Technical SEO is a process in which technical elements of a website are analyzed. Technical recommendations, which are implemented as a result of an SEO audit, make search engines, especially Google, perceive the website better. In the case of a large accumulation of technical errors, the websites tend to rank lower in the organic results of search engines.
Technical SEO is not something new – it existed since Google has. Search engines have always paid attention to the technical aspects of functionality and construction of websites. However, these aspects began to play a huge role from the users’ point of view (UX) and efficiency (of their own IT resources for data analysis).
3 basic elements which you should pay attention to:
- Technical SEO – that is how search engine robots move around the site, how they analyze it, how they see and perceive and then index it, presenting their results in one way or another
- On-Page SEO – optimization focused on the content inside the website, the task is to obtain the greatest possible organic traffic
- Off-Page SEO – i.e. acquiring backlinks to the site, promoting content on the site and brand building using various techniques, including social media
The aim of technical SEO is to optimize activities in such a way as to improve the indexation and visibility of the website in organic results. Below are four elements that together make up the technical SEO audit. OffPage and Onpage factors are also discussed due to their connection to technical SEO.
Indexing of the website in the search engine
Website indexing is the most critical and most important factor in acquiring organic traffic. It depends on whether and how the website will be ranked. Even small implementation errors can cause huge losses.
Below we have selected a few elements that are worth paying attention to.
Google Search Console – a free and basic tool where you can find information about your website and how it behaves in Google search engine. The following elements are particularly important:
- Performance – e.g. which keywords appear in the search engine, which pages rank, which devices are used by users;
- Coverage – among other things, the number of indexed and blocked subpages in the website. It is here that you will verify whether your website indexes correctly in the search engine;
- Enhancements – rich snippets – extensions that enrich the search results, e.g. show traffic using for example FAQ, HOWTO or other rich snippets;
- Sitemaps – the least critical element, but it is worth having. Thanks to it you will find out which pages are directed for indexing;
- Rendering – you can check with different tools, but it is important how the search engine sees your website and how the user does it. This is an important element because it shows whether search engines can “read” your website at all;
- Mobile friendly – today a website without a mobile version does not exist. You should always verify how the website presents itself on mobile devices and whether there are things to improve or elements that the search engine cannot read;
- The loading speed – the faster the better – this maxim is enough to describe this element. The site must simply load quickly, which affects the pleasure of using it;
- Canonical – one of the most critical elements in the site from the code and indexation side;
- Robots.txt – a seemingly inconspicuous file, but it can effectively block access to many important subpages;
- Errors 4xx and 5xx – the accumulation of these errors can result in poor visibility. You need to browse the site for these errors and eliminate them;
- 3xx redirections – redirections are used for example to index new subpages. They should be used as a last resort, and in case of e.g. internal linking – eliminate their excess;
- Internal linking – it depends on this element how search engine robots will index a website and subpages. The more internal links the better. This is especially evident when so-called orphaned pages are created, which search engines simply cannot reach;
- External linking – that is linkbuidling – without this positioning does not exist.
Duplication of content
An important element of the technical audit is to assess the content in terms of its duplication. We are not talking here about its optimization but about the technical problem of duplication of texts within the website.
Therefore, we should consider how to deal with the duplication and make the website fully indexed despite such errors:
- Canonical / cross-canonical – we point out the most representative product or service we want to sell. For example, having a few colors of a given item we can point out that only black color should be indexed;
- Redundant subpages – we assess whether subpages with duplicate content are needed or not. If we decide that we do not need them, we simply delete them;
- The uniqueness of content – this is clear – if the content is unique (original) it will index very well. If it is duplicated – come up with a method to start indexing, e.g. a comment or review system;
The quality of content is a very important element in the context of indexing and ranking the website in organic results. The basic guidelines which need to be followed when preparing the content are:
- Authority – present yourself as an expert in the industry, share practical and useful knowledge in a clear and understandable way for a potential customer or user;
- Trust – build texts that you yourself can trust. Reliable, professional content can build excellent reach and this will translate into indexation;
- Matching (relevance) – means meeting the right context for the content and activities.
Looking through these 3 elements mentioned above, these following elements should be worked on, among others:
- Thin content – means avoiding generating subpages that contain little or no content;
- Title/Description – take care of the META headers because thanks to them you will catch the user’s attention;
- Keywords – analyze and build content around appropriate keywords; write according to language rules and do not build artificial, redundant sentences;
- Length and merit of the content – content that exhausts the topic is appreciated and received well by search engines;
- The uniqueness of content – do not copy the content, quote if you need to. Genuine, original content is better perceived by Google;
- Hx headers – take care of the headers, their structure and their hierarchy – this way you convey relevant information and point out what to pay attention to in the text;
Google does not index about 20%-25% of the subpages, and the accumulation of useless pages (e.g. thin content) causes Google not only to not index those subpages, but also the subpages we care about.
Crawl budget – what is it?
Crawl Budget, meaning the budget for page/website indexing – this is the time that the search engine must spend on indexing your website. Crawl budget is also related to the limit of subpages checked by search engine robots.
For example, if you have 1000 pages on your site and each search engine robot takes 1 second to analyze/understand and learn it, then in total it takes 1000 seconds to index the entire site. If this time is optimized by eliminating the problems described above, then such time can be reduced, for example, to 100 seconds. This is a huge saving of time and resources (especially IT) for the search engine, and thanks to that, in comparison to other services, your website will be treated better by the search engine.
A well-built and properly designed website will index perfectly. And if so, the crawl budget Google has for your site will be very short – the less time Google has to spend on analyzing your site, which will be almost flawless, the better and higher it will rank it. To sum up, Technical SEO done well – it will give you a chance to achieve top positions even in the most difficult categories. If done wrong, this chance will be missed.