Imagine a beautiful website with remarkable content, but it is plagued with slow loading times, broken links, and incorrect HTML markups - no one will be able to find it! Search engine crawlers detect such technical issues, and it affects the website’s search engine ranking. This is where technical SEO emerges from the shadows and comes to save the day!
But what exactly does technical SEO mean, and why should you pay attention to the importance of it?
Read this ultimate guide to technical SEO and find out everything you need to know about this vital part of search engine optimisation (SEO).
What Is Technical SEO?
Before spitting out the big terms and long explanations, let’s understand what technical SEO is in the simplest way possible:
Imagine a search engine crawler as a virtual spider that visits your website and its pages. This spider is on a path to discover your website and determine how “friendly” it is for search engines.
Technical SEO helps the spider crawl through your website as quickly and efficiently as possible. It also helps the spider understand your website’s content for proper indexing in the search engine results page (SERP).
In short, technical SEO is the practice of optimising a website to make it more easily crawled and indexed by search engine spiders.
Now, for the big terms and long explanations:
Technical SEO is all about improving the technical aspects of websites to optimise them for search engine crawlers. It includes optimising various parts of your website, such as server configuration, redirects, URL structure, meta tags, HTML markup, and much more.
This is usually where your web developer or web development agency comes into the mix, but don’t be afraid to make changes on your own. With the right knowledge and tools, it’s easy to get started in technical SEO yourself.
The Fundamentals Of Technical SEO
Now that you have a clearer picture in your head of what technical SEO is, let’s look at the fundamentals.
This is one of the most essential fundamentals you’ll work with. Crawlability refers to a search engine’s ability to discover and crawl through your website quickly.
To make sure your website is crawlable, you should check for the following:
- Broken links: Make sure there are no broken links on your website. This can happen if a page has moved or been removed, redirects have not been set up properly, or the URL has been changed without a 301 redirect.
- URL structure: Keep your URLs short and simple for better readability. This makes them easier for search engine spiders to crawl and index, ensuring your content reaches the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Robots.txt: Your robots.txt file is a text document that instructs search engine spiders on which pages to crawl and index. It’s a great way to keep certain pages from being indexed in search engine results.
Indexability is the process of getting your content indexed by search engines. It’s all about ensuring that the right information is included in your website’s HTML and that all the pages on your website are accessible from other pages.
There are two ways you can see if your webpage has been indexed:
- Google Search Console, where you can use the URL inspection tool.
- Or you can open Google, type in “site:” and enter the URL. For example; site:www.yourwebsitepage.co.za
To make sure your web pages are indexed, you should check the following:
- Meta tags: Ensure that each page has a unique meta title and description. Meta titles and descriptions help search engines understand the content of a page and what it is about. These should be descriptive, informative and include relevant keywords that are also used in the content.
- XML sitemap: An XML sitemap is a list of URLs for all the pages on your website. It helps search engines easily discover and crawl the pages on your website.
- Headings: Headings should be used to structure content and break it into sections. It helps search engine spiders understand the content of a page and should include relevant keywords. For example, if you’re writing about SEO best practices, you should include the term “SEO” in your headings.
- Canonical tag: A canonical tag helps search engines understand which version of a page should be indexed. It’s particularly useful when you have similar content on different URLs or multiple versions of the same page.
Rendering is the process where a Googlebot retrieves a web page from the server and renders it for indexing. This means that when a Googlebot crawls your website, it’s able to see the page as a user would. It’s essential to test your webpage with tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to make sure that your website is optimised for rendering.
4. Website Architecture:
Just like a house’s architecture that needs to be structurally sound, a website’s architecture must be designed in such a way that it makes it easy for search engines to crawl and index your pages. And for it to make sense, you need to focus on the hierarchical structure of your website pages.
Here is how you can structure your website pages:
- Create a navigational menu: Your navigation menu should be structured to make it easy for visitors to find and navigate your website.
- Utilise internal linking: Internal links help search engine spiders understand the relationship between your website’s pages. This will make it easier for them to crawl your pages and help improve your rankings for relevant keywords.
- Check website speed: A website’s speed plays a huge role in technical SEO. If your website is too slow, Google will not crawl your pages properly, leading to poorer rankings. And potential customers might get frustrated and jump to your competitors.
Here is a technical SEO checklist in the form of an infographic that you can download and use for reference.
Get A Technical SEO Audit Today!
This ultimate guide is only the beginning of technical SEO. If you want to take it to the next level, invest in a technical SEO audit service to help you identify and fix any SEO issues on your website.