Undoubtedly, SEO is a boon to your business. But, mastering SEO basics is just the bare minimum.
#1 URL Structure
URL is the first impressive thing both the search engines and the users are likely to see.
By the way, I don’t insist you not to optimize the URL’s. Yes, I mean it since it is not good to change URL’s like you play around with other SEO factors. Get them perfect for the first time itself.
Many people never care about their URL structure having it non-optimized. I don’t say, Google doesn’t accept those URL’s. But, having your URL’s optimized (keep it short, embed keywords, and make it descriptive) improves user experience and search engine visibility.
By the way, lengthy and ugly URL’s can even make you lose some link building opportunities too.
Avoid using dynamic URL’s that confuses and never entices any user to click through.
Build easy to follow, keyword-rich, descriptive, and short URLs.
Let’s consider – if your post title is “WordPress speed optimization tips to make your site lightning faster” Note: posted under the category ‘WordPress.’
URL https://www.domain.com/wordpress-speed-optimization-tips-to-make-your-site-lightning-faster/ is not bad. It can also rank.
But, URL https://www.domain.com/wordpress/speed-optimization-tips/ is more targeted and easy to remember. Isn’t it?
Also, the URL structure that uses category –> subcategory –> product helps with navigation.
Despite all, I don’t recommend you to change the URL’s of your existing posts as it makes little sense.
But, you can practice the best practices now and then for your upcoming posts.
#2 Page Speed
Don’t take it too lightly as I am talking about this critical technical SEO factor – page speed, too late (#8).
Indeed, please be noted that I haven’t listed the factors in a hierarchy.
As we all know, SEO is not at all a game that gets results changing one big factor for once. It’s a series of steps making little, incremental changes considering tonnes of metrics.
In that case, page loading speed is a great boon or bane to any site impacting SEO performance.
Faster is better. Be the FASTEST, then!
Make your site load within 2 seconds to serve your audience (what they want) before your competitors do. Otherwise, you will be incurring a loss in terms of traffic, engagement, click-through, conversions, and hence, revenue.
Also, search engine crawlers would take more time to crawl and index every single slow-loading page on your site. That can even eat up your crawl budget before being your important pages is indexed.
Certainly, handling site speed is, of course, involves a lot of technical gigs. Get started with testing your site’s current speed and performance using these tools.
- Google Page Speed Insights
- Pingdom Tools
Also, you will get clarity on the metrics that slow down your site and recommendations to fix the issues.
Generally, you can employ the below tactics to make your website faster –
- Upgrade hosting
- Optimize your site images
- Compress and clean code
- Activate browser caching
- Minify JS & CSS
- Upgrade WordPress, PHP and all plug-ins to its latest versions
- Avoid adding too many external scripts to the header
- Minimize the usage of plug-ins
- Use CDN & so on.
You can also get access to our proven WordPress speed optimization Checklist for the price of your email id.
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#3 Duplicate Content
Google tries hard to deliver the most appropriate search results to the online users. Since 2011, Google Panda update was targeting low-quality, thin, and duplicate content.
The users are not likely to consume your copied and deceptive content. Hence, Google doesn’t like content plagiarism.
Duplicate content refers to the content that is the same (word-for-word) as the other on other sites or different pages on the same site.
Check out this sample –
appreciates delivering duplicate content to the users.
values delivering copy content to the clients.
Indeed, this falls under content duplication; even it is slightly rewritten or spun.
When it comes to content creation, it’s our responsibility to make it unique. Not to mention, producing a distinct piece of write-ups.
Why should Google consider your content as it already has a page with the same content in its index?
So, it is always awesome and pleasure to bring out your original content to the seekers.
Meanwhile, it is always a pain to create such breath-taking, non-plagiarized content. But, when you want your pages to rank better, you must.
Technically speaking, multiple pages with similar content frustrate Google spiders to crawl and index.
Also, it dissipates your crawl budget.
Before publishing your content, make sure it is original and stands-out using any mature plagiarism checker tools.
As seen above, intimate Google about your preferred domains to avoid duplicate content issues.
In the case of eCommerce sites that have multiple pages for a single product (individual page for each color, size, etc.), use canonical tags to tell search engines about your primary page and to ignore other similar pages.
In another case, if you have pages with similar content, merge those into a single mega page like the content hub.
For an instant, you have individual articles on –
Instagram marketing in 2020
LinkedIn marketing in 2020
Twitter marketing in 2020
Remove the duplicate content and combine all the three posts into one amazing blog post as “Social Media Marketing 2020.”
Ultimately, get into Google’s good books (index) as a trustworthy resource, consistently producing original and valuable content.
#4 Structured Data
Structured data has nothing to do with your ranking boosts, directly. But, it is one of the most demanding factors to improve your click-through rates.
Other than typical search results, Google has multiple other things like knowledge graph, People also ask, Top stories, Featured snippets, Image pack, Video carousel, and more.
With all these, Google intends to render the necessary information to its users, hassle-free. That means, even with no clicks, the user gets information.
Just targeting Google text results is still inadequate.
Structured data is the code you can add to your web page that lets search engines to understand the context of your content better and display rich results to the users.
It’s a way to describe your content to the search engines in its language, schema.org. You will be using one of these formats to display rich search results.
Once you set your page using structured schema data, test it using the Google Structured Data testing tool. Make sure it doesn’t comply with Google’s structured markup guidelines.
The most commonly used structured data are recipes, events, reviews, product stock, business working hours, etc.
Rich snippets can alert Google that your page is more informative than the surrounding results. Also, data-rich results would tweak users to click through your page.
#5 Mobile-first Indexing
When the volume of mobile searches dominates the desktop, Google decided to index your site’s mobile version first.
Earlier, it was indexing the desktop version of your site, evaluating the relevance of the page content to the search query. To prioritize the mobile results, Google switches over to this mobile-first indexing.
Keep in mind; Google has no separate index for mobile versions. It has only one index to fetch the results.
When you have a mobile-optimized site, your pages will rank well on both mobile and desktop search results. Otherwise, if you don’t have, then this will adversely impact both desktop and mobile rankings.
There is an exponential increase in searches that include more personal and conversational slang like me, my & I. And, these queries are raised mostly through mobile devices.
Google states that these kinds of personalized queries fall under the categories – solving a problem, getting things done, and exploring things around.
What makes your site mobile-friendly?
These are the major aspects to define your site is mobile-friendly.
- Site loading speed for mobile users
- Ease of use on mobile devices (User experience, navigation, readability, all includes)
Check your site’s mobile-friendliness today using this Google tool.
If your website does pass the mobile test, you don’t worry about mobile-first indexing.
In other cases, if your site fails or if you have a separate mobile website (on a sub-domain or sub-directory) –
- Use mobile responsive themes to design simple but bold website.
- Make sure the mobile website content remains the same as the desktop version.
- Ensure that both mobile and desktop sites have the same structured data.
- Put the same title, meta tags, and description on both.
- Use only supported formats of visuals.
- Avoid or minimize using the pop-ups that annoy mobile users while scrolling.
- Strategically place your CTA’s not to deviate the mobile readers.
- Optimize your content for local searches.
- Keep your paragraphs short for better readability.
- Make your site even faster.
- Don’t use Flash (users don’t have supporting plug-ins in their mobile phones). Instead, use HTML5 for adding special effects.
Don’t let the lack of mobile-friendliness suffer your desktop rankings too. Focus on optimizing your site to be mobile-friendly. Mobile internet use contributes more than half of the total internet use.
#6 404 Error Pages
It is always essential to spend some time to make your site functioning smoothly. Keep your website organized, checking, and fixing the error pages.
Such error pages have many adverse effects on your website.
Most importantly, 404 error – ‘page not found’ upsets the user, as well as Google, doesn’t want to kill its crawling time landing on such ‘not-available’ pages.
So, you must quickly identify and fix those 404 errors.
A 404 error occurs when the particular page is not available or permanently moved. It happens when you delete or remove the pages, re-launch your website, or transfers domain (with no proper redirections); URL restructuring would cause 404 error pages.
You can identify such pages from Google Search Console –> Index –> Coverage –> Error.
Once identified, here is how you can handle 404 pages.
If you have similar content on some other pages on your site, you can redirect the users to that.
Otherwise, display a message that the page is no longer available. Additionally, you can have the search option (on the 404 pages), letting users search for something else on your site. Here is a screenshot on the site 3Hundrd.
You can be more creative to convince the visitors and make them stay on your site even after landing on your 404 pages.
Rather than using redirects, customize the error pages not to lose the customers.
#7 Canonical URL’s
Canonical tags are added to your HTML pages to tell bots about your primary page to index, in case of having multiple other similar pages. In such a case, search engines would consolidate the entire ranking signals to the particular page.
Like, how we do instruct Google about your single preferred domain.
Also, as we have seen above (under the section content supplication), you can use rel=” canonical” to avoid duplicate content issues.
Consider, you have individual pages (for each color) for a single product, “Nike Superbad Football Gloves.”
In this case, you can rel=canonical those pages to the primary page.
Primary URL: https://www.example.com/product/nike-superbad-5-0-football-gloves-mens.html
Other URLs with similar content:
If all the four URLs are indexed, entitling duplicate content issues, then there is no point. So, include a canonical link on these pages, pointing to your original URL.
Redirects are inevitable to keep your site aligned and up-to-date. It can save you from issues related to broken pages, page not found, etc.
At the same time, redirects can also eat up your crawl budget if you overdo. More number of redirections can also slow down your site.
Indeed, more redirects you have, the user will take more time to settle on their desired landing pages. That is never appreciable in the perspectives of both SEO and user experience.
Most importantly, avoid redirect loops (chain of redirects for the same page) to the core since too many redirects will end up in an infinite loop.
For an instant, you redirected Page x to page y, a long time before and forgotten. Now, redirecting page y to page x is an awful error.
And, don’t redirect all your 404 pages to your home page. Deliver custom messages enabling users to take necessary action within the same page.
In case you are planning to migrate your big sites that have hundreds and thousands of pages, make sure to do a 302 temporarily redirect first. Make sure all the URL’s work properly. Check Google analytics for awkward outcomes (if any) then switch from 302 to 301 permanent.
If you are not so confident about all these technical kinds of stuff, hire a developer or technical SEO analyst to help you.
#9 Multi-lingual Settings
When you are into running a business that targets a worldwide audience, then there are abundant technical aspects to optimize.
In general, experts define it as international SEO.
Similar to your typical SEO, you should promote your content and build backlinks. Besides, here are some of the areas to consider targeting multi-lingual audiences.
Google recommends dedicated URL’s that clearly highlights the specific language. Understand if your target audience prefers to surf on ccTLD sites, and then go for it.
Further, use language switchers so that users will find it easy to switch between the different versions and browse in what language they are comfortable with.
Again, content is always crucial.
How you display the translated content on your multiple versions of the site have a big impact on website performance.
Add Hreflang tags to your pages source code to let search engines know that you have multiple site versions with similar content but targeting different languages. That also helps spiders to understand the region for which the page is intended for.
Doing which, you can see the appropriate version of your site ranking for geo-specific or local search queries.
For example, if there is a search query from Australia, your Canada site version should not rank when you have a separate version for Australia.
Avoid using automated content translation.
Also, don’t ever think to auto-redirect your users to other versions of the site even you understand their preferred language through their browser cookies.
Technical SEO – Frequently Asked Questions
1) Should any basic site requires technical SEO?
No matter, how fresh or old, big or small, your website is. Making a website faster, easier to crawl, and understandable for search engines helps in boosting your SERP rankings drastically.
2) What are the characteristics of a technically optimized website?
A technically good website is fast for users, and easy to crawl for search engines. Indeed, that is what any website needs.
3) Can a search engine index password-protected pages?
No, the search engines can’t index the pages that are password-protected. It is also an easy way to prevent certain pages that are not to be indexed by search engines.
4) Does the spider runs through every link on a particular web page?
Being the internet is growing fast, it is difficult for any search engines to index every link over the web. Still, there are great chances that they can index every page on your site and every links on it. Get your site listed on more authority domains to accelerate the time search engines take to index your pages.
5) Can start-ups handle these technical SEO gigs?
There is no much complications, still keep some proven technical SEO guide alongside while technically optimizing. There are abundant resources available online. Wherever you got stuck, make sure to get assistance from the SEO experts. Indeed, experience is always a good teacher.
Finally, Let’s Wrap Up On Technical SEO Factors!
Have you ever wondered why SEO professionals are on high demand and charging hundreds of dollars per month for their services?
In this article, we have just touched the major aspects of technical SEO and brief about each. There are still more technical elements in real-time.
Technical SEO experts keep upgrading their skills on these hard elements of SEO (technical SEO factors). It might have taken their years of time to master these.
Hence, they are the most expensive and sought-after.
Still, you can learn things and master in SEO over time and experience. Just pick one or two factors, test and try optimizing your site. Check the results and fine-tune further. Keep extending your SEO efforts and bang the SERP results.
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