Technical SEO refers to the website and server optimization to let search engine spiders crawl and index your website. It can help improve organic rankings.
TO PUT IT SIMPLE, technical SEO is a website optimization process to help Google and other search engines find, understand, crawl and index your webpages. Some of the basic technical SEO practices are improving site load time, checking robot.txt files, and fixing the redirects.
This way, technical SEO helps you ensure that your website has accurate, user-friendly, and easy-to-access content.
Otherwise, if your webpage loads slowly, has an unresponsive design, or has poor security, your website can lose ranking.
A technically good website is secure, quick to load, has easy navigation, is easy to crawl, and doesn’t contain duplicate content and links.
Why Does the Technical SEO Health of Your Website Matter?
Imagine you have created a superb piece of content that has everything to attract the audience. But it takes more than 15 seconds for your page to load, testing the patience of the visitors. And this will lead to an increased bounce rate.
It doesn’t matter how good your content is—your site is not performing well, and you are losing valuable traffic due to the slow load time of your website.
That’s a basic example of why technical SEO matters.
If technical SEO is not optimized, search engines like Google won’t be able to find, crawl and index your website. If a search engine is not able to access your website, you shouldn’t expect a top ranking. You just end up being one of that 90% of websites that get no organic search traffic.
If somehow your site is discoverable, user experience problems, like page load speed and complicated navigation, can kill your SEO.
Then, there are duplicate content, poor mobile responsiveness, and security vulnerabilities are there to impact your SEO.
That’s why technical SEO is important to optimize your site as well as identify problems on websites that non-technical SEO cannot detect.
AN AUDIT TO CHECK THE TECHNICAL SEO HEALTH OF YOUR WEBSITE
Maybe your website is going through the issues that can hit your ranking and performance. Technical SEO audit is important to detect and fix such issues. The practice aims to check the health of a website and find out what fixes can be done to improve it.
To perform a technical SEO health checkup, here are some simple yet important steps to get started.
Assessing the Crawling:
Is your website crawlable? There is no use in having great content if the search engine fails to crawl and index those pages.
Start by analyzing your robots.txt file that is the first point of call for any search engine’s web-crawling tool when it lands on your site.
Your robots.txt file highlights which parts of the website should and should not be crawled. It performs this by “allowing” or “disallowing” the performance of some user agents.
The robot.txt file is available and can be found by adding/robots/txt to the end of any root domain.
You can edit and test your robot.txt file in Google Search Console. Use Crawl>robots.txt Tester to do this. This way, you can see what is going on live on-site and if the file needs any edits. Make sure to maintain the record of the robots.txt file.
The robots.txt file can be edited and tested in the old Google Search Console.
Here you can insert any URL on the site if it is crawlable or if there are any warnings or errors in your robots.txt file.
Checking that if Your Website is Indexed:
Now we have checked whether the website is crawled by Google or not, it is also important to see if the pages are being indexed. This will let you determine the health of your website, highlighting which pages were indexed, which were not, and why search engines did all this.
There are several ways to check this. You can use the Google Search Console coverage report to determine the status of every web page.
With Google Search Console, you can see the sections as the result of the indexability test of your site in the form of…
- Errors: Redirects errors, 404s
- Valid with warnings: Indexed pages with issues
- Valid: Indexed pages with no issues
- Excluded: Pages that are excluded from being indexed along with the reasons such as pages with redirects or robots.txt blockage.
The EASIEST WAY to check the indexing status of your website is using the SITE: DOMAIN trick. All you need to type site:yourwebistename and press enter. For example, I use site:kvrwebtech.com.
The search results will show you how many pages of your website have been indexed by Google.
However, while it is the simplest method, it might not be a satisfactory method for everyone. Maybe you notice a large difference between the number of pages you think you have
and the number of indexed pages.
Assessing the Sitemap:
The sitemap is also important as it helps search engine crawlers to find and rank your website pages.
That’s why your sitemap should be formatted properly using an XML document.
Here are some important points to consider for a sound sitemap:
- Your sitemap should be formatted properly in an XML document.
- It should be built according to the XML sitemap protocol.
- Only consists of the canonical versions of the URLs
- Should exclude non-index URLs
- Includes all-new pages when you create or update them.
SEO plugins like Yoast can create an XML sitemap for you.
Checking that Your Website is Mobile Friendly:
With the enforcement of the mobile-first index by Google, it is important to create a mobile-friendly website.
Visit Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, a free tool, to see if your web pages are mobile responsive and easy to use. All you need to insert your domain there.
However, the manual checking of your website is important, too. Open it on your own phone and see how navigation and web pages work.
Checking Page Speed:
A slow-loading page annoys the visitors, making them leave your website. Google also wants your site to be loaded quickly without testing the patience of the users.
You can test your web page speed on Google’s free tool, PageSpeed Insights.
The page speed can be improved by:
- Optimizing your images
- Minimizing server requests
- Creating effective caching
- Using a Content Delivery Network
Reviewing Duplicate Content:
Last but not least, check if your websites have duplicate content. While Google might not penalize your website for having duplicate content, it can hurt your ranking. Google won’t be able to understand which page to rank in the search results.
There are many tools such as Copyscape to check if your site has duplicate content.
Needless to say, you need to avoid using the same content again and again across your site. Always create unique content even for identical products or services.
Apart from that, make sure to practice the things given below:
- Use canonical tags (a snippet of HTML code) to make clear to Google that you own a piece of content no matter where it is found across the Internet. These tags help Google understand which version is the “main version”.
- Use “No Index” Meta robot tags to avoid the certain page being indexed by Google
- Redirect duplicate content to the canonical URL.
The Bottom Line:
So these are some ways to check the technical health of your SEO.
It might seem overwhelming but hopefully, once you do the first technical SEO audit, you will be looking for other improvements to be made to your website.
Well, these steps ensure a great start for any webmaster looking to make sure their website is performing well in the search engine results. Above all, they cost you nothing, so go ahead. All the best!