How to do technical SEO? The full guide

Share

This is a complete guide to technical SEO.

In this guide, you will learn how to technically optimize your website in different fields.

What is technical SEO?

In general, search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website to meet the requirements of the search engines. It falls under 3 categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

We’re here to talk about technical SEO. technical SEO is the process of optimizing our website to meet the technical requirements of the search engines in order to rank higher on the SERPs.

Many people fail to distinguish between on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO, but they all lead to the same result, which is ranking on the SERPs.

Whatever valuable content you have, it needs to be visible for search engine crawlers to crawl and index your site; otherwise, all you’re doing is useless.

Crawling, indexing, and fixing technical issues like top duplicate pages, broken links, thin content, and others are the main issues of technical SEO. 

Let’s start talking about each one of them.

You’ll get to know about

  • Crawling
  • Indexing
  • page speed
  • XML sitemaps
  • Duplicate content
  • Site structure
  • Mobile usability
  • Https
  • Lots more

In general, search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of optimizing your website elements to increase your ranking chances on the SERPs.

These elements include crawlability issues, site speed, broken links, and other aspects of optimization.

Some SEO experts consider technical SEO part of on-page SEO since they work with on-page elements and optimize them as linking, images, and more.

Others consider it as a unique category that needs special care.

Whatever you decide to consider, technical SEO is still an inevitable action to take if you want to be seen by search engines.

How important is technical SEO?

Whenever you create more content, your website becomes more vulnerable to errors.

Fixing these errors makes your website more usable by bots in order to crawl and index your pages, thus boosting the chances of ranking on the first page of the SERPs.

Secondly, users will not get a bad user experience (UX) due to page errors or forever-loading images, for instance.

Good UX (user experience) means more engagement, more dwell time, and less bounce rate.

This is why technical SEO plays a phenomenal role in ranking.

Let’s learn about the techniques

Technical SEO techniques

Technical SEO issues differ in type and severity.

Many of them can be resolved easily, others require some knowledge, and some severe issues need more experienced people to deal with.

Checking your website every week is a good way to prevent these issues from accumulating.

Crawling issues

Google uses spiders to crawl your website and send your data to the indexing department.

These spiders (robots) follow your links in order to get information about your content.

If you put obstacles in front of these spiders, these obstacles might function as traps that prevent them from moving on and doing their job.

Seo techniques, crawling

This may happen accidentally or on purpose.

A good example of accidentally-implemented obstacles is when you use a link inside your post and this link is misspelled without even realizing it.

This may lead bots and users to an error page or another page that is not meant to be.

On the other hand, you may want bots to skip a page, a post, or a file and not crawl it. This action is justified since some parts of your page are not important to get crawled and indexed like the comment section for instance, and others.

In this case, you can use some techniques to allow and disallow Google bots from crawling by using the following techniques:

Robots.txt file

It’s an HTML file that tells Google crawlers what to crawl and what not. This kind of file is sensitive to use and not recommended by beginners unless you have good knowledge about how to use it.

Google bots crawl your website by following your links that lead to certain pages and posts. When using the robots.txt file, you are telling the bots not to crawl in this specific area.

This happens when you don’t want to crawl and index unnecessary pages or sections like categories, tags, and comments for example.

The Meta Robots tag

When you want spiders to crawl a page but not include it in the search engine results pages, you use the meta robot tag.

This “noindex” file is useful when you want to prevent Google bots from indexing pages like “authors archive” because it is of no value.

The same applies to the “thank you” page and other invaluable pages.

By using Yoast, it’s very easy to “noindex” a page or a post. Just go to the Yoast Meta box, down to the advanced section, and choose whether you want search engines to show the post in search results or not.

XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a list that contains all pages of your website. It helps search engines to find important pages and not miss anyone.

This sitemap is found in categories, images, posts, and everywhere else.

Although it’s not crucial to have a sitemap, this is only the case if you have a well-structured website with great internal linking. It is recommended to have it.

Fortunately, with the presence of the Yoast plugin, it automatically creates and updates sitemaps on your website, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Page speed is the heart of technical SEO

With millions of websites that exist on the internet, people have a wide variety of options to choose from.

Always remember that you are not the only one that has a website, there are over 600 million.

By default, people with so many choices provided are not patient enough to wait for a website page to load. Believe it or not, it’s a matter of milliseconds and they bounce to another site, and you’ll miss out on all the traffic you aimed for.

Moreover, this will automatically increase your bounce rate. Although it is not considered to be a ranking factor, it hurts your experience and tells you that your efforts are going in vain.

In 2021, user experience became one of the significant ranking factors in Google.

Since page speed is the first thing a user faces after clicking your link, you need to make sure you improve it by doing the following:

We also recommend this fabulous post: How to make your website load faster

Avoid using large-sized images

When You want to download an image from websites like pexels, pixabay, or others, make sure you choose the small size option of the image to avoid an extra load on your site.

Convert your images to WebP format

Webp is the modern format that website owners are or should be using today.

It is 26% smaller in size than PNG. So, make sure to convert any format into Webp to ensure you have a better speed experience and less load time.

You can simply use a free converter like Convertio or other online converters.

Compress your images

Compressing your images will save you lots of unnecessary megabytes plus reserving image resolution.

Sometimes you save up to 95% of the image size when compressing it using TinyPNG.

The process is so simple. Upload or drag your image into the tool, compress it, then download it to use.

A simple test changed the image size from 2.7MB (PNG) to 1.7MB (WebP) to 64 KB (compressed).

Remove unused plug-ins.

We all like to use plugins to make our jobs easier. But many times, we end up installing and activating plugins that we never use, or use once.

The more plugins we install and run, the more resources they use and the less speed we get.

The best practice to increase site speed is to permanently delete unnecessary plugins and deactivate those that might be used only when needed.

Mobile usability

With today’s mobile evolution, Google has made it clear that mobile-friendly sites are those preferred to rank higher.

more than 75% of people use mobile phones to search, buy, sell and surf the internet.

This doesn’t mean that using desktops is considered something from the past and is going to vanish. It means that the portion of mobile users is getting bigger and needs attention.

That’s why you should take deep care when writing or posting on your website.

Although this is not an in-depth article about how to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly, we will mention some important tips to take care of.

Always optimize your images

As mentioned before, optimizing website images is the first action to take place since visuals occupy the biggest area and size of your pages.

Use the right formats, convert, and compress images so that they don’t overload your site with unnecessary storage and make it slower.

Use responsive design

When choosing your theme, make sure it is a responsive design.

A responsive design is a design that works for both desktops and mobile devices as well. It automatically resizes the images and other elements to fit the device you are using.

A simple search on Google will help you check if your theme is responsive or not.

Choose your font and button sizes carefully.

You don’t need to let two-thirds of your visitors leave your site and never come back again.

A mobile user always expects to get the max experience when surfing the internet. He doesn’t like to zoom in and out on his screen to read clearly.

Using a suitable-sized font is what you need to do.

A font size of between 18 and 20 is considered the best for both mobiles and desktops. The font size you are looking at now is 20.

technical SEO, font size

As for using buttons, keep them large so that readers don’t leave your site when they find it difficult to navigate due to small icons and font size.

Use embedded videos from YouTube

Newbies might make a fatal mistake by downloading YouTube videos on their desktops and then uploading them on WordPress.

Make sure you use the embed code of YouTube videos since they are already responsive.

You may also like to read: How to make your website load faster

Always test before publishing

In order to always be on the safe side, test your posts for mobile usability before hitting the publish button. I know the feeling of hitting that button, it removes the burden that weighs a lot on your shoulders.

But wait!

It is as important as checking for grammatical and writing errors to check for mobile issues.

You can do this by simply clicking the preview button on the right corner of your WordPress post page. then click “mobile” and see how mobile users will find your posts. Check for image display, font size, button size, videos, and other visuals if they exist.

It’s also recommended to check the tablet preview and, needless to mention, the desktop preview.

Site structure

Optimizing your site structure should be your priority because it plays a major role in letting google crawl and index it.

An unorganized site is a site where pages are far from each other and as well as from the home page.

This happens when you don’t use internal linking as a way that connects all the pages to each other, which results in leaving some pages on their own to be considered orphaned pages.

Recommended: The best practices to use internal linking.

By linking your pages, you hit many birds by one stone.

First, it is important to decrease the bounce rate by keeping visitors on your site as much as possible.

Second, it helps google bots crawl and index your site completely.

Duplicate content

Duplicate content means having the same page content on different URLs, or pages that are similar and targeting the same keywords.

Users might not find out this error, but search engines do.

By having duplicate content, you are confusing search engines. They need to know which page to index.

Fortunately, finding these pages and resolving the errors are not that hard to do.

First of all, you need to find duplicate content. You can use Duplicate Content Checker which is an online tool to have a look at your duplicate pages.

You can also use Google Search Console to find these pages. Click on “Performance” and find the URLs that might be causing such issues.

Now that you have found duplicate pages, it’s time to try these solutions:

Use the canonical link

This is to make all duplicate pages refer to only one page. The canonical link is like the 301 redirect but it is done softly inside your website without redirecting your users from page to page.

The canonical link is an HTML element that tells search engines that these pages are the same and that they need to take only one page into consideration.

The canonical link is seen in the page source as:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://zeeanswers.com/seo-questions/” />

If you have two similar pages but in different sections of your site, choose the one that you aim to index, add the canonical link on the non-canonical page by inserting the “rel” HTML link as a meta tag to the HTML header, and you’re done.

In this case, you’ve merged the two pages.

Luckily, if you are using the Yoast plugin, it adds a self-referring canonical link to all your pages. All you have to do is to click on the Yoast icon in the right corner, go down until you see Canonical Url, and type the URL that you want to be the original one to merge with.

Use robos.txt

I will talk about it separately in the post later.

broken links

Broken links are links that are no longer working, or accidentally misspelled links that are classified as bad links.

These links have a bad impact on SEO and user experience as well.

If someone clicks on a broken link, a blank page is likely to open with a “broken” name in the URL.

To find these pages, use Broken Link Checker and move to the next step.

Type your website URL, and once you get any broken links, the tool tells you which link has the issue.

Go to the page where the link exists, change it or delete it. That’s it.

Always make sure to look for broken links periodically, especially when using affiliate links because you don’t want to lose customers who may click on a link that’s not working.

Use HTTPS to secure your website

I’ll try to make it simple.

Website owners use two types of IP addresses, HTTP and HTTPS.

If you want to connect with a website to read an article, for instance, you just type the address of the website. And because computers know only the language of numbers, your browser will ask the other website for its IP address to connect to it.

The website will send an IP address like “123.45.789” to your browser to open the page you want to read.

These IP numbers are sent as they are (if you choose HTTP), and they are highly vulnerable to attacks from hackers that may lead to changing your passwords or stealing your personal info, or other kinds of attacks that work on both sides, you and the other website.

This is all done when you choose HTTP and risk not choosing HTTPS.

When using HTTPS, the IP numbers are encrypted so that no one is able to intercept the data sent between your browser and the other site.

To have the HTTPS version, you need to have an SSL certificate to protect you. Once you get and implement it, you can see the lock icon on the left-hand side of your browser.

Honestly, how can you trust a browser with a triangle icon and “not secure” found next to it?

Get a free SSL certificate here

Free tools to check technical SEO

The Google Search Console

This is one of the amazing free tools that let you find technical errors on your site.

You can analyze your site to find duplicate pages and fix them as well as check if your site map is error-free or not.

You can also inspect your URL for mobile usability and see the errors to fix them before accumulating and preventing you from more chances to ranking.

Crawlability and indexing issues are the first issues you want to check.

Thanks to this webmaster tool that displays which pages have been crawled and indexed, as well as those crawled and not indexed.

This tool also allows you to check the robots.txt file. You will know which page uses follow, no-follow, index, and noindex files.

There is a variety of metrics in the search console to explore.

These metrics and data will help you find answers to your technical errors, check, and fix them.

Google pageSpeed insights

To make sure your website is performing well with respect to page speed, use PageSpeed Insights.

This amazing free tool allows you to analyze your desktop and mobile performance speed. The more scores you get, the more performance you have.

Because the results are on a scale of 0-100, aiming for more than 80 is great.

This is the performance of my website

Google PageSpeed

The tool will also display the fields where you can make changes and raise your mobile usability as well as your whole experience.

Other tools

There are many tools to check for technical issues. Some have specific features and metrics; some are the same.

Many times, they don’t give the same results but they all help you discover and solve your errors.

You can search for these tools on Google by typing “SEO tools”.

Quick Sprout, Screaming Frog, and SEOptimer are among the best tools to start with.

Final thought

Writing unique valuable content is not enough to rank on search engines.

Optimizing your content (on-page SEO) and your website is the most important.

technical SEO is something you need to keep an eye on. Having a fast-loading website, no duplicate pages, and no broken links is a great advantage to your site.

Make sure your site is mobile-friendly by compressing your images and changing their format.

Use a suitable font size that appeals to mobile users and avoid using small buttons.

And finally, make use of free tools that inspect your website and help you fix the errors.

This was a detailed technical SEO guide to help you focus on what many people are missing. Now you tell me, was it helpful? Were you aware of all the above issues?

If you have any more questions, please let me know in the comments section below.


Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: