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:

    https://yoursite.com/photos/2020-Bahamas/

    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.

    4. Optimize your content

    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:

    • Remove duplicate content
    • Improve thin content (or remove it)
    • Set canonical URLs

    If you have duplicate content or thin content, those are the most important areas to focus on first.

    Duplicate content

    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

    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.

    Canonical URLs

    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.

    5. Optimize international content

    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.

    6. Find and fix broken links

    Broken Link Checker - 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.

    7. Optimize your PageSpeed

    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:

    • Compress your images. It’s easy to shrink a 300kb file down to 35kb and still have it look good on your site.
    • Avoid third-party scripts. Scripts will slow down your site. Don’t use any scripts that aren’t necessary.
    • Keep your content concise. It’s okay to have long posts, but avoid publishing an entire book’s worth of content on one web page.

    8. Use schema markup

    Use Schema Markup

    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.

    To add schema markup or structured data to your website, use Google’s Structured Data tool.

    Get a technical SEO audit from SEO.co

    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.

    Let SEO.co improve your technical SEO and your revenue

    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!

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing leading, building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams. When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter