Top 15 Technical SEO Tips
Technical SEO simply refers to everything SEO that is not content driven. These include a number of on-page and off-page elements that will help determine the traffic your website receives, and ultimately your website’s SERP rankings.
An SEO audit will cover a number of technical elements that affect how Google indexes certain URLs and what pages it believes to be the mot relevant in a user search. Considering that around 70% of clicks are affirmed to organic results and that 93% of people use search engines as their first point of research, the benefits of optimizing an SEO campaign are endless.
A successful SEO campaign can increase the amount of traffic your website receives, your website’s conversion rate, your business’s e-commerce revenue, and the visibility your website will receive in a SERP ranking.
Here we will discuss the top 15 technical SEO must haves for an optimized SEO campaign.
Fast Page Speed
In recent years, Google has factored load speeds and page response times into its rankings. Generally, page speeds that take over three seconds to load will result in higher bounce rates. There are a number of steps a website can take to optimize load speeds, such as minimizing HTTP requests, enabling compression, and reducing server response times. Site speed does not only increase SERP rankings, but also enhances user experience. Google provides a free webpage speed test tool and it’s incorporated into the Google Search Console.
Optimized URL Structure
URL structure determines the information hierarchy for your domain and determines how GoogleBot will index specific webpages. An optimized URL structure should include targeted keyword phrases, be kept under 100 characters, and act as a banner for organic listings. A broken URL structure will also affect site performance and disrupt Google crawlers. The ideal URL should look like this for a page: www.domain/category/subcategory/title. As for blog posts: www.domain/title
HTTP/HTTPS protocol bridges the communication necessary between a web browser and a server. Enabling HTTP compression allows search engines and web browsers to access HTML script present on your website and to display them to users. Enabling HTTP protocol will enhance server response times, improve your web presence for users, and enabling HTTPS protocol will add a layer of security for users.
Inbound and outbound links will improve both your website’s visibility to users and also its SERP rankings. Building good link authority will communicate trust to search engines and your website will most likely rank higher because of this.
Link building is one of the most important factors in Google’s ranking of a page, and will also drive visitors to your website and build relationships with other website services in the process. Optimizing the anchor text of links can provide keyword opportunities and will help search engine index specific webpages. Links should be provided thoughtfully and improve user experience.
Internal links with optimized anchor text will help organize site structure and create conversion opportunities. Links to subdomains with e-commerce carts, subscription forms, or related articles will help ensure easy, navigable conversion opportunities. Internal links also tell search engines which webpages your domain views as important and provides additional opportunities for site exploration and dwell time for your visitors.
Title tags are an off-page SEO element that will represent the clickable hyperlink that takes users from a search engine to a webpage. Title tags typically resemble the page title and will be the number one off-page factor that users are searching for. Title tags should stay under 65 characters long, include at least one long-tail keyword, and be relevant to the content your SERP listing is linking to.
Within your webpage’s rich snippet will be a small description that will describe the webpage being linked to in a SERP listing. Google now allows for three lines of meta-description and it’s displayed right below the URL. Meta-descriptions will not affect page rank, but will affect user CTRs. Meta-descriptions should intelligently incorporate targeted keywords and advertise the ad-copy of the page being linked to.
Mobile Optimized Site
Mobile friendliness has become one of the most important page rank factors considering the release of Google AMPs in organic listings and the release of Google’s preferential mobile index. Creating a mobile copy of your URLs and converting existing webpages to Google’s AMP medium will increase your webpage’s mobile rank in the mobile index and your domains overall rank in Google’s SERP listings. Considering that mobile searches now outpace desktop searches on Google, creating a mobile optimized website is a no brainer.
Search engines have a difficult time indexing images contained on a website, and inserting an alt-tag can help search engines accomplish this. Alt-tags allow for long-tail keyword opportunities that can help images rank in a Google image search and can help a webpage rank that contains the image. The alt-tag should be relevant to the image itself and incorporate your keyword research thus far.
Duplicate content across multiple URLs will cause confusion for search engine crawlers and it could result in the wrong webpage showing up in a SERP listing. Inserting a rel=canonical tag on a URL can tell search engines which URLs are the most important to your domain and redirect users who click on broken links or unintentional links. When search engines know which site is canonical it will count all of the links present in duplicate URLs as links to a single version.
Schema markup is a tool developed by search engines that allows webmasters to fill in information that helps search engines index specific webpages and return that information to users. Schema markup has a vast semantic library that allows website’s to place author name, date, page title, etc. into the markup of a specific ad-copy. This allows for more precise indexation, enhances user experience as they click through to your ad-copy, and can potentially improve site rankings in relevant searches because of this, though it’s not a part of any search engine algorithm.
Robots Meta Tags
Meta “noindex” is the prescribed method for excluding specific webpages that you don’t want to display in search results. This could be useful for excluding duplicate content, unfinished pages, or pages your domain doesn’t view as important. The meta tag “noindex” is typically better to use for domains than a “robot.txt” file because “noindex” tags allows search engines to crawl all “noindex” webpages, but not display them in search results. This method does not hamper link juice that could be acquired by specific webpages you don’t allow search engines to crawl with the “robot.txt” meta tag.
H1 and H2 tags are used to determine site structure and can enhance user experience if used correctly. H1 tags typically determine the title of content and H2, H3, H4, etc.) tags are used to delineate subheadings present in on-page content. Inserting tags into content will help enhance the user reading experience and help organize information across specific webpages.
XML sitemaps are beneficial to webmaster in organizing site structure and will help prove authorship over original content creation. Sitemaps are also important for search engines as they help index and rank specific webpages and not just websites. Sitemaps do not affect performance and only improve information organization for webmasters.
Finally, analytics is certainly one of the most important technical SEO elements in an optimized SEO campaign. There are a number of analytics tools, such as Google’s Search Console and SEMrush, that will help in keyword research, track monthly visitors, determine CPC bids, and help webmasters discover which webpages are ranking and driving visitors and which are not. The third pillar behind keyword research and content creation in an SEO campaign is analytics and the benefits of using any of these free programs is infinite.