Previously, we discussed the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for businesses. In this post, we will highlight crucial technical SEO factors that affect your website ranking and what you need to do in 2020.
The purpose of SEO is to ensure your website ranks high on search engines like Google so potential customers will find you when typing in specific keywords when looking for products, services of solutions, that you offer.
WHAT IS TECHNICAL SEO?
Technical SEO falls under what is known as “On-page SEO” which is the optimization that takes place on your website. “On-page” includes both the content and the underlying coding structure (technical SEO). However, since technical SEO requires technical knowledge and skills to code correctly, I feel it is appropriate to examine this aspect of SEO on its own.
Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website for the crawling and indexing phase. It is called “technical” because it has nothing to do with the actual content of the site or with website promotion. The main goal of technical SEO is to optimize the infrastructure of a website so search engines access, crawl, interpret and index your site without any problems.
This may seem very technical and dry for a digital marketer. However, it is important that you are aware of what is required for a website on the technical SEO level.
When you work with a web designer or IT development company to build your website, ensure they know how to develop one that is SEO optimized.
One of Google’s most important ranking factors is user experience. If the user experience is poor, Google will penalize the website and not rank it high.
Here are some technical factors that can affect user experience as well as a search engine’s ability to rank your website accurately:
NAVIGATION AND WEBSITE STRUCTURE
Good navigation design provides users with a better experience as they are more likely to stay on a website longer and find the information they need faster. A good website structure also helps search engines understand and index a site easier.
Robots.txt is a text file residing in the root directory of your website that gives instructions to search engines as to which pages of your site they can crawl and add to their index.
OPTIMIZE YOUR URL STRUCTURE
Format your website’s URL structure following best SEO practices, such as:
- Use lowercase characters
- Use – to separate words in the URL
- Make them short and descriptive
- Avoid using unnecessary characters or words
- Use your target keywords in the URL without overusing them
OPTIMIZE YOUR XML SITEMAP
An XML Sitemap is an XML file that lists all pages/posts available on your website and is submitted to the search engine. Search engines use the XML sitemap as a guide when crawling a site.
ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE IS SECURE
Google will now penalize non-secure websites, so be sure to install an SSL on your server that allows your site to be accessed using https and not http.
The “https” prefix before a URL indicates that any information transferred between your website and server (such as usernames, passwords, personal data, etc.) is encrypted.
OPTIMIZE YOUR WEBSITE SPEED
Google regularly highlights the importance of a website’s speed in all its SEO recommendations and studies.
Speed tests need to be conducted, and if your website is lagging, it will require making changes to your website, content (image sizes) and infrastructure to get good results.
In June 2021, website speed or page speed became even more important as Google made Core Web Vitals one of their ranking signals. Read more about Core Web Vitals here.
ENSURE YOUR WEBSITE IS MOBILE FRIENDLY
It is an essential SEO requirement to have a mobile-friendly website due to most of your users being on mobile and with the introduction of the mobile-first index by Google.
Mobile-friendliness requires a responsive website design that requires technical knowledge on how to set it up unless you use a content management system like WordPress with a responsive theme.
Mobile SEO is becoming increasingly essential to online marketers. Mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide. In the first quarter of 2021, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 54.8 percent of global website traffic, consistently hovering around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017.
Check out this blog post on how to optimise your SEO for mobile.