What Is Technical SEO? 9 Key Technical Aspects You Should Know

on 21 Jul, 2022

In this post, we will cover the basics of technical SEO focusing on the key aspects so you can ensure your website is set up for success. 

Technical SEO is not easy and will do our best effort to explain it in plain language so you can sync with your developer to pay close attention when working on the technical foundation of your website.

What is Technical SEO? 

Technical SEO refers to the tactics involved in creating and optimising a website so as to increase the rankings of its pages in the search engines.

The goal is to ensure that the search engines can easily crawl, index and render your site. 

Technical SEO is also part of on-page SEO which focuses on improving your website’s content, external and internal links, title tags, headings, meta description and other ‘on page’ factors to make it appealing to search engines.

Why Is Technical SEO Important? 

You may have the most valuable and engaging content in the world, however, if the search engines can’t properly browse and index your website all of this hard work will be wasted. 

The goal of Google and other search engines is to present their users with the best possible results for their specific queries. That’s when the Google bots will crawl and evaluate your site to determine (among multiple ranking factors) how high they will rank you.

That’s why by ensuring your technical SEO components are properly optimised you will increase your chances of ranking better.

Key Characteristics of a Technically Optimised Website 

Your website should load fast and be easy to crawl for search engine robots. Below we will cover some of the most important traits your technically optimised website should contain:

#1 Speed 

page speed

A fast site is crucial as it provides a better user experience. Research shows that more than 42% of visitors will abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

Think about that for a second, as it could mean you are losing on potential customers and sales to your business by not ensuring your site is solid fast.

There is a list of several common elements that can cause your site to load slow, such as large images, too many HTTP requests, and uncompressed scripts.

If you want to check how fast your site loads and how to improve the site’s speed and performance there are a number of free tools that you can use. Some of the most popular we like to use in our digital agency are:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights– a tool from Google that analysis the content of a web page, and provides suggestions on how to improve the performance

  • GTmetrix– this is one of my favorite tools and provides a more detailed analysis of your website’s speed, which also includes recommendations on how to improve it

    #2 Crawability

    Crawling is the process that search engines continuously scan all the internet webpages.

    They do this by utilising ‘crawlers’ or ‘bots’ which measure the quality of a site based on different factors such as how often the content is updated, how much unique content the website contains, and how many links from other sites point back to the website.

     There are a few reasons a website may have crawability issues. Sometimes people unintentionally block their sites CSS and JS files in the robot.txt file or include a noindex in certain pages that avoid the robots from crawling the site.

    If these files are blocked, search engines can’t find out if your site is working properly.

     Other common website errors such as 404 pages, DNS errors and server errors are going to prevent a crawler from indexing the website altogether. This can translate in a loss of traffic and rankings.

    #3 Dead Links

    what is technical SEO

    We’ve already covered the topic around encountering slow websites and how frustrating that can be for a visitor. However, what may even be more annoying is landing on a page that actually doesn’t exist (which you will typically encounter as a 404 error page).

    To prevent ‘dead links’ you should always redirect the URL of a page when you delete it or replace it. Fortunately, there are lots of tools that can assist you to find 404s and also plugins that can automatically redirect these pages.

    #4 Duplicate Content

    You should always avoid having the same content on multiple pages of your website – search engines will get very confused.

    Think about this for a minute, if you have the same content spread around, which one of these pages should they rank higher? Typically, as a result, this impacts your rankings and can translate into a drop in traffic and visitors.

    Luckily there is a solution to this which is called ‘canonical tag’. In essence, this indicates to the search engines that the URL that you have specified is the original copy of a page.

    In addition, if Google detects duplicate content on a website, it may penalise the site for being spammy. Secondly, this can affect your brand reputation with your customers and cause potential customers to mistrust your site. 

    So always focus on creating relevant, original high-quality content instead. There are a couple of tools you can use to check if you might have duplicate content issues such as:

    #5 Secure

    types of technical SEO

    The security of your website should be a primary priority to you. Nowadays, there is no excuse for not using an SSL certificate, especially with all the free options out there. 

    The way you ensure your site is secure for your visitors and users is by having an HTTPS. These will allow (amongst other things) that their credentials are safe. 

    Always keep in mind that an insecure website will also affect your conversions, increase your bounce rate, and ultimately your credibility. Therefore, it’s a crucial component to keep in mind.

    If you would like to find out more about security on your website, we have created an in-depth website security guide covering this topic.

    #6 Structured Data

    Structured data enables Google to understand what the content of your website, business or products is all about. It’s another key strategy to ensure that when the bots crawl your site they have a better understanding of your overall website.

    Another key feature is that it brings your content up for rich results (those shiny results that stand out in Google with the fancy stars).

    If you want to learn how to ‘structure data’, I’ve included a link to Google codelabs that will provide you with some great examples.

    Google even provides a Structured Data Markup Helper if you are still struggling to understand how all of this works. Make sure to check it out!

    #7 Sitemaps

    A sitemap is a file (xml) that contains all the URLs of your site and enables Google to better understand the structure of your site.

    This is not a ranking factor, however, it does serve as a roadmap for the crawlers and it ensures they don’t miss any important pages.

    Below is an example of a sitemap:

    image of a sitemap

    To check if you have submitted your sitemap you can always go into Google Search Console and verify if it has been submitted. Also, keep in mind that lots of SEO plugins such as Yoast SEO, All in One SEO have this function incorporated (so you won’t need to worry about it).

    Finally, if you have a small informational site and proper internal linking a sitemap is not required, however, at eWebsites we always recommend to our clients to have one included- it won’t harm you!

    #8 Mobile Friendly

    As of 2015, Google announced that the mobile-friendliness of a website was going to be a major ranking factor. Even more, as of 2019, they have determined that they will index and crawl the mobile version instead of the desktop version. 

    So what does it mean to be ‘mobile friendly’? Below are some key items to keep in mind:

    • A responsive layout
    • Fonts are legible
    • No pop-ups
    • Compressed images

    You can always test if your site is mobile-friendly with this tool from Google. Or you can also go to Google Search Console to find out if you have any issues.

    image of a mobile friendly website

    #9 Hreflang

    This is particularly important if you plan to target different audiences spread around multiple geographies or countries. 

    Let’s say you have a business in Australia and you also have a branch in the US. Well by using an ‘Hreflang=us’ tag you will tell Google that when someone visits your site with an IP address from the US, they should go to the US version of your site.

    This improves the overall user experience and accessibility making it better for your business, Google and customers.

    Conclusion

    Technical SEO isn’t something you can excel in one day or two. It takes practice, lot’s of knowledge and expertise to target the biggest ROI activities that will make a quick impact on your site.

    At eWebsites we specialise in technical SEO and have helped lots of clients improve their rankings with a robust SEO audit in place.

    Contact us today and book a free SEO Audit with us!

    REQUEST A FREE SEO AUDIT

    Tomás Affranchino Vivanco

    Tomás is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of eWebsites, a leading SEO agency in Melbourne. Tomás has led several successful SEO campaigns in some of the most competitive niches in Australia, such as health, real estate and law.
    Tomás is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He is the founder of eWebsites, a leading SEO agency in Melbourne. Tomás has led several successful SEO campaigns in some of the most competitive niches in Australia, such as health, real estate and law.

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