How much really goes into ranking a website?
There are numerous aspects to consider when managing a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy, with technical SEO being one of the most important.
If the technical SEO is not correct, it will probably mean your overall SEO strategy will not provide the anticipated results.
What does technical SEO involve?
An SEO strategy aims to optimise a website to gain quality organic traffic from search engines. A great SEO strategy will provide quality content, a great structure, trust, context and also ensure search engines are able to index the website.
Technical SEO involves optimising a website for the indexing and crawling phases. By enabling search engines to access your website, crawl, understand and index it, there are unlikely to be any technical issues which prevent your site from being listed in search results.
How to achieve effective technical SEO
The first aspect to consider in technical SEO management is the preferred website domain. A domain is accessible with or without ‘www’ in front of the domain, which is not a problem for users, but it can cause difficulties for search engines.
Search engines are unable to understand that both variations are the same website, so it quickly identifies the two domains as duplicate content with domain indexing issues. To solve this issue and improve page positioning in result pages, it is important to let the search engines know which your preferred domain choice is.
Manage your Robots.txt
This is a text file which is located in the root directory of your website. Its role is to provide search engines with instructions about which pages of your site to crawl and index.
In most cases the simple format of the file means no changes are necessary, but it is important to check that the page blockers are correct.
Add structured data to pages
The role of structured data within SEO is becoming more important as it is used by Google within the search result pages.
This data can be added to pages within a website to help the crawlers understand the context of the information. To ensure your website is listed properly you should use the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
Optimise your website URLs
The most effective URLs are optimised for SEO by using targeted keywords and lowercase letters, but also being concise and descriptive.
Once the URLs for a site are optimised, it is important to follow this structure for any new content.
Manage the website navigation
The overall website structure and navigation is an important aspect of all SEO strategies.
By ensuring a website is easy to navigate through clear categories, breadcrumb menus and an XML sitemap, users are more likely to browse your website for a longer period of time. It will also help search engines crawl and index your website.
Ensure your canonical URLs are in place
Every page within a website should have a canonical URL. This tag is used to tell Google which version of a page it should crawl and index.
It is particularly useful when multiple pages within a website have the same URL, such as the home page and blog posts. This removes any potential ranking issues due to duplicate content.
Optimise the 404 page
Although many websites already have a default 404 page in place, it is important to ensure it is optimised for SEO.
It should be easy to understand, provide links to alternative pages and also follow the same structure as other pages on the website.
Improve website speed
A fast website will benefit from higher levels of traffic, lower bounce rates and a higher position in search results.
To improve website speed, it is likely the website infrastructure will need tweaking. A few examples of effective methods are to upgrade the server and any plugins, optimise images and avoid the use of too many scripts.
Establish trust and security with HTTPS
Installing SSL to your server is an important factor of SEO and will build trust among those who browse your website. This is a major ranking factor for Google.
Adding an SSL certificate ensures that any information which is transferred between your site and the server is encrypted, this is especially important for eCommerce websites.
Optimise for mobiles
Google is now ranking mobile-friendly websites above those who are not optimised for mobile browsing.
It is important that your mobile site includes the same content as the desktop site while loading quickly through the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Sounds a bit much? Don’t worry…
Technical SEO is just one aspect to consider in an SEO strategy, which should also focus on off-page and on-page SEO.
If you need any help at all with your SEO, then please contact our team.