What is Involved in Technical SEO
Technical SEO covers many aspects of a web sites code and configuration. This is a very detailed and technical subject, but here is an introduction into the basics of technical SEO.
- Indexability - can search engines find you?
- Crawlability - can search engines read your pages easily?
- Speed - How fast dooes your site load?
- User Exuperience (UX) - Does your site work well?
- HTTPS / SSL - Is your connection secure?
- Code - Is your code correct and orderly?
- Data - Do you have proper meta and structured data?
- Structure - Is your site structured properly?
- Internal Links - Are you linking to the right pages on your site?
- General Technical Assesment
- Technical SEO Summary
Indexability - can search engines find you?
One of the first things that we consider in a Technical SEO Audit is the indexability of a site. This means, can Google even access it?
You would be surprised how often a hidden file, missed link or poorly configured server can prevent a site from ranking. Things like site migration or software updates can effect how a site can be indexed so even a site that ranked well once can be prevented from being indexed by the search engines.
Primarily we are looking at the robots file that search engines use to tell them if and how they should access a site. We also look at redirects, links and general configuration to understand what hurdles there may be for a search engine to index a site.
Crawlability - can search engines read your pages easily?
OK, so once the search engines are able to view and access your site, can they?
This sounds basic, and it is, but there are often many parts of a web site that a user can get to but a search engine can't. This is especially the case for sites that are large, have a lot of dynamic content and that have a search function. Search engines are getting more and more advanced and kind find more and more of a web site but some sites are still structured in a way that prevents search engines from accessing and therefore ranking pages that are important to you. You want the search engines to find your content and deliver customers to it, so lets make sure they can do that.
Speed - How fast dooes your site load?
Speed is fast becoming (punn intended) the most important technical SEO aspect.
A slow loading web site can literally be the thing causing you not to rank well.
Lets face it, web users are generally impatient, they don't want to wait for a page or image to load. If they are kept waiting they will simply click back. Statistics show that you could loose up to 90% of your traffic if your site takes 3 seconds to load. That is serious, but its also a great opportunity as this is something largely in your control.
If you are selling anything or looking to convert your traffic to customers then you need a fast loading web site. There are many aspects that we can look at in technical SEO that can improve site performance and load times which will help you rank better.
User Experience (UX) - Does your site work well?
If your users don't like your site - niehter will search engines.
Just as a slow loading site can prevent you from ranking, so can a poor user experience.
Search algorithms are designed to give their users the most relevant information and the best experience that they can. If your site is hard to follow, doesn't deliver relevant and useful information and has people clicking back and not staying on your site, the search engines will not rank you.
Google literally has a whole algorithm (Rank Brain) designed to modify the search results based on artificial intelligence gathered from user behavior and user experience on a site.
HTTPS / SSL - Is your connection secure?
Having an HTTPS version of your site with the proper redirection and server response code is now essentially a requirement. Sites with non secure connections will suffer and these set ups can often have misconfigurations that prevent a site from ranking well.
Code - Is your code correct and orderly?
Having code structured and marked up correctly and to a standard is useful to help search engines easily find what they are looking for in your content. The HTML 5 standard allows for specific content section labelling. Correct use of tags and formatting of HTML elements makes your site work better and helps search engines rank you. Web Browsers can and will do their very best to display messy code. It is infact possible to have a very nice looking website with very messy code behind the scenes, but it is certainly not best practice, and this is something that a good technical SEO audit will look at.
Data - Do you have proper meta and structured data?
For similar reasons that search engines like correctly formated code, they love structured data. There are many formats and sections of structured code that should be used that don't display on your web page at all. Google is increasingly using structured code for its additional SERPs results and featured snippets. Without proper structured data such as open graph, JSON structured data, schema markup and other micro formats of structured data you will be loosing market share in the search results to your competition. Thankfully, our agency looks at this in a techncial SEO audit and helps you to get found through these additional channels.
Structure - Is your site structured properly?
The structure of your site can have a big impact on your search rankings. Your site should be logically arranged and use an appropriate directory structure and clear navigation. The hierarchy of your site and the way that content is found and organized on your site can play a big role in preventing your great content from standing out in search engines. The best structure depends on the nature of your market, for example an ecommerce site and an event advert type site will need completely different structures. We generally preferr to use a flat structure with no more than two additional directory levels where appropriate.
Internal Links - Are you linking to the right pages on your site?
Links are the most important aspect of SEO and the biggest single influencer of your search rankings. Links from other sites are hard to get and largely out of your control, however most people completely neglect internal links which you have full control over and can have a powerful effect om your search rankings. By appropriate navugation links, menu structuring and linking from relevant content within your site to appropriate pages you can have a significant effect on the link flow through your site. This can have a big effect on where you rank.
General Technical Assesment
As part of a technical SEO audit a general technical assesment is conducted factoring all of the important facets of technical SEO and making sure that your site is optimized for every important parameter that search engines use to rank your site.
Technical SEO is an expansive and complex subject.
Getting the basics right and fully optimizing everything in your control gives the best opportunity for ranking well.
There is a lot more to SEO and higher search engine rankings than Technical SEO but having everything right on yor site best the best foot forward so you stand the highest change of ranking well.
The very nature of the O in SEO is Optimization, we improve and optimize everything that we can no matter how small a positive effect it has. Just going after the low hanging fruit follows the 80/20 rule, but in order to rank above your competition we need to go the extra mile!
Going the extra mile is what our agency does best!