How does technical SEO work?
SEO can be a minefield, especially when you are just starting out – it’s complex and constantly changing – but once you’ve grasped the basics you’ll find even a small amount of knowledge can make a big difference.
The main things to keep in mind are quality content and user experience – Google wants its results to reflect relevance and popularity – if you are producing content that people genuinely want to read then you are on to a winner. Ultimately, you want your SEO techniques to focus on helping Google find your pages, helping Google to understand your pages and helping visitors to use your pages.
For ease – we’ve broken this down into three core areas and put together a checklist of white hat SEO techniques within each.
There are a number of technical issues that can cause SEO problems and dramatically reduce your website’s search ranking. When developing your website keep in mind the following 10 pointers.
- Make sure an XML site map is installed.
- Make sure google bots (sometimes called spiders) are not blocked and can crawl your site. Otherwise the site wont index.
- Monitor your site speed from launch – you can use the Google page speed insight tool to diagnose and fix any issues.
- Protect content with SSL encryption – Google will choose a HTTPS site over a site that doesn’t have an SSL certificate.
- Responsive design – It’s absolutely crucial to ensure sure your site is mobile friendly – Google penalises those which are not (you can check on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test)
- Ensure your website has clear site architecture – this will help Google spiders discover new and updated pages, so they index and rank faster.
- Make sure all images on your site have alt text and a relevant file name so search engines can pick them up – and reduce all image file sizes for faster loading.
- Use short descriptive URLs.
- Install HTML snippets codes to your website. This also links in to on-page SEO as you should ensure the first paragraph of your content is optimised for appearing in Google’s featured snippets.
- Make sure you have relevant, descriptive, keyword-rich meta descriptions for each piece of content you upload – this doesn’t necessarily affect ranking, but it will affect your CTR (click-through rate).
If your site is already up and running then its a good idea to do a technical SEO audit – this will help you to identify any SEO issues such as no-index tags, too many H1 tags, 404 errors etc that keep your site from ranking. Alexa offers a free trial of their SEO Audit Tool which will help you identify missed opportunities.