Google is the primary source of traffic across the internet providing the cheapest and fastest means of amassing views. This part you might know but what you might not is why your website is still toiling in the SEO race yet you create excellent, optimized content time and time again. Well, your answer is down to the technical SEO structure of your website which is probably not in tandem with the gold standard set by search engine watchdogs.
Lucky for you though today we’ll be delving into the technicalities in a bid to improve this particular aspect so that you can multiply your traffic significantly. Without further ado, here are our top 5 technical SEO tips.
1. Ensure essential resources are crawlable
Robots.txt is often the measuring yardstick for most people when gauging crawlability and simply doing so is often as simple as it is inaccurate. The better alternative is to use an SEO crawler to get a breakdown of all blocked pages residing beyond robots.txt i.e. those also found in X-Robots-Tag and/or non-index meta tag.
2. Optimize crawl budget
Search engines can only crawl a couple of pages of the same website per given time and it is this aspect that is referred to as the crawl budget. You can get the exact figures for your website through the Google Search Engine Console from the options bar to the left under Crawl Stats. For a more comprehensive page-by-page breakdown you’ll need a specialized tool- e.g. WebLogExpert- to get a peek into the server logs which harbor detailed crawl stats.
Once you do that, an important question arises thereafter which is how you can better your crawl budget. While it remains a grey area as to how exactly this resource is assigned, reliable studies have linked the budget to the number of backlinks and internal links to a page. More specifically, a strong correlation between spider hits and the former has been established which means you need to enhance your backlink profile.
This you can do by eliminating duplicate pages and canonical URLs that are bound to take up precious crawl budget. Also, ensure pages with little to no SEO importance andquot; such as expired promotions, privacy policies etc.- are not indexed as well by disallowing them in robots.txt. Moreover, it is prudent that you set URL metrics in Google Search Console to prevent the algorithm from repeating similar page searches with different criteria.
3. Audit internal links
Logical and shallow are the important constituents for flawless user experience and great crawlability and internal linking is the icing on the cake that allows you to sprinkle ranking power across various pages for better efficacy. To ensure that your internal linking game is on point, an audit is of the essence and you should be keen on the following:
i) Click depth:
The fewer clicks it takes to get to vital pages from the home page, the better. In fact, as a general rule of thumb with regards to the ideal site structure, click depth should be no more than three clicks apart.
ii) Broken links:
Broken links are detrimental to your ranking power and to your traffic as well as this is something that puts off visitors who are unlikely to return. Therefore, find and fix all broken links using an adept SEO crawler and be sure to ransack beyond HTML elements and into sitemaps, HTTP headers and tags to pick out all of them in their entirety.
iii) Redirected links:
As with click depth, keep redirects to a minimum (below three) otherwise you’ll waste your crawl budget and adversely affect your load time.
4. Prioritize mobile-friendliness
As things stand, the lion’s share of Google’s traffic originates from handheld or mobile devices and the search engine giant has taken notice and consequently made mobile-friendliness a pivotal ranking factor. The company’s mobile-first campaign pushes desktop search results into second place in the pecking order with mobile versions taking precedence meaning there are no two ways about it. You just have to be mobile-compliant or risk being buried under the SEO pile.
Look to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see how your web pages fare and also conduct detailed audits on the mobile version as you would with its desktop alternative. As is the case with the latter, you’ll require the services of a custom user agent and an SEO crawler with modified robots.txt settings. Additionally, you’d also be wise to use a web screen simulator to see how your website displays across various resolutions and if that depiction is appealing.
5. Improve page speed and install an SSL certificate
Aside from being one of the top-most considerations by Google, page speed also forms one of its ranking signals. The company provides its own resources to help you gauge page speed in the form of PageSpeed Insights tool which lets you test load times across your website’s pages. Google will notify you where your website falls short and even offer recommendations on what to tweak to make it better. If your images are too heavy, for instance, you’ll get compressed versions via a download link which is a testament to how Google holds speed close to its heart. This importance extends to users as well with statistics indicating that you can lose up to a quarter of your traffic if a web page loads for more than three seconds.
On to the matter of an SSL certificate, you should know that it is also a ranking signal so aside from bolstering security it also improves SEO too. That said, be sure to get your SSL certificate from a reputable web hosting service provider with a proven track record. Partying shot Aside from boosting performance and bettering user experience, an adept technical SEO foundation makes the job of search engines a lot easier in terms of crawling and indexing. Consequently, Google’s ranking algorithms have been imbued with the requisite parameters over the last three years or so which have a direct say on how low or high up you feature in the SEO Mountain. Excellent technical SEO is therefore not a matter of convenience but one of necessity and now you have a concrete idea on how best to maneuver the minefield and get into Google’s good books.