Strong content is essential for SEO, but your content may never be seen if your site suffers from technical SEO issues. The technical side of SEO can be daunting, but having an understanding of the basics—as well as some of the common errors—will help you manage your site and keep your search ranking strong.
When you think about technical SEO, you’re really thinking about the aspects of your search marketing that communicate to search engines. These include your site structure, links, site design, and images. As search engines crawl your site, they need to be able to find their way around easily with clearly indexed pages, image descriptions, and video transcriptions, among other site elements. If your content game is on-point but your site still isn’t performing well in organic search, consider your technical SEO after reading through the basics here.
How does Google see your website?
When you design your website, you not only have to think about your user experience, or UX, but you also need to know how search engines will navigate your site. In order to align search terms with helpful results, Google and other search engines will crawl your site to index and categorize pages based on keywords and alt tags. Without the right organizational features, Google will never recognize the element of your site that you’ve invested the most creative energy in—your content. Quality content and lots of it will be the fuel that propels you to the top of search engine results, but every page of content needs to be organized and fully functional.
How can you see what Google sees?
Even if you don’t have the know-how to fix technical problems impacting your SEO, it is helpful to know how to diagnose these issues. You might have to pay a steep hourly rate to have someone troubleshoot technical SEO problems, but the tools you need are easily accessible and free to use. Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, can help you ensure that Google is indexing your site and show you what the search engine sees. This will highlight any issues you might not have noticed while scrolling through your site, such as titles that are too similar across multiple pages.
How can you improve your technical SEO?
Once you’ve identified any problem areas, you will want to start thinking about possible fixes. This may be a regular part of your site maintenance, since factors affecting SEO are always changing. In addition, web design trends and user preferences will change the way you want to present information on your site to engage users. Here’s a look at how you can stay on track with your technical SEO along the way:
Create a sitemap.
XML sitemaps don’t serve much of a purpose for human visitors to your site, but they are necessary for helping search engines navigate your pages..
Test your site speed.
A site that takes too long to load will negatively impact your rankings in two ways. First, users are likely to click away if the load time is too long or images don’t appear to load on the page. Second, Google may recognize a slow load time as it measures time-to-first-byte, or TTFB. There are several free tools to test your site speed, and a slow load time can be remedied. HTTP compression, reduced plugin use, and compressed images can help your site load faster, but you may need to change your web host if site speed is a persistent issue.
Be mobile friendly.
There is an increasing emphasis on the importance of a mobile-friendly site, because so much web traffic comes from mobile. Search Console can help you assess any mobile usability issues, which might include faulty redirects or unplayable content.
Websites that have been around for some time may accumulate redirects, because they are likely to have updated pages to better optimize them. The link may remain the same, because you want to preserve the authority of the link, but you need to make sure the redirect is permanent rather than temporary. Mislabeling a redirect link will not allow Google to recognize the authority of the original page, so you should ensure that the redirect code is accurate.
Mastering SEO doesn’t happen overnight, but it is easier when you have the right partner for your content strategy. Pennington Creative can help you produce the content you need for a strong web presence, and we’ll customize our services to fit your unique needs. To schedule a discovery call with our team, contact us today. You can also learn more about the SEO services we offer by exploring our website.