Technical SEO (search engine optimization) is critical for your website. Your website is a fundamental business tool, and in order for it to function at its best, it requires frequent fine-tuning. This is where technical SEO comes in.
What Is Technical Seo?
Technical SEO is the process by which a website is configured to make it easily accessible and readable to search engines.
The faster your website can be crawled, i.e., read for important search content, the better. If you already have a website, a SEO audit can be done to determine its compatibility with modern search engines. If you start a new site from scratch, building the correct keys into the content is easier. The loading speed of your website during a search is more critical now than ever. New algorithms have had to be written to cater to the massive surge in smartphone users.
Technical SEO optimization typically involves the following:
Crawl error report
Crawling is the process in which a search engine attempts to access every page on your website. If a link within your site fails, the crawl will fail to reach all the pages and index all the information. This is known as a crawl error.
Checking https codes
Https codes are made visible by your website’s server to any browser attempting to communicate with it. These are all 3-digit codes, with the first digit indicating the nature of the message the server is sending out. A visitor would probably see a code 404 error – site not found, for example. This indicates a fault with the website itself. Code 2 relates to a successful connection, code 3 relates to a redirected request, code 4 to a website error, and code 5 implies a host server error. Error codes need to be dealt with quickly, as these will frustrate visitors.
Your domain name is as important as your website. Try to keep it short, simple, and relevant to what you do. Using a relevant keyword in your domain does help with searching. If your business or organization’s name refers directly to your core activity, even better. A domain audit will show whether your site is easily reachable.
Checking broken links
Broken links can undo all the hard work put into designing and publishing your website. They will also disrupt any crawls by search engines, which in turn will affect your website ranking. A code 404 error will deter visitors to your site, and that means potential lost business. Your technical SEO specialists can run checks for broken links, then identify, and repair them.
Search engines converse with your website in metadata. Having the correct metadata in the appropriate places makes the search and indexing function of the search engine work faster and more accurately. Keep meta titles as concise as possible, around 55 characters, but try to include your product or service and brand in them. Meta descriptions should be longer, around 150 characters, and here you can expand on your website contents. If you don’t create a meta description, Google will create one for you, based on what it finds on your website. That may not be a good solution if your website is vague. Use your metas to entice visitors to delve further into your website.
Duplicated content should be avoided at all times. It is not helpful to search engines, and it isn’t attractive to visitors either. Plagiarism is taboo. If you need to repeat a slogan throughout your site, it would be best to insert it as an image, which search engines will ignore. There is a possibility that some of your text or content may be on other sites without your knowledge. A technical SEO service will test this, and your content can be changed to avoid duplications.
Creating the XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is a method of organizing a website by identifying its URL and any content within, particularly content that may have changed. The XML format file contains the sitemap, enabling search engines to find data faster and more efficiently. XML sitemaps are easy to create and install.
Robot.txt files are used to manage how your site is crawled. You can prevent specific parts of your site from being found using robot files. Using these files to hide or block your website is not practical, as they will invariably be found anyway. If restricting your site is your intention, it would be better to install password protection.
A redirect is a link that takes you to another part of a website or even another site altogether. Redirects may need to be edited frequently, particularly if the link target is external from the website. External targets can change, rendering your original redirect incorrect or non-functional. While a semi-skilled programmer is capable of performing the task, it is best to have a professional attend to it.
Optimization for mobile search
In 2014, mobile devices overtook desktop computers as the preferred and most used method of searching the internet. It stands to reason that current SEO development is geared more towards mobile devices. The SEO characteristics for mobile have also developed separately and at a much greater pace than before. Your existing website’s SEO can be reconfigured to make it more mobile-friendly, and most web designers are now using mobile-friendly SEO as the standard.
Secure Sockets Layer, or SSL, is the security protocol used by your website to protect the data within it and during transfer. It does this by encrypting and scrambling all data sent or received, rendering it unreadable to anyone attempting to hack into it. As you would expect, there will be a lot of sensitive data being transferred, including personal bank details. SSL protects all parties from information theft. To determine whether an SSL currently protects you, search your website. If https, as opposed to http, precedes your URL in the search bar, then you have SSL installed. If not, ask your SEO specialist to install it for you. They are not expensive and well worth it.
How do we go about improving our technical SEO?
Enlist the services of a reputable technical SEO agency. They are trained and equipped to enhance website performance, and there are several methods they use to accomplish this goal.
Running a technical SEO audit will identify any shortfalls or glitches in your website’s make-up as far as readability is concerned. The audits will include several measuring and fault-finding tests. Mobile performance, internal link structure, page speed, XML sitemap, crawl errors, indexation, robots.txt, and site architecture are all analyzed , and a report compiled. Your web developer will be able to make changes in accordance with the results of the audit. These changes should undoubtedly improve the performance of your website, at least in the short term. In the long term, a major redesign of your site may be necessary.
Your website’s metadata needs to be analyzed. Meta tags, descriptions, and keywords will attract search engines to whatever the visitor is looking for. Metas should be chosen so that they will be simple and spring to mind easily for the visitor to search with while being recognizable to the search engines. Beware, however, of negative metas in your site that could repel potential visitors. Keywords are most effective when used early in a sentence or heading.
Research your keywords. They are the backbone of your website, and without the correct keywords, it’s quite likely that your website won’t feature many searches. Make yourself familiar with current trends in your industry and your target customer base. Use keywords that are appropriate for these trends and your business market. It is important to choose keywords that both humans and the search engine will understand. Choose keywords that would easily come to the visitors’ mind as he performs a search. Avoid using negative keywords, since a search engine can just as easily pick these up as the important ones. Technical SEO services will study your business and target market, perform audits on your keyword rankings, and utilize appropriate high visibility keywords and phrases to enhance your site’s performance.
Take a look at your competitors’ websites. What SEO strategies are they using to attract business? Your technical SEO consultant will analyze their keyword performance, website structure, and social media campaigns. Look at their search engine rankings. Are they above yours? With proper optimization of your site and perhaps a change in strategy, you can be close to the top when it comes to search results. Site maintenance is an ongoing activity, so be sure to make changes that keep up with SEO developments.
Images are smart assets for your website. Your visitors can see your products, views of your factory or worksites. Meet your key personnel or some of your satisfied clients. Nothing beats a website that features interesting images. But those same images could be slowing your website down. A technical SEO specialist will be able to select the correct image file formats and attributes. They can reduce image file size and maximize the plugins for optimization. Your website can run fast with correct image rendering and still display the images you want your prospective clients to see. Another method of displaying large images is called lazy loading. A low-res image will appear first, while the surrounding text and backgrounds load, after which the high-res image appears. It is not quite ideal, but it prevents the viewer from seeing an empty page until all the elements have loaded.
Also known as structured data, schema markup facilitates a search engine´s effort of identifying different elements on a page. Data tags are assigned to specific features, and HTML codes are created for each of them. These can be tested using a structured data testing tool, like the one offered by Google.
Google penalties and recovering from them
Google can penalize you for several reasons. You may even incur a penalty without willingly doing anything wrong. The penalties exist to protect Google as a brand and usually result in a drop in rankings, or in more severe cases, removal from search altogether. Naturally, either of those will result in fewer visitors to your site, which will relate to a drop in business. Some reasons for incurring a penalty are misleading keywords, false redirects, the presence of any form of virus, hidden elements, over-use of keywords, and duplications. If you suddenly receive a penalty after making changes to your site, chances are that you have inadvertently duplicated something or added the same keyword too often. Be aware of those when making changes. Recovering from a penalty isn’t easy, and your website will have to be changed to conform to Google’s standards before they re-crawl it and allow you to work your way back up the rankings. It is advisable to seek help from specialists as soon as possible in the event that you incur a penalty. Keep in mind that if your website´s rank drops, it doesn´t necessarily mean you have been penalized. Your competitors will be developing and changing their websites constantly. It is good practice to keep your website compatible with the latest SEO developments to maintain your ranking.
In this article, you will have gained an understanding of what technical SEO is and how it relates to your website. There are many facets to technical SEO, and many of them are either confusing or beyond the layman’s expertise. You will have spent a considerable amount of time, energy, and even money developing and launching your website. It makes perfect sense to invest a little more and have a professional technical SEO agency fine-tune it. You have a business or organization to run, and your website is there to work for you behind the scenes. It will give you peace of mind to know that your website is optimized to bring you business without being concerned about it.
Engaging the services of a technical SEO company to maintain your site will ensure that it is kept up to date with the latest SEO developments. They will also run regular reports to monitor your rankings and suggest changes where needed. Your website is likely to be your first exposure to potential new clients, and for that reason, it must create a good impression. In short, your website could be your biggest asset.