Updated: Aug 30
Updated: August 30, 2023. In today's digital world, it's important to understand technical SEO. SEO is the process of optimizing the crawlability and indexability of your website to get higher search engine ranking results. This helps a website show up better in search engine results. If you're a business owner wanting to be seen online or someone learning about SEO, it's key to grasp this topic.
What is a sample Technical SEO audit checklist?
A Technical SEO audit checklist are the items that needs to be checked during an SEO audit. It includes aspects for performance, readability, crawlability and indexability. For a deeper list, please click here.
What are the Technical SEO Best Practices?
Technical SEO Best Practices are things that needs to be accomplished to make sure that the technical seo aspects of your website is good to increase the chances of a higher search engine result. You can check our best practices here.
What are some of the essential Technical SEO tools used?
This guide explains SEO from an agency's view. First, let's talk about why technical SEO is so important. It can greatly affect how well your website shows up in search results.
What are the Technical SEO Fundamentals, and Why is Technical SEO Important?
Technical SEO is about ensuring your website's technical parts work well so it shows up better in search engine results. This means having a good website design, clear URLs, an organized sitemap, and ensuring search engines can easily understand and go through your site. A well-optimized site is faster and offers a better experience for users. It also ensures that search engines can find and show your high-quality content to more people.
Technical SEO is a part of on-page SEO, where we focus on enhancing things directly on the website to rank better. This is different from off-page SEO, which is about promoting your website elsewhere. Good technical SEO ensures search engines understand your site, helping more people find it.
What are the Differences Between Technical SEO, On-Page SEO, and Off-Page SEO?
Technical SEO is not the same as On-Page or Off-Page SEO. On-page SEO is about making the content on your website better for visibility. Off-page SEO helps your website become more trusted by using links from other sites and social media. Technical SEO ensures search engines can easily review your site and list its content.
What are the Importance and the Initial Steps of Doing a Technical SEO Audit?
A Technical SEO audit finds problems on your website that can hurt its SEO. You can use tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to do this automatically. If you prefer to do it by hand, it'll take longer, especially for big websites.
To start an audit, you'll need tools like Screaming Frog or DeepCrawl to look for website errors.
After finding the errors, you can list them in a file to fix them individually. Tools like SemRush can help you track and manage these problems. Be sure to look for issues like website errors, pages that can't be reached, duplicate content, and wrong redirects.
Crawl and Index Your Website for SEO - Crawling and Indexability
Crawlability and indexing are key to making your website more visible. Crawlability means search engines can read and move through your content. Indexing is how search engines list and show this content to people. A website that's easy to crawl and index can rank better in search results.
Tools like Google Search Console help you see how Google lists your site and find any issues. Another tool, Screaming Frog SEO Spider, checks your site for things that might block search engines.
Making your site easy to crawl your site and index helps search engines and makes for a better experience for your visitors.
XML Sitemaps - Keeping your URLs Organized and Listed
XML Sitemaps help search engines like Google understand your website better. They're like a map of your site, showing all its pages. This helps search engines find and list your site more easily.
You can make an XML sitemap by hand and use tools like Screaming Frog or plugins for WordPress, like Yoast SEO. Once made, you should send it to search engines. For example, you can use Google Search Console for Google.
Having a well-made XML sitemap helps search engines find your pages faster. This can boost your place in search results and make your website easier to find.
Controlling Web Crawlers with Robots.txt File
The Robots.txt file tells web robots and search engines which parts of a website they can visit. It helps decide how a site appears in search results.
To make a Robots.txt file correctly, webmasters should use the Robots Exclusion Protocol. The file goes into the main directory of a website. It clearly says which bots can or can't access parts of the site. Using this file right helps search engines understand your content, making your site more visible and user-friendly.
Optimize Your Website Speed and Performance
Website speed matters for SEO. If your website loads quickly, it can rank better in search results. This underlines how vital speed is for SEO.
Visitors might leave if your site takes too long to load, which can hurt your ranking. Choose good hosting and a quick DNS provider to make your site faster. Limit scripts and plugins, use one CSS stylesheet, and keep image sizes small. Use GZIP to compress web pages and tidy up your site's code. It's also smart to regularly check redirects, use a CDN, update plugins, and utilize cache plugins. Cache plugins help your pages load faster for returning visitors. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help check your website's speed.
Focusing on website speed makes visitors happier and can increase your visibility and sales.
Keeping your Website's Mobile Friendliness
Mobile use is increasing, so making your site mobile-friendly is key for SEO. This affects how it ranks in search results and how users interact with it.
To make your site work well on phones, use a design that looks good on different screen sizes and loads quickly. Keep your design simple, with clear content and easy buttons. Google has a tool to check if your site is mobile-friendly.
Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is also helpful. These are fast-loading versions of your site's pages. You can set them up using basic AMP HTML or adding an AMP plug-in to your site.
Always test your site on mobile to find and fix any problems. You can use the Google's Mobile Friendly Test.
HTTPS and Website Security - Securing your Website and Your Users
Site security is vital for websites. Good security keeps user data safe and helps with SEO. Strong passwords and regular software updates can help with this.
Switching to HTTPS boosts SEO. It's a safer version of HTTP, making data transfers secure. When moving to HTTPS, ensure everything still works. It's best to get experts to make the switch to avoid problems.
SSL, which secures the connection between a website and its users, is key for SEO. Search engines rank secure sites higher. To see if a site uses SSL, look for "https://" and a lock icon in the web address. Check the SSL certificate is valid and not expired. Ensure all pages switch from HTTP to HTTPS and update website tags and URLs.
For better search rankings and a safer user experience, strong site security is a must.
Getting Rid of Duplicate Contents
Duplicate content can hurt your website's SEO. Tools like Siteliner can spot such issues. When you find duplicate pages, use canonical tags to show search engines the main version.
Canonical tags, added in a page's HTML header, point to the chosen URL for similar content. This clarifies which page should rank.
For added clarity, use 301 redirects to guide users to the right page.
Understanding Structured Data and Schema Markup
Structured data helps search engines understand page content and boosts SEO. It enhances search results with rich snippets, potentially driving more traffic. To add structured data, you can use schema markup.
Schema Markup is a set of codes that clarifies your content for search engines, thus improving visibility. You'd embed schema.org code into your site's HTML to apply it. If coding isn't your strength, consider hiring a developer.
To test your structured data, use Google's Structured Data Markup Helper. Pick the data type, input the URL, select elements, and insert the provided code into your CMS. Consider tools like the Schema App Structured Data plugin for WordPress or Google's Rich Results test tool for easy implementation.
SEO-Friendly Site Structure and Architecture - Canonical URLs, HrefLang, Internal Linking, and URL Structure
When restructuring a website's architecture, several key ranking factors need attention:
URL Structure: Ensure URLs are user-friendly, readable, and consistent. Employ a clear hierarchy based on categories and subcategories, ensuring each URL genuinely represents its page content.
Internal Linking: Use internal links wisely, ensuring they’re relevant and create a seamless navigation experience for both users and search engine crawlers. Priority pages, like the homepage or main category pages, should receive more internal links.
Site Hierarchy: Arrange pages in a meaningful hierarchy. The paramount pages should be easily accessible and receive a bulk of internal links.
Common architectural pitfalls might include confusing subdomains or subdirectories, pages that lead to nowhere, or a chaotic organization. To counteract these, consider categorizing product pages efficiently, employ breadcrumbs for user-friendly navigation, and develop a sitemap to aid search engine crawlers.
Moreover, the URL's structure isn't just about aesthetics—it has direct implications for SEO. SEO-optimized URLs aid search engines in efficiently crawling and indexing site pages while also enhancing the user experience by clearly describing the page's content.
Crafting these optimized URLs requires a few best practices:
Keep them simple and comprehensible. If possible, integrate pertinent keywords that align with the page's content.
Use dashes between words to improve readability for both users and search engines.
Steer clear of superfluous parameters or session IDs which might make URLs seem convoluted.
Use canonical URLs to sidestep the issue of duplicate content.
Again, rectify architectural challenges by logically categorizing product pages, leveraging breadcrumbs, and generating a comprehensive sitemap.
The Role of Server Errors and Redirects in SEO
Understanding common server errors is crucial because they can affect how well a website does in search results (SEO). If a website often shows errors like 404 (Not Found) or 500 (Internal Server Error), it can frustrate users and hurt its position in search results. Too many errors might make search engines think the website isn't reliable, which can lower its SEO ranking.
Redirects, like the 301 (Moved Permanently) and 302 (Found) redirects, also play a big part in SEO. It's important to handle these redirects properly. Doing it right helps users find what they're looking for and keeps the website's link strength. But doing it wrong can cause problems, like making the website slower and confusing search engines.
To sum it up, handling server errors and redirects correctly makes a website better for both users and search engines.
Essential Tools for Technical SEO
Using SEO tools can bring numerous benefits to your SEO score and overall digital marketing strategy. Many of these tools works the same. They vary on aspects like database, user interface, number of tools, support, and pricing. Here are some essential tools that are being used for SEO.
SEMrush is a must-have tool for digital marketers wanting to improve their SEO. With its Site Audit feature, SEMrush checks websites and finds ways to improve them, like improving speed and fixing security issues. It also gives solutions to these problems.
Plus, SEMrush has a big list of keywords for research and helps look at backlinks. Users can see how their site is doing and check out what their competitors are up to.
Moz Open Site Explorer
Moz Open Site Explorer is a great tool for SEO. It helps you look at backlinks, see how strong a website is, and check out competitors. By using it, digital marketers can find ways to boost their website's rank. It shows where to build good links and how well a website performs.
Moz Rank Tracker
Moz Rank Tracker is a tool that helps you see how well your website is doing compared to others. It shows where your website stands in search results in many countries. When checking your website's health for search engines, this tool is great for making sure everything is working right.
Screaming Frog SEO Spider
Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a tool that checks your website for problems. It looks through your website and finds things like broken links, bad pictures, and other mistakes. This helps make your website better for search engines.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free tool from Google. It helps you see how your website looks in Google's search results and find any problems. You can use it to fix errors, tell Google about your website's pages, and check if your website is working well for search. It also lets you see how your website works on mobile, learn about what people search for to find your site, see links to your site, and remove bad links.
Wordpress SEO by Yoast
Yoast SEO is a helpful tool for WordPress websites. It can make your website better for search engines. To use it, download and turn it on. It helps with things like changing meta tags, making sitemaps, and checking your website's content.
Ahrefs helps website owners get better at SEO and rank higher in search results. It gives detailed information about how a website is doing.
There's also a free tool from Ahrefs for Chrome and Firefox. It's called the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar. It shows SEO details for websites you visit. This includes SEO reports, tracking redirects, finding broken links, highlighting links, and showing search rank positions.
Google Analytics is useful for SEO. During an SEO check, it's important to make sure Google Analytics is set up right. Its tracking code should be at the top of every web page.
With Google Analytics, you can see if people leave your website quickly (bounce rate). If many people leave without looking around, that's a problem. It means they didn't find what they wanted. The tool also shows how fast your website loads. It even breaks down the speed for different pages, countries, and web browsers. Plus, there's a free tool called PageSpeed Insights that helps make your site faster.
Technical SEO Best Practices - A Quick Recap
Website Speed: Ensure your website loads quickly. Page speed is crucial in SEO as slow loading pages can affect user engagement and bounce rates.
Mobile Compatibility: Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. With the majority of people using their mobile devices to access the internet, having a mobile-friendly site is essential.
XML Sitemaps: An XML sitemap helps search engines understand your website’s structure while they are crawling it. Make sure your website has a correct XML sitemap.
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL): Having an SSL certificate on your website is critical for your website’s trust and safety. Google also prioritizes websites that are secured.
Robots.txt File: This file tells search engine crawlers which pages or files the crawler can or can’t request from your site.
Structured Data: Implementing structured data can help search engines understand your site’s content better, improving your visibility on SERPs.
Canonical Tags: Use canonical tags to prevent duplicate content issues. It tells search engines which version of a page you want to be indexed.
404 Errors: Regularly check for 404 errors and fix them promptly. They can lead to a poor user experience and can affect your site’s ranking negatively.
Website Architecture: A well-planned site architecture helps search engines to crawl your website more efficiently and helps users to navigate easily.
Hreflang Tags: If your website has content in multiple languages, use hreflang tags. They help Google understand which language you are using on a specific page.
Remember, technical SEO is a constant process and needs regular maintenance and updates as search engine algorithms evolve over time.
Technical SEO Audit Checklist
Website Crawlability and Indexing
· Ensure that search engines can crawl and index your website.
· Check the robots.txt file.
· Review the XML sitemap and ensure it’s submitted to search engines.
· Test website speed on both mobile and desktop.
· Check for mobile-friendliness.
· Review the website’s HTTPS status: make sure the website is secure.
· Check for the correct usage of title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and alt tags.
· Look for duplicate content issues.
· Ensure proper keyword optimization.
· Check URL structure for readability and optimization.
· Look for any unnecessary parameters or session IDs in URLs.
· Assess the website’s internal linking structure.
· Ensure usage of correct anchor text for internal links.
· Check for broken external links.
· Review the quality of external links.
· Ensure proper implementation of schema markup.
Duplicate Content Issues
· Check for any duplicate content on the site using tools like Copyscape or Siteliner.
· Ensure proper use of canonical tags where needed.
· If applicable, check hreflang annotations for multilingual websites.
404 Errors and Redirects
· Identify and fix 404 errors.
· Check for correct implementation of redirects.
Server Response Codes
· Check for any server errors (5xx codes) or client errors (4xx codes).
In conclusion, the various aspects of Technical SEO play a pivotal role in the overall performance of a website. A recap of these aspects reveals that elements such as site speed, mobile-friendliness, structured data, security, effective crawling, and indexing all comprise the intricate machinery of Technical SEO. These elements ensure optimal user experience and significantly influence the website's ranking and visibility on search engines.
Undoubtedly, with a keen understanding and effective application of Technical SEO, one can vastly improve the website's organic reach and successfully cater to the target audience's needs.