According to a 2018 statistics report, over 51% of Australian businesses have an online presence. This comes with the high technological growth and the rate at which customers seek online services.
However, it’s essential to note that having a website is not a do-and-forget thing. Instead, several factors determine the ability of your website to rank.
What is technical SEO? You may have asked yourself such a question when analysing your web presence.
We focus on this subcategory of search engine optimisation to show what it entails. And the benefits it houses towards your website’s success in the SERPs ranking.
Here’s a detailed breakdown.
What Is Technical SEO
This is the process of structuring your website to allow search engines robots to crawl and index it. While this may seem like a standalone aspect, it’s best to know the crucial factors in play.
It gets the definition “technical” since it has nothing to do with your website’s content. Here are the technical SEO basics.
Website Load Speed
According to facts, an average of one in four web users click away if a site fails to load in four seconds or less. Therefore, when structuring your website, you want to have a high retention rate and reduce the bounce rate.
With a fast load speed, visitors access information and are likely to stay longer. The opposite will happen if it has a longer load speed.
With the high number of web users using mobile devices, the need to have a mobile-friendly site is inevitable. You want to grab their attention by ensuring your website content fits well in their small screens.
If unsure of your website’s mobile-friendliness, Google’s mobile-friendly test tool helps website owners. Here you will know if you have any issues and help correct them.
The nature of your site structure can break or make your website. You want to have an excellently structured website to allow easy crawling and indexing.
A proper website architecture consists of sitemap, breadcrumbs, and robots.txt. Each has its unique responsibility as follows.
It usually serves two primary purposes in a website. First, it helps users navigate different pages without clicking the back tab on their browser. Second, it hints your website structure to the search engines.
This guides the crawlers throughout your website, and it’s usually in HTML or XML. It also helps website users identify particular pages on your site.
Besides sitemaps highlighting pages, it also shows your content’s publish and last update dates.
Do you have any pages that you want the search engine robots to skip? Robot.txt directs the robots on which pages to index and which to ignore.
The robot.txt file’s format is usually straightforward, and you mostly don’t have to make changes.
Cybercrimes are rampant, and it’s essential to have measures to curb the problem. Search engines usually award secure sites, and you want your site to be one of them.
So be sure to check if your site promotes secure web browsing since this hurts or boosts your search rankings.
Why is Technical SEO Important
The search engines’ primary goal is to give users valuable results that satisfy their queries. However, users will likely search elsewhere if they prioritise slow and unresponsive sites on the SERPs.
The same happens to your site when the search engines crawl and index it. If it has confusing sitemap elements, slow load times, and is unresponsive, it gets ranked low.
A proper technical SEO audit helps you analyse your site’s ranking ability and shows areas to improve. Search engine robots will notice your compliance and boost your rankings higher.
How to Do a Technical SEO Audit
Whether you set up your website recently or have been using it for some time, doing audits is essential. You want to keep your site in shape to ensure its ranking isn’t affected.
While you can do this yourself, not all individuals know to do a proper technical audit. If unsure, seeking the help of a search engine optimisation specialist is the best choice.
Here’s the technical SEO audit process.
Crawl Your Website
Every technical audit session starts with an in-depth site crawling. There are crawling tools available to help you do this easily.
They help identify low word count and duplicate content, page issues, and poor images. You can also use the Google Search Console to check your crawling budget. This report shows you how many pages get crawled and their crawl frequency.
You can also manually search your site to see which pages appear in the search results. For example, any indexed page will show up upon using the “site:rootdomain” search.
Check Available Versions
If your website has more than one version, it sends mixed signals to the search engines. This confuses them since they won’t know which version should get shown to the web users.
You could be getting this error due to your website’s presence of HTTPS and HTTP versions. Google is prioritising HTTPS websites since they are more secure than the latter.
So, when ensuring you only have one browsable website version, be sure to follow Google’s set guidelines.
Your sitemap guides the search engine’s robots to discover new pages and index them. Thus it’s an essential part of your site’s technical audit process.
You give the search engines an easy crawl time by ensuring a clean, concise, and updated sitemap. It’s also essential to ensure it’s registered on the Google Search Console.
This gets done manually or can be specified through your robots.txt file.
Check Internal and External Links
Instances of deleted or moved web pages are inevitable and result in broken links. This affects user experience and will likely increase your website’s bounce rate.
There are tools you can use to check for broken links on your site if you choose to do a DIY technical SEO audit. First, check for any highlighted “404 not found” reports as they show broken links.
An experienced SEO specialist is your best option to consult to ensure you do not miss any errors.
Test Website Speed
People are impatient and will scour away if your site loads slowly. So, testing your site loading time is essential when doing an audit.
Leverage Real-Time Metrics
If your website provides live metrics, it means your analytics code is appropriately installed. However, if you don’t get accurate metrics, the code needs fixing.
The results you get should be close to or the same as those in the “site:rootdomain” search.
Do a Backlink Audit
Backlinks are an important signal to search engines and shows users value your content. However, it’s also essential to note that search engines also crawl off-site brand mentions.
A good audit shows you the quality and quantity of backlinks you have and areas of value. It also shows your competitors’ backlinks and keywords.
To finalise your audit session, ensure you recrawl your site to identify missed errors.
Qualities Of a Good Website
After running a proper SEO audit, you can expect to notice significant changes to your website. The best part is that search engines pick on these changes fast and prioritise your website rankings.
These are characteristics of a quality website.
Faster Load Speed
About 53% of web users click away if a website’s load speed is long. It’s hence essential to ensure your website load speed is fast.
A well-audited site will have fast load times and less bounce rate.
Has No Broken Links
As discussed above, broken links impact user experience and reduce retention. And since websites are subject to frequent updates, keeping your links updated is essential.
To reduce the chances of search engines and users encountering errors, redirect moved links.
Has Security Measures
A secure website is a healthy website. You can confirm whether your website’s data is secured by clicking on the lock at the search bar.
Search engines show users a site is insecure, which will impact your SEO ranking. Using an SSL certification is one way to ensure your website promotes secure web browsing.
Lacks Content Issues
The presence of duplicate content is detrimental to your SERPs ranking. Whether the content is within your site or off-page, such instances confuse the search engines.
A quality website will have its content issues streamlined and the correct canonical links in place.
Is Easily Crawlable
Search engines’ crawl robots use your site’s architecture to find and index your pages. Therefore, identifying pages you want to be indexed or ignored is essential.
This precise directive enhances your site’s crawl-ability and improves your rankings.
Learn More About Technical SEO
Having an online presence is not a one-time-initiate and forget project. You need to keep your website updated and delightful to users and search engines.
This is why regular search optimisation audits are necessary. The above post answers “what is technical SEO” and its importance to help your website rank higher.
Do you have an online presence and need to get your SEO strategy right? Contact us today and engage with experienced specialists.