How Technical SEO Affects Your Site Visibility
When it comes to search engine optimisation, you know the importance of using the right keywords within your website content. You probably also understand the need for the right linking strategy and how that impacts SEO, as well. However, there are other factors that go well beyond keywords, links, and the like that have a major impact on your site visibility, or lack thereof, that you might not be quite so familiar with. We’re talking about technical SEO and how it affects your site’s ranking in the SERPs.
What’s Technical Search Engine Optimisation All About?
Your website includes a lot of moving parts, many of which are not visible on the page. Technical SEO falls into that category. Basically, it’s a collection of search engine optimisation practices that have nothing to do with the visible text content on your website. You might have an idea of what a couple of these practices are, such as writing meta descriptions and using meta titles, but there are many others. Technical SEO also includes things like the following:
- Code tags
- 400-level errors
- Site encryption
Given the breadth of potential technical SEO issues you could be facing, we will limit this discussion to just a handful of the most important yet easy mitigated challenges.
How Do You Stand?
You cannot fix something if you don’t know it’s broken, and making uninformed changes abruptly is a short road to disaster. So, before you start adjusting page titles, writing new meta descriptions, or playing with factors that affect page load speed, it’s best to know where your website stands by conducting a thorough SEO audit.
In order to crawl your site’s technical SEO, you’ll need an outside tool. Google actually offer one that can work well right in your control panel, but there are plenty of third-party crawl utilities out there that can help. This audit will give you valuable information and allow you to act right away, such as:
- Identifying pages that load slowly.
- Page errors that can be repaired immediately.
- Missing or poor-quality meta descriptions and titles.
- Poor or lacking subheading use.
- 400-level errors.
We’ll start with what is one of the simplest, yet more important tips – improving your website’s security with encryption. If your URL does not begin with https://, there’s an excellent chance that Google is penalising you in the SERPs. 2018 marked the first year that Chrome automatically alerted users that pages without encryption were not secure. The simple fix here is to secure your SSL certificate. There are several options, but the simplest is to purchase one from your web host.
Code Tags: Simple Fixes for Visibility
Many website owners find that their pages are not visible through a Google search for a simple reason – they’re tagged with a code that tells Google not to index, follow, or allow that content to rank. These tags are noindex, nofollow, and disallow, and they basically block Google from doing anything with pages that include them.
They’re often used when pages are under construction, but the main site is already built, or when you have low-quality content on a page that needs to stay put while you deal with heftier issues. Many website owners forget to remove them when the pages are ready to go live, which drags down your visibility.
Simply removing those tags allows Google to crawl and index your pages. However, there may be a valid reason for those tags to be there, so ensure you know the purpose of the page before you start removing tags.
Page Not Found Errors
There are few things as frustrating for a consumer as to click on a link to a web page only to have that page be unavailable or not found. 404 errors can play havoc with your website’s success, particularly for first-time visitors who are more likely to immediately visit a competitor than they are to try to dig around for more information on your company’s website.
400-level errors are basically missing pages, but the problem is more likely to be that the page was never redesigned when you rebranded your website, or that it was deleted at some point in the past and was never redirected. The solution to this issue is to use redirects so that the visitor is taken to whatever page has the information they’re looking for, even if the original page cannot be found.
In the end, these simple technical SEO tips can have a major impact on your site’s success. In addition, pay attention to things like meta descriptions and titles, page load speed, and image size and quality, and you will find that your website does more to support your growth and serve your customers.