As a business, you know that things are constantly changing and that you need to adapt to stay ahead of the competition. It is especially true when it comes to having an online presence – because a majority of shopping journeys today begin online. If you’re not evolving, you’re falling behind.
To be successful in online marketing, you need to focus on many different components of digital marketing, and one of those is “Technical SEO”. This term can be confusing for people who are not familiar with it. Technical SEO is the process of optimising your website’s infrastructure and architecture through the use of code and other technical methods so that search engines can understand and rank it properly. There are several aspects to technical SEO that make your website technically sound so that it appears as high as possible in search engine results pages (SERPs).
In this guide, we will go over the most important aspects of technical SEO that you should be aware of. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s take an in-depth plunge!
Elements of Technical SEO Audit
Correct Your Site structure
Correcting your website’s structure is one of the most important technical SEO tasks you can undertake. By ensuring that your website is properly set up, you’ll make it easier for both users and search engine crawlers to navigate and index your content.
To do this, you must ensure your website is compliant with Google’s best practices and that you are using the correct techniques to improve your site’s crawlability and indexability.
Enlist Site with Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster
Without registering your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster, you’re flying blind when it comes to optimising your website for search engines.
These free tools allow you to submit your website for indexing, track your website’s search engine ranking, and identify any potential issues with your site that could impact its visibility online.
When you’re ready to launch your website, be sure to submit its XML sitemap so that both Google Search Console and Webmaster can crawl the new site. Once these services have crawled and indexed your site, they will start displaying results from yours in search engine rankings.
Create an XML Sitemap
An XML sitemap is like a map that helps search engines understand your website while crawling it. You can think of it as telling the search engines where each page on your site lies – so they don’t get lost.
A sitemap is an XML file that contains a list of all the URLs for a website. It also contains additional information about each URL, such as when it was last updated, how important it is, and how often it should be crawled by search engines.
Set Up SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is a security protocol used to establish a secure connection between your server and your visitor’s browser, making it difficult for anyone to intercept the traffic and steal your information. This makes SSL an essential tool for protecting user data, especially when transmitting sensitive information.
For example, when you enter your credit card information on a website, that information is encrypted using SSL so that it can’t be stolen by anyone else. Look for the lock icon to the left of the search engine and the “S” at the end of “HTTPS”. i.e. this shows that the site has an SSL certificate.
When it comes to installing an SSL certificate, most hosting providers now offer this as a standard feature, so you don’t have to worry about doing anything extra.
Make Sure Your Site is Mobile-friendly
A responsive website design responds to the environment it is being viewed in. Whether that means scaling down to fit on a mobile screen or changing the layout depending on the user’s preference, a responsive website will always look great. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of potential visitors.
Plus, Google penalises websites that aren’t responsive, so it’s in your best interest to make the switch. If you’re not sure if your website is responsive, hire a digital marketing agency specialising in designing sites that work well across all formats.
Speed Up Your Site
Page speed is considered one of the most important ranking factors by search engines. In this day and age, a website’s loading speed is a key factor in its success. Users are impatient and will leave a webpage that takes too long to load. Here are a few things you can do to increase your website’s speed:
- Improve server response times using a fast hosting and DNS (Domain Name System) provider.
- Remove unnecessary scripts and styles from your pages.
- Minify your code – it will remove any unnecessary bits of code and make the website run faster.
- Minimise HTTP requests – keep the number of files that need to be loaded to a minimum.
- Use a caching plugin – it will save a copy of your pages and posts, so they don’t have to be re-created each time someone visits your site.
- Compress your images – you can use an online tool and plugin for this task.
Implement Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup is a code that you can add to your website to provide search engines with additional information about the content on your pages. This code tells Google what type of information your page contains and can help improve your site’s search engine rankings and visibility.
It can enhance your website search results even more by adding ‘rich snippets. Rich snippets provide searchers with more information about a particular result, such as its photos, star ratings, price and availability, and more.
In the above example of SERPs, you can see Google search creates carousels of similar types of items from different sites with ‘star ratings’ and other information.
The inclusion of rich snippets can mean the difference between someone clicking on your link and someone clicking on a competitor’s.
AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is an open-source HTML framework that enables web pages to load faster on mobile devices. AMP makes use of advanced caching and compression techniques, as well as a restricted set of HTML tags and attributes. As a result, AMP-enabled pages load up to 85% faster than traditional mobile web pages.
AMP pages are stripped-down versions of regular web pages – designed to load quickly and smoothly on mobile devices. According to a study by Statista, 90% of the global internet population uses a mobile device to go online (source). Enabling AMP on your website can help you reach a wider audience, including users who may have slow connections or low-end devices.
Solve Duplicate Content Issues
Duplicate content can be a major issue for your website, causing you to lose rank in search engine results pages and harming your credibility. It happens when there is more than one version of a web page found on the internet. Often this can be caused by URL variations, session IDs, or printer-friendly versions of pages.
To avoid duplicate content issues on your website:
- You should first make sure that session ids are disabled in CMS where they’re not vital and remove any printer-friendly versions of your content.
- Use the canonical link element to tell search engines which version of the page is the original and which should be considered a copy. It will help to ensure that your website’s search rankings stay consistent and high.
Fix Broken Links
Broken links can not only cause problems for users trying to navigate your site but can also hurt your search engine rankings.
For Google and other search engines to trust your site, all links must be functioning properly. To fix the broken links problem, you first need to address them and then redirect them to the original pages. This process can be complicated but thankfully, there are several plugins available to help you find and fix broken links quickly and easily.
So, there you have it. Technical SEO is just one type of SEO that you should be doing for your website, in accordance with other SEO activities as well. If you’re wondering what the other types of SEO are, click here for more information.
While technical SEO might seem daunting, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. Start with the basics and then move on to more advanced techniques as your site and knowledge grows. By taking a holistic and detail-oriented approach to your website’s optimisation, you can improve your site’s visibility and performance in SERPs.
The above steps will help you ensure that your website is technically sound and optimised for search engines. Implementing these changes may take some time and effort, but they’ll be worth it in the end when you see your website traffic and conversions increase. We hope this article has helped you understand what technical SEO’s ingredients are so that you can get started on improving your site. Have questions or need help getting started? Leave us a comment below!