In this post, we will go over the basics of a Technical SEO Consultant. Now, discussing the basics of technical SEO may seem like a contradiction in terms. Still, some basic knowledge of the more technical aspects of SEO can mean the difference between a high-ranking site and one that doesn’t rank at all. Technical SEO is not easy, but here we will explain – in layman’s terms – what aspects you should focus on (ask your developer) when working on the technical foundation of your website.
What is Technical SEO? and Technical SEO Consultant
Technical SEO refers to improving the technical aspects of a website to increase its page ranking in search engines.
Making a website faster, easier to crawl, and more understandable to search engines is the pillar of technical optimization. Technical SEO is the part, which focuses on improving the elements of your website to get higher rankings. This is the opposite of off-page SEO, which is about creating exposure for a website through other channels.
keep reading: What makes a good website?
Why should you technically optimize your site? and Technical SEO Consultant
Google and other search engines desire to offer their users the best imaginable effects for their queries. Therefore, Google’s robots crawl and evaluate web pages based on a number of factors. Some factors are based on user experience, such as how fast a page loads. Other factors help search engine robots understand your pages It does, among others, structured data.
By improving technical aspects you help search engines crawl and understand your site If you do it well, you can be rewarded with higher rankings or even rich results.
It also performs the other way around: if you create serious technological errors on your site, they can command you.
You won’t be the first to completely block search engines from crawling your site by accidentally adding a trailing slash in the wrong place to your robots.txt file.
But it’s a misconception that you should only focus on the technical details of a website to please search engines. A website should work well for your users in the first place – fast, clean, and easy to use.
Fortunately, building a strong technical foundation often equates to a better experience for both users and search engines.
What are the factors of a technically optimized website?
A technically sound website is faster for users and easier for search engine robots to crawl.
A proper technical setup helps search engines understand a site and it prevents confusion due to, for example, duplicate content. Moreover, it doesn’t send visitors or search engines down dead-end roads with non-functional links. Here, we will soon go into some important features of a technically optimized website.
1. It’s fast and Technical SEO Consultant
Nowadays, web pages need to load quickly. People are intolerant and don’t desire to delay for a page to extend. Already in 2016, studies have shown that 53% of mobile website visitors will leave if a webpage does not open within three seconds. So if your website is slow, people get frustrated and move to other websites and you lose all that traffic.
Google knows slow web pages offer a less than optimal experience So they prefer web pages that load quickly. Thus, a slow web page also ends up lower in search results than its faster equivalent, which also results in less traffic. And, in 2021, page experience, referring to how quickly a web page is experienced, will even become a ranking factor. So you better prepare!
Wondering if your website is fast enough? Read how to efficiently experiment with your site speed. Most tests will also give you pointers on what you need to improve. You can also look at core web vitals as Google uses them to dictate the page experience, we’ll guide you through general site speed optimization tips here.
Keep reading: What is SEO analysis [search engine optimization]?
2. It is crawlable for search engines
Search engines operate robots to crawl or spider your website. Robots track links to find content on your site. A great internal linking structure will ensure that they understand what the most important content is on your site.
But there are more ways to guide the robot. For example, you can block them from crawling certain content if you don’t want them to go there.
You can also let them crawl a page, but tell them not to show that page in search results or follow links to that page.
Robots.txt file and Technical SEO Consultant
You can instruct robots on your site using the robots.txt file. It is a powerful tool, which should be handled carefully. As we mentioned at the beginning, a small mistake can prevent robots from crawling (important parts of) your site.
Occasionally, people unintentionally stop their site’s CSS and JS files in the robot.txt file. These files contain code that tells the browser what your site should look like and how it works If these files are blocked, search engines can’t find out if your site is working properly.
Above all, we really recommend diving into robots.txt if you want to know how it works. Or, perhaps even better, let a developer handle it for you!
The meta robots tag and Technical SEO Consultant
If you want search engine robots to crawl a page, but for some reason leave it out of search results, you can tell them with the robot’s meta tag. With the robot’s meta tag, you can also instruct them to crawl a page, but not follow links on the page. No indexing or following a post or page is easy with Yoast SEO. Know which pages you want to do this for.
3. It doesn’t have (many) dead links
We have discussed that slow websites are frustrating. Landing on a page that doesn’t exist at all can be more annoying to visitors than a slow page If a link leads to a non-existent page on your site, people will encounter a 404 error page. You have a carefully crafted user experience!
What’s more, search engines also don’t like to find these error pages.
And, they tend to find more dead links than encounter visitors because they follow every link they see, even if it’s hidden.
Unfortunately, most sites have (at least) some dead links, because a website is a constant work in progress: people build things and break things. Fortunately, there are tools that can help you recover dead links on your site Read about those tools and how to fix 404 errors.
To prevent unnecessary dead links, you should always redirect when you remove or delete a page’s URL. Ideally, you’ll redirect it to a page that replaces the old page. With Yoast SEO Premium, you can easily redirect. No developer is needed!
4. It does not confuse search engines with duplicate content
Having the same content on multiple pages on your site – or even on other sites – can confuse search engines. Because, if these pages show the same content, which one will rank higher? As a result, they can rank all pages with the same content.
Unfortunately, a duplicate content problem can occur without you even knowing it.
For logistical reasons, different URLs may show the same content. For a visitor, it makes no difference, but for a search engine it does; It will see the same content at a different URL
Fortunately, there is a technical solution to this annoyance. With the so-called, canonical link element you can indicate what the original page is – or what the page you want to rank in search engines – is.
In Yoast SEO you can efficiently fix a canonical URL for a page. And, to make it easy for you, Yoast SEO adds self-referencing canonical links to all your pages. This will help prevent duplicate content issues that you may not be aware of.
5. It is safe and Technical SEO Consultant
A technically optimized website is a secure website. Securing your website is a basic requirement these days to guarantee user privacy.
There are many things you can do to secure your (WordPress) website, and one of the most important things is to implement HTTPS.
HTTPS ensures that no one can intercept the data sent between the browser and the site. So, for example, if people log in to your site, their credentials are safe. To implement HTTPS on your site you will need a so-called SSL certificate.
Google recognizes the importance of security and has therefore made HTTPS a ranking signal: secure websites rank higher than insecure equivalents.
Read on: What is HTTPS? »
You can easily check if your website is HTTPS in most browsers. On the left side of your browser’s search bar, you’ll see a lock if it’s secure. If you see the words “not safe”, you (or your developer) have some work to accomplish!
6. Plus: It has structured data and Technical SEO Consultant
Structured data allows search engines better comprehend your website, content, or even your corporation. With structured data, you can tell search engines what kind of products you sell or what recipes you have on your site. Also, it will give you the opportunity to provide all kinds of details about those products or recipes
Because there is a specific format (described on Schema.org) in which you should provide this information, search engines can easily find and understand it. This helps them put your content in a bigger picture. Here, you can read a story about how it works and how Yoast SEO can help you with it.
Implementing structured data can bring you more than just being better understood by search engines. This qualifies your content for rich results; Shiny results with stars or details that stand out in search results.
7. Plus: It has an XML sitemap
Simply put, an XML sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site It acts as a roadmap for search engines to your site With this, you will ensure that search engines do not miss any important content on your site. XML sitemaps are often categorized into posts, pages, tags, or other custom post types and include the number of images and last modified date for each page.
Ideally, a website does not need an XML sitemap. If it had an internal linking structure that connected all the content nicely, robots wouldn’t need it. However, not all sites have a great structure and having an XML sitemap wouldn’t hurt. So we always recommend having an XML sitemap on your site.
8. Plus: International websites use hreflang
If your site targets multiple countries or countries where the same language is spoken, search engines need a little help understanding which country or language you’re trying to reach. If you help them, they can show the right website for their area in search results.
Hreflang tags help you do this. You can define for a page which country and language it is meant for
This solves a potential duplicate content problem: even if your US and UK sites show the same content, Google will know it was written for a different region.
Optimizing international websites is a specialty. If you want to learn how to rank your international sites, we recommend taking a look at our Multilingual SEO training.
Want to know more about this?
So this is Technical SEO in a nutshell. That’s already a lot, while we’ve only scratched the surface here. There is much more to say about the technical side of SEO! Want to know more? Check out our free structured data for training beginners. Want to learn everything? If you get Yoast SEO Premium, you get access to all our training courses and our configuration workouts that help you configure your site and build a strong SEO foundation.
Keep on reading: How to learn SEO: A guide for all backgrounds »
Take our technical SEO quiz
There is more! You can also take our Technical SEO Fitness Quiz if you want to know how technically SEO fit your site. This quiz helps you figure out what you need to work on and points you in the right direction to start improving your site.
Read more: WordPress SEO: the definitive guide »