What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO has never been easy but in this article, we will be explaining what aspects you need to pay attention to over the basic level website that even non-experts will do.
Technical SEO means improving the technical features of the website to raise the ranking of target pages over search engines. A website to be crawled even faster and making such sites to be more optimized for search engines lay the foundations of technical optimization.
Why should you technically optimize your website?
Google and other search engines work to provide the best result to their users for their queries. For this reason, bots of Google crawl websites and rank them for many different factors. Some factors such as how fast a page is loaded depending on the user experience. Other factors help search engine bots to understand what your website is about. This is basically what structured data does along with the others. For this reason, you help search engines to crawl and understand your website by improving the technical features. The better you do it, the more you will be rewarded with higher rankings and even with rich results.
And also vice versa: If you make critical technical errors in your website, they will be returning to you as negative results.
However, it is a faulty idea to focus only on the technical details of a website to please only search engines. A website, in the first place, has to be fast, clear, and easy to use for your users. Fortunately, developing a solid technical foundation generally ends in a rewarding outcome both for search engines and users at the same time.
What are the features of a technically optimized website?
A technically solid website is fast for its users and easy to crawl for search engines. A proper technical installation helps search engines to understand what a website is about and prevent the confusion caused by duplicate content. Moreover, it doesn’t push visitors and search engines to dead ends with its dead links. Here, we will be examining some of the features of a technically optimized website briefly.
Today, websites need to load fast. People are impatient and they have no time to wait for a page to load. Researches done back in 2016 indicated that 53% of mobile website visitors would leave the site unless it opens in three seconds. That is why, if your website is slow, people would be pissed and they would just leave you to another website so you would miss all this traffic.
Google knows that slow websites give less than an optimum experience. For this reason, it always prefers pages to load faster. So, a slow loading website, in comparison with the faster ones, goes to a lower ranking in the search results and ends up with lesser traffic.
Are you curious about whether your website is fast enough or not? Read about how to test your website’s speed easily. Most of the tests would give you tips about what needs to be improved.
Easy Crawlability for Search Engines
Search engines use bots to crawl your website. These crawling bots follow the links to discover the content of your website.
To read: Crawlability and Directing Googlebot
However, there are many ways to direct bots. For example, if you don’t want them to be directed to a spot, you can block them to crawl some certain content. Also, you can allow them to crawl a page but hide that page from search results or not to track links on that page.
You can give instructions to bots by using a robots.txt file. It is an effective tool that needs to be used carefully. As we have mentioned in the beginning, one tiny mistake can block robots to crawl your website (the important parts of it). Sometimes people block CSS and JS files of their websites in robots.txt file without even wanting it. These files include a code that tells browsers how your page should look and function on them. If these files are blocked, search engines cannot find whether your website is functioning normally or not.
In conclusion, if you want to learn how robots.txt is working, we really recommend you to do quite comprehensive research. Or even better, just leave it to the hands of an SEO expert for them to do it for you!
Meta tags are code chunks that you will not see on the page as visitors. This chunk takes place in the upper section of the source code. Crawling bots read this section while they crawl a page. Within it, information about what crawlers will find on the page or what they are supposed to do with it are available.
If you want search engine robots to crawl a page but exclude it from search results for any reason, you can direct them by robots meta tag. With robots meta tag, you can give instructions to them to crawl a page but also, ensure them not to track links in the page as well.
We have already discussed that slow websites are a buzzkiller. One thing that could be even more annoying than a slow page for a visitor is to click on a page that never existed before. If a link redirects visitors to an unavailable page on your website, people will see a 404 error page.
Moreover, search engines are also not a fan of finding these error pages as well and they are more prone to find more dead links than visitors ever face with because even though the links they encounter with are hidden, they track every single one of them.
Unfortunately, most of the websites (even though really less) have broken links because a website is a continuous work: people do something and break something in return. Thankfully, there are some tools that can help you to get the dead links on your website. If your website is included in Google Search Console, you can see the details of 404 pages from the guide section.
Usage of Search Console:https://yemlihatoker.com/google-search-console-ne-ise-yarar/
To prevent unnecessary broken links, you have to redirect them each time you delete an URL of a page or move it. Ideally, you redirect it to a page which took the place of the old page itself.
You can check this article: https://yemlihatoker.com/e-ticaret-siteleri-icin-301-yonlendirmenin-onemi/
If you have the same content on many pages of your website, search engines may get confused because if these pages show exactly the same content, which one should be ranked higher? As result, all pages that have duplicate content get a lower ranking.
Unfortunately, you may face with this problem without even you know it. For technical reasons, different URLs may show the same content. This does not make any difference for any of the visitors, however, it does for a search engine; it will show the same content in a different URL.
Fortunately, this problem has a technical solution. You can indicate the original page – or the page you want to rank in search engines with a canonical link element. Canonical meta tag signals what the original URL is to search engines.
A technically optimized website is a secure website. Today, it is an essential requirement to secure your website to guarantee the privacy of users (WordPress). There are many ways to secure your website and one of the most important things to do is to active HTTPS, by all means, SSL certificate.
HTTPS prevents the intervention to the data being sent between the browser and the website. So, for example, if people log in to your site, their credentials would be secured. In order to apply HTTPS to your website, you are going to need an SSL certificate. Google acknowledges the importance of security and for this reason, SSL has become a ranking factor. Secure websites take their places in higher rankings in comparison with not secure ones.
You can check whether your website has HTTPS in most of browsers easily. If your website is a secure one, you will see a lock icon on the left side of your search bar. If you ever see “Not Secure” writing, that means you (or your developer) have some things to do!
Plus: Having structured data
Structured data helps search engines to understand your website, your content, and even your business in a better way. With structured data, you are able to tell search engines that what kind of a product you are selling or what recipes you have on your website. Additionally, it will allow you to present all details about these products or recipes as well.
Since there is a robust format (explained in schema.org) you need to provide this information, search engines can track and understand them easily. It helps them to put your content into the bigger picture.
Applying structured data can provide much more than just a better understanding by search engines. It also optimizes your content for rich results; These high-quality results stand out in the search results with their details and quality.
Plus: Having XML sitemap
To simply put it, XML sitemap is a list of all URLs on your website. It simply functions as a road map for search engines working on your website. With this, you will be ensuring search engines not to miss the important content on your website. XML sitemap is generally categorized as in posts, pages, tags, or other special post types and includes the number of images and last modification date for each page.
Ideally, a website doesn’t need an XML sitemap. If it has a high quality internal linking that links all the content to each other adequately, robots won’t need that sitemap. However, all websites don’t have a high quality linking and it never hurts to have an XML sitemap at all.
Plus: International websites use hreflang
If your website is targeting more than one country which has a common spoken language, search engines need a little hand to figure out which country or language you are trying to reach out to. If you help them, this will allow accurate results to be shown to people according to their own regions.
Hreflang tags are here exactly to allow you to do this. You can identify a page to a country and a language. This also solves the problem of duplicate content: Even if your website of the USA and the UK display the same content, Google would know that this website is tailored for a different region.
Optimizing international websites is a field requiring a lot of expertise. If you own a multilingual international website, we recommend you to get a professional support.
Learning more about SEO
In our article, we have tried to talk about some of the technical details briefly. Actually, there are many details to talk about of SEO’s technical way. Many factors affecting the ranking and index.. Best thing to do is to do researches without giving up and keep following new updates. We will be also talking about these details whenever we have time to do as well.