Technical SEO: Definition, Benefits, and How to Optimize It
Apart from creating article content and making your website look attractive, there are various other elements that you shouldn't miss so that your website appears in Google search.
Technical SEO is one of the three important pillars besides on page SEO and off page SEO in search engine optimization techniques. However, this strategy is often ignored by digital marketers. In fact, this one strategy has an important role to increase the ranking of your site.
What is Technical SEO?
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is an attempt to optimize a website to get a top ranking on search results pages.
While Technical SEO itself is the process of optimizing your website to help search engines like Google find, crawl, understand, index pages and display websites on search results pages or SERP (search engine result pages).
technical SEO is the process of maximizing various technical aspects of a site. Its function is to increase the ranking of the site's pages on search engines. Thus, this strategy does not relate directly to keywords, but to various technical elements of the website architecture that are behind a site, such as XML, secure sockets layer, Hreflang, sitemap, and HTTPs.
Why is Technical SEO important?
It's a shame if your article content is interesting but search engines can't find your website. That is a general description of how important Technical SEO is.
Quality and well-written content will not get organic traffic if search engines do not display it in the SERP. Even a high amount of traffic will also be useless if the audience is not comfortable with the long website loading.
Here are some reasons why technical SEO factors is so important for you to pay attention to:
- In line with Google Webmaster Guidelines.
- Search engines can browse (crawl) on every web page.
- Prevent search engines from finding pages you don't want displayed.
- Website content is easier for search engines to understand.
- Users feel comfortable when using the website.
- The appearance of the website can adjust to the user's device.
- Loading is much faster thus increasing user interaction on the website.
- Websites are displayed more attractively on search results pages.
Technical SEO vs on-page SEO
Technical SEO and on-page SEO are two different aspects of search engine optimization, but they are closely related and work together to improve a website's visibility and rankings. Here's a comparison between the two:
- - Technical SEO focuses on optimizing the technical aspects of a website to improve its visibility and crawlability by search engines.
- - It includes tasks like website speed optimization, mobile optimization, website crawling and indexing, URL structure, schema markup, SSL implementation, and website security.
- - Technical SEO ensures that search engine bots can effectively crawl and index a website, and that the website is user-friendly and accessible.
- On-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages to improve their visibility and relevance for specific keywords.
- It includes tasks like keyword research, optimizing meta tags (title tags, meta descriptions), optimizing heading tags, optimizing content (keyword usage, readability, length), optimizing images and alt tags, internal linking, and user experience optimization.
- On-page SEO ensures that web pages are optimized for specific keywords and provide valuable and relevant content to users.
While technical SEO focuses on the technical infrastructure of a website, on-page SEO focuses on optimizing individual web pages for search engines and users. Both are important for a comprehensive SEO strategy and should be implemented together to achieve the best results.
SEO Technical Optimization Tips
There are four factors that will be optimized with a technical SEO. These four aspects are related to how search engines work, namely:
- Crawlability: how easy it is for search engines to crawl the website.
- Indexing: how well search engines understand and index all web pages.
- Renderability: the ability of search engines to render or access, run code, assess content, and understand website layout visually.
- Ranking: how high the website ranks on the search results page.
Here are some tips for optimizing technical SEO factors that are important to apply to websites:
1. Use an Organized Website Structure
Your website structure is how all the pages on your website are arranged.
To optimize website structure for improved SEO, you need to know the types of website structures. There are several types of website structures that are commonly used, including:
- Linear Structure: This structure has one main page that directs visitors to other pages. Visitors have to follow a prescribed sequence to access the desired content.
- Hierarchical Structure: This structure has a main page that is the starting point, and then the other pages are divided into more specific sub-pages. Visitors can follow the hierarchy to find the content they are looking for.
- Sequential Structure: This structure is similar to the linear structure, but with an emphasis on chronological order. The pages are organized by time or sequence of events.
- Webbed Structure: This structure has many interconnected pages in no apparent order. Visitors can jump from one page to another without following a specific order.
- Grid Structure: This structure organizes content in the form of a grid or table. Each cell in the grid can contain links to other pages or more specific content.
- Database Structure: This structure uses a database to store and organize content. Visitors can perform searches or filters to find the content they are looking for based on certain criteria.
- Circular Structure: This structure has a main page that is connected to other pages in a circle. Visitors can jump from one page to another without following a specific order.
- Hybrid Structure: This structure is a combination of the above structures. Pages can be organized in a hierarchy, but also have interconnected links or a grid for easy navigation.
- Single Page Structure: This structure consists of a single page that contains all the content. Visitors can scroll through the pages to find the information they are looking for.
- Multi-page Structure: This structure consists of several pages that are connected to each other. Each page has a different content focus and visitors can access those pages through links.
In this case, you can consider using a silo structure. Silo structure is a way of organizing your website content by dividing it into various categories and subcategories.
Here's an example of an organized website structure:
- About Us
- Contact Us
- Service 1
- Service 2
- Service 3
- Blog Post 1
- Blog Post 2
- Blog Post 3
- Project 1
- Project 2
- Project 3
- Testimonial 1
- Testimonial 2
- Testimonial 3
6. Contact Us
- Contact Form
- Contact Information
In this example, the website has a clear hierarchy starting with the homepage as the main entry point. The main navigation menu includes important pages such as About Us, Services, Testimonials, and Contact Us.
The Services page further expands into individual service pages, providing more detailed information about each service offered.
The Blog section contains individual blog posts, which can be categorized and tagged for easier navigation.
The Portfolio section showcases different projects or case studies, allowing visitors to see examples of the company's work.
The Testimonials page displays customer testimonials, providing social proof and building trust.
2. Optimizing the URL Structure
URL is a series of characters that serves as the document address of a website page. URLs are used by users or web crawlers to access website pages.
URLs that are created randomly and are not optimized can hinder the crawling and indexing process of the page. Therefore, you must create a simple and understandable website page URL structure.
Optimizing website URLs is an important aspect of on-page SEO that can help improve search engine rankings. Here are some tips to optimize your website URLs and search engine friendly URLs:
- Use words that are relevant to the content of the page.
- Enter the target keyword in the URL.
- Avoid using numbers, years, or other things that can change easily.
- Make URLs denser by removing unnecessary words.
- Each word is separated by a dash (-).
- Use lowercase letters so that users don't get confused when typing in the URL.
3. Make sure there is an sitemap XML on the website
There are 2 types of sitemaps, namely HTML sitemap and sitemap XML. HTML sitemap only visitors can access it, while the sitemap XML can be accessed by search engines.
sitemap XML is a file that contains all website page links. The sitemap XML is used by a web crawler, an automatic crawling robot, as a map for browsing and understanding website content.
The role of the sitemap XML file in the crawling process is vital. With this file, web crawlers can browse each page and understand the structure of your website.
In order for the XML sitemap to be used by search engines, you can upload it on Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools. Make sure that your sitemap XML file is always updated when there is new content.
How to create an XML sitemap on a website to optimize technical SEO using the Yoast SEO plugin:
- Install, then activate WordPress SEO from the Yoast plugin.
- Click the SEO menu, click Features, then activate the Advanced setting pages feature.
- This feature can activate an XML sitemap on your website. A new XML sitemap page will appear at the bottom of the SEO menu. In this menu you can set various settings, namely exclude particular posts or pages from the sitemap, max entries per sitemap, and others. Don't change anything, unless it requires a custom WordPress sitemap.
- In this step you can create an XML sitemap using the plugin. You can see the WordPress sitemap URL at the bottom of Your XML Sitemap.
4. Security SSL
One of the most basic things in technical SEO is website security, this can be started from SSL and Google itself recommends using HTTPS.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) has become the standard for encryption between servers and clients. Hosting and domain providers usually package this in every purchase.
SSL certificates have a positive impact on SEO. Having an SSL certificate installed on your website helps to establish trust with both search engines and users. This can lead to improved search engine rankings and increased organic traffic. Additionally, Google has confirmed that HTTPS is a ranking factor, so websites with SSL certificates may rank higher in search results. Furthermore, SSL certificates also provide a secure connection, which is important for protecting user data and maintaining a safe browsing experience. Overall, having an SSL certificate is beneficial for both SEO and website security.
5. Make sure there are no dead links
Dead link is a hyperlink on a site that leads to a website page that has been disabled. Generally, the page has been moved or deleted.
Actually, every site can have dead links. However, don't get too many of them. Because, the technical SEO of your site can be rated badly by search engines.
6. Improve Mobile-Friendliness
The increasing number of users accessing the website via smartphones has prompted Google to update its mobile-first algorithm more. Websites with a good mobile appearance will rank higher than other websites that are not mobile-friendly.
You can measure how responsive your website looks on mobile devices by using the Mobile Friendly Test from cmlabs. To identify problems and recommendations for improvements, you can also use Google Search Console.
7. Ensure No Duplicate Content
Never underestimate the same content in one site. Because this is one of the failure factors in technical SEO.
Besides confusing users, the same content can also make it difficult for your site to appear on the first page of the SERP. You can check it via Ahrefs or Google Search Console.
8. Make Sure There Is No Orphan Content
Orphan page is content that has no parents or no internal links. If you add internal links to the content on your website, the chance for a top website on the SERP will be even greater.
The more internal links that lead to your website pages, the more Google will think that these pages are important. Not only search engines, website visitors can also find it when opening your page on the internet.
Thus, the distribution of your content will be more effective. So, make sure your website does not have orphan content.
9. Avoid Thin Content
Do you have a web page with very short content? This type of content is classified as thin content.
Thin content is content that has little or no value to the user.
Google considers doorway pages, low-quality affiliate pages, pages with very little content to be thin content.
This is not a problem for only some of your website pages. But thin content can hurt your site's overall ranking. So, it's worth finding and fixing it.
Use hreflang to inform search engines about the various language variations on your website – if you are doing international targeting.
hreflang is an HTML attribute used to inform search engines about the language and country version of a web page. This attribute is used to avoid duplicate content and helps search engines display relevant pages to users based on their language and location preferences.
The hreflang attribute is usually placed in the <link> tag within the <head> section of a web page. An example of using the hreflang attribute is as follows:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="https://www.example.com/en/page.html" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="fr" href="https://www.example.com/fr/page.html" />
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es" href="https://www.example.com/es/page.html" />
In the example above, the hreflang attribute is used to indicate that the page has versions in English, French, and Spanish. Each version of the page has a different URL.
The use of this hreflang attribute helps search engines understand relevant content for users based on their language and location preferences. This can improve user experience and help improve the ranking of web pages in search results.
11. Increase Website Loading Speed
This technical SEO is very important for you to pay attention to. When web crawlers browse slow website pages, some of your website content may not be indexed in search engine databases. The slowness of a website makes the crawling process ineffective.
From the user's point of view, a slow website will certainly not provide a good experience for them. Thus, users will leave the website faster so that the website's bounce rate increases.
To improve site speed for better SEO performance, consider the following steps:
Reduce Unnecessary Plugins
Remove any plugins that you don't think you should install. Choose a number of plugins that you think are important and have a good effect on the website.
Reduce Image Size
reduce the pixel size of the images on your website. For example, an image is 780x420, after checking GTMetrix it should be 300x162.
try to choose an image with a size of less than 1 MB. If it's heavy, then your website loading will be slow.
Use Caching Plugins
Caching is the process of temporarily storing data coming from a website. The goal is to speed up the website loading process and optimize technical SEO.
Enable Gzip Compression
You can use a WordPress plugin called Check and Enable GZIP Compression to enable Gzip Compression. The goal is to reduce the file size. Thus, loading the website will take place faster.
Minify is the process of removing characters that you don't use in your code structure. Thus, the code file becomes lighter and can be executed quickly. Website loading is also faster and technical SEO is more optimal.
Use Hosting with High Speed Levels
First check the hosting you are using has speed problems or not. If there is a problem, you should immediately move all of your website data to a faster hosting service provider.
Use a Content Distribution Network (CDN)
A CDN stores copies of your website on servers located in different geographic locations. This minimizes the distance between users and your website, improving loading times.
Consider AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
Implementing AMP can significantly improve mobile loading speed, as these pages are designed to load almost instantly.
12. Make use of Breadcrumbs
Breadcrumbs can be a secondary navigation system to show the location of visitors on a website. Tracing links can help visitors to your website to track their tracks. Starting from the page you are currently on go to the home page of your website.
13. Use Structured Data
Structured data are lines of code that contain information about the content of a page. Structured data is made to tell the content explicitly to search engines so that it can understand a web page better.
Building structured data is an act of helping Google understand your website content through creating detailed site descriptions in language (code) that Google can easily understand.
For example, your structured data might include content or article titles, descriptions, and other elements embedded in code (schema) that Google likes.
You can try accessing Structured Data Markup Helper from Google to find out more about structured data.
To implement schema markup for better search engine visibility, follow these steps:
- Identify Relevant Schema Types: Determine which types of schema markup are most relevant to your website content. Common schema types include articles, products, reviews, events, recipes, and local business information.
- Use Structured Data Markup Helper: Google provides a Structured Data Markup Helper tool that makes it easier to create schema markup. Go to the tool, select your preferred data type, and enter the URL of the page you want to mark up.
- Add Markup to HTML: Once you've selected your data type and entered the URL, the tool will generate a snippet of HTML code with the necessary schema markup. Add this code to the appropriate sections of your HTML.
- Validate Schema Markup: To ensure your schema markup is correctly implemented, use the Structured Data Testing Tool provided by Google. Paste your URL into the tool and check for any errors or warnings.
- Follow Schema.org Guidelines: Refer to the Schema.org website for detailed documentation on each type of schema markup. Follow their guidelines to ensure accurate and effective implementation.
Technical SEO audit tools
To perform a technical SEO audit for your website, you can use this recommended tools. By conducting a technical SEO audit, you can identify and address any underlying technical issues that may be negatively affecting your website's performance in search engine rankings.
There are several technical SEO audit tools available that can help you analyze and optimize your website. Here are some popular ones:
- Google Search Console: This free tool from Google provides valuable insights into your website's performance in search results. It helps you identify indexing issues, crawl errors, and provides data on search queries, backlinks, and more.
- Screaming Frog: This desktop tool allows you to crawl websites and analyze various technical aspects such as broken links, duplicate content, missing metadata, and more. It provides detailed reports and helps you identify and fix issues.
- SEMrush: This all-in-one SEO tool offers a wide range of features, including technical SEO auditing. It helps you identify issues like broken links, duplicate content, missing headers, and provides recommendations for improvement.
- Moz Pro: Moz Pro offers a suite of SEO tools, including a site crawler that helps you identify technical issues like broken links, duplicate content, and missing metadata. It also provides insights into keyword rankings and backlinks.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is primarily known for its backlink analysis capabilities, but it also offers a site audit tool. It helps you identify technical issues, crawl errors, and provides recommendations for improvement.
- DeepCrawl: DeepCrawl is a comprehensive website crawler that helps you identify technical SEO issues, including broken links, duplicate content, and missing metadata. It provides detailed reports and helps you prioritize fixes.
- Sitebulb: Sitebulb is a powerful desktop tool that provides in-depth technical SEO audits. It helps you identify issues such as broken links, duplicate content, missing headers, and more. It also provides detailed reports and recommendations for improvement.
- Ryte: Ryte is a comprehensive SEO tool that offers a range of features, including technical SEO auditing. It helps you identify issues like broken links, duplicate content, and missing metadata. It also provides insights into website performance and optimization opportunities.
- SEO Spider: SEO Spider is a desktop tool that crawls websites and provides detailed technical SEO analysis. It helps you identify issues like broken links, duplicate content, missing metadata, and more. It also offers features like XML sitemap generation and website visualization.
- Varvy SEO Tool: Varvy SEO Tool is a free online tool that provides a quick and easy technical SEO audit. It checks for issues like mobile-friendliness, page speed, and overall website health. It also provides recommendations for improvement.