What is Technical SEO and Why Is It Important?

What is Technical SEO and Why Is It Important?

Technical SEO isn’t as well-known as on-page or off-page SEO. If you've been trying to improve your website’s visibility on search engines, you’ve probably been focusing a lot on keywords and backlinks. However, these aren’t the only things you need to work on. You should also consult a local SEO service about improving your technical SEO. This may not be a particularly exciting aspect of optimization but it makes it easier for search engines to crawl your site and index it.

Technical SEO works hand in hand with the other things you’re probably already doing. No matter how interesting and well-written your content is, your intended audience won’t see it if search engines can’t crawl it. To improve this aspect of your website, you first need to carry out a technical SEO audit. Then, you have to come up with a plan to fix any problems you identify.

Technical SEO helps to ensure that Googlebot’s spider can crawl your site and render the page.

 

Technical SEO Audit Fundamentals

There are certain things you need to complete on your technical SEO checklist at the start of your audit. When you have these fundamentals in place, you can move on with the rest of the process. There are a number of technical SEO tools available on the web.

Audit Your Preferred Domain

The domain is the URL people type in to get to your site. It affects whether people who are searching for your content can find you. Therefore,  you want to ensure that your site is always identified in the same way. You may think that yourwebsite.com and www.yourwebsite.com are the same thing. However, choosing a preferred domain means you tell search engines which version of the URL you want to be displayed in the search results. 

If you prioritize yourwebsite.com, search engines will redirect users to this URL. If you don’t do this, search engines will treat the www and non-www versions of the site as separate sites. This has implications for your technical SEO and your search engine rankings.

Google no longer asks you to identify which version of your URL you prefer. However, you can set your preferred URL via canonical tags. You’ll need to make sure that all versions of your website are redirected accordingly. These include the http, index.html, www, and non-www versions. Make auditing your preferred domain a key step in improving your website’s technical SEO.

Implement SSL

You also need to ensure your site has a Secure Sockets Layer or SSL early in your technical SEO audit. This secures your site by creating a barrier between the web server and the user’s browser. If a user sends information to your website, it’s less likely that it will be hacked. You’ll know a site has an SSL certificate if the domain begins with “https://” rather than “http://”.

Security plays a role in search engines’ rankings. Therefore you want to pay attention to this aspect of technical SEO and ensure that the SSL version of your homepage is your preferred domain. After you set up your SSL, you’ll have to switch any non-SSL pages to https.

Optimize Page Speed

No one likes a website that takes a long time to load. However, you may not realize just how little time you have to capture the user’s attention. Website visitors will wait six seconds or even less for your website to load so you must ensure that you shorten your site’s load time as much as possible. It’s important to note that site speed doesn't only affect user experience and conversion. It also affects your on-page technical SEO and your rankings.

To improve the average load time of your pages, you’ll need to:

  • Compress all your files so they take up less space and load quicker
  • Make sure your code is as efficient as possible then minimize it and compress it. Minimization is now a standard part of a technical SEO checklist.
  • Use a content distribution network to store copies of your website in various geographical locations and then deliver it based on the user’s location. The site loads faster this way since information has to travel a shorter distance between servers.
  • Audit your redirects on a regular basis 
  • Make sure you only install the most essential plugins and use the latest versions. Having too many plugins can slow down your site and using outdated versions can make your website vulnerable to hackers. Not only is this a security threat but it can harm your rankings. This area of technical SEO should not be ignored.

If you’re not sure how to use all the technical SEO tools out there, you should reach out to an advanced technical SEO specialist for assistance.

Fix Duplicate Content

Another critical aspect of technical SEO is addressing duplicate content. This is content that appears in more than one place on the internet in the same form or a similar form. There may be duplicate content on multiple pages on one site or across different sites. Google won’t penalize your site if it publishes duplicate content but your technical SEO will be negatively affected. You may suffer from:

  • Dilution of backlinks
  • Undesirable URLs in the search results 
  • Poorly optimized crawl budget
  • Outranking by syndicated or scraped content

You can use the Google Search Console to see the pages on your site that have duplicate content. However, this may not reveal all the duplication issues and you may need to use additional technical SEO tools.

Duplicate content appears in the same form or a similar form in more than one place on the web.

 

Ensure Important Content is Crawlable and Indexable

Search engines discover new content by crawling a site and downloading new data. If you add a new page to your website and create a link from your homepage, Google will find the link the next time it crawls your homepage. It then determines whether the content offers value to users. If so, the page will be indexed. A technical SEO problem occurs if you’re unknowingly blocking search engines from crawling or indexing a page.

You can find out if any pages are blocked by the robots.txt file by using the Google Search Console. If you see URLs there that shouldn't be blocked, you’ll need to edit or remove the file. Seek help from an advanced technical SEO professional if you are unsure about what to do.

Renderability

Rendering is the process through which Google's web crawler collects web pages and builds a searchable index. It involves running your code and assessing the content in an effort to understand the structure of your website. The information that Google collects is used to rank your content against that of other sites and what users are searching for. This aspect of technical SEO requires that you pay attention to five areas.

Server Performance

Server errors and timeouts result in HTTP errors, causing users to encounter broken links. If you notice problems, you need to promptly troubleshoot them and fix them. Otherwise, search engines could remove your web page from their index because errors ruin the user experience. If you’ve been working hard on other types of optimization, you don’t want to let technical SEO be your downfall.

HTTP Status

Another important part of technical SEO is HTTP status. HTTP errors also prevent users from accessing your webpages. You should use a web crawler to audit your site for these issues.

JavaScript Rendering

JavaScript code must be processed and rendered before a browser or search engine crawler can see the requested page. Since Google finds it hard to process JavaScript, it is recommended that you make your site more accessible by using pre-rendered content.

Orphan Pages

An orphan page is one with no internal links. It is a technical SEO best practice to ensure that every page on your site is linked to at least one other page. This is because orphan pages don’t provide bots with the context they need to index them.

Page Depth

The depth of a page refers to how many clicks it is away from your homepage. Ideally, your site should be as shallow as possible while having a structure that’s intuitive. Depending on the type of site you have, you may not be able to get away from having multiple layers. In such a situation, you need to make sure the site is well-organized so renderability is not negatively affected. In any case, you should ensure that the most important pages are no more than three clicks deep. Both users and bots will have a poor experience otherwise.

Get Expert Help with Advanced Technical SEO

If you’ve ever wondered “why is technical SEO important?”, you now have the answers you need. While you may find it easy to implement some of the fixes on your own, you will likely need a professional SEO service to assist you with some of the more advanced solutions. If you’re based in Denver, CO, Direct SEO can help to get you on the right track.

Kevin Dunn

Kevin Dunn

Sales Manager

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