Technical SEO 101
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO is the process of making a website more search engine friendly, but it can also include user experience-related activities.
The following are typical tasks related to technical SEO:
- Sitemap submission to Google
- constructing a site structure that is search engine friendly
- Increasing the speed of your website
- Adapting your website to mobile devices
- Identifying and resolving duplicate content problems
A lot more, You’ll discover the principles and best practices for technical SEO website optimization in this post.
Let’s start now.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
Performance on Google for a website can be significantly impacted by technical SEO.
No matter how valuable your content is, if pages on your site are inaccessible to search engines, they won’t show up or rank in search results.
As a result, your website receives less traffic and your company loses out on potential sales.
Additionally, Google has confirmed that ranking factors include a website’s page speed and mobile friendliness.
Users may become impatient and leave your site if your pages load slowly. Such user actions may indicate that your website fails to deliver a satisfying user experience. Google may therefore not rank your website highly.
Making sure search engines can successfully crawl your website is the first step in optimizing it for technical SEO.
Crawling plays a crucial role in the search engine’s operation.
Search engines crawl websites when they follow links on pages they already know about to discover new websites.
For instance, we update our blog archive page whenever we publish a new blog post.
Therefore, the most recent links to fresh blog posts will be visible the next time a search engine like Google crawls our blog page.
And that’s one way Google learns about our fresh blog posts.
You must first make sure that search engines can access your pages if you want them to appear in search results.
Several methods exist for doing this:
Create SEO-Friendly Site Architecture
The method by which pages are connected on your website is referred to as site architecture or site structure.
An efficient site structure arranges pages so that crawlers can find the content of your website quickly and easily.
Therefore, when planning the layout of your website, make sure that your homepage is easily accessible from every page.
All the pages are arranged logically in a hierarchy in the site structure shown above.
To category pages, use the homepage links. Finally, category pages on the website link to specific subpages.
Additionally, this structure lessens the number of orphan pages.
Pages that have no internal links pointing to them are known as orphan pages, and users and crawlers may find it challenging (or sometimes impossible) to locate them.
Advice: If you use Semrush, you can quickly determine whether your website contains any orphan pages.
Crawl your website by setting up a project in the Site Audit tool.
Search for “orphan” under the “Issues” tab after the crawl is finished.
Submit Your Sitemap to Google
Google can find your web pages more easily if you use a sitemap.
A sitemap is typically an XML file that contains a list of your website’s key pages. Which is crucial if your website has a large number of pages. Or if their connections are weak.
Submitting your sitemap to Google is a quick and easy way to ensure that your site’s pages are being indexed properly. A sitemap is a file that contains a list of all the pages on your website. By submitting your sitemap to Google, you are essentially telling Google’s crawlers to index your site’s pages.
There are a few different ways to submit your sitemap to Google. The most common method is to use the Google Search Console. simply log into your Google Search Console account and submit your sitemap under the ‘Crawl’ tab.
Another method is to use the ‘Fetch as Google’ feature in the Google Search Console. This allows you to submit individual URLs to Google for indexing.
You can also submit your sitemap directly to Google using the following URL:
Indexing is a process that helps databases work more efficiently. When a database is indexed, data is organized in a way that makes it easy to find and retrieve. This can be a huge help when you’re working with large databases, as it can make searching and retrieving data much faster and easier.
Indexing can be used on various data types, such as text, numbers, dates, and so on. There are a few different indexing methods, but the most common is called B-tree indexing. This method organizes data in a tree-like structure, with each node containing a piece of data. When you want to retrieve data from the database, the B-tree indexing method can help you find it quickly and easily.
If you’re working with databases, it’s important to understand indexing and how it can help you.
Search engines attempt to understand and analyze the content of your pages after they have been crawled.
In its search index, a sizable database containing billions of web pages, the search engine then stores those pieces of content.
For your website’s pages to show up in search results, search engines must index them.
A “site:” search is the quickest way to see if your pages are indexed.
For instance, you would type site:www.semrush.com into Google’s search box to check the index status of semrush.com.
This displays the number of website pages that Google has indexed.
If you want to prevent a page from being indexed by search engines, you can add the “noindex” text to the page. This will tell search engines not to index the page, which will keep it from appearing in search results. Of course, this also means that people who visit your site will not be able to find the page unless they know the URL.
There are a few different ways to add noindex text to a page. One is to add it to the page’s HTML code. You can also add it to the HTTP header for the page. Finally, you can add it to a file called “robots.txt” which is located on your server.
Adding noindex text is a good way to prevent pages that you don’t want people to see from appearing in search results. However, it’s important to remember that adding noindex will not necessarily prevent the page from being crawled by search engines. It simply tells the search engine not to include that page in its index or search results. Therefore, if you truly want to keep a page hidden from search engines, you may need to use other methods such as password protection or restricting access through robots.txt. Additionally, keep in mind that adding noindex can also prevent the page from being linked to, shared, or accessed through other means, so use it with caution and only on pages that truly need to be hidden from search.
The “noindex” tag is a piece of HTML that prevents Google from indexing your pages.
It appears like this and is located in the head> section of your website:
In a perfect world, you would want all of your crucial pages to be indexed. Use the “noindex” tag only to prevent certain pages from being indexed, then.
Pages with “Thank You”
landing pages for PPC
Google occasionally is unable to decide which of your website’s pages to index and display in search results when it discovers similar content on multiple pages.
Canonical tags come in handy in this situation.
When a link is marked as the original version with the canonical tag (rel=”canonical”), Google is informed as to which page it should index and rank.
The tag appears as follows and is nestled inside the head> of a duplicate page:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/original-page/” />
Technical SEO Best Practices
Your pages should be crawled and indexed by Google by creating an SEO-friendly site structure and submitting your sitemap to Google.
But take into account these additional best practices if you want your website to be fully optimized for technical SEO.
1. Use HTTPS
A secure variant of HTTP is HTTPS.
It helps prevent the compromise of sensitive user information like passwords and credit card numbers.
And since 2014, it has served as a ranking signal.
Simply visiting your site will show you whether it employs HTTPS or not.
To verify, simply look for the “lock” icon in the address bar.
If the “Not secure” warning appears, HTTPS is not being used.
Installing an SSL certificate is necessary for this situation.
The identity of the website is verified by an SSL certificate. Additionally, it creates a secure connection whenever users access it.
Let’s Encrypt offers SSL certificates for no cost.
Make sure to add redirects from HTTP to the HTTPS version of your website once you switch it over to HTTPS. This will direct all users of your site’s HTTP version to its secure HTTPS counterpart.
2. Make Sure Only One Version of Your Website Is Accessible to Users and Crawlers
Only one of these two versions of your website should be accessible to users and crawlers:
The availability of both versions raises problems with duplicate content.
Additionally, it lessens the impact of your backlink profile because not all websites link to the “www” version; rather, they link to the “non-www” version.
Your ranking on Google may suffer as a result.
Use one version of your website only, then. And point to the alternative version at your primary website.
3. Improve Your Page Speed
Both for mobile and desktop searches, page speed is a ranking factor.
Thus, ensure that your website loads as quickly as possible.
You can check the current speed of your website using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
Your performance is graded on a scale of 0 to 100. The better, the higher the number.
Here are some suggestions for enhancing website speed:
Image compression is important because they are frequently the largest file on a webpage. They can be compressed using image optimization software like Shortpixel to make their files smaller and load faster.
Use a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute copies of your websites to servers all over the world.
4. Ensure Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
Google prioritizes indexing for mobile. This indicates that in order to index and rank content, it looks at mobile versions of websites.
Therefore, ensure that mobile devices can access your website.
Go to the “Mobile Usability” report in Google Search Console to see if that applies to your website.
As more and more people use their mobile devices to surf the web, it’s important to make sure your website is optimized for these users. A mobile-friendly website will resize itself to fit the small screen of a mobile device, making it easy to navigate and use.
If your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be losing out on a lot of potential traffic and customers. So if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
5. Implement Structured Data
Google is better able to comprehend a page’s content thanks to structured data.
And you can get rich snippets for your pages by adding the proper structured data markup code.
Rich snippets are search results that are more appealing because they have more details below the title and description.
Rich snippets have the advantage of making your pages stand out from the competition. which could raise your CTR (click-through rate).
Choose the structured data markup that best suits the style of the pages you want to add it to from the many that Google supports.
For instance, it makes sense to add product structured data to your product pages if you operate an online store.
6. Find & Fix Duplicate Content Issues
When there are exact or nearly identical passages of text on different pages of your website, you have duplicate content.
For instance, the following Buffer page can be found at two different URLs:
For websites with duplicate content, Google does not penalize them.
However, duplicate content can also result in problems like:
Unwanted URLs showing up in search results
dilution of backlinks
Crawl budget wasted
The Site Audit tool from Semrush can help you determine whether your website has duplicate content problems.
Go to the “Issues” tab after performing a complete crawl of your site in the Site Audit tool.
7. Find & Fix Broken Pages
Having broken pages on your website negatively affects user experience.
Moreover, if those pages contain backlinks, those links are useless because they lead to defunct resources.
Utilize Semrush’s Site Audit to crawl your website and find any broken pages. Next, select the “Issues” tab. Likewise, look up “4xx.”
There are two ways to fix broken pages:
Restore deleted pages that were erroneously deleted
Older posts with backlinks should be redirected to more pertinent pages on your website.
Any internal links pointing to your recently deleted or redirected pages need to be updated or removed after you fix your broken pages.
Return to the “Issues” tab to do that. additionally, look for “internal links.” The tool will show you if you have broken internal links.
8. Optimize for Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are speed metrics that Google uses to measure user experience.
These metrics consist of:
Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Calculates the time a webpage takes to load its largest element for a user
First Input Delay (FID) – Calculates how long it takes a webpage to respond to a user’s first input.
The cumulative layout shift (CLS) metric tracks changes in the arrangements of different website elements.
You should aim for the following scores to make sure your website is optimised for Core Web Vitals:
LCP –2.5 sec or lower
FID – 100 ms or lower
CLS – 0.1 or lower
In Google Search Console, you can monitor the Core Web Vitals metrics of your website’s performance.
10. Stay On Top of Technical SEO Issues
Technical SEO isn’t a one-off thing. Over time, it’s likely that new issues will arise.
It’s crucial to regularly check the status of your technical SEO and address problems as they arise.
You can do this using Semrush’s Site Audit tool. It monitors over 140 technical SEO issues for your site.
Loops and chains of redirects degrade user experience, which is bad for SEO.
And it’s unlikely that you’ll find them accidentally.
So this issue would have likely gone unnoticed without a crawl-based audit.
Running these technical SEO audits on a regular basis provides you with improvement options for SEO.