When people think about SEO they tend to go right to keywords and rankings. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just one thing. In fact SEO is made up of a few different elements and the one that gets over looked the most is technical SEO. It’s not as glamourous as keywords, but it’s one of the most important pieces of your SEO strategy.
Why is Technical SEO so Important
The goal of your SEO strategy is to improve the overall quality of your website which also helps with your site ranking. Technical SEO isn’t sexy. It’s a lot of nuts and bolts but without those nuts and bolts your website and SEO strategy would collapse. While the technical aspect does require some technical knowledge of websites, servers etc., you can do a lot of the work without being a technical wizard when it comes to coding or how websites work. If you want your website and business to go far you need to make sure the technical aspects of your website are running like a fine tuned SEO engine.
Speeding Up Your Website
People hate a slow loading website and so does Google. More websites and businesses lose potential clients or customers because their website took forever to load. What causes your website to slow down? Here are some examples:
- Limit the number of plugins if you’re using WordPress
- You’re not caching your content so the server is asking for the content over and over again
- Your Images are too big
- There are too many CSS, JS and HTML files
WordPress is the usual go to for website development. What makes it so attractive is the ability to use plugins to add special features. The problem is that some times we get a little plugin crazy and add too many which slows down your website. Every plugin used has their own HTML, CSS and JS code files that the server calls for in order to render it properly. Try to make sure you only use the plugins your truly need.
Browsers need to download web files to display a web page. That includes the HTML files, CSS, JS and images. If each file makes a separate request at the same time, then the server will need more time to download them. Depending on the size and number of files, this process can take several seconds or even longer if your internet connection is already slow.
When page caching is enabled, the web server temporarily stores the website’s downloaded files into the random-access memory (RAM). When a visitor wants to view the page again, the server doesn’t have to repeat the entire process because all the files have been temporarily stored.
Since the browser has the files stored it can make fewer requests to the server which helps speed up the page loading process.
Resizing Your Images
Images definitely make your website memorable. It can also weigh down the server if they’re not properly sized or if you have too many images.
Do you need 25 images in your webpage? Probably not, but the more you have to longer it takes to load the webpage. It’s best to keep your image use to a minimum.
Also the bigger the image the longer it takes to load. It’s a good practice to either crop your image before uploading or using a smaller file size option.
WordPress users can compress image files with editing tools like Smush to help optimize their images. With a click Smush can reduce the file size of your images which helps with the loading of your webpage.
HTML, CSS and JS Minification
What is HTML, CSS or JS Minification? Minification is the process of minimizing code and markup in your web pages and script files. It’s one of the main methods used to reduce load times and bandwidth usage on websites. Using minification dramatically improves site speed and accessibility which results in a better user experience.
Fixing Crawling Issues
Crawling issues aren’t only for toddlers. If the search engine spiders can’t crawl your website properly then there is a very good chance that your content will never make it to the results page of search engines.
Robots.txt is a text file with instructions for search engine robots telling them which pages they should and shouldn’t crawl. By limiting or allowing which files and folders to be crawled it can help optimize your crawl budget. It also allows the bots only to crawl the files or folders you specified which helps speed up the process and your results as well.
An XML sitemap is a file that lists a website’s essential pages, making sure Google can find and crawl them all. It also helps search engines understand the structure of your website. You want Google and other search engines to crawl every important page of your website. The XML sitemap can help speed up content discovery.
Technical SEO Tips to Implement
- Make sure your website is secure (HTTPS not HTTP) – Google has made this a factor in ranking
- Limit the outbound calls to other websites for files (fonts, icons, CSS etc.)
- Fix broken links
- Add internal links to your pages and blog posts (You want to keep people on your website as long as possible)
- Make sure your website is Mobile friendly
- Find and fix duplicate content
- Perform weekly technical audits of your website
- Add keywords in your images ALT text
- Add a CDN (content delivery network)
Image by creativeart on Freepik