In SEO, technical SEO plays a significant factor. If your technical SEO is not proper, then there are possibilities that you won't generate the expected results.
It is crucial to understand Technical SEO and the best practices to follow. The good news is that once you are done fixing website problems based on a Technical SEO audit, you won't have to work on it again.
This post will help you understand the technical SEO and five technical SEO practices YOU SHOULD NOT AVOID.
What Is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO optimizes the website that meets the technical eligibility of modern search engines to improve organic ranking in search engines.
Crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture are the critical elements of Technical SEO.
Why Is Technical SEO Important?
No matter how good your web design or your content is, if your Technical SEO is not done correctly, how will your website rank?
Google and Other search engines need Technical SEO optimized websites to find, crawl, render and index the pages on your website.
Technical SEO Best Practices
Now that we know what technical SEO is, let's work on the best Technical SEO practices to follow. Check out the list below and implement the changes on your website.
- Specify a Preferred Domain
- Optimize Your 404 Page
- Add SSL to your website.
- Optimize your XML Sitemap
- Optimize Your URL Structure
1. Specify a Preferred Domain
You need to specify your favored domain when setting up your website, so you can instruct search engines on which variation of the domain you are going to use.
Why do you need this?
A website can be accessed with www and without www before the domain name by default. (Ex http://www.google.com and http://google.com)
Let us consider your website; users can access your website by both http://www.yourdomain.com and http://yourdomain.com (without www)
It's normal for humans, but it confuses the search engines as they consider these as two different websites or web pages, which will result in indexing issues, duplicate content problems, and loss of page rank in search engines.
It would be best if you inform the search engines about your preferred domain. This is a solution that will save you.
Which one should we prefer, www or no www?
Many people have questions regarding whether to use the www domain or the no www domain.
It depends on you which one you personally prefer as there is no SEO advantage for choosing one format over the other.
How to set your preferred domain?
Earlier you had to set your preferred domain in Google Search Console, but now google decided to remove this option and let us rely on canonical URLs.
2. Optimize Your 404 Page
A 404 page is used when the users visit a web page that does not exist. The web page isn’t there because of many reasons like the URL was changed, one of them could be the wrong URL while typing in the browser.
Most of the latest WordPress themes have already optimized 404 pages by default. If not, you can easily create SEO-friendly 404 pages using a plugin or making changes to your theme templates.
What is an Optimized 404 page?
An optimized 404 page should include :
1) All the pages on your website should have the same structure as Navigation Menu. (Default website menu)
2) Informing the users in a friendly manner or language that the page they are looking for is no longer available.
3) Give them alternative suggestions of related topics they can visit.
4) Make the process of going back to the previous page, your homepage, or other essential pages easy for your users.
How to check your 404 pages?
Check how your 404 pages are working by opening a new browser window and typing the Web Page or Posts URL on your website that does not exist. What will be shown in the browser is your 404 page.
Instead of spending too much time optimizing your 404 pages, just make sure your users return on a custom 404 page when the page is not found.
3. Add an SSL Certificate to make your Website HTTPS
One of the essential factors and latest trends on the Internet is Security. HTTPS is famously known as a ranking signal and the best way to establish trust with your users.
SSL on your server helps you and your users access your website using HTTPS and not HTTP. It indicates all the information transferred between your website and server is encrypted.
In the past, SSL was an essential factor for eCommerce websites, but nowadays, the SSL certificate is a must for every website.
If you want to install an SSL certificate on your website, you should contact your hosting provider and request them to enable SSL on your hosting account. Later, for activating an SSL certificate, you need to follow proper migration procedures without losing your rankings.
4. Optimize your XML Sitemap
XML sitemap optimization is an essential factor in SEO and Technical SEO.a
An XML Sitemap is an XML format file that consists of the lists of all pages/posts available on the website. It also includes the last updated date and published date.
XML sitemap guides search engines when crawling a particular website.
How to optimize your XML sitemap?
Only include essential pages, posts, factors, and categories of your website in your sitemap.
Don't include pages, author pages, or other pages with no original content on their own in your sitemap.
Your sitemap should automatically update whenever a new page is published or when a page is updated.
If you want to submit your sitemap, then use the Google search console to submit your sitemap to Google and Bing webmaster tools to submit it to Bing.
5. Optimize Your URL Structure
Revising the URL structure of your website should be there in your technical SEO audit list. It means improving the format of your URLs.
Must follow list for optimizing URL structure:
- It would help if you used "-" to separate words in the URL.
- Always prefer lowercase characters
- It should be short and descriptive.
- Include target keywords in the URL. (Make sure to avoid keyword stuffing)
- Try avoiding unnecessary words or characters.
Once you decide and define your permanent link structure, you will have to optimize your URLs when publishing new content.
If you are using WordPress, you will notice that WordPress automatically creates the link based on the post title.
If you change the permanent link structure, you can use 301 redirects.
Technical SEO is all about changes and settings, which helps optimize and guide Search Engines to Crawl and Index without facing any problems.
Once you are aware and made all technical SEO changes, you won't have to deal with them now and then, other than doing periodical SEO audits.
You should have some technical knowledge to complete some of the tasks (Like adding an SSL certificate, changing the URL structure, etc.), and it's necessary to do it, or else the website won't reach its full potential.
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