Step by Step Guide to Technical SEO
Technical SEO means the process of website optimization for the purpose of crawling and indexing. It can aid search engines in accessing, crawling, determining the content and indexing websites with no problems. This type of SEO or Search Engine Optimization is referred to as “technical” as it does not have anything to do with website promotion or the actual website content. Technical SEO primarily aims to optimize the website infrastructure. Here is a step by step guide to a technical Search Engine Optimization audit for your site.
#1 – Install Google Search Console
If your website was built on WordPress, you can easily set this up by using the Yoast SEO Plugin. Google’s search console is a helpful tool created by Google to help your website rank higher and faster. There are many tools within the console, and many steps you can take to help your website. Google even shows you where your keywords are ranking and which search keywords have the most impressions.
#2 – Technical SEO – Set preferred domain
Specify your preferred domain in WordPress and Google Search Console. At the time of setting up a blog or website, your preferred domain needs to be specified properly. When you do this, you can direct the search engines which of the domain’s variation you would like to use all through your site’s lifetime.
#3 – Make sure your site is being indexed by search engines (Google)
There is a silly little box in Google’s search console for some reason. It says “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.” – Just ignore it, and whatever you do, DO NOT check that box.
#4 – Create an XML Sitemap
An XML Sitemap is a file that helps search engines better understand the structure of your website. Best of all, an XML Sitemap helps Google discover your most important pages on your website.
You can easily create an XML Sitemap here. Follow the instructions on the web page.
#5 – Submit the XML Sitemap to Google
Once you’ve created the XML Sitemap, you can then submit it to Google.
How to submit your sitemap to Google Search Console
Make sure to sign in to your Google Search Console. Then select your website from the drop down by clicking on arrow. Considering you’ve likely got one website, it will likely already be there.
Scroll down a bit, and in the left menu panel you will find “Sitemaps”. Click on that.
Now, simply copy in your sitemap url, and hit submit.
You’re all set!
#6 – Check robots.txt and Optimise
Make sure to check and optimise the robots.txt and URL structure of your website. Rethink the website structure and navigation. A text file, Robots.txt is present in your website’s root directory, and provides search engines with instructions about which of your website’s pages should be crawled and added to their index. It is an integral part of Technical SEO.
Google’s support pages can help you understand and help you with the process as well.
#7 – Check out your URL with the Search Consoles Inspect tool.
#8 – Make sure your website is mobile friendly
Google is pretty strict on this and essentially, if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you will quickly fall in the rankings. Besides, one of the best things about having a mobile-friendly website is that you can reach a wider audience. Responsive websites make online sharing simple and so your web visitors are more likely to share on their social platforms. … Having a responsive website is a free way to rank better in the search engines – period.
#9 – Make sure Your Website is Fast…like super sonic fast!
There are quite a few speed test sites out there, as you can well imagine; however, our favourite is GTmetrix. They give you the whole picture and help you fix issues when it comes to the load speed of your website. You can also check out Google’s own Mobile Speed test as well.
Here’s the bottom line when it comes to site speed – The Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. Speeding up websites is super important, and not just for site owners, but to all Internet users searching for what they need. At the end of the day, faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors will spend less time on your website; this in turn will increase your bounce rate.
#10 – Create SEO Friendly URL’s
The trick here is to use your best keywords in the URL. For example, if you sell orange widgets, then that would be one of your best keywords. Therefore, your url might look like this:
https://your-site-name.com/orange-widgets-for-saleFriendly URL’s also help you rank better for that particular keyword.
Here’s a simple visual for you:
#11 – Set breadcrumbs correctly
Make sure to add breadcrumb menus to your website pages and posts. For breadcrumbs, add schema markup. A breadcrumb menu can be useful primarily for two purposes. It can let users easily navigate a website with no need to press their browser’s back button. It also gives search engines the hint about a website’s structure.
Check out this handy guide from Neil Patel. It will help you understand mark ups and show you how to do it step by step.
Schema is one important element to your SEO strategy as well. It is referred to as a “markup”, and this markup tells search engines about your pages content, which in turn can affect your rankings in the SERPs (search engine results pages). It also improves the domain authority of your website. In other words, it indirectly influences your page’s visibility in SERPs.
#12 – Create Effective 404 Pages
You’ve likely encountered 404 errors or 404 page not found on your internet journey through time. You also know that a 404 error can be frustrating for users, so the main purpose of a 404 page is to turn the potential negative user experience of encountering an error into a positive one.
The key to this is links. Links on 404 pages are so important because they give users a way out of the error page, quickly and efficiently. There are several if not thousands of examples of awesome 404 pages. Many will take the opportunity to have a little fun as well…
You can certainly have a good time with your 404 pages, and even get some good attention for it and your online business. However, don’t forget to help your user navigate to another live page so they don’t drop off your potential customer list.
#13 – Fix Any Broken Links
The search console is nice enough to show you all the linking pages, whether internal or external. Google will also show you the broken links and give you a chance to fix it. You can simple re-direct to fix the links or fix the urls themselves, or delete entirely. Regardless of what you decide, making sure there are no broken links on your website helps in the SEO efforts.
#14 – Identify Crawl Errors
Crawling is the process where a search engine tries to visit every page of your website via a bot. A search engine bot finds a link to your website and starts to find all your public pages from there. The bot crawls the pages and indexes all the contents for use in Google, plus adds all the links on these pages to the pile of pages it still has to crawl. Your main goal as a website owner is to make sure the search engine bot can get to all pages on the site. Failing this process returns what we call crawl errors.
Your goal is to make sure that every link on your website leads to an actual page. That might be via a 301 redirect, but the page at the very end of that link should always return a 200 OK server response.
#15 – Fix Duplicate Content Issues
Google’s definition of duplicate content is as follows: “Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.” That last part is important.
Examples of non-malicious duplicate content could include:
- Discussion forums that can generate both regular and stripped-down pages targeted at mobile devices
- Store items shown or linked via multiple distinct URLs
- Printer-only versions of web pages
If your site contains multiple pages with largely identical content, there are a number of ways you can indicate your preferred URL to Google. (This is called “canonicalization”.)
Learn more about canonicalization here.
#16 – Secure Your Website with an SSL
An SSL certificate encrypts the data that goes from a user’s computer to the target website and back. Every time a user enters information into your site, SSL makes sure it can securely travel from their browser to your web server.
The primary reason why SSL is used is to keep sensitive information sent across the Internet encrypted so that only the intended recipient can access it. This is important because the information you send on the Internet is passed from computer to computer to get to the destination server.
Finally, having an SSL on your website puts you in awesome favour with Google – so awesome in fact, you will rank above your competitors especially if they don’t utilise an SSL.
This is the end.
Okay! So, there are the top tips for technical SEO and the reasons why you need to be doing this. Quite simply put, making sure your technical SEO is in order is just as important as making sure your onsite SEO is covered. Google is the king after all, and we strive to make them happy.