What is Technical SEO?
There are two types of SEO: on-page and off-page SEO. On-page SEO deals with content and page optimization, and off-page SEO concerns establishing relations between websites. Technical SEO is a different thing from both of these categories.
Technical SEO relates to all SEO activities excluding content optimization and link building. Simply put, it covers the following search engine requirements in order to improve crawling. Such requirements are constantly in flux and becoming more complex in order to keep up with the search engines. Technical SEO is in a state of constant refinement. It needs to be optimized to make the necessary foundation that provides your content and links with the best possible marketing environment.
Technical SEO elements
1. Website speed
Even tech giants like Amazon discovered that every 100 ms of page load time led to a one percent decrease in sales. It is stated that page load speed is included in the top ten SEO ranking factors. He described it in his case study of analyzing over one million Google search results.
Ways to improve website load speed and make user experience smooth?
Use simple templates
Limit the components of your website and make your templates minimalist. In the case of templates and designs, there is one necessary rule of thumb to remember: “less is more.”
Any additional elements of your layouts — plugins, widgets, tracking codes — need the extra time to load. This also refers to the code which needs to be optimized as well.
The more elements on a page that need to load, the longer your users must wait. And you better not make them wait longer than 3 seconds.
Achieve a healthy balance between a minimum amount of necessary elements and a complete page design. And don’t forget to make these adjustments as well; they’ll be sure to cut down the load time:
Optimize the visuals
Make your images sharp by adjusting their sizes correctly. However, limit the size to the necessary minimum because large pictures are very heavy and can strongly disturb your loading time. Using the JPG format for photographs (as they have more tones at their disposal) and PNG for graphics.
Limit the redirects
Multiple redirects influence your page load speed negatively, too. The more redirects installed on one page, the longer a user must wait. You should always try to reduce the number of redirects and make sure you only have a single redirect on a page.
In the case of 404 error pages, when there is a “page not found", make sure that you come up with a custom one. Design should be user-friendly and be able to guide back to your home page. Never let a user be directed onto the standard 404 error page. It will immediately make him bounce off your website and end the session.
Error pages can be found in Google Search Console. Go to “crawl,” then “crawl errors” to locate the “URL error” report, which is divided into the desktop, smartphone, and feature phone categories. You will be able to check your website’s 404 errors and decide what to do with them.
The browser cache starts to store website resources automatically (on a local computer) the first time you visit a web page. This is because your browser “remembers” the first website version cashed. It is then able to load it much more quickly when you leave a particular page and return to it again. This significantly improves the page load speed for returning visitors.
2. Mobile friendliness
Mobile-friendliness is the second element of technical SEO, and it’s as important as website speed. If you don’t know yet whether your site is mobile-friendly or not – you may test it by using Google’s mobile-friendly test tool. This will give you an idea of its mobile-friendliness and how to optimize it for better.
3. Site architecture
The following elements are an important part of a good site architecture:
A good site architecture begins with choosing an appropriate hypertext transfer protocol. In this case, there is only one SEO-friendly choice. You should definitely use the secure protocol – HTTPS.
Uses for HTTPS
Having your website on HTTPS:// will give you a ranking boost. Although it’s impossible to isolate what impact HTTPS has exclusively, it’s better to follow all search engine requirements to maximize your ranking chances.
Sites with the HTTP protocol will have the referrer date included under “Direct” traffic source – without any data specified apart from numbers. This happens because without the security protocol it’s impossible to identify where the traffic comes from.
HTTPS also adds security and protection to your website, making the switch even more worthwhile.
Another vital part of SEO-enabled site architecture are breadcrumbs. In other words, a “breadcrumb trail,” is a type of navigation that reveals the location of a user.
This is a type of website navigation that strongly enhances the orientation awareness of a visitor. Breadcrumbs transparently present the website hierarchy and indicate where he currently is. It reduces the number of actions a user has to take to navigate through the website.
Breadcrumbs are usually used by huge websites that have a comprehensive hierarchy and many sections that demand a clear structure. They’re especially recommended for e-commerce websites that offer many products.
Breadcrumbs are a secondary navigation scheme and ought to be used as an extra addition to the website; they shouldn’t replace primary navigation.
A great site architecture also demands that you introduce a user-friendly, clear, and consistent URL structure. The URL is a readable text that serves to replace IPs – the numbers that computers use to identify particular resources. URLs describe the page both for users and search engines.
If you optimize them well for SEO, they will also act as a ranking factor. So remember to make them descriptive and as brief as possible. A user should be able to understand what is included under a particular link before he clicks on it, just by checking the URL.
Add a keyword targeted by a given page. You must implement the keyword into all the necessary on-page SEO “locations,”. By doing this you will strengthen the relevancy of the whole page and rank higher in the search ranking for that keyword.
Words in your URLs should be separated with hyphens. However, it’s better to minimize the number of words in your URLs – not longer than 2,048 characters. Otherwise, the page won’t be able to load.
Internal links – Silo content
Siloing content establishes a network of connections on your website and defines the hierarchy. Internal links are important for improving the visibility of your older articles that are topically related to the newly published ones.
You should categorize the website content and always link to the pages within one category. Doing so will ensure that the user can navigate between resources on your website and find out more about the topic on different pages.
4. Structured data markup
Another element of technical SEO to talk about is structured data-rich snippets. Google can identify the type of your resource by looking at its content and on-page optimization. Rich snippets will take it to the next level and help search engines a ton! Rich snippets provide you with information ranging from the star rating to the number of reviews.
And the best part is → You too can add rich snippets to your website! WordPress users can enjoy the easiest way to do so. All they need to do is add the schema.org plugin to their CMS and activate it. It’ll be ready to use right away. It’s simple, when you see the missing data in the right margin, highlight part of the content and specify what it is. Then, just click on the red “create HTML” button, and then copy and paste the HTML into your page code. The next step is to validate your code using the structured data testing tool by Google.
5. Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a serious technical SEO issue that can cause you a lot of trouble. Beware of that!
Stay on top of any duplicate content issues. Check your website in order to detect any problems by using Google Search Console. Go again into the Google Search Console dashboard, search Appearance, then HTML improvements, and check if there are any issues to fix.
If duplicate content is detected, get rid of it. You can accomplish this by removing duplicate content entirely, but you can also rephrase it. This will be more time-consuming, but it’s better to put in the effort and not lose the content.
Another idea is to add – to pages with the duplicated content – the canonical URL. The canonical link shows search engines what the source of the published content is and completely resolves the problem.
Technical SEO is a vast topic. It covers a broad range of subjects such as the elements needed for optimizing according to the requirements search engines impose. This article is a comprehensive guide to help you find your way through the topic and to enable it for your own purpose!