Search engine optimization, commonly known as SEO, is a term that dominates the lingo of any serious webmaster. This basically refers to the techniques applied so that your website can receive more organic traffic and rank higher on search results. This is a wide topic subdivided into three main areas: on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO. This article seeks to shed a light on technical SEO which just like the name suggests deals with the basic architecture of your site and the steps you need to take to help search engines crawl and index your site more easily as well as give your users the ultimate user experience by being faster.
Top aspects of Technical SEO
- Website Speed
One aspect that tops the list of the technical factors to consider when designing and auditing your website is the loading speeds. No one enjoys delays as a matter of fact. Whether that implies being stuck in a traffic jam or a long queue or just experiencing internet downtimes, delays suck! More than half of your prospective site visitors will actually bounce should your website take more than a few seconds to load. Google, the leading search engine, has recently been on a mission to offer a refined user experience to all web users. Top on its checklist is the loading speed of a website which is now a major ranking factor. Therefore, if you and your developer fail to enhance site speeds, forget the first page of the search engine results pages.
- Website Security
There will obviously be a lot of information exchange to and from your website once you go live. When visitors come to your site, they will most likely provide some form of personal identifiable information whether it’s name, email address, credit card details and so on. This sort of data has unfortunately become a gold mine for malicious actors like hackers who work day and night to find a weak spot on your site where they can then steal such info and maybe sell it or use it in other fraudulent ways. Top on your technical SEO checklist should be acquiring a cheap SSL certificate from certificate authorities or resellers likeCheapSSLShop that will effectively activate the HTTPS protocol and encrypt the info being exchanged between your web server and client browser. Google also rewards HTTPS sites with a slight rankings boost.
- WebsiteCrawling and Indexing
Search engines have robots or spiders that are constantly traversing the web looking for content-rich web pages to crawl and add to their index. When this happens, you are then publicly visible on search engines. However, there are some settings that could block search engines from being able to crawl and index your site. Some accidental changes to your robots.txt file could for instance be the reason why you have been struggling day and night to get noticed by Google without success. You can fine tune the settings to indicate the pages on your site that you want crawled. The robots Meta tag can also help you to indicate the pages that you want crawled but do not want listed on search results.
Brighton based SEO consultant, James Hubbard, says “crawling and indexing related issues are among the most common problems I encounter when carrying out technical SEO audits. If you are having problems with content not appearing on search engine results pages, it’s advisable to look at investing in an audit”.
- XML Sitemap
Search engines need to be able to understand your site structure and content for you to make it to the results pages and enjoy better rankings. A very good way to go about this is by creating an XML Sitemap. There are a lot of free sitemap builders on the web that you can use to create and then upload it on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools. A sitemap usually details all the pages on your site and the content. It will also indicate the date of publishing and last update.
- Structured Data
Although you can have a perfect interlinking structure on your site that can help search engines understand the content of your site easily, you can even land a better score by using structured data. This basically involves injecting a piece of code into your web pages that will explain to web crawlers in detail what the page is about. This can have numerous benefits because not only can you find yourself ranking high on related search queries but also your site can be highlighted in the rich featured snippets therefore boosting CTR.
- Avoid Broken Links
There is nothing as disgusting as trying to open a page that you are so enthusiastic about only to encounter a 404 error. This happens when the content has been deleted or moved. Search engines do not take this lightly as well and could deem your site as not credible and push you down the SERPs. Although having broken links is inevitable as your site is always evolving, there are many free tools you can use to identify any such broken links. You can then redirect such a link to a new page.
- Duplicate Content Issues
Search engines hate copied content. That is one golden rule that every webmaster should know. Sometimes however you may end up having the same content on different pages of your site or on different sites that you own. When search engines come across the similar content, they might end up penalizing both pages and sites with low rankings. The way to beat this is by using canonical URLs that help you guide search engines on the content page they should consider in their crawling and Indexing process.
- Multilingual SEO
You might have wondered how global sites especially news websites showcase information in the specific language of your location. For instance, someone in Sweden will see that in Swedish whereas someone in France will see the same info in French. This is with multilingual SEO. You can make use of the Hreflang feature to advise search engines that you have customized your content to different regions to avoid having duplicate content issues.
Cheapest SSL Certificate
No one launches a website without the hope of turning it into an internet frenzy that ranks on top of search engines and enjoys massive CTR. Your dream is valid and achievable but without a solid website security strategy, hackers can easily catch up with you and make you the laughing stock in the tabloids. That is why having an SSL certificate to encrypt information is no longer optional but mandatory. Although your pockets may not be well off when launching a new website, worry not because you can get the SSL certificate from reseller that will suite your budget for example, you can buy the cheapest SSL certificate on CheapSSLShop can be a great deal for your business. This is a trusted market place where you can get all kinds of SSL certificates ranging from domain validated; organization validated and extended validation to single domain and multi-domain SSL certificates at very fair prices.
Having the cutest car but with a rotten engine can be tantamount to being a fool. Before you consider having the most beautiful themes and mind-blowing content on your site, first focus on technical SEO which is your website architecture that will then lay a proper foundation for the rest. By implementing the above strategies, you are bound to give your engines a new boom that will proper you a long distance ahead. Do not forget to employ website security best practices because as the saying goes, better be safe than sorry.