If you thought SEO was a buzzword, technical SEO is probably even worse. When others hear this they usually shrink back and think, “there’s no way I can understand all this!”. But, the truth is, despite the name that hints at complexity, technical SEO isn’t all that complicated. As long as you understand what it is and how it works, you can slowly work your way into grasping all the fine details that create success. So, let’s start at the top.
What is technical SEO?
According to QuickSprout, Technical SEO is…
“The aspect of SEO focused on how well search engine spiders can crawl your site and index your content.”
See, that’s not so bad. And, with this definition, you can see how important it is. Without fully recognizing how your site is crawled and how well it is able to be indexed, you won’t be able to improve upon other SEO incentives to garner organic traffic.
In order to help, we’re diving into 3 key topics of technical SEO. Each of these areas helps both search engines and your users have a better experience; making indexing and ranking easier. Let’s take a look!
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We live in a demand generation. That means, people want what they want when they want it (which is usually immediately). Because of this, sites have had to innovate to get faster and faster as time goes on. Now, Google states that the recommended site/page load speed is under 3 seconds. That’s insane! But, ensuring that your site meets these requirements helps crawlers do their job faster and provides a better user experience for your visitors.
Not sure how your site stacks up? Use tools like PageInsights that score and point out issues your site may have that is causing speed to drop. Here are a few major issues that most sites have been found to have:
- Images. Making sure these are optimized and responsive.
- Non-compressed content
- No caching
- Excessive plugins (these can really bog down your server)
- Having no CDN (Content Delivery Network)
You may have seen some of this information in one of our older blog posts about mobile marketing, but everyone could use a refresher right? In early 2018, and finally rolling out mid-2019, Google announced that they would be conducting mobile first indexing. Well, that’s all fine, but what does it mean?
Long story short, mobile first indexing means that Google will now be grabbing, crawling, and indexing all sites based off of their mobile version. So, if you don’t have a mobile version or your site isn’t optimized to be viewed on mobile, you’re out of luck. And, most likely, your rankings will suffer because of it.
The good news? You can easily test and fix your site to ensure that you start to see improvements. Use Google’s mobile friendly test to better understand how your site scores. These, implement some of these solutions based off your results:
- Make sure your design is responsive and can move between devices
- Adjust content as necessary for mobile
- Refrain from using popups, etc. on mobile
Architecture and structure is something that we hold dearly here at Wave. If your site is difficult to navigate or view then the great design and content you provide doesn’t matter. An average of 79% of people will leave your site if they are unable to find the information they need. This is why creating a true flow and easy navigation is so critical to your site.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Site navigation may help your site visitors, but what about the search engines? After all, we are talking technical SEO. This is where sitemaps come into play. This is how you direct crawlers through your site. There are two types:
- HTML: These are mostly for human visitors, but crawlers can use them to find specific pages.
- XML: These are built only for crawlers and contain a text file. Often times, large sites have more than one file that is separated by type of content/topics.
Most likely, if you even have a little bit of website knowledge, you probably already know this, but it’s important to remember this next critical step – adding sitemap locations to your robots.txt file. This helps ensure that other crawlers (not just Google) can also check out your site. Here’s how you can add this:
- Get your sitemap URL. It usually looks like this: http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml
- Get your robots.txt file ready! It can be found here: domain.com/robots.txt.
- Then, add it. All you have to do is place a directive with the URL in your robots.txt. It should look something like this: Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap_index.xml
Pretty simple right? Maybe, maybe not. The key is to at least better realize what is all involved in technical SEO. If you’re not tech savvy, you can easily have other’s implement these changes. But, for the most part, having an idea of what all goes into this can be beneficial for both you and your team.
Want to take technical SEO by the horns? We can help you accomplish that! Contact the optimization team at Wave and see what we can do!