Technical SEO

Technical SEO is viewed as the boring part of SEO. It just makes sure that your website is structured well for the search engines and the website visitor. By utilizing technical SEO you will do better in search engine rankings and UX Design.

By utilizing Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools you can track down potential technical SEO problems.

Crawl Errors and Ease of Crawling

By using Google Search Console and/or Bing Webmaster Tools you can track down issues with the search engines having problems crawling and indexing your website. You will receive email notifications and can look up reports on these two tools that will let you know the problems that they are experiencing.

By creating sitemaps and submitting them to the search engines you can make things easier for them and you.

Sitemaps and Robots.txt Files

Sitemaps and Robots.txt files can help search engines crawl and index your website better. It is also good to use these to get the search engines to crawl and index your deeper pages so that they won’t be excluded from the SERPs.

Sitemaps can be used to help website visitors and search engines find certain pages quickly. Larger websites typically have a sitemap link to help website visitors find a specific page by following the categories in the sitemap page. An XML sitemap is submitted to webmaster tools to help the search engine find pages of your website.

Robots.txt files are added to a website that tells the search engine robots whether to index or ignore certain pages of your website. So why would you not want search engines to index and store certain pages of your website? A good example of this would be that you do not want it to follow and index a page that contains user passwords on it or other sensitive pages of a website that a hacker can find to take over your website.

Canonical Problems

Canonical issues occur when the search engine detects multiple pages with the same content. This usually happens when it reads a WWW version and a Non-WWW version as two separate pages. and may be the same page but the search engine will read them as two pages which will hurt your rankings. A simple fix to this is to set up a redirect that all WWW pages get redirected to the Non-WWW version of the pages.

This can be done in several ways but a common way is to add the following code to your .htaccess file.

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST}
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301,L]

You will find when working with some CMS software that if you do this through the cPanel of a website it won’t work so you have to edit the .htaccess file manually and upload it. For normal built-from-scratch websites, you can do this through the cPanel of the website.

Another canonical issue is having two web pages on your website with very similar content to avoid confusion with the search engines and to help your rankings you can tell the search engine to no-follow and/or no-index certain pages of your website. This can be added as a meta tag of the web page or as an attribute to the link on a website.

Here is the code for adding it as a meta tag in the header file of your web page.

<meta name="robots" CONTENT="noindex,nofollow">

Here is the code for adding it onto a link.

<a href="" rel="nofollow">similar content that you want to ignore</a>

Although Google says that this does not give value to links with nofollow there have been tests made that show that it does sometimes in certain situations. There once was a page that ranked for a particular keyword phrase even though the keyword phrase was not mentioned on the page or any link using anchor text with the keyword phrase pointing to it.

So how did they rank for that keyword phrase? By reading the text that was around the link to the page instead.

Broken Links and Orphaned Pages

Google and Bing Webmaster Tools can give you a report of any broken links it finds on the website or any orphaned pages. Orphaned pages are web pages on your website that are not linked to from any other web page on your website. Typically landing pages from online ads go to orphaned pages so the people who click on the ad are not distracted by clicking on links to other pages or they do this so that they can better statistics on how well an ad works.

Internal broken links (links that point to pages within your website only) can result in a bad UX Experience for the website visitor. Webmaster tools and software like Screaming Frog or other SEO Tools can help you find these broken links.

Secure Websites

A secure website will have a closed padlock and HTTPS in the URL of your browser. a non-secure website will have an open padlock and HTTP in the URL of your browser.

Why are secure websites important?

First of all, if the website visitor has to fill out a form that involved putting in their credit card information or sensitive information like their social security number then it is VERY important to have a secure website. This can be done by installing an SSL Certificate on the website.

Second, if your website is secure then it promotes the EAT (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) of a website which helps your rankings in a smaller way.

Third, a website visitor seeing the padlock or HTTPS on a website puts their mind at ease and helps with the UX Design experience.

Mobile-Friendly Websites

For the first time in history, websites have been looked up more times on a mobile device than on a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer. Google has even admitted that websites that are mobile-friendly will do better in search engines by utilizing Mobile-First Indexing.

“Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.”

Google Search Console

How can you tell if your website is mobile-friendly?

Google has a page to test to see if your website is mobile-friendly in their eyes.

A website built by WordPress takes care of most of this for you. However, I just ran a test on this website and received errors of clickable elements being too close together and the font size being too small. When I get time (which I don’t have much of) I will have to fix that. My customers always come first and that leaves me little time for my own websites.

Another way to test how your website is mobile-friendly is to right-click on the page in certain browsers and click “Inspect” then switch it to mobile view. Or you can use an online website tool such as What Is My Screen Resolution to see how it would look on different devices and screen resolutions.

How can you make your website mobile-friendly?

You can utilize meta tags, CSS, and HTML coding to make a website mobile-friendly. By using meta tags you can create a viewport to make your website more responsive on mobile devices. Here is the code.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

By using CSS and HTML you can tell elements of your website to reposition, resize, and organize your website so that it can be viewed easier on mobile devices.

The paid version of this course will teach you how to do this.

Page Speed Loads

Having your website load up fast is important because it helps with your rankings, UX Design, and website visitors that have poor internet connections such as those on mobile phones or people that don’t have cable internet connections.

Even though some CMS software has a tool that “crunches” your image as you upload it, it is better to manually resize the image yourself using software like Photoshop or Gimp before uploading it. Photoshop comes with a hefty price but Gimp is free. There are also online websites to resize images as well.

You can even optimize the size of videos online and using software such as Apple’s iMovie and QuickTime. I usually optimize and resize the video down to the size that still makes the movie look good but loads up fast. I do several versions of it before I determine which one works the best then upload that one to the website.

You can test how mast a web page loads up with Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool. This tool will also give you recommendations on what you can do to increase performance. Unfortunately, if you are using a CMS like WordPress you are limited in what you can do. But WordPress has plugins that will help you speed up a website. The downside of that is the more plugins you have the slower your website will load up.

Update: I increased the page speed on the mobile version from 62% to 81% just by not loading up the background image of the website. Then by tweaking the .htaccess file I was able to increase it to 84%.

PageInsights data showing how does in Googles tool.

In the paid version of the course, I have some .htaccess tweaks that work wonders for speeding up your website.