Everything you Need To Know about Technical SEO: Basics
With a solid SEO strategy, including technical SEO, your brand has a better chance of gaining more visibility and ranking higher on the SERPs than your competitors.
Technical SEO is just as crucial for your ranking on SERPs as traditional content-based SEO, whether you’re a small independent bookstore or a large company.
This guide will help you understand the technical SEO basics and the different ways to implement it.
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What is Technical SEO?
While marketers focus on the overall SEO strategy, like keywords, conversion rates, snippets, meta descriptions, organic traffic, and bounce rate, a technical SEO specialist focuses on all of the behind-the-scenes things to keep your website ranking high on the SERPs.
Technical SEO involves optimizing your website and server so Google can index and crawl your site more effectively.
This optimization can increase organic traffic, higher rankings, and more visibility.
How Do I Implement Technical SEO?
To implement technical SEO, you can start with this checklist which gives you some of the more common practices.
Create an XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is like a table of contents for your website, listing all its pages.
The file makes it easy for Google to find and crawl ALL of your site’s pages and understand the structure of your website.
Some CRMs create an XML sitemap automatically, like Wix, Blogger, or WordPress. However, you may have to make a sitemap on your own if there’s yet to be one created for your site.
To create one manually, make a list of your site’s URLs using the Google Analytics landing page report. Then you’ll need to code each URL into an XML format using a text editor. Finally, add the URL of your new sitemap to Google Search Console.
Now, Google will crawl your new XML sitemap.
Obtain an SSL Certificate for your site
Users are more likely to visit your website and purchase something if they feel comfortable and safe.
Therefore, a website with an SSL certificate is valuable because it shows visitors that your site is verified.
In addition, Google generally rewards websites with SSL with a boost in page ranking.
To obtain an SSL certificate, visit the ICANN Lookup and verify your site’s information. Once you confirm the info, you need to generate a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) through your server, cPanel, or an online CSR generator.
Then, submit your CSR to the certificate authority to validate your website’s information. Finally, you can install the SSL certificate on your site, giving visitors confidence that your site is safe.
Increase Your Site’s Page Loading Speed
Not only is page loading speed a factor in the user experience, but it also plays a large part in SEO. If your site is bogged down with too much content, it can affect your page load time.
Unfortunately, page load time directly correlates with search performance, bounce, and conversion rates, affecting your revenue.
A few ways to increase your site’s loading speed include:
Using a performance-optimized website host
Compressing and optimizing your images
Reducing your redirects
Caching your web pages
Enabling browser caching
Increasing your site’s load speed will lower your bounce rates, and you may even see higher click-through and conversion rates.
Fix Duplicate Content Issues
One way to help your rankings on SERPs is to fix duplicate content issues. For example, identical pages force Google to choose which one of the pages to rank higher.
According to Google, duplicate content can be different pages with similar content or a single page accessible by multiple URLs.
One of the easiest ways to fix this type of content is with 301 redirects. Once you redirect the duplicate content pages to the original, Google will only index the original content.
How do you find out if you have duplicate content? First, search Google for your website domain (site:example.com) or look at your indexed pages in Google Search Console.
For a mobile-friendly site with a fast page load speed, consider doing the following:
Select a mobile-responsive template
Eliminate pop-up ads
Use a readable font
Avoid using Flash
Make images and CSS light
Space links out for user-friendliness
Test on real mobile devices
Add schema markup (structured data) to your website
Structured data, also called schema markup, is how Google understands the content on your pages. If search engines can understand what is on your pages, they can categorize it and rank it appropriately.
For example, you can use schema markup on a recipe page to let Google know the cooking time, reviews, and ingredients in the rich snippet. There are over thirty schema types that Google recognizes, including events, articles, movies, and podcasts.