Technical SEO is an extremely important aspect of Search Engine Optimization regardless of varying opinions on the matter. It is one aspect which no Search Engine Marketer or website owner can afford to ignore. It’s possible to have all other aspects of your site on point, yet search engines keep ignoring your website. Undetected technical issues could be the cause.
Would you embark on a long road trip without making sure your vehicle is in optimal condition for such a drive? I didn’t think so. Check the oil, the breaks, tires and make sure you have a spare, have jumping cables and basic tools, battery, a recent service, etc. Failing to be prepared may lead to unwanted experiences and time spent looking for a mechanic in the middle of nowhere, cutting into your fun family time. It’s the same thing with your website, you don’t want hard work going to waste because you didn’t make sure the site was technically sound.
This is the part of SEO which helps make sure your site is well optimized for both search engines and your users. An in-depth technical SEO audit is needed before you launch a site and periodically once the site is live. This will make sure search engines can crawl and index your important content properly. This audit will also help make sure your users can navigate your site with no issues getting in the way.
At WhaleShark SEO, one of the first tasks we tackle when getting a new project is an in-depth technical SEO analysis. Of course, we try to identify where the biggest areas of need are, what is holding the site back in the SERPs, among other tasks; but we understand the importance of the technical aspect and the impact unresolved issues carry, so we make sure that part is as clean as possible first.
Below are a few of the aspects we consider to be top priorities (In no particular order):
We all know speed is important for search engines, we also know it is one of the most important factors in delivering a positive user experience. The average user has no patience for slow loading pages, they will simply leave your site if it’s slow. Some aspects you can optimize to improve page loading time are:
• Optimize images
• Browser cache
• Avoid redirect chains
• Enable Compression
• Clean code
• HTML Page Size
In April of 2015 Google officially added mobile friendliness to their ranking signals, giving birth to what became known as ‘Mobilegeddon’.
Six months later, in October of 2015, it was reported that searches performed on mobile had surpassed searches performed on desktop worldwide!
In November of 2016 Google announced it will be making its search index mobile first sometime towards the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.
Need I say more?
This is a ranking factor, although it doesn’t seem to carry too much weight compared to the above mentioned, it can have a huge impact with your users. Chrome already displays a ‘Not Secure’ label (as seen above) on pages not delivered on HTTPS if they ask for login or any other user information. It is believed Google will be slapping all pages with the same label, not only pages asking for payment details or login pages. This would naturally scare your users away and instead they will be heading over to your HTTPS competitors. Yikes!
Crawling & Indexing
Are the correct pages on your site being crawled efficiently? Are certain pages being crawled, that shouldn’t be? Is there a meta tag you can use to solve the problem? Or, is there a meta tag causing the problem?
Important content not indexed? Way too many pages indexed making search engines hate your site?
Have you checked how search engines view your pages lately?
The way your site is accessed by search engines is impacted tremendously by crawling and indexing issues. This of course results in whether you appear in search results or not. Some of the simpler ways to help with this are:
• Robots.txt file
• Proper sitemap.xml file
• Find and fix duplicate content issues
• Check Canonical Tags
• Proper use of Hreflang (when applicable)
• Proper use of ‘Pagination’ (when applicable)
• Check for different URL versions for same page
• Check for redirect chains
• Internal link structure
Other technical SEO points we cannot afford to ignore:
• Microdata Specifications
• Page <title>, <h1> headings, meta description… missing? Duplicate? Multiple? Too short or too long?
• Broken Links
• Response Code issues
• Server errors
• Img Alt tags
• URL structure
• URL optimization
• Usability Issues
Easily, there could be a full article written for each one of the points mentioned in this article as they go into great depths. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that dropping the ball on any of these points can harm your site and/or business in one way or another. Perhaps it affects your crawling or indexing or it’s hurting your rankings in the SERPs. Maybe it is simple user experience issues that force your users to your competitors. Either way, each one of these points (among others) needs to be checked at least once a month. We cannot overstate the importance of all the technical SEO aspects and the effect they have on websites and businesses.
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