Technical SEO: Best Practices to Improve Ranking
When asked about types of SEO, most of you would answer that there are only two, On-page and Off-page SEO. But wait, SEO is more vast than you actually think. There are more types of SEO, and one of the most significant out of all is a Technical SEO.
SEO is not always about content optimization and website promotion, it is a more extensive field than you imagined. If you are not an SEO specialist, then you may not have heard the term before, as it is the technical aspect of SEO that deals with the crawling and indexing.
If you are not even aware of what is indexing and crawling, then let me explain to you. Google sends its crawlers or bots to crawl and index your website, that is, to analyze and store the data of your website. Crawling is when Google bots follow your links to read and analyze your website. Once your website is crawled, the next step is indexing, which is the process of storing or adding your webpages into Google search.
The processes of crawling and indexing help your customers to reach you by making your website visible on the search engine result page. So, now that you know the basics, let’s move further to discuss technical SEO in more detail.
What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO refers to optimizing a website for crawling and indexing purposes. Thus, with technical SEO, you can help search engines access, crawl, and index your website easily. Thinking why it is called technical? It is known as technical because its main goal is to optimize the infrastructure of a website, and it has no relations with content optimization and link building.
Technical SEO is the most vital aspect because It is the structure of your website. Nothing else matters if you are not implementing technical SEO practices. Even if you have great content to show, it won’t bring the desired results if your website is not functioning well or if your site’s technical aspect is poor.
Technical SEO is critical when it comes to increasing the performance of your website. So, now that you know what is technical SEO, it is time to learn about the best SEO practices that can elevate your ranking, providing you with an opportunity to outdo your competitors.
Best technical SEO practices to boost your ranking
Focus on website loading time
You might have visited a site that took too long to load. What did you do? Did you wait with patience or walked out of the site? There are many other websites that can answer your query, so instead of waiting, you would have abandoned the site and move on to next. That is what your visitors are likely to do if your site is slow and takes a long time to respond.
Consequently, it will increase your site’s bounce rate and decrease your ranking. Google uses bounce rate as a ranking factor. Thus, if your website is slow, then Google will push your website down in the search engine ranking page (SERP). That means, even if your content is of high quality, your website won’t rank for it, and your competitors will have a chance to knock you down.
Now the question comes, how you can increase your website loading speed. It can be done in a number of ways. To resolve any issue, you are required to identify its root cause. The main causes of slow website speed are large images and rich files. So, optimize or compress the images of your web page to improve your site’s load time.
Avoid loading your website with too much stuff, and use minimalistic themes for your website. Furthermore, you can also use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool that lets you analyze a specific page’s site speed and user experience on every device. In addition to this, it shows you how to fix any problem to improve your website’s speed.
Remove broken links and 404 errors
If your website is showing a 404 error, then it means that you are linking to pages that don’t exist or are broken. It is typically triggered when website content has been removed or moved to another URL, or maybe you don’t want the page anymore so you unpublished it. Whatever may be the reason, one thing is for sure that it is not good for your website.
A broken page doesn’t allow Google to crawl, so it can affect your ranking negatively. Moreover, you also tend to lose your domain authority which is again harmful to your website. 404 not-found error leads to the bad user experience, which in turn drives your visitors to leave your website. And as you can’t afford to lose your potential customers, you need to fix this problem as soon as possible.
If your website is showing a 404 error to users because you changed the URL, then you are required to set up a 301 redirect to allow the old page to direct your visitors to the new page. However, before finding the right resolution, you will have to determine which pages on your website are broken.
There are several online tools like LinkMiner, SEMrush, or Google Search Console, etc., that provide you with a report of all your pages. You can easily check or organize your 404 error pages. Once you rectify your broken links or pages, generate an updated sitemap, and submit it to Google to let it know about the changes you have made.
Does the term SSL bounced over your head? Don’t worry, because there are many people who are still not aware of this term. SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer and this latest trend encrypts sensitive information, provides authentication, and improves customer trust.
Installing an SSL on your server implies that your website can be accessed using https instead of HTTP, indicating that information transferred between your server and website is encrypted.
Earlier, SSL was vital for eCommerce websites only, but today every website should install SSL. To install SSL, you can contact and ask your hosting provider to enable SSL on your account. Then, you will have to follow a migration procedure to activate SSL.
So, install this security protocol and migrate to HTTPS to set encrypted links between a browser and a web server. Besides securing your information, it is the best way to establish trust with your users.
Make your website mobile-friendly
Today, more than 50% of users are using their mobile device to browse through the internet, thus, you simply can’t ignore it. Even Google also prioritizes mobile indexation now. So, it is indispensable to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices in terms of speed, design, and functionality. When it comes to mobile-friendliness, usually responsive design is preferred.
Having a mobile-friendly website is not an option, it is a necessity today to stay upfront in the competition, and to increase traffic and sales. Moreover, of all the ranking factors that Google takes into consideration today, mobile usability is the third most important.
In fact, in 2016, Google announced to crawl the mobile version of websites before the desktop version. The time is not very far when Google will consider the ranking factors from the mobile versions instead of desktop. So, to improve your ranking and traffic, use responsive design for your website and generate mobile-friendly content which is concise and readable.
Also, create AMP pages for your website to make your mobile pages run faster, and to increase user experience that will ultimately boost your CTR. You can know your website’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Optimize URL structure
You may not know this, but your URL structure does play a significant role in your search engine ranking. Here, the URL structure implies the format of your URL. Once you define the format of your URL, you are only required to optimize your URL when you publish new content. Your goal should be to build search engine friendly URLs. It should be descriptive, and it is better if it contains your targeted keywords.
Many people make the mistake of ignoring the importance of the URL structure, and they create websites with dynamic URLs that are not optimized for search engines. Make sure your URL is easy to follow. If your URL is not a search engine friendly, then you might lose the opportunity to improve your search engine visibility. Moreover, it may also make it difficult for you to do link building.
An important thing to keep in mind is that it is always better to get the right URL structure in the first time, because changing it later may create a rift between the search engine and your website.
Building a search engine friendly URL is not difficult, follow these tips given below and create the right URL:
- Use lowercase characters
- Keep your URL short and descriptive
- Don’t use unnecessary characters
- Include your keywords in the URL without stuffing
- Use hyphens “-” in the place of underscores “_”
So, these are the best technical SEO practices that every digital marketer should adopt to boost the ranking and increase productivity. Apart from them, there are also other technical SEO implementations that should be followed, and they are part of both on-page and off-page SEO tactics. These implementations include avoiding duplicate content and disavowing low-quality backlinks.
Furthermore, once you are done with the optimization of your website as per technical SEO guidelines, do not forget to inform about it to the Google or search engine by submitting an XML sitemap. In addition to performing these above-mentioned technical SEO practices, there are some outdated SEO tactics that you should avoid if you want to rank high on SERP.