The primary aim of technical SEO is to help search engines like Google discover and crawl the pages on your website, so you can get listed in its index, and appear in search results. There are many aspects to technical SEO, and they are ALWAYS expanding as the web continually develops. Today, a good technical SEO strategy will need to include mobile optimisation, site loading speed, image compression and more, to ensure you are giving your site and content the best chance you can. If you have a WordPress site, you will have a much easier task, as WordPress automatically optimises many aspects of technical SEO for you. If you don’t have a WordPress site, there are specific things you can do to ensure Google can accurately crawl your site, so your it doesn’t get de-indexed.
1. Verify Your Site with The Google Search Console: Google’s Search Console displays your website’s performance and health stats in Google, and it’s a handy tool that helps you see just how much interaction your site gets in Google’s search results. Search Console also allows you to submit your sitemap to Google and shows you many of your pages are being indexed. This helps you identify any unlisted pages, so you can tweak your SEO approach so they can be found and listed.
To make use of the Google Search Console, you need to let Google know you’re the owner of your website. Google refers to websites as Domain Properties and you need to let Google know you own your piece of website real estate, to be able to get verified. Once you do, you’ll be able to use all the features of the Google Search Console, which will help you improve many aspects of your technical SEO strategy.
2. Use an SEO-Friendly URL Structure: A lot of people forget to think about their page URLs and wind up with long-winded or nonsensical links that aren’t social media friendly. Optimising your URLs is a vital part of your website SEO strategy and you should aim to make sure all your URLs are…
- As short as they can be,
- Relevant to the page they relate to,
- Ideally, consistent for all your pages.
Having optimised URLs also helps if you have many categories on your website, as you can use them to tell Google which pages belong in what category. For example, if you run a restaurant website, you’ll have category pages for things like coffee, wine, meals, and you can include these topics in your URLs. That way, Google knows which category each of your pages fall under. A page about the coffee products you offer promoting your newest beans might look something like this, for example: Websitepagename.com/coffee/newbrews.
If you’re not using categories, it’s a good idea to have your URL structure as website.com/relevant page name instead. If you want to change old URLs, make sure you direct people landing on the old page to your new links, otherwise you’ll wind up losing valuable traffic. It’s probably better to leave old URLs alone, and instead make sure you create better ones for the new pages that you create.
Remember to try and use keywords in your URL too. DON’T stuff your link with keywords, include your primary or most relevant keywords ONCE and use the shortest links possible – as these perform better in Google. If your page is about coffee and your main keyword is “arabica beans”, your URL might simply be: website.com/arabicabeans. If you were using categories, it might look like: website.com/coffee/arabicabeans
3. Analyse and enhance your PageSpeed: Your website’s loading speed is extremely important, as if it’s too slow, you’ll not only turn off visitors, you’ll also be harming your SEO ranking. Google introduced a Speed Update feature to its algorithm in 2018, and this penalizes webpages that are slow to load on mobile devices. You can check how fast or slow your website loads using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool, which will assign your site a speed rating of between 0 and 100.
The PageSpeed Insights tool will also give you a list of recommendations, so you can optimise your site’s load time and discover what is slowing your site down. To implement some of these recommendations, you may need to get a web developer to adjust your website’s html. Other enhancements are as easy to adjust as installing a simple WordPress plugin.
4. Switchover to HTTPS Encryption: Although it’s not a super-important ranking factor, if your website is secured with Https encryption, you will receive a little boost in Google’s search results. According to Moz.com, over 93% of all first page search results are https encrypted, and Google has now begun to display a warning whenever a site hasn’t been secured. If you do move over to https encryption, you will have to redirect all your pages, as they will now have new URLs. Make sure you do this, so you don’t lose out on traffic, and so people who have bookmarked your site can still return to browse.
5. Improve your Site Architecture and include Internal Linking: If you only have 3 or 4 pages on your website, you don’t have to really consider your website architecture, but if you’re planning a more complex site, or want to expand, then you should take this aspect into consideration. Your website structure can seriously add or detract from the overall user experience you offer your customers, and this will have an impact on your Google Search rankings.
If you have a site with many hundreds of pages, you’ll need to sit down and plan out an organised structure that helps you place all your pages into relevant categories.After that, you’ll need to set up internal links to the most important pages on your site. The final step is to ensure your internal links have anchor text (labels) that is keyword rich. You need to do this to help your pages score highly in Google search and enable easier internal search on your website.
Always ensure your link anchor text includes a keyword or phrase, rather than simply making it say, “click here”. If you run an online sweet store for example, and you want to link to a page about homemade sweet recipes your anchor text might say “Sweets You Can Make at Home”.
6. Include Schema Markup: Schema markup is a type of code you add to your website, that allows search engines to understand your page content better so it can accurately represent it in search results. Google understands Schema data MUCH better than plain text and uses this information to provide users with enhanced search results. When you add Schema Markup to a webpage, you automatically create an enhanced description of your page (also called a rich snippet), which will appear in search results.Although it won’t have a huge impact on your rankings, including schema data on your website can help you boost your organic click-through rate. As well as helping the search engines understand more about your website, Rich Snippets (or enhanced descriptions) can also display rich results like review stars your business has gathered.
Snippets with review stars and other rich results will stand out in search, helping your website to attract even more visitors. It’s more important to add Schema Markup once you have a well-established site, but when you do, it IS worth doing. You can use handy tools like the one Merkle offers, to simplify the process which will help you to include basic markup data, which should be enough to get started. If you have a WordPress site, you can make use of the Schema Markup Plugins on offer there that will automate much of the process.
7. Max your E-A-T score: EAT, or Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness is playing an increasingly important role in the way Google ranks sites, in a drive to offer the most trusted webpages first, to searches who use the platform. If you want to earn a high EAT rating, your site needs to be seen as a trusted voice, within your sector or industry. Encyclopaedia sites, like Wikipedia have an extremely high EAT score, because the content is created by multiple experts and then checked for accuracy. One way to establish a higher EAT ranking is to consistently use writers who are established experts in their niche. Use regular writers, rather than generic freelancers too, and make sure that all the content you post is error free, helpful, and factual.
Going into detail and providing unique information that’s also high value and useful, will DEFINITELY help you improve your EAT score. Talking about something you know already well and are familiar with is the best way to go, particularly when you’re just starting out.It also helps if your website can become a source of industry news, viewpoints, data, and information, but what’s much more important for your EAT score is that your content is consistently factually accurate.
Sticking to one niche and putting out content that covers all aspects of this niche can be another way to start establishing yourself as an authority voice. It will be easier to gain a high EAT ranking if you are covering a topic or sector that’s not as populated - providing your content is of a high standard. After a while, people will come to rely on you for your expertise, helping to up your authority rating and establish trust. If your site does cover many topics, it’s important to ensure they all have consistency, and are in the same style as this will help to differentiate you. ALWAYS check content for errors and false claims or incorrect data.
8. Optimize for Mobile: Any technical SEO strategy must now include optimising for mobile. Google’s algorithm now prioritises mobile searches, meaning the mobile version of your website will be the primary version Google views. Your site might be speedy on a desktop but if it’s slow to load on mobile devices, Google will mark you down. You can check whether your site has speed or other mobile usability problems in the Google Search Console, after you sign up to verify your website. If you can’t use the Google Search Console, you can try their free Mobile Friendly Test tool instead. If you discover your site has issues on mobile devices, it’s vital you address them quickly, or you’ll negatively impact your rankings in Google search.
Remember to check that your images are properly compressed to display well on mobile devices. You’ll also need to ensure that you pick a responsive site theme that works well on desktops AND on mobile phones or tablets. DON’T enable Interstitial Popups for your mobile browsers, as Google will penalise you in search rankings. They can slow down speed when they are viewed on a mobile phone or tablet and can also cause other issues for smart devices too, like page navigation problems.
9. Track Results in Google Analytics: Once you’ve started tweaking aspects of your technical SEO, you’ll need to monitor your performance, so you can see if your adjustments are having any effect. Luckily, there is an excellent tool that can help you do just that – and the best part is it’s free – Google Analytics. Google Analytics helps you monitor all your SEO campaigns, allowing you to track and view the changes you make to your site – and see the impact they are having on your organic website traffic.Through the Analytics dashboard, you’ll discover what pages bring you the most visitors from Google search and other search engines. You can then analyse your high performing pages so you can copy your strategy there on your pages that aren’t doing so well.
Analytics will give you handy metrics such as your page bounce rate and page views, which act as benchmarks to let you know how well your content meets the expectations of Google searchers. Through the Analytics Dashboard, you can even set up conversion tracking, to monitor what percentage of your search traffic converts to actual sign ups or customers. To get access to Google Analytics, you’ll first need to sign up for a Google Analytics account. If you already have a Gmail, or other type of Google account associated with your business, you should use this to set up your Google Analytics account.