Technical SEO is the process of optimising your website for efficient crawling and indexing. Search engines crawl your website, its pages and your code to understand the information that your website contains and which topics are relevant to your site. This helps search engines add your website to the index for relevant queries.
Your website must be set up in a way that allows search engine crawlers (also known as spiders), like GoogelBot and BingBot, to efficiently crawl and index your website. If your website relies on organic traffic from search engines then setting it up to efficiently crawl and index your website pages is vital to the success of your business.
Search engines are customers
We have had experience optimising sites which have suffered from;
- hierarchical & structural issues
- on-page technical problems
- duplicate content
- slow page speed
- canonical tag inaccuracies
- crawl inefficiencies
- lack of optimisation for mobile devices
- noindexing issues
- legacy redirect & 404 issues
- low crawl frequency
- unparseable code
Some examples of each of these issues are;
- hierarchical & structural issues; Your website should be well structured with internal links utilised effectively from your homepage down to important product pages and on to guide, blog and long copy content pages. The number of clicks that it takes users to navigate from your homepage to your sub-pages can be a good indicator of effective site structure and hierarchy, but there are many other elements to consider.
- duplicate content; multiple pages with the same or similar content can be inefficient to crawl and cause problems. Sometimes two pages targeting similar queries can switch in and out of search engine results pages (SERPs) and this can negatively impact organic traffic, user experience and conversion.
- slow page speed; the slower your pages load the more lag time users and search engine crawlers face. Google likes fast websites that allow their computing resource to operate efficiently and allow users fast access to information hosted on your site even when accessing the site via a slow mobile connection over 3G.
- canonical tag inaccuracies; canonical tags can cause technical issues if they’re incorrectly configured. Even a small issue like an additional space or a single character change in a self-referential canonical tag can lead to huge crawl inefficiencies.
- crawl inefficiencies; most medium and large-sized websites have URLs they’ll never want to be indexed. If this is the case, blocking crawling of these pages rather than using a nonindex tag can be more efficient for search engines than using a page-level meta noindex directive.
- lack of optimisation for mobile devices; Important for websites that rely on Google organic traffic. The majority of Google’s index is now “mobile-first”. If the mobile and desktop versions of your website are not consistent then you may find your traffic can drop. Common causes for this are differences between
- noindexing issues can occur when pages that are not needed in the index are included. Common examples of this can include things like onsite search result pages or user profile pages. If search engine spiders are spending time crawling pages like this, they aren’t spending their time crawling the most important pages of your site.
- legacy redirect & 404s; as you make changes to your site, like adding and removing pages, URLs can be switched off or changes which can mean internal links to 404 pages or through redirects exist. These types of broken internal links present issues for search engine crawlers which dislike wasting resources crawling dead pages or having to load redirects to resolve a 200 URL.
- low crawl frequency; Although this cannot be directly controlled, there are ways to increase the crawl frequency by search engine spiders of the content on your highest priority pages. These methods aren’t hacks but a genuine mutual benefit to both website owners and search engines. The search engines gain a better understanding of your website content and therefore can index it accurately, in return your most important pages get crawled more frequently.
All of the major search engines have advanced their ability to truly understand website content, code and hierarchy.
As a result, optimising your website for technical performance is also more complex than ever before.
Getting ahead in search engine rankings today is not about getting any one aspect of it right but is achieved by taking a holistic approach to your website, it’s technical set up and your content as well as continuous link acquisition.
Websites that offer a solid technical foundation and cover all three vital parts of SEO stand a much better chance of success.
Where can I find technical issues?
Technical issues that can affect organic search performance can exist even anywhere on new or well-established websites. Many of these technical issues can be challenging to detect and even harder to fix.
Newly launched sites can be hit by technical issues missed by developers and SEOs when the site is launched.
However, very often, technical issues creep in as websites age and iterations and changes become commonplace.
Technical issues can exist on any page of your website, even those that perform very well in search rankings.
As these problems are deep, varied and can be hidden from direct view within the code of your website. The best way to be confident of finding and fixing these problems is to contact a professional SEO.
Fixing these issues can take time and very often rely on the current policies of the search engines you are optimising your website for.
There’s not always one clear but solution to these issues so the best SEOs will be able to critically asess the problem and offer multiple solutions, while talking you through the benefits and potential issues of each solution.
Once implemented they should also be able to help you understand the impacts and show you that the fixes have worked.
What’s the benefit of fixing technical SEO issues?
Unlike missed content opportunities, technical issues do not normally mean that you are missing out on a big slice of potential “pie” from a search query you are yet to target, but it can be considered more like a “limiting factor”.
Technical issues are more likely to prevent you from reaching your maximum potential in existing search results.
A multitude of technical issues on a single site could be the reason for ranking issues, traffic drops and lower quality seo traffic.
Ultimately, like the majority of jobs in SEO, the net result of technical issue fixes should be to grow the traffic to your website and effectively convert the traffic that you do get.
How Search/Natural can help you
We have extensive experience in optimising websites both on a technical level and have proven results that show how critical technical optimisation can be to the performance of websites in search.
We can take care of the technical set up of your website so you can focus on your human customers.
Normally, a full website audit is our main priority when working with new clients so that we can fully understand where issues may exist and ensure that we have planned our strategy around fixing these first.
Once we have an idea of the size and work involved in the technical issues we can explain them to you. We can construct a strategy and organise a workflow so that we can prioritise the fixes that will make the biggest difference to your website and your business first.
If you are concerned about the technical SEO set up of your website or have seen traffic dropping recently but do not know why then please let us know.
We will be happy to take a look, set up a free call and help to diagnose the possible problems with your site.