It’s helpful to think of technical SEO as the foundation of your search engine optimization strategy. “Technical” just refers to all the base code and page structure that will help search engines crawl your website.
You may already be familiar with other aspects of SEO:
On-page SEO – How your content is optimized for the user experience and search engines, including keywords, headings, organization, meta titles and descriptions, and more.
Off-page SEO – The SEO factors that happen off your site and affect your rankings. The main off-page SEO factor is inbound links, or links to your pages from other websites.
Technical SEO completes the trio. Without the technical stuff, search engines can’t access your site at all, which eliminates your chances of ranking from square one. Make sure the technical side is the best it can be. Then you’ll be set to dig in and win with your on-page and off-page SEO.
So, what are these technical factors? Here are the most basic ones you need to help search engines crawl and index your site.
3 basic technical SEO factors you need to nail to have a healthy website
1. Site Architecture
The architecture of your site can help guide search engine crawlers on their quest to index your pages. There are a few basic facets of good site architecture:
Using robots.txt – You may have pages on your site that don’t need to be indexed, or you would rather not have indexed for various reasons. Including a robots.txt file in your site architecture and adding directions for the pages to be skipped can make the search crawlers’ job easier.
Using HTTPS to promote secure browsing – Google automatically rewards any site that uses HTTPS. Information is easily stolen on the web these days, so this is a relatively simple way to improve your site architecture and promote a safer web. Learn more about HTTPS and how to get it via Yoast.
Building a sitemap – A sitemap helps guide crawlers through your site structure, showing them not only what’s there, but also what’s most important. You can either have an XML sitemap, which users don’t see, or an HTML sitemap, which is often included in the footer of your website to help users find certain pages, or both.
Using breadcrumbs – Breadcrumbs are a navigation tool that helps users orient themselves on your site. They show the page hierarchy for the page that you’re currently on.
As you can see, for the beginner, site architecture can get confusing very quickly. If you’re concerned about the quality of your site’s underlying structure or just want someone with experience to evaluate your website, you should work with an SEO agency to get it right.
2. Fast website speed
Another vital factor for good technical SEO is how fast your website loads. If your website is lagging, Google may dock you. On the other hand, if you offer lightning-quick loading times, you could boost your position in the search engine result pages (SERPs).
If your loading times are slow, here are some possible reasons why:
- Your images aren’t optimized for the web
- You have an overly complicated page template with too many elements (think plug-ins, widgets, and extra code)
- You’ve implemented multiple redirects on one page that automatically take your visitor to a different page
Getting your site to load faster takes some coding knowledge and SEO know-how. However, improving your loading speeds can help your site climb higher in the SERPs.
3. Mobile-friendly for smartphones and tablets
Mobile browsing continues to grow in popularity as more and more people enjoy the convenience of internet surfing on their devices. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re at a significant disadvantage.
Mobile-friendly design means making sure your site looks good and readable on small screens. These days, however, this doesn’t mean you have to have two versions of your site; instead, you can rely on responsive design.
Use Google Search Console to help optimize your site
Technical SEO can be a lot to take in. Luckily, there are tools that can help you improve and optimize your tech, like Google Search Console.
This comprehensive, free tool gives you detailed data on your site structure, how it appears in search results, and more. It notes where you can improve, so you can see exactly where you’re going wrong.
Improve your digital marketing with great SEO and the right tools
For comprehensive digital marketing to work, you need great SEO serving as the foundation for your efforts. Start with technical SEO, then continue to on-page and off-page factors for a sure-fire path to success in the SERPs.
Ready to get started with technical SEO? Let’s chat.