Your small business has its website up and running and you’ve got a plan in place to produce consistent content. This is great and has positioned you to rank well in SEO. But your efforts will still be for naught if you fail to execute good technical SEO.
Technical SEO is basically everything about the optimization process that is not related to the content itself. It happens on the back end of the system, in Google Search Console and other oft unseen areas that are normally only explored by “techies”.
Let’s assume your business is not yet in position to have a full-time techie on staff and you rely on the assorted expertise of the more tech-savvy people on staff. Consequently, you may feel a little intimidated by the notion of technical SEO, and that’s completely understandable. Don’t worry—while full-scale technical SEO tasks should be handed off to a specialist, there are a number of reasonable steps anyone can take to ensure your site is at least doing the block-and-tackle basics.
Get Registered For Google Search Console
This is a straightforward process that will make everything else about technical SEO possible, or at least easier. Just go to Search Console, and log in with the same gmail account that’s being used for your site’s Google Analytics. You’ll be able to add a property (your domain name), verify your ownership of the domain, and get to work. Logging in offers you a host of valuable information, such as strange 404 errors in your Google Search Console that should be fixed, among other things.
Review the Robots
The Robots page is at the root of every website and it’s extremely important to search engine spiders. Here is where you can disallow pages from being indexed. This is obviously something, in the majority of cases, that you do not want to do, so it’s important to double-check. Just type in yourdomain/robots.txt and it will pull up.
You might be wondering why any of your pages would be disallowed to begin with. It might happen during the development process. A dev site is typically left unindexed, so search engines don’t bring users to your incomplete website. After the launch, the robots.txt file has to be changed, otherwise search engines will ignore your site entirely.
Test your speed
A fast website has become a basic prerequisite to a stronger search engine rankings. Users don’t want to take the time for a site to load and Google won’t want to deliver them to a site they may grow impatient with and bounce off of. Fortunately, Google offers a free site speed tool for anyone to measure site speed and using the tool only requires a knowledge of how to cut-and-paste. Drop your URL in the tool, hit “Analyze” and Google will tell you if your site is fast.
If your site fails to make the grade, the Analyzer tool will offer recommendations that you may need to find a developer to help implement. One item that you can take care of yourself though is to review your content management system and check to see how many of the “bells and whistles” have been added on. Although these website features may look snazzy and flashy, they can seriously slow down your site’s load time. For example, a WordPress site might be slowed down by too many widgets installed on the back end. Take a look at each one and make sure it’s necessary.
Clean up your mess
Google Search Console will enable you to quickly identify if there are broken links on your site. Maybe you once had a page of content about services that are no longer offered and when searchers go to the URL, they get the “404 error” staring them in the face. Fix these. Make sure all the broken links are identified and redirected to the current website page that’s most similar. There are good WordPress widgets that make this easy (I know, I just told you to audit your widgets. But this one is important enough to stay).
There’s so much more to technical SEO—from using canonical tags to deal with duplicate or similar content, to migrating to a secure URL (https) to implementing structured data that will clearly communicate each page’s intent to a search engine spider. But what’s covered here are the basics and anyone, regardless of technical know-how, can do them.
A good technical audit can reveal hidden issues that are affecting your website rankings and results. Contact us today to learn more about our website audit services.
Frequently Asked Questions About Technical SEO
Technical SEO refers to adjusting and optimizing a website so that it meets best-practices to help Google, Bing and other search engines easily find, access, crawl, interpret and index its content.
The three primary types of search engine optimization are: 1) technical SEO, 2) on-page SEO and 3) off-page SEO. The objective of each of these is the same – to improve visibility in search results. Technical, on-page and off-page SEO may be implemented independently of each other, but for best results a website should be optimized for all three types of SEO.
A technically well-optimized website will help guide search engines as they crawl the site and will help them better understand the information they are crawling and determine what parts of that information are most important and what should be indexed.
A technical SEO audit evaluates a website’s setup from the perspective of a search engine. The audit reviews the technical health of the website to uncover reasons why search engines may not find website content. At a minimum, a technical SEO audit generally includes a review of a website’s: sitemap, site speed, HTTPS, internal links, backlinks, crawl errors.