SEO is something that everyone wants to focus on. However, we understand and know that not everyone has the time to dedicate to SEO because let’s face it, there are many, and we mean tons of ways you can optimise your SEO.
Of course, not every business needs every SEO optimisation technique, however knowing the important ones, and implementing and focussing on even a small handful, can make a huge difference. Boosting your search rankings and putting you in front of those hot leads faster.
Taking it further than keyword research, meta descriptions, and backlinks (these are still really important to help with your organic reach, so don’t drop them just yet), businesses now need to look at their technical SEO.
An element that not only boosts your rankings but also helps to keep your site organised, and we’ve got to admit at Buzz Panda, we love to feel organised!
We’ve pulled together a short technical SEO guide below that hopefully will provide you with a few tips that you can take away and implement into your digital strategies now. For more long-term sustainable plans, why not give us a call on 01606 374995.
Technical SEO definition
Ok, so technical SEO is a real element of SEO strategy and not just a term we’ve created to make SEO sound more important.
It’s a combination of many things, such as your site’s architecture, page speeds, the volume of relevant and useful content, indexability, accessibility, and more – the bits behind the scenes that quite often because they’re behind the scenes, can often be forgotten.
It is all of your site’s technical aspects that help make it function, the elements that need to work together to increase your ranking within search engines.
For us, technical SEO ensures your site meets all of the requirements of a modern search engine. We are Improving organic rankings, crawling, indexing, website structure, and more (all of which we cover throughout the guide).
Breaking technical SEO down
We want to help businesses not only understand technical SEO but implement it and implement it well.
Below, we’ve broken technical SEO down into the main categories with some of our top technical SEO tips that you could build into your digital strategies.
Are you providing a good website to crawl?
A little strange, yes, but what we mean is search engines must be able to crawl your site, pages, content, etc. to gather information for their indexing, which they then use to rank and index you in their search engine results pages (SERP).
To ensure that search engines can crawl all of your information, your site must be accessible and easy to navigate.
There are things you can implement to ensure a good crawling site!
- Use an XML sitemap. An outline of all your web pages that can be submitted to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools helping, them to understand the layout of your site better and crawl the information with ease.
- Insist on good site architecture. An organised site can make searching and crawl much easier. How are your pages organised? Are your most important pages at the top? Ideally, pages should only be a few clicks away from each other, as this helps to make crawling easier and avoids you creating or developing orphan pages (pages that aren’t linked to another).
- Make good use of breadcrumbs. Super SEO friendly, breadcrumbs act as a trail that helps people find their way back through your site; search bots use your breadcrumbs to help rank you, so your trails should be visible, easy to navigate, and have a structured language.
- Use a pagination system. A code that informs search engines when pages on your site are related to each other. For example, if you have several pieces of content running in a series, implementing pagination helps the search bot (and your customers) move from one piece of content to the next seamlessly.
- Carry out a crawl audit. Using software such as Screaming Frog (the world’s most famous crawler), you can have Screaming Frog crawl your site carrying out an audit that highlights any SEO issues you can resolve.
Indexing is key
The pages on your website are crawled based on the topic and relevance to that topic. Once that page has been appropriately crawled, it can then be indexed, making it eligible to be ranked in search results. However, to get your pages indexed correctly, you need to:
- Make sure all pages are accessible to search bots. Carrying out a coverage report can help you with this and inform you if Google cannot fully index or render any particular pages.
- Remove any duplicate content and update with fresh, unique information – sites such as Copyscape can help check your content against other sites to ensure it is unique to you. Of course, some pages will have duplicate content, and that’s ok, as long as your noindex tag is set up correctly so that a particular page won’t rank.
- Check, and then check again, all your redirects – are they set up correctly, are there any broken links you need to take care of?
- Is your site mobile responsive? This is now a big part of a search engine indexing checklist!
- Fix any HTTP errors (you know the ones; when you jump on a website page, and it displays “Error 404, web page not found”). Errors like these block search bots from finding certain pieces of content, information, and pages on your site.
Rendering focuses on how accessible your site is i.e., how easy is it for a Googlebot to retrieve information, run your code, and assess the information and content to understand your site and structure better?
Areas to focus on to make sure you are hitting the right rendering mark include:
- Checking on your server’s performance and HTTP status, looking out for any potential errors.
- Speed is essential, and your page load time and page size play a big part in rendering. To help, look to reduce your actual web page size and eliminate any unnecessary third-party scripts.
- It’s important to look at page depth i.e., how many clicks a page is from your homepage. We recommend that for your most important pages, they should be no more than three click deep.
- Finally, make sure you keep your redirects to a minimum!
Improving your ranking
Improving your ranking on SERPS involves including links, both internal and external, into your site and its content, as linking helps indexing and crawling, which then leads to boosting your content ranking.
This is also an opportunity to build votes of confidence for your site through quality, and we stress quality, backlinks. As backlinks mount up, search bots begin to treat your site as more credible hence bumping it up the search rankings.
Creating credible content also shows search engines how much you know about a particular topic, showing you as an expert, a leader, and an authoritative voice in your field, helping boost your ranking.
Achieving those all-important clicks
Research shows most people typically click on the first three search results on SERPs. So to make sure you reach this top spot, you need to take your SEO further than meta descriptions, keywords, and page titles.
To help Schema is a very specific vocabulary that helps to categorise and label some aspects of your site, making everything clear for search bots. Structuring data and information in this way helps to keep everything organised.
Look also for rich results. This can be achieved by producing useful content AND optimising structured data.
Optimise content for feature snippets (the box that typically appears above the search results providing a concise answer to the search question).
Consider grouping content to increase your chances of Google Discover Inclusion, where users can search content by categories from their mobile device.
Do we still need on-page and off-page SEO if we have technical?
In a nutshell, yes.
Not because we want to create more work for businesses but because we want you to get more work from your potential customers (see what we did there?)
Each of these three SEO elements performs a different function for your website and content.
For example, on-page SEO includes meta descriptions, URL naming, H1 Tags, keyword usage, etc. – it focuses on telling search engines what the page or piece of content is about, and is an area that you have full control over.
On the other hand, off-page SEO is more of a popularity contest, where your site, pages on your site, content, etc. are ranked based on how popular and useful they are. Here backlinks are key (links from other sites back to your own).
Then there’s technical SEO.
A little more unknown, but an area that plays a significant role in driving organic traffic. As for your content to be seen, search engines need to crawl it, and this is what good technical SEO ensures – that that wonderful piece of content you’ve slaved over can be found and read!
Technical SEO guide for trades
Ultimately, technical, on-page, and off-page SEO should all work together to achieve the perfect organic traffic flow.
However, technical SEO helps to get you where you want to be in search results, and in front of your ideal audience.
SEO still got you running for the hills? With no clear notion of the strategies, you should be implementing for your business?
Don’t panic; the team at Buzz Panda is always on hand. Let us know exactly what you want to achieve, and we’ll put the right tactics and strategies in place to help you get there.