What makes a site technically perfect? Well, there are plenty of things that factor into this. Some people say that technical SEO is dead or that it’s cosmetic at best. Ultimately, though, it’s been brought back to life with great examples of SEO techniques that earned major boosts in traffic.
The problem, however, might lie in the definition of the term technical SEO. Whatever the definition, hopefully, all will agree that technical SEO is necessary as a foundation of top search engine rankings.
In this post, we’re going to look at the seven ways that you can kick start your SEO game going into the new year.
1) Check indexing.
You can start off by checking how many of your site’s links are indexed in the major search engines. You can download an app like WebSite Auditor or you can simply enter site:domain.com in your search engine to see just how many pages come up when your site is searched.
In a perfect world, this number would be mostly proportional to the number of pages on your site, minus of course the ones that you don’t want to be indexed in the first place. If this gap is too large, then you’ll want to review all of your disallowed pages.
2) Make sure your important resources are capable of being crawled.
You might be tempted to use robots.txt in order to check the “crawlability” of your site. Oftentimes, though, it’s as inaccurate as it is simple. Robots.txt is only one way to restrict your pages from indexing, so you might want an SEO crawler to get the job done.
Don’t forget that Google can now render pages just like modern browsers do. For this reason, it’s important that not only all your pages but all kinds of different resources are able to be crawled. If your CSS files aren’t open to indexing, then Google won’t see pages the way they’re meant to be seen. They’ll look off, and can ultimately be a UX disaster.
In a similar way, if your JS isn’t able to be crawled, Google will not index any of your site’s dynamically generated content.
3) Optimize crawl budget.
Crawl budget is the number of pages on a site that search engines will crawl over a given time. Google Search Console will give you a good idea as to what your crawl budget is.
Unfortunately, Google doesn’t give you each page in the crawl stats. For that, you’ll need a specialized tool to look in the server logs.
Once you’ve figured out what your crawl budget is, you’ll no doubt want to figure out how you can increase it. There isn’t one set way that’s been found, but SEOs think it has to do somewhat with internal links to a page and backlinks to it from other sites.
One way to increase your crawl budget is to get rid of duplicate pages. Canonical URLs won’t help you here–the search engines will still hit on the duplicate content no matter what.
Another way is to prevent the indexation of pages that don’t have any SEO value. Terms and conditions, privacy policies, and the like are all good candidates for a Disallow rule within robots.txt.
Other ways to increase your crawl budget are to fix broken links and keep your sitemap up to date.
4) Audit internal links.
A simple, easy to navigate site is the best way to get great UX and positive “crawlability”. Internal linking also helps to spread ranking power around pages more effectively.
When you’re auditing, be sure to check out your click depth. Keep your site structure shallow so that the most important pages you have are no more than three clicks away.
Check for broken links. These confuse readers while at the same time devouring your pages’ ranking power. Most of the SEO crawlers will show your broken links, but it can be pretty tricky (and time-consuming) to find all of them.
Keep an eye on your redirected links. Even if the visitor does eventually find the right page, too many redirects will negatively affect crawl budget and load time.
Lastly, look for orphan pages. These are pages that aren’t linked to within your site, which makes them hard for customers and Google to find them.
5) Review your sitemap.
Sitemaps are very important. What they do is to actually tell search engines about your site structure and then let them discover brand new content much faster. You should check your site for freshness.
What you should also look for is cleanness. You want to keep your sitemap free from garbage or else you might have the sitemap ignored by Google completely. You should remember to regularly check your sitemap for errors in the Google Search Console.
Also, check for size. Keep your sitemap crawls to well under 50,000 URLs as that’s Google’s limit. Plus, any more than that can take the focus away from your important pages.
6) Test and improve page speed.
Page speed is actually Google’s ranking signal for the new year. You can go ahead and test the load time of your pages with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
It can take a while to manually enter all of the URLs to check for speed, so you might want to use WebSite Auditor for that task.
If the page doesn’t pass, Google will provide you with documentation on how to get there with a couple of changes.
7) Get mobile-friendlier.
What you first want to do is test your pages’ mobile friendliness by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Tool.
You can also run comprehensive audits of your mobile site, just like you would do on the desktop version. You’ll most likely have to use a custom user agent as well as robots.txt inside of your SEO crawler.
There are a variety of ways you can kick start your SEO for the new year. Get started!