Technical SEO Basics: Your Guide To Getting Started

Technical SEO is the most important part of SEO until you have successfully optimised your website. Without it, your on-page SEO optimisation will not be effective and organic search rankings will not occur. To help you get started with technical SEO, we have put together a definitive guide that covers the basics.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the practice of improving technical aspects of a website to help search engines crawl and index it more effectively. No matter how great your SEO-optimised content is, without optimising the technical SEO, it will not rank organically.

The following are some of the key components that you must optimise to improve your technical SEO:

  • Robots.txt
  • Canonical tags
  • Protocols
  • Redirect codes
  • Site speed

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail.

Robots.txt

This is the text file that instructs search engine bots on how to crawl a website’s pages. It can tell crawlers you do not want certain pages being recognised/included. The crawler will read this file first before crawling the website. You may want to include: customer profiles, internal search results, pdfs, and duplicate content.

Canonical tags

A canonical tag is the HTML element that search engines use to manage duplicate content. Valuable content is essential for organic rankings, and canonical tags will inform the search engines which content is the most important and should therefore be shown in the SERP.

Protocols

A URL protocol indicates how a browser should retrieve information about the website page. The ideal protocol is ‘HTTPS’, which means the website URL is secure and encrypted. A ‘HTTP’ protocol is not secure and not favourable to search engines. HTTPS benefits user experience as browsers like Google Chrome mark websites as dangerous and unsafe, which will turn away many potential readers.

Redirect codes

A redirect code is a way to send users and search engines to a different URL from the one requested. The most common are 301 and 302 redirects.

A 301 redirect is a permanent redirect that is preferred as it transfers the ranking power from one webpage to another. A 302 redirect is a temporary redirect and does not transfer the ranking power.

Site speed

How quickly a website loads will impact SEO and the user experience. This is particularly important for mobile, with the majority of people browsing the web are now doing so on mobile rather than desktop.

Google will rank faster-loading websites higher than those that are slow, as the user will have a better overall experience. A slow load rate leads to a higher bounce rate as visitors will be frustrated and leave for another website.

Google PageSpeed is a free tool to test your website speed, and Google’s mobile-friendly test will provide information regarding your website’s mobile optimisation. One of the biggest factors affecting mobile optimisation is the images. Ensure they have been compressed to take up less space and load quicker.


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