So what is technical SEO?
To us, technical SEO is anything to do with search engine optimisation on your website that isn’t to do with content creation.
Yes, content creation includes SEO, but technical SEO is more about the way your website is structured and set up technically for search engines.
There’s a whole bunch of reasons your website might not be getting found in search, some of it will be the content on your site.
It might be that your site is new and hasn’t built the authority it needs yet.
Or, it could be that the technical SEO elements of your website are holding you back.
That’s the thing with technical SEO. If you don’t get it right, it doesn’t matter how good all your other SEO work and content creation is – you’ll always only ever get so far until you sort the technical stuff.
So, to help you out, here is a quick run through the main technical SEO things that usually hold a website back.
By the way, if you go down this list and realise these things apply to you, don’t panic, they’re pretty straightforward to fix.
Your website isn’t HTTPS secure
When you look at a website’s url, have you noticed that it has (or should have) the locked padlock symbol just before the url? Or the url starts with ‘https://”?
HTTPS stands for hypertext transfer protocol secure, and is the tech way of saying whether a website is secure or.
If you don’t have a https website, you’ll probably see a warning on your url that says “not secure”.
Not only is this bad from a user standpoint – who wants to visit a website or hand over details on a site that isn’t secure after all – but it’s also bad from an SEO point.
That’s because search engines are reluctant to show users non-secure sites when possible.
Remember, search engines are trying to provide users with the best, most relevant responses to their queries.
Sending them to an unsecured site doesn’t fit the bill.
You can secure your site from your hosting platform by purchasing an SSL certificate, or set this up when you first purchase your domain.
Your site isn’t indexed properly
This sounds obvious, but search engines can only show webpages that it can find, crawl and index.
If it can’t do this, it won’t rank your site.
There’s a few reasons your website might not be indexed properly.
First though, you should check which of your pages are indexed.
You can do easily by typing site:yourwebsitedomain into a search bar.
The results should show you your pages that a search engine has found, if the page isn’t there, it probably isn’t indexed.
It can take time for search engines to index a page (it depends on the regularity of which they crawl your website).
Sometimes though, a crawler might miss a page.
In this instance you can submit a sitemap to Google or a submit to index request and Google will crawl that specific sitemap or page to be indexed.
Again, give it a few days and then you should see the page indexed.
No XML sitemap
An XML sitemap is an XML file that lists every URL for a site, for example:
Having an XML sitemap makes it easier and more efficient for search engines to find, crawl and index pages that might otherwise get missed.
Failing to produce and submit an XML sitemap makes it harder for search engines to crawl your site (like taking a journey without directions) and makes it more likely that pages of your website won’t get indexed.
Duplicate content is a major problem for SEO.
When you have two pages with the same content, Google and search engines don’t know which is the main page you’re trying to rank.
This leaves the potential for them to rank the wrong page, or split the search authority between the two pages, which damages both pages.
Duplicate copy is a particular problem in Ecommerce, with so many products having similar descriptions.
If you can’t create original content for every page, you should add a canonical tag to the main page you want to rank in search.
Www. and non www. Homepage
Have you ever noticed that some websites start with www. and some don’t?
There is no specific advantage to using this on your website, but the problem comes when you create both a www. and none www. Website.
Whichever website format you choose when you first create your website, stick with it.
If you’ve got both, go to Google Webmaster Tools account and click on your site – this is the one you should focus on.
Broken links are a big red flag for search engines, and they add to a poor customer experience.
There’s nothing worse on a website than seeing a link to a page or information you think might be useful, and then clicking the link and it doesn’t work.
From an SEO perspective, you will lose link equity in your website if you have broken links, which can negatively impact rankings.
To fix broken links you can find them in Google Analytics and then you can simply add a 301 redirect link to another, relevant, active page.
Not mobile optimised
Did you know that more than half of global internet traffic comes from a mobile device.
Plus, Google is now moving to a mobile first approach to rankings, meaning websites which are optimised for mobile are now being prioritised in search.
So, not optimising your website for mobile will damage your search performance.
This refers to the text you can assign to images, and is one of the key failings a lot of people have when it comes to SEO.
Images are important for the user experience, but they’re also an opportunity to add more copy and keywords onto your page.
Alt text is used by sites to describe an image or the context of an image for those who may not be able to see it.
By adding alt text to images wherever you can, you can not only provide a better user experience, but improve your search authority at the same time.
Missing or unoptimised meta descriptions
You might not need meta descriptions for every page, but they are useful, when you write them correctly.
A meta description is the copy that appears under your url when it appears on the search engine.
It’s meant to provide a user with a description of what they’ll get if they click the link and go through to your website.
Meta descriptions don’t factor into SEO results (according to Google) but they are an effective way of increasing click through rates for pages.
So it’s worth taking some time to write compelling descriptions to convince people to click through to your website.
Build the foundations for stronger SEO performance
As we’ve said, technical SEO is a huge factor when it comes to ranking performance.
As much as you might rely on content or promotion to get people to your site, from an organic perspective, failing to take care of the structural integrity of your site means it will never perform as well as it otherwise could have.
Want to see how your website’s SEO currently stacks up?
Get a free SEO audit from us and let’s see how we can help you improve your search rankings and get you more customers.