What is technical SEO
Optimising your website using technical SEO ensures that search engines take your website seriously, overall building more organic traffic.
Technical SEO Checklist
Below you will find a checklist of important steps you can take to ensure your technical SEO is up to scratch.
- Improve website speed,
- Fix duplicate content issues – use canonicalization,
- Create a site map,
- Use href lang,
- Check website security,
- Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
- Install Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
1. Improve website speed
Your site speed greatly affects your SEO ranking, not only to search engines but to your users. A fast website will guarantee traffic and will help with indexing your site. There are several online tools that measure your site speed such as google page speed insight and google mobile speed tool. These tools will analyse your website and give you a score, you will always be able to improve on-site speed.
2. Fix duplicate content issues – Use Canonicalization
Canonicalization is an HTML code that refers to search engines what pages are to be indexed when you have two or more pages with similar or duplicate content. This is used to avoid duplicate content issues and should be used throughout your website to make sure only certain pages are indexed. The best way to check if your page is canonicalized is to search through your pages HTML page for the code “rel=canonical”.
3. Create a Site map – Ensure a Clean Website Structure
Site map optimisation is a crucial part of technical SEO. A site map is an XML file, this file lists your pages and posts that are apart of your website. Used as a guide for crawlers when they are indexing your website and includes dates such as published and last updated dates. The best way to optimise is to go through the file and check what pages are listed. Contentful pages or pages that are important should be listed, and tag pages, category or author pages should be left out as they don’t contribute any content to your website.
4. Use Hreflang
Hreflang tags are used to tell search engines what language you are using or “targeting” on a specific page. This is very important when you are trying to target a specific audience such as Spanish or any other language. This ensures that users are directed to their preferred language rather than your main version language. Hreflang can be used either in the page URL, sitemap or in the on-page HTML code.
5. Check Website security – Use SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate
Your site security is important, not only to your users but to search engines. Website security is a ranking factor, meaning that you risk users being shown alerts that state your website is unsafe. To use https, you need an SSL certificate.
Some web hosting companies include a free SSL certificate into their services, however, most are yearly subscriptions to SSL.
Secure Sockets Layer – SSL – is a security technology which creates an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. An SSL certificate is like a key, it tells your users that they are on the right website and it creates a secure connection.
HTTPS (Secure HTTP) is becoming a website standard; unsecured websites provide with little to no benefits for users and your ranking. You can spot a site using SSL fairly easily: the website URL starts with ‘https://’ rather than ‘http://.’
6. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly
A mobile-friendly site is essential as the majority of internet users are now on mobile. The mobile-first index by Google changed the way non-mobile sites are indexed if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site you will be ranked lower.
Check if your website is mobile-friendly by using Google’s mobile-friendly test as it gives you an idea of how your site is seen by Google.
Even if your site is mobile-friendly, there are always ways to make it better. AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is a concept created by Google to reduce some HTML code in order for your page to load faster. It is always more efficient to start off with a mobile-friendly website as implementing AMP will require a developer or code knowledge to implement.
AMP is a great part of your website to consider, as you can make your website even faster on mobile.
7. Install Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools
Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools are free services provided by Google and Microsoft that gives you insights regarding your website.
This tool can help by confirming Google can access your content. It can also be used as a direct way of providing Google with indexing your new pages. Google Search Console & Bing Webmaster Tools are very useful tools to use to monitor your website, it gives you insider like information.
These services also allow you to keep an eye on the general performance of your site from a search engine perspective – other things you can do with the tools include:
- testing your site’s mobile usability
- accessing search analytics
- viewing backlinks to your site
- disavowing spammy links
and much more besides.
If you are not using Webmaster tools, I highly recommend you start using it as they can help you better understand how to rank your website higher.
In conclusion, there are a number of aspects that affect your website’s visibility on the internet. Technical SEO methods will greatly affect your websites SEO rank, and it is worth the hassle to optimise it. Canonicalization, site speed, site maps, href lang, website security, mobile or AMP, and using webmaster tools all play a major role in user experience and search engine algorithms.