In this article, we will look at basic technical SEO. Now, talking about basic technical SEO may seem contradictory. However, knowing the technical side of SEO can mean the difference between some high-quality websites. Technical SEO isn't easy, but we'll explain - in layman's terms - what areas to focus on when building your site from a technical standpoint (ask the developer).

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the process of improving the technical aspects of a website to improve page ranking in search engines. Making your site faster, easier to navigate, and more intuitive for search engines is a pillar of technical optimization. Technical SEO is the part of on-page SEO and focuses on optimizing elements of your website to achieve higher rankings. This is the opposite of off-page SEO, which creates exposure for your site through other channels.

Why should you technically optimize your website?

Google and other search engines want to show users the best results for their queries. Thus, Google's robots evaluate web pages based on several factors. Some factors are based on user experience, such as page load speed. Other factors help search engines understand what your pages are about. This is structured information for others. Thus, by improving the technical aspects, you help search engines find and understand your website. If you do this well, you may be offered a higher rank. Or create rich results for yourself!

This also works the other way around: if you make serious technical errors on your site, they can rate you. You cannot completely block search engines by adding a slider in your robots.txt file.

But don't think about focusing on the technical details of your website to please the search engines. A website should work well for your users – fast, intuitive and easy to use. Fortunately, a strong technical foundation often equates to a better experience for users and search engines.

What’s technical SEO?

What are the features of a technically optimized website?

A technically sound website is quick and easy for search engines. The right technical organization helps search engines understand what your website is about. It also eliminates the confusion caused by duplicate content. It also leads to broken links for visitors and search engines. Here, we will take a quick look at some of the important features of a technically optimized website.

1. It's too fast.

Web pages should load faster now. People don't want to wait impatiently for a page to load. A 2016 study found that 53% of mobile site visitors will leave a site if it doesn't load within three seconds. The trend is not going away – 2022 research shows that commercial download rates will decrease by about 0.3% per second. So, if your site is slow, people will leave and move to another site, and you will lose traffic.

Google knows that slow web pages provide a perfect experience. That's why they prefer fast loading web pages. Thus, a slower site will rank lower in search results than its faster counterpart, resulting in less traffic. Starting in 2021, page experience (how quickly people find a website) is officially a Google ranking factor. That's why it's more important than ever to have pages that load fast enough.

Is your site indexed correctly? How to test your website speed. Many quizzes will show you where you need to improve. You can also take a look at the basic tracking tools that Google uses to improve your browsing experience. , and we'll guide you with these general tips to improve your browser speed.

2. Required for search engines.

Search engines use robots to crawl or crawl your website. Robots follow links to find content on your site. A great internal linking structure ensures that the most important content on your site is understood.

But there are many ways to control robots. For example, if you want some content there, you can block it from being searched. You can let them see the page, but don't show the page in search results or tell them not to follow any links on the page.

Robots.txt file.

You can provide robot instructions in your browser using the robots.txt file. This is a powerful tool that should be handled with care. As we mentioned earlier, a small error can prevent robots from crawling (important parts) of your website. Sometimes, people block their browser's CSS and JS files in the robots.txt file. These files contain the code that tells you what your website should look like and how it should work. If the files are locked, search engines can't tell if your site is working properly.

Overall, we recommend really diving into robots.txt if you want to know how it works. Or better yet, let a developer do it for you!

Meta robots

A robots meta tag is a piece of code that you can't see on the page. The source code is at the top of this page. When the robots find the page, they read this section. There they will find information about what to find or do on the page.

If you want the search engine robots to crawl your page, but for some reason you want them to exclude it from the search results, you can tell them with the robots meta tag. With the robots meta tag, you can tell them to view the page, but not follow the links on the page. Deleting a post or page is easy with Yoast SEO. Check which pages you want to do this for.

3. No (many) dead links.

We've talked about how slow websites can be frustrating. The only thing more frustrating for visitors than a normal page is landing on a page that doesn't exist at all. If a link leads to a page on your website, people will encounter a 404 error page. You have a carefully crafted experience!

In addition, search engines do not like to find these error pages. , even though they are hidden, they monitor every link they visit, so they try to find dead links that visitors find.

Unfortunately, most websites (at least some) have dead links because the web is a constant business: people make things and break things. Fortunately, there are tools to help you find dead links on your site. Read on for these tools and how to fix 404 errors.

To avoid unwanted links, redirect a page's URL when removing or moving it. Ideally you will be redirected to the page that replaces the old page. With Yoast SEO Premium, you can easily target yourself. No builder needed!

4. Don't confuse search engines with duplicate content.

Having the same content on multiple pages of your website or on other websites can be confusing for search engines. Because if these pages show the same content, which one should be on top? As a result, they rank all pages with the same content low.

Unfortunately, you may have recurring content issues without realizing it. For technical reasons, different URLs may point to the same content. This is a change for search engines, not visitors. The same content will appear at a different URL.

Fortunately, there is a technical solution to this problem. With the canonical link element, you can specify the page or pages that you want to rank in search engines. In Yoast SEO, you can easily set the canonical URL for your page. To make it easier for you, Yoast SEO adds canonical links to all your pages. This will help you avoid duplicate content issues.

5. It's safe.

A technically optimized site is a secure site. The main need today is to make your website secure for users. There are many things you can do to secure your website (WordPress), the most important of which is to enable HTTPS.

HTTPS blocks the data sent between browser to browser to anyone. So, for example, if people visit your website, their credentials are safe. To enable HTTPS on your website, you need something like an SSL certificate. Google recognizes the importance of security, so the HTTPS rating indicates that secure sites rank higher than their unsecured counterparts.

In most browsers, you can easily check if your website is HTTPS. On the left side of your browser's search bar, you'll see a lock if it's secure. If you see the words "safe" you (or the developer) should!

6. Additional: Structural data available.

Structured data helps search engines better understand your site, content, and even your business. With structured data, you can tell search engines what products you sell or what recipes you have on your site. It also allows you to provide various information about these products or recipes.

There is a specific format (described on in which you must provide this information so that search engines can easily find and understand it. This helps them fit your content into the bigger picture. You can read a story about how it works and how Yoast SEO can help you here. For example, Yoast SEO blocks content information for your website's schematic diagrams and structure.

Including structured information can help you get better visibility from search engines. Optimizing content for rich results; These are bold results with prominent stars or a list of search results.

7. Plus: It has an XML sitemap.

Simply put, an XML sitemap is a list of all the pages on your site. For search engines, it acts as a road map of your site. This way search engines will not miss important content of your site. An XML sitemap is usually divided into text, pages, tags, or other specific text types, including the number of images for each page and the last modified date.

Ideally, a site would not need an XML sitemap. It doesn't need a robot if it has an internal binding structure that connects its contents well. However, not every website has a great structure and it doesn't hurt to have an XML sitemap. That's why we recommend having an XML sitemap on your website.

8. Plus: The World Wide Web uses hreflang

If your website targets one or more countries, search engines need a little help understanding which countries or languages ​​you're trying to reach. People can show local websites in search results if you support them.

Hreflang tags help you do this. You can use them to determine which country and language each page serves. It also solves the potential problem of duplicate content: even if your US and UK sites display the same content, Google will know they're written for different regions.

World wide web optimization is very special. If you want to learn how to rank for international websites, we recommend checking out our multilingual SEO training.