What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO Checklist
Search engines give websites with certain technical features, like a secure connection, a responsive design, or a fast loading time, more weight in search results. Technical SEO is the work you need to do to make sure your website has these features.
You can make sure your technical SEO is up to par by following the steps on the list below. By following these tips, you can help make sure that your site’s security and structure meet the needs of search engine algorithms and are rewarded in search results as a result.
1. Use SSL.
SSL, which stands for “Secure Sockets Layer,” is a security technology that makes a link between a web server and a browser that is encrypted. A site that uses SSL is easy to spot because its URL starts with “https://” instead of “http://.”
Google said in 2014 that they wanted to see “HTTPS everywhere” and that secure HTTPS sites would be given more weight in search results than non-secure ones. =
So, if you can, it makes sense to make sure your site is secure. You can do this by adding an SSL certificate to your site, though most of the best website builders now have SSL built in by default.
2. Ensure Your Site is Mobile-Friendly.
A “responsive” website automatically changes to make it easy to navigate and read on any device.
Google makes it clear that having a site that is easy to use on mobile devices is a very important ranking signal for its algorithms. And with Google’s new “mobile first” way of indexing content, it’s more important than ever to have a responsive website.
So, it makes sense to make sure your website is fully responsive and can be viewed in the best way possible on a phone, tablet, or computer.
3. Speed Your Site Up.
Search engines like sites that load quickly, and the speed at which a page loads is seen as an important ranking signal.
You can speed up your site in a number of ways:
- Use Fast Hosting.
- Use a DNS (or “domain name system”) provider that is quick.
- Use as few “HTTP requests” as possible, and don’t use too many scripts and plugins.
- Use one CSS stylesheet instead of multiple CSS stylesheets or inline CSS. A CSS stylesheet is a piece of code that tells a website browser how to show your website.
- Make sure your picture files are as small as they can be (without being too pixelated).
- Make your web pages smaller (this can be done using a tool called GZIP).
4. Fix Duplicate Content Issues.
Duplicate content can be confusing for users and search engine algorithms, or it can be used to try to change search rankings or get more traffic.
Because of this, search engines don’t like it. Google and Bing tell webmasters to fix any problems they find with duplicate content.
You can fix duplicate content issues by:
- Keeping your CMS from putting out different versions of the same page or post (for example, by disabling Session IDs where they are not vital to the functionality of your website and getting rid of printer-friendly versions of your content).
- Using the canonical link element to tell search engines where the “main” version of your content is located.
5. Create an XML Sitemap.
An XML sitemap is a file that helps search engines understand your website as they crawl it. You can think of it as a kind of “search roadmap” that tells search engines where each page is.
It also tells you useful things about each page on your site, such as
- when a page was changed last;
- how important it is to your site;
- how often it gets changed.
If you use Bigcommerce, your XML site is made automatically. If you use another platform, you may need to use a sitemap generator to make one.
6. Consider Enabling AMP.
AMP is a project backed by Google that uses a special code called AMP HTML to speed up the delivery of content to mobile devices.
On mobile devices, the AMP versions of your web pages load very quickly. They do this by getting rid of all but the most important parts of your content and code. Text, images, and video stay the same, but scripts, comments, and forms are turned off.
Because AMP pages load so quickly, users are much more likely to read and share them. This increases dwell time and the number of backlinks that point to your content, which are all good things from an SEO perspective. On top of that, Google sometimes puts AMP pages in prominent carousels in search results, which gives you a big search boost.
7. Add Structured Data Markup to Your Website.
Structured data markup is code that you put on your website to make it easier for search engines to understand what it is about. This information can help search engines better index your site and give you better results.
Also, structured data improves search results by adding “rich snippets.” For example, you can use structured data to add star ratings to reviews, prices to products, or information about reviewers (example below).
Because they look better and show searchers information they can use right away, these improved results can increase your click-through rate (CTR) and bring more people to your site. Since search engines tend to favor sites with higher CTRs, it is worth your time to add structured data to your site.
8. Register your site with Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
You can submit your website for indexing to Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, free tools provided by Google and Microsoft, respectively.
In order for Google Search Console and Webmaster Tools to begin crawling your new website and beginning to show results from it in search results, you should submit your website’s XML sitemap (see above) to both of these services as soon as you are prepared to launch it.
Additionally, these services allow you to monitor how well your website is performing generally from a search engine perspective. Other things you can do with the tools are:
- testing the mobile usability of your website.
- search analytics access.
- viewing the sites that connect to yours.
- rejection of spammy links and a lot more as well.