Technical SEO is one of the most fundamental aspects of SEO. You may have the most incredible piece of content for a popular topic in your niche, but if your site has unresolved technical SEO issues, you’ll struggle to rank high in search engine result pages (SERPs).
As a result, you must spend some time optimizing the technical SEO of your website.
For that reason, this post will shed light on the best tips to take your technical SEO to the next level and scale up your rankings on search engine result pages.
But first, let’s cover some basics about technical SEO.
What is Technical SEO?
Look at technical SEO as techniques that focus on fine-tuning your site’s technical aspects for top efficiency.
Also, it ensures search engine bots can crawl your website content effectively and index your site correctly for better organic rankings.
That means that top rankings on search engines like Google are firmly linked to excellent technical optimization in your site.
Better yet, smooth technical optimization techniques improve your site’s user experience. Therefore, your web visitors will spend more time on your content.
So, to avoid lower search engine rankings and poor user experience in your site, here are some actionable tips in technical optimization SEO that will yield excellent results.
Creating a technical SEO strategy
1. Apply SSL
SSL is a term we hear bounced around a lot, but we may not know exactly what it means. It stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s essentially a security protocol used to establish encrypted links between a web server and a browser in their online communication.
We used to see it mostly when we bought something online (to safeguard our credit card or payment credentials) or signed up for something using our personal information. However, today it’s a hugely important part of maintaining any website, no matter its purpose.
In July of this year, Google Chrome and the other browsers rolled out their “Not Secure” movement, where any website without a security certificate installed on their website was marked as “Not Secure.” The result? Any visitor would know they were entering a risky environment, and your website potentially risked losing rank behind those safe.
The solution is fairly obvious; install a security certificate on your website domain and migrate your website to HTTPS.
2. Optimize for Mobile
Mobile-first indexing means Google mostly uses the mobile version of a website for ranking and indexing purposes. In July 2019, Google made mobile-first indexing the default for all new websites. That means that how your site performs on mobile can have a huge impact on your rankings.
Therefore, you should optimize your site for mobile performance, readability, and useability. How you do this will vary depending on how you manage your website. For example, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a framework originally designed by Google to help pages load faster on mobile. For WordPress sites, many themes and plugins can help simplify optimising for mobile.
3. Use semantic HTML
Use HTML tags that signal the importance of the words they contain to Google. The most important fields are the page title and meta title. A word of advice here: don’t duplicate the same sentence in each; that’s just a wasted opportunity.
The other semantic tags are the headings and the emphasis tags and, even to a lesser extent, the bold and the italic tags. Use them to highlight the words and expressions you found in the previous step as having the best mix of high search and low competition. As a rule of thumb, think about what makes sense for the reader who has reached the page via search. Think about how the content can show them they have found the right place. This brings us to the next point.
4. Make the most of internal links
All your content, or the content you want to be ranked for, must be discoverable from the website’s front page. Google’s bots should be able to find our content by following our links; the fewer the links, the better. Links also help search bots best understand your content. You can (and should) also provide a sitemap to help the bots, but making important content quickly available is also good practice for the user experience (UX).
Our outgoing links can also help increase Google’s trust in our page; well-sourced links to relevant references can help your page’s rankings.
5. Eliminate 404s or broken pages and links
When your website has 404 errors, you have — and are linking to — pages that do not exist. In short, they’re broken, which doesn’t make for the best user experience.
This is most likely caused when you had a page that originally lived at a specific URL, but you changed the URL later, or maybe you didn’t need the page anymore, so you unpublished it.
Once this happens, you want to set up a 301 redirect. This allows the old page to bring a visitor to the new page it’s being redirected to.
When a page is broken, it doesn’t allow Google to crawl, which can negatively affect your search rankings. Moreover, if you’ve linked to this page from other pages or external sources have linked to your page, you’ll lose the authority you once had.
6. Create And Optimize XML Sitemaps
XML sitemaps are special documents that list all the pages and their specific content. These files provide a comprehensive overview of your site’s available content.
They help provide additional information about URLs in your site (like when they were last updated) and their relations to each other.
For search engines, an XML Sitemap acts like a roadmap leading to information on your site. It’s like blueprints for the search engine bots to follow to reach your site’s content.
In light of that, a website with XML sitemaps makes crawling and indexing easier for search bots. In return, the site can easily get ranked in the search engine result pages.
With that in mind, it’s evident that sitemaps are critical aspects of technical SEO. Without them, search bots will strain to understand your content.
Here’s a list of benefits you’ll get by having an XML sitemap on your site:
- Search engine bots will crawl your site more effectively
- Sitemaps enable search engines to prioritize content as specified by you
- Search engines like Google will know how often you update your content; therefore, new content on your site can get crawled quickly.
However, it’s worth noting that having sitemaps is not a direct ticket to better ranks. Content quality and relevance are still in the game.