Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is quite possibly the most important tactic in a digital marketing strategy. After all, 51% of all online traffic arrives at websites through organic search, and the only way to ensure that your website attracts its share of the traffic is via SEO.
The trouble is that search results pages as we knew them only a few years ago are long gone. Search is now dynamic, visual, powerful and everywhere!
This has made SEO a collaborative discipline that requires the combination of multiple specialisations to get good results. And at the heart of this effort lies technical SEO, the foundation of every successful digital strategy.
Nearly 59% of all marketers report onsite technical optimisation to be one of the most effective SEO strategies. That’s why making your website technically efficient and improving its architecture is just as important as integrating high-ranking keywords or incorporating backlinks.
Creating a strong technical foundation for your website can go a long way in ranking your website at the top of search engines.
What Exactly Is Technical SEO?
Your content can be very informative, useful and well-written, but if search engines cannot recognise and rank it, chances are that it won’t be of any help to you or your target audiences.
Technical SEO refers to optimisations that make your website easier and more efficient to crawl for Google. This ensures that the search engine picks up the right content from your website to deliver to the searchers at the right time.
It involves ensuring that the URL structure on your pages is convenient and relevant, the site architecture is easy to browse, and the sitemap and Robots.txt are up to the mark. These and many other factors can affect your website’s technical SEO health.
Technical SEO Is Important Now More Than Ever
Google processes nearly 2 trillion searches every year; a number that’s steadily increasing by astronomical proportions.
This has compelled SEO experts to come up with newer, better techniques to help them rule the search results. While the core tenets of organic SEO remain in place, technical SEO places further prominence on the web, mobile and device performance. That’s why new approaches are necessary to ace your efforts in capturing the elusive top-ranking spot-on Google. This means focusing your skills on building a powerful website with a strong site architecture that properly conveys the content on your site to the search engine.
How Can I Optimise My Website For Technical SEO?
Your website should be user-friendly and geared towards optimising the experience for your site visitors.
However, with that said, remember that fulfilling the technical requirements of search engines is a long-winded process. There are various things that you can do to improve your site’s technical SEO that can rank you ahead of the competition.
Here are 6 key elements to improve the ranking of your site in search results:
1. Keyword Usage
When optimising webpages, you might think that if search engines use keywords to match search queries, why not stuff your words with as many keywords as possible? If that’s your approach for using keywords, you’ve been doing it all wrong!
Using too many words repeatedly can end up making your article look out of context and is likely to end up being categorised as “keyword” spamming. Google states that stuffing content with keywords and repeated numbers can actually impact your site’s ranking negatively.
Then how should you use keywords to optimise your content’s ranking?
Your target keywords or it’s supporting keywords should appear in a meaningful manner in the core elements of your page such as:
- In the title
- Once in the description tag
- URL path
- H1 of your text
- Within the first 150 words of your article
Ideally, the longer your content is, the more space there will be for you to use keywords efficiently without over-spamming the text.
2. Your Webpages Should Load Quickly
Imagine the frustration you get when a site takes ages to load. When web pages take a long time to load, it creates a gap between consumers’ expectations and the website’s capability to deliver results.
A 2-second delay in load time of a website can cause 87% of consumers to abandon the website! This means that to enhance customer experience, Google will automatically prioritise websites that are fast, responsive and easy to navigate.
Here are some of the ways to increase your web-page’s load time:
- Optimize your image size and format (PNG is the preferred format for graphics while JPEG is better for photographs).
- Use a content distribution network (CDN) to minimize the distance between your website’s server and your visitors.
3. Having A Meta Title And Description Tag
A meta title and description = your free ad on Google. Especially when you couple it with structured data.
This should be as conversion optimised as any ad you put up on Google. A meta title and description help Google describe the content of your page to make it easily discoverable for the audience.
Google, however, takes some liberty regarding what to display in search results. So sometimes your meta-description will be displayed as-is under the headline or Google will pull a snippet of your main text as the description. Either way, a compelling description of your content can increase website traffic to your page.
4. Structured Data (JSON-LD) Can Make Your Result Stand Out
Structured data doesn’t directly help your content rank higher on Google.
However, they can help improve your click through rate by giving some of your pages rich snippets.
Structured data is a tool to make search engines better understand what is on your page by describing it in their language—i.e. using schemas.
JSON-LD is one of the markups that you can use to describe your pages to Google. It’s also the one that we recommend that you use as it’s the format preferred by Google and it doesn’t break your site as easily as some other markups do.
Structured data can also help your content to get into Google’s knowledge graph that can grant your website more visibility and authority.
So make sure you’re adding structured data wherever it is possible (and relevant). If you’re using a developer, many off the shelf solutions have plug-ins for structuring data, for example, Yoast for your WordPress blog posts.
5. Never Host Your Blog (Or Ecommerce Catalogue) On A Subdomain
Hosting your blog on a subdomain can actually do your site more harm than good. It can increase the costs of maintaining a separate domain and disperse your keywords on two individual sites resulting in lower quality and less-traffic generating.
Although Google realises that the two sites are connected, it won’t guarantee that the search engine will carry any links from the subdomain onto the primary page.
Instead of hosting your blog or e-commerce catalogue on a subdomain, you should preferably make a domain that has a separate element path and one that starts with your target keyword. That way your, SEO efforts won’t be dispersed over multiple domains.
6. Regularly Review Google Search Console
Google search console is a free service offered by Google that can help you regulate any troubleshooting issues that your website may face. It also allows you to see your website the way Google views it, making it possible to improve any loopholes, such as:
- There is only one copy of your content on the web.
- There are no 404 or broken links on your site. If you change URLs and you’ve got inbound links make sure you redirect them.
- All URLs on your sitemap are up to date.
- Leveraging canonical links and hreflang to avoid duplicate content issues.
- Making sure that you’re not excluding any important pages such as noindex, robots.txt etc.
Optimising your website’s architecture along with highly-knowledgeable content, can definitely help you rank among the top 10 sites filtered by search engines.
But a slow, unresponsive, and confusing website is going to hinder search engines from making your website discoverable, preventing you from achieving your digital marketing goals. Hence, it is important to take your SEO strategies seriously.
If you follow some of the suggestions mentioned above, your website can go a long way in generating traffic and increasing audience engagement.