At this point, you probably already know what SEO is and what it stands for.
Search engine optimization is one of the best ways to rank your website higher and generate extra and organic traffic – for free.
This, combined with a great content marketing strategy can make your website stand out and make your customers fall in love with your website.
But if you really want to step up your game and rank higher than ever on Google, there is one more thing you need to take into consideration.
In addition to optimizing your content for search engines, there is one more thing you need to do. And that is off-page SEO. This is sometimes also called technical SEO and it refers to all SEO activities that deal with site architecture and making your website search engine crawler friendlier.
Technical SEO needs to be optimized to provide the best foundation for your content so you can get ahead in Google rankings.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at 5 simple ways you can optimize the technical part of your website SEO and how you can shine in the search engine results.
1. Website Load Speed
Did you know that the rate at which your website loads can affect your ranking?
Google officially confirmed this in 2010 when they included site speed as a new signal in their research ranking algorithm. Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests. In other words, the quicker your site loads – the better.
According to Google, the optimal load time for a website is just under 2 seconds.
But there’s one other thing that you need to take into consideration aside from the Google ranking. And that is the user experience.
It’s not just Google that wants your website to load faster.
People are impatient. Just half a second difference in page load time can make a 10% difference in sales.
2. Check Your Indexing
How many of your website pages are indexed on Google?
Ideally, that number should be close to the total number of your site’s pages. Essentially, you want to make sure all of your important ones are showing up on Google properly. Of course, the ones you don’t want to show up, those you have to restrict from indexing manually.
To run your website through an SEO audit and check your indexed pages, you can use tools like WebSite Auditor. This allows you to get a bigger overview of your website and see it the way a search engine sees it.
When doing this, you should also go over your most important web pages and make sure they are SEO friendly. So, you should be focusing on quality over quantity. Not every page of your website has to show up on Google.
For example, your orphan pages (pages not linked to internally), aren’t crawled very frequently. If you feel the content on those pages are important, you can then optimize and restructure your weak pages accordingly.
3. Get Mobile Friendly
This is another search engine factor that you may or may not have heard about.
Since most searches on Google are done through phones, Google has started giving priority to websites that are mobile-first.
To see just how mobile-friendly your website is, you can take Google’s own mobile-friendly test.
Over 94% of people with a smartphone search for local information on their phones, so it’s vital your phone customers have a good experience browsing your site.
The desktop version of your site might be difficult to navigate through on a phone. If users are forced to go through that, they’ll likely abandon the site and go someplace else. Meanwhile, the mobile-friendly version should be readable and immediately usable.
There are many types of errors you might expect, from incompatible plugins to faulty design. But the main idea behind this is still the same. Once you optimize your website for phone-usability, you should see an increase in page rankings as well as an increase in customers.
4. Remove Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a fairly common SEO issue for most websites and it can give you a whole lot of trouble if left unoptimized.
Essentially, duplicate content is any type of content that appears in more than one place. Whether it be your web page or a completely different site. When writing and posting content, it’s essential for it to be unique. Otherwise, Google will be unsure which content to include/exclude in their searches.
And this, in turn, can harm your search engine rankings significantly through ranking or traffic loss. In most cases, this is the deal with scrapped content which has been directly copied from somewhere else.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you can set up a 301 redirect from the “duplicate” content page to the original one. This way, they’ll stop competing with each other and create a stronger and a more relevant signal for Google.
5. Review Sitemap
Finally, if you’re not sure where to begin – consider going through an audit of your website architecture
For many SEO experts, creating a sitemap is often the first step when going through an overview of a website. A sitemap is essentially a small HTML file that lists out every single URL on your website, in addition to the important metadata for each URL. There are a number of tools that offer a great visual representation of your website.
This data is a great place to start if you want to get an overview of your whole website. You can then zoom in on a specific web page and fix it as you go through the list.
When reviewing your sitemap, you should double check that your pages are clean from errors, unwanted redirects, and that they are indexed properly. Additionally, they should be up-to-date, concise and the content should be optimized on each page.
Of course, optimizing your website from a technical SEO point of view goes much deeper than this, but as a starting point, you might want to see the bigger picture of your sitemap to begin with.
In short, SEO doesn’t only have to do with content and building backlinks. Your back-end elements are just as important in ranking higher on search engines.
So, the next time you’re optimizing the content on a specific web page, make sure to look into the technical parts of the page as well.
Technical SEO can be very complex and an intimidating place to start for most people. But once you get the hang of it, there’s not much standing between you and higher search engine rankings.
As a rule of thumb, to rank higher on Google, you should be optimizing the content hosted on your website, building backlinks, and looking into the technical parts of SEO. This way, you’ll be optimizing for both, people and the search engine crawlers.