Now while technical SEO might sound quite scary to you if you aren’t familiar with the technical side of your website, we can assure you that it isn’t, in fact, it’s quite straightforward, and this is what we’ll show you in this guide. This guide will help you to get a better understanding of what technical SEO is, why it’s important and how you can keep track of the technical elements of your website for a better understanding of how well optimised they are.
What is Technical SEO?
Putting it in its simplest terms, technical SEO refers to all aspects of search engine optimisation, which doesn’t refer to the actual content of your site. Instead, technical SEO is concerned with how easy it would be for search engine spider (such as Googlebot or Slurp, for instance) to crawl and index all of the web pages you wish to rank on your website.
Why Technical SEO is Important
Technical SEO should essentially be at the foundation of your SEO campaigns and the structure of your website, and this is quite an essential thing for you to remember. As if you page isn’t optimised for technical factors, then it can mean that your site just won’t perform as well as you want it to, meaning you won’t have the best chance that you could have to ensure that you rank for all the relevant and high-volume keywords that you might wish to.
Google and other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Bing, prioritise and rewards content on sites that have good technical SEO, over those who don’t. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how well your website is optimised for both off page and on page SEO if the technical side of your website isn’t up to scratch. Moreover, if the crawlability of your site is compromised, so will your ability to achieve those higher rankings in the SERPs.
You can monitor how well your website is optimised for technical SEO for free on our SEO Checker tool.
What Should I Look Out For?
Undoubtedly, there are certain aspects of the technical side of SEO which hold more of an importance and need to be optimised more as a priority than other factors, therefore we have comprised the following section to show you what Technical SEO elements are essential and you should monitor for a better search engine optimisation score.
Technical SEO Elements
Here is a list of the following technical SEO elements, which are essential for you to optimise in order for you to improve the overall technical optimisation of your website.
A sitemap is a file on your website in which you are able to provide information on all the pages, content, videos, files, etc. that are on your site. Sitemaps allow you to detail the relationships and site architecture between each and all of the pages, videos and data, etc. that are on your website.
Sitemaps can come in different formats, such as an HTML sitemap or XML sitemap; however, the reason why having a sitemap is important is that it allows search engine crawlers to crawl your website more efficiently and allows you to show search engines which pages you feel are more important over others. As well as being able to provide useful information for search engines such as: when the page was last updated, how often the page has been updated and whether alternate versions of the page are available.
Without a sitemap on your page, you run the risk search engines being unable to crawl and index your web pages correctly and ideally, you want crawlers to be able to crawl your website with as little problems as possible, to ensure that your content ranks for as many keywords as possible. Therefore, sitemaps are an essential part of technical SEO on your website.
Rich snippets are a term used to describe part of the structured data mark up that site builders and creators add to the existing HTML of their websites. What a rich snippet does, is it that it allows search engine spiders to get a better understanding of the type of information and content that is on the webpage its crawling.
Without rich snippets on your site, most search engines will just display your URL, meta title and description of your home page. Whereas if you if have rich snippets in your structured data markup, then more advanced search engines such as Google, for instance, will be able to display a bit more information and optimise the format of the result depending on what it is. For example, whether it’s a business, person or a product.
Therefore, if you want to ensure that the content and layout of your page is displayed in the correct format, then it helps to have rich snippets on your site.
Page Speed and Site Speed
Quite often, page speed can be confused with site speed, but these aren’t the same thing, although they are technically related. Page speed is the time that it takes a page to load (essentially the loading time of the page), whereas site speed is the time that it takes users to be able to see and interact with the content that is on the site.
Both site and page speed are two SEO factors which Google has admitted that their algorithm uses site speed as one of its ranking factors to determine where web pages rank in the SERPs. As well as this, there is also a correlation between longer page and site speed and poor conversion rates, which shows that poor site speeds have the ability to impact your position in search results.
Nowadays, more than ever, we are finding that more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to browse the web, with certain types of brands and businesses finding that their website is being visited primarily by mobile phone users instead of using a laptop or desktop computer. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your site (and its content) is optimised for mobile users by being sure that everything on your website can be accessed, viewed and used by mobile users without any problems. Ultimately this will help to improve the user experience as well as the technical SEO aspect of the website.
Technical SEO is all about allowing search engines to crawl your website easily without any problems or crawl errors, which is why it’s crucial for you to check all the links on your site, which includes, external linking, internal linking and backlinks to your website.
Internal links – These are links to your own pages on your website. With internal links, you want to ensure that all of your internal links are going to the right places on your site. You want to ensure that the page is relevant to the anchor text, that the link goes to the correct page instead of producing a 404 error and that all internal links open in the same window or tab.
External links – These are links to external sources, meaning that they link out to other websites. You want to ensure that all of these links are going to relevant and authoritative pages, as if these pages go to unrelated and untrustworthy pages, then it will, in turn, have an effect the authority of your own pages. As well as this, you want to ensure that these links go to the correct pages you want to link to instead of throwing up a 404 error and they should open up in a new window so users can carry on viewing your website simultaneously.
Backlinks – With backlinks to your website you want to ensure that all the links to your site a providing more authority instead of potentially being toxic and harmful to your website (which usually come from dubious link building strategies). In order to make sure that you don’t acquire any harmful links to your website, you can use Google Search Console to monitor the sites and pages which are linking to your website and check individual links to check the following:
- Content and subject matter are relevant to your website/page
- Their website is secure
- The content is high-quality and authoritative
Indexing refers to part of the search engines crawl process, where search engines index the pages of your website, or the pages you want indexing on your website (if you don’t wish for specific pages on your site indexed on search engines then you can use robots.txt which gives a message to search engine spiders to exclude the page from being indexed).
Ideally you want the majority of your webpages to be indexed on Google as this means that your page is likely show to as a result of a search query or rank for keywords. If the pages on your website aren’t indexed in search engines properly, then they won’t perform well in the search results.
If you’re making an online purchase or handing over sensitive data online, then you want to ensure that the website that you’re submitting your details onto is secure and encrypted. If your site isn’t secure then some anti-virus and computer security software may deem your website to be unsafe, which could affect both the overall SEO and sales of your business, so that’s why it’s essential to ensure that your site has adequate security such as a valid SSL certificate.
If you’re worried about the technical SEO of your website or webpage and feel that it could be affecting the overall success of your site, then why not take a look our SEO audits for SEO content, off-page and on page SEO, such as our free SEO audit.