What Is Technical SEO?
There is no website that could do without technical SEO. After all, developing a page without considering technical elements is like building a house without a foundation. Technical SEO principles you’ll discover in today’s entry affect website positions in the search results. Therefore, taking proper care of them will help you improve your visibility.
Table of contents:
- What is technical SEO? Definition
- Elements of technical SEO
- The takeaway
Technical SEO services combined with valuable page content and supported with top-notch link building translates into creating a website that constantly ranks higher in the search results. In today’s entry, we’ll tell you what is technical SEO, what aspects are worthy of your attention and where to find valuable articles that discuss them in detail. First and foremost, let’s start with a definition of technical SEO.
What Is Technical SEO? Definition
Technical SEO denotes any possible activity that interferes with the site architecture and affects the way Google robots see it. If it helps to render, interpret, index, and finally: display the page to the user, then, it’s effective. It’s worth remembering about it.
Advantages of technical SEO
Facilitated analysis of your website resources is only one side of the coin. What are other benefits of technical SEO?
- Correct indexation (one of the principles of technical SEO) will help you monitor how specific activities impact your page. Without it, your site won’t be visible.
- Google ranks technically refined pages higher (example: Mobile-First Indexing);
- Only a technically optimized site is easy to use. Even the most appealing design won’t work wonders if the page isn’t adapted to mobile devices, doesn’t load quickly or has an unintuitive menu.
- A website that isn’t secure (SSL certificate is one of the elements of technical SEO) will deter users from providing their data and, as a result, they won’t finalize transactions.
- Users don’t wait long for a website to load, which translates into a higher bounce rate.
- A smoothly running page means a better user experience and a greater chance that people will come back to your site.
It turns out that technical SEO doesn’t help only robots. It mainly affects user experience.
Technical SEO is a teamwork and close cooperation with web developers
Is this the right moment to give you a list of technical optimizations? Not yet. It’s worth mentioning that quality technical SEO requires teamwork. It may take knowledge that goes beyond the skills of an SEO specialist – web development expertise. Therefore, it’s worth finding help. We’re perfectly aware of it. That’s why we’re looking for a webmaster to join Delante’s team and support Jurek working in the SEO department 🙂.
Apart from cooperation with web developers, it’s advisable to have a CMS that either allows you to make major changes to the site yourself or offers good technical support.
15 Elements Of Technical SEO That Are Worth Your Attention
Which website optimization elements can be considered technical SEO? Below you can see a list of 15 points you should focus on when working on your page.
1. SSL certificate
Safety should be your utmost priority. A website without SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol isn’t trustworthy to users (they won’t provide sensitive personal data, make payments etc.) and Google (that treats data encryption as a standard).
We’ve discussed SSL certificate installation in one of our previous entries. Check our article: SSL Certificate Installation – The Most Common Errors
A redirect informs the browser and robots that they need to go to another address because the content they are searching for has been relocated for some time or forever. Technically speaking, there shouldn’t be too many redirects. A redirect chain that is too long can either slow down your site or create a redirect loop (310).
We’ve also mentioned how to do redirects on our blog. Check out: Why to Use Redirects and What Are Their Types?
3. Correct robots.txt file
Robots.txt is a file placed on the website server. It’s dedicated strictly to web robots. It shows them the direction of website traffic and blocks their access to selected resources. This file can also limit the number of queries from a given source or block crawlers of analytical tools. Why is it worth configuring robots.txt correctly and preventing them from accessing certain subpages? Because their presence (e.g. shopping cart, registration panel) doesn’t have a positive impact on the search results. Moreover, it could even decrease your page position by e.g increasing the amount of duplicate content.
Wondering how to prepare the robots.txt file? Check it out: What Is a Robots.txt File and How to Use It Properly?
4. Correct sitemap
The sitemap, or sitemap.xml file, is also used to navigate search engine robots. It contains information about all URLs on the page. It should include current page addresses that are correct and don’t generate 404 errors. A correctly structured sitemap is 50 MB or less. If it includes more than 50 000 URLs, it should be divided into several smaller sitemaps and another one only with graphics.
How to configure a sitemap? Read the article: Sitemap – What Is It and How to Configure It?
5. Short page loading time
A website that forces visitors to wait doesn’t have too many visitors. Don’t let people leave the page without seeing its content only because of the big size. This will increase your bounce rate and decrease your website positions in the search results.
Looking for tips on how to reduce page load time? Check out the entry prepared by our experts: How to Reduce Website Loading Time? 10 Useful Tips
We’ve been talking about the mobile first index for the past few years. Without a shadow of a doubt, the vast majority of Internet users browse the net with the help of mobile devices. Additionally, in March 2018. Google finally and officially confirmed that it introduced the Mobile First Index. What does it mean for a person who wants to work on technical SEO? That it’s the most important to refine the mobile version of the page as it’s one of the cornerstones that affect Google rankings.
Do you want to learn how the mobile first index affects SEO? Check our article: Mobile-First Index – What Is It and How Does It Affect SEO?
7. Friendly URLs, correct internal links
Properly structured URLs affect the number of keywords the page is displayed for. But what does it mean “properly”? What is the correct URL structure? It shouldn’t contain underscores. Instead, it should focus on words without special characters, numbers and parameters separated by “-“. It should also reflect everything that can be found on the page.
On the other hand, internal linking is a network of links between pages on a site that helps the user navigate the page and move from one needed piece of content to another. What can go wrong here? If landing page addresses change, e.g. during migration, internal links get broken and need to be updated.
Information on links during content migration can be found in our article: Content Migration. How to Move Your Content to a New Website?
8. No 404, 500 and other errors
Or, let’s be realistic: a limited number of errors. Information about 404 (no page) and 500 (server error) errors can be found in Google Search Console. How can their increasing number harm your page? It’ll inform Google that you don’t take care of your site and it’s filled with technical errors. Consequently, robots won’t show such a page to users.
Google Search Console messages and their meaning has been discussed in a separate article by our specialist Klaudia: Google Search Console Messages – Do You Need to Worry?
9. No duplicate content
Duplicate content (which means that the same content is found on various subpages or copied from other websites) can result from a number of things. Sometimes it can be caused by accidental indexation of subpage copies.
We’ve also written on our blog about How To Deal With Duplicate Content?
10. Transparent navigation (including breadcrumbs)
Google puts great emphasis on how users handle sites. If unintuitive navigation or a confusing page structure results in visitors leaving the site, it’ll affect your Google rankings. That’s why you need a quality menu and transparent navigation.
Visit Delante blog to discover How To Properly Design A Website Menu And Why Are Breadcrumbs Relevant In SEO?
11. Implemented structured data (Schema)
Schema, meaning structured data, is another way to tell Google robots what they’re “looking at.” Such markings will help your site appear in the on_SERP and voice search results. Moreover, you can even achieve the so-called “0” position.
Google advises on how to mark content to facilitate its analysis:
12. Canonical URLs
Canonical links tell Google robots which of the URLs with the same content is the primary one. Introducing rel=canonical attribute in the head section reduces duplicate content.
Learn from Klaudia’s post How To Implement Canonical Links?
The hreflang attribute tells search engine robots about available language versions. It redirects both robots and users to the version prepared in their language and with, for example, currencies tailored to their location. Correct implementation of hreflangs improves the usability of the site, which translates into better Google positions.
Wojtek explained it in one of the articles How to tag language versions with hreflangs.
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a coding standard that allows you to publish content you’ve already added so that it’s responsive to mobile devices. By keeping a subpage in Google’s cache, it’s possible to improve its loading speed. Although AMP itself doesn’t affect SEO, shortened loading time will allow you to reach better positions.
Learn more from Kasia’s article about AMP – What Is It And How To Benefit From It?
15. Correct indexation
Finally, it has to be mentioned that none of the above activities will bring the intended results if the page isn’t indexed in Google, which means that it’s not recognized by search engine robots and available for them. Indexing can be accidentally disabled in a few ways: by incorrectly blocked access to the resource in robots.txt or by the rel=”noindex” attribute in the source code of the page.
You’ll read about how to index a page properly in this article: Google Crawling. How Does it Work?
Title and meta description elements are sometimes considered another element of technical SEO. Developers can set them globally for all website subpages, based on variables and templates. In this case, they look in the following way:
<product name> <category> | <store name>.
This solution makes sense if the title content isn’t taken from the H1 header or a different subpage. Otherwise, you would have to deal with duplicate content.
A short recipe for effective technical SEO? There is no such thing! However, we’ll give you one valuable tip: even if you know how to do technical SEO, it’s hard to refine complex technical aspects of a website without help from a quality web developer. Think about it in advance and ensure that your CMS is supported technically and the team works together. Depending on the extent of planned technical optimizations, you might decide to change your content management system.