Technology is not everyone’s cup of tea. Given, most people want to get on with it without understanding the nitty-gritty. Have you ever bothered to deeply understand the different mechanisms that make your mobile phone function? The most likely answer is no.
This may be the case when it comes to technical search engine optimization (SEO). After having a website up, we all want to get on with the more practical issues such as content creation, keyword research, and backlinking. These are some of the critical areas in content strategy. However, we can’t afford to ignore the third core SEO pillar after on-page SEO and off-page SEO which is technical SEO.
Imagine having everything okay with your mobile phone, but the charging system is faulty. Very unpleasant, isnt it? That’s the same reason why we cannot ignore technical SEO. You may not understand how your website works behind the scenes. However, having an idea is key in understanding why after all the effort, your website may still not rank.
In this article, we look at the various key technical aspects that could be hindering your site from ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
In August 2014, Google reiterated that security was one of their top priorities. Does your website have an SSL certificate? Are your visitors safe?
The intention is to make the internet a safe place by ensuing that visitor’s accessing websites via Google are secure.
An easy way to determine if your site if secure is checking the URL bar on your browser. If there’s a padlock, then you are already using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPs) which is a secure connection. HTTPs encrypts data between a browser and a server and this ensures the data cannot be read or modified.
If there’s one thing that will make visitors frown upon your website, it’s slow speeds. This basically means the user experience is negatively affected. User experience is not only an important factor to your visitors but Google has already announced user experience as a new ranking algorithm.Simply put, slow speeds will cost you!
Having many images that are not optimized and a shared IP address are some of culprits. A dedicated Internet Protocol (IP) address is key when it comes to a website’s loading speed compared to a shared address. Sharing a high-traffic site’s IP address with thousands of other sites could result in your website’s downtime and a constant server crash.If you have or anticipate huge traffic on your site in future, a dedicated IP address would be your best bet.
Others factors include having too many widgets and plugins and poor coding.
We are constantly on our phones looking up something or on on social media. Aren’t we? Google was not left behind. For content indexing and ranking Google is predominantly using the mobile version compared to the desktop version that was earlier used.
Structuring content on your site in a mobile-friendly structure is the way to go. Otherwise, you lose on user experience and mobile SEO. To confirm whether your site is compliant, use the Google search console (GSC) message board to check for a mobile-first indexing notification.
An even easier way is to run a test on Google’s mobile friendly testing tool right here. All you need is to to add your site’s URL to the search bar. The test highlights areas of improvement if need be.
Additionally, ensure images and other media on your site are responsive. Research shows that 53% of mobile users leave if a site takes more than 3 seconds to load. Having large images that take long to load or too many images could diminish mobile user’s experience.
This is the foundation of your website. Several hosting issues could arise, affecting technical aspects of SEO.
There’s nothing as annoying as having a website that is down most of the time. A slight increase in traffic and the site is not available. Before engaging a hosting provider, ensure you get recommendations from those enjoying the service already. Another way is to check the site’s uptime score. Always go for 99.99% uptime.
Domain Name System (DNS) Errors
Always ensure your domain is up; otherwise, Google cannot access your site. This happens when one changes the domain provider. It’s also vital to ensure the correct redirects are put in place.
Imagine users being directed to your website but can’t find it. It’s such an unpleasant user experience. Always ensure the domain and hosting are renewed or paid up in time.
The URL structure plays a key role when it comes to crawling and site indexing by Google bots. A short and simple URL structure makes it easy for Google to crawl your site.
Always use hyphens to separate words. Do not use spaces or underscore.
Shorter URLs rank higher according to a study by Backlinko.
Use specific words to make the URL as descriptive as possible. For instance, use white dress instead of categories. Here’s an example: https://www.domain.com/white-dress/, which is more descriptive instead of https://www.domain.com/category.php?id=21, which is general.
Different Site Versions
If you have different versions of your site, ensure they all point to one site. Google bots treat WWW and non-WWW as two different sites. This happens when moving a page to a new location or when changing a domain name.
Having one version of a site ensures Google indexes that one site as you enjoy all the benefits. There should be a 301 redirect to the primary version.
To ensure all the sites are redirecting to one, enter each site on the search bar and see where it takes you. If you can still access all the variants, there need for a redirection (link)
Uploading a Site Map
A site map helps the search engines to determine which pages to crawl. Always submit the site map’s URL to the Google search console (GSC). Do this when you feel ready for the bots to index and rank your site. If you make additions or significant changes, resubmit the site map. Always go back to GSC after some time to check which pages have been indexed.
Technical SEO is one of the core SEO pillars complimenting on-page and off-page SEO. It’s imperative to monitor your website to ensure a superior user experience. This means having reliable web hosting, mobile accessibility, links are not broken, and ensuring visitors are redirected to the right places. Are you monitoring the technical aspects of your site to ensure maximum optimization?