what is technical seo?

Technical SEO is the process of optimising your website to help search engines like Google find, understand, and index your pages. Below are just 6 of the processes we use and to enhance your site.

Although modern search engines like Google are good at discovering and understanding content, they’re far from perfect. Technical issues can easily prevent them from crawling, indexing, and showing web pages in the search results.

We have pulled together a basic overview of a few technical SEO best practices that we implement during the optimisation of your site.

1) Ensuring content is ‘crawlable’

2) Using HTTPS for secure connection

3) Fixing duplicate content issues

4) Creating an up-to-date sitemap

5) Redirecting HTTP to HTTPS

6) Making sure your pages load fast

We ensure important content is ‘crawlable’ and ‘indexable’

Crawling is how search engines discover most new content. It’s where a spider visits and downloads new data from known webpages.

For example, let’s say you add a new page to your site and link to it from your homepage. When Google next crawls your homepage, it’ll discover the link to the new page. Then, if it decides the content on that page is valuable for searchers, it’ll get indexed.

This process works well, as long as you’re not blocking search engines from crawling or indexing a page.

Robots.txt is the file that tells search engines like Google which pages they can and can’t crawl. You can view it by navigating to yourwebsite.com/robots.txt.

You can check which pages (if any) are blocked by robots.txt in Google Search Console. Just go to the Coverage report, toggle to view excluded URLs, then look for the “Blocked by robots.txt” error.

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Using HTTPS for secure connection

HTTPS encrypts the data sent between a website and its visitors. It helps protect sensitive information like credit card details from being compromised.

Given the benefits of HTTPS for web users, it probably comes as no surprise that it’s been a ranking factor since 2014.

How do you know if your site uses HTTPS?

Go to https://www.yourwebsite.com, and check for a lock icon in the loading bar. If you see a red ‘Not secure’ warning, you’re not using HTTPS, and you need to install a TLS/SSL certification

If you see a grey ‘Not secure’ warning then you have a mixed content issue. That means the page itself is loading over HTTPS, but it’s loading resource files (images, CSS, etc.) over HTTP.

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Fixing duplicate website content issues

Duplicate content is where the same or similar content appears in more than one place on the web. It can happen on one website or across multiple sites.

Duplicate content can cause other issues, such as:

  • Undesirable or unfriendly URLs in search results;
  • Backlink dilution;
  • Wasted crawl budget;
  • Scraped or syndicated content outranking you.

You can see pages with duplicate content issues in Google Search Console. Just go to the Coverage report, toggle to view excluded URLs, then look for issues related to duplicates.

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Creating an up-to-date sitemap

Sitemaps list all the important content on your website. They come in various formats, but XML files are the most common.

Many people question the importance of sitemaps these days, as Google can usually find most of your content even without one. However, a Google confirmed the important of sitemaps, stating that they’re the second most important source of URLs for Google:

Sitemaps usually contain ‘orphan’ pages. These are pages that Google can’t find through crawling because they have no internal links from crawlable pages on your website.

Most modern CMS’ including automatically generate a sitemap for you. If you’re using WordPress, you’ll need to create one using a popular SEO plugin

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Redirecting HTTP to HTTPS

Even if you’re using HTTPs, your website may be accessible to visitors at the HTTP version. This isn’t ideal, as there’s no point in having HTTPS if visitors can visit the non-secure version of your website.

It is important that if you do allow HTTP and redirect to HTTPS, that cookies are marked as secure. … When doing this it is highly advisable to implement HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) which is a web security mechanism which declares that browsers are to only use HTTPS connections.

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Making sure your pages load fast

Pages that load slow are annoying for visitors. That’s one of the reasons why Google made page speed a ranking factor on desktop in 2010, and on mobile in 2018.

Unfortunately, page speed is a complex topic. There are many tools and metrics you can use to benchmark speeds, but Google’s Pagespeed Insights is a reasonable starting point. It gives you a performance score from 0–100 on desktop and mobile and tells you about the areas that could use some improvement.

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