What is technical SEO? Best practices for building websites that rank organically on search engines.
Updated: Dec 12, 2022
When you create a website, you're not just creating a website, but a website that's discoverable on the internet. You see, without good SEO, your website might as well be a house without a road to it—no one will find it! Your website needs to be found by people online, and that's what SEO is all about.
Technical SEO is a subset of SEO that focuses on the technical aspects of your website—things like how it's structured, where it lives on the web, what its name is and whether or not it is mobile-friendly. In this blog post, we'll demystify technical SEO and all the major elements that relate to it.
What is technical SEO?
Technical SEO is the process of making sure your website is search engine friendly. It's the process of ensuring your website complies with search engine standards and best practices. In simple terms, technical SEO encompasses everything from ensuring your site loads quickly, to organizing content in a way that makes sense for users and search engines alike.
While there are lots of details involved in technical SEO (and we'll go into more detail on this shortly), at its core it includes:
Ensuring your code is clean and well structured
Implementing an effective site architecture that allows visitors to easily navigate through your site
Ensuring fast load times
While there are a number of things you can do to improve your technical SEO, there are also some that are essential. These basic technical SEO tips will help your site be more successful in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why is technical SEO important?
You may have heard that technical SEO is important. But why?
First, let's look at the big picture. As search engines become smarter, they're better at parsing content and giving searchers what they want. That means it's more important than ever to optimize your website for relevance so your site (and its content) can be found by search engines in the first place!
Second, there’s a lot more competition out there as well—from other websites trying to rank near you on search engine results pages (SERPs), especially if there are similar keywords being used by those sites in their titles or descriptions. You could have been ranking #1 for “coffee shop Nairobi” but now there are 50 others with exactly the same name vying for that spot along with all of the other businesses in Nairobi!
Thirdly, Google isn't just looking at what words appear on a page anymore; it's also examining things like how well-structured each page is and whether links lead back to it (or elsewhere). Basically, if your site is messy or has broken links—or both—you'll likely be penalized when someone tries searching those terms later on down the road.
Technical SEO encompasses a wide range of factors that impact search engine rankings. It requires an understanding of how Google works, including what it looks for and how you can use those same principles to improve your own content so more people find it useful when searching online.
Technical SEO fundamentals
It's crucial that you ensure that your website is easily crawlable. Search engines use crawlers or bots to systematically browse the internet and index content, data and pages. Crawlability is a major factor in the ranking of your website. It refers to how well search engines can access your site. If a site has any issues with crawlability, it could lead to problems with search engine rankings and even a penalty from Google.
Crawlability issues can also result in lost traffic due to poor ranking performance, as well as decreased revenue from low traffic volumes or lack of conversions on poorly performing pages
2. Duplicate Meta Data
Duplicate metadata is also a problem. Metadata is the information about your website that search engines use to understand what your site is about. In addition to your main title, you can have multiple other titles, descriptions and keywords. Ideally, these all mean different things for each page on your site so that Google will understand which content relates to which keyword query.
Keep track of duplicate meta-data with Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). If any duplicate titles or descriptions appear in Search Console then remove them from one page or merge them into one unique description/title if possible.
3. Indexing and Canonicalisation
When you search for something in Google, you’re actually looking at the index. The index is an internal list of URLs that Google has seen on the web – think of it as a big digital phone book. When you enter a query into Google and it returns results, these are taken from its index.
What is Indexing?
Indexing involves crawling through your website to find all the pages linked to from other sites (which means they exist) and those that don’t have any incoming links but do exist on their own domain name (known as ‘dofollow’ links). This process takes place when upgrading your site with new content or changing existing pages around slightly so it can be crawled again by search engines like Google or Bing. It also happens automatically when someone visits your site with their browser - usually, this means they have clicked on an internal link from somewhere else which tells them where they need to go next! All this information gets added to Google's database so they can serve up relevant results when someone types in keywords related to your site.
What is Canonicalisation?
Canonicalisation is an important part of indexing that allows search engines to link back from one site or webpage to another if they have already indexed either one. This helps ensure that every page on your site links back to other pages on your site—and vice versa—making navigation easier for users when they come across different parts of your site throughout their exploration process. Basically, it is a process that helps search engines find the most important pages on your site—the ones that have the most relevance for users. This way, search engines can focus their efforts on those pages instead of searching through thousands of other pages on your site.
4. Broken links and redirects
Broken links and redirects are two of the more common issues that arise in website development. Broken links are caused when a link points to a page that no longer exists, while redirects are used to change the URL of a page or entire site.
Redirects can be used for many reasons:
to update URLs of renamed pages,
move content from one domain to another, and fix broken or outdated links.
Redirecting users is an important part of making sure your site's SEO stays on track!
5. Page Speed Optimisation
Page Speed Optimisation is an important part of technical SEO. Google has made it clear that page speed is a ranking factor, and page speed is also an integral part of the user experience. However, there are many ways to improve page speed, and this should be something you regularly think about as you build and update your website.
Page Speed can be used as a good indicator of how well your website is performing with regard to performance and user experience issues.
Mobile-friendliness is important and is a ranking factor. The mobile user experience has become increasingly important to users, and Google wants to reward websites that provide a good experience across the board. Google makes it clear that mobile-friendly web pages rank higher than non-mobile-friendly web pages for searches on mobile devices.
Mobile-friendliness is a design factor. Responsive or adaptive design allows you to build one website for all devices (desktop, laptop, tablet and phone) which means that your page will render properly on each device without having to create separate versions of each page for each device type (as in the past). If you do not have responsive/adaptive design enabled on your site then you are missing out on ranking opportunities as well as potentially losing customers who won’t wait forever while their website loads up when they want something done right now!
What is a Technical SEO Audit?
A technical SEO audit is a way of checking your website for technical SEO issues. It's essential to do this because it can help you identify issues with your website that could affect your search engine rankings and organic traffic.
During a technical SEO audit, we'll be looking to see if there are any issues with your website that could affect its performance on search engines. This includes checking things like:
site speed - how fast your site loads. Test your page speed here.
mobile-friendliness - how well your site works on mobile devices. Test your website's mobile friendliness here.
schema markup - what type of content is being displayed and where it's located
This blog post is meant to give you a quick overview of what technical SEO is and how it can help your website rank better in search engines. Of course, there are many more factors that go into creating a great website, but if you keep these best practices in mind when building out your site it should help lead you in the right direction.