What is Technical SEO?

What is Technical SEO And Why Is It Important To Know?

It’s important to have a knowledge and understanding of technical SEO as well. If you don’t know what is technical SEO, it’s going to be very difficult because you can’t know what the developer is saying to you if you don’t have a understanding of technical SEO.

In order to tackle challenges from both sides, SEOs should have a healthy relationship with developers. Don’t wait for tomorrow because it can cause you negative SEO ramifications. Instead, start working early on because if you don’t then later, not only it’ll cost you your money but time as well. That’s why SEOs need cross-team support to be effective.

How Website Works?

From purchasing a domain name to fully rendered in a browser. An important part of the website’s journey. It’s important because it is a critical rendering path; it is the process by which the browser turns the website code into a viewable page.

Knowing this is important for SEOs. You may ask, Why?” Well, it’s because;

  1. The process involved in this can affect page load times, and as we know, site speed is an important factor for both users and bots as well as a ranking factor.
  2. Google renders certain resources on a second pass, like JavaScript. Google will look at the page without JavaScript, and then, after some days or weeks, Google will render JavaScript. What it means is that SEO elements that are added to the page using JavaScript might not get indexed.

Before accessing the website, setup is the first step;

  1. First, you purchase a domain name, which you can buy from GoDaddy, HostGator, Hostinger, etc. These are registrars, and these registrars are organizations that manage the reservations of domain names.
  2. Then you link that domain name (that you have just purchased) to an IP address. The Internet doesn’t understand names. It understands binary numbers (e.g. – 0, 1, 0, 1).

    DNS helps the internet understand names. Hmm, you can also say that DNS is a bridge that helps the internet understand names in words. The internet uses a series of numbers called Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, but we humans need words because it’s easier for us to understand because we can’t understand numbers, just like the internet cannot understand words. Now, DNS comes in and solves this problem. We use DNS to link human-readable names with machine-readable numbers.

Now we will learn how a website gets from the server to the browser.

  1. Let’s say you are a user and you request a domain that you want to go on. That domain is linked to an IP address via DNS. People can request a website, whether by typing directly or in any other way, by clicking on a link.
  2. Then the browser will make a request. A request from a user for a web page, prompts the browser to make a DNS lookup request so that DNS can convert that domain name into numbers, aka its IP address. Then the browser will make a request to the server for the code that your web page is built with (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript).
  3. Then the server will send the resources that the browser has asked for. When the server receives a request, it sends the website files to be assembled in the searcher’s browser.
  4. Now, that the browser has received the resources from the user, it will assemble the web page, but before that, it still needs to put it all together and render the web page, and only after that, users see the web page in their browser. As the browser organizes all the resources of the web page, it creates a Document Object Model (DOM). You can see it when you right-click and “inspect elements.”
  5. The browser will then make a final request. And after all the necessary files are downloaded, parsed, and executed, the browser will show you the web page. And at this point, the browser will ask you for additional code from your server only if you make an additional request.
  6. And at last, it’s a success because the website has appeared in your browser. Now the website has not been transformed, well, rendered, from code to what you are seeing now in your browser. It was a tough journey, but worth it. Isn’t it?

Now you know the process of how website works.

How do search engines work?

Search engines work to give relevant answers to what users are searching for so that users will come back again to their search engine. But how is it done? Here is how it’s done:

  • Crawling: The Google bot or crawler comes and scans the internet for content; they look for code or content for each URL they find. They go from one page to another via internal links.
  • Indexing: Once they find the information, they store that information and organize the content that is found during the crawling process. Once a page is indexed, it’s available for users to view on search engines if users’ query is relevant to your content.
  • Ranking: If a searcher asks something and your content provides the best answer for that query, this means that results are shown on SERP(search engine results page) are most relevant. Your content was shown for that query because it was relevant and of high quality to the searcher’s query.

There are multiple factors when it comes to ranking which I will discuss in On-Page SEO.

As I said above, search engine work—in fact, the work of any search engine—is to make users happy with the results they are trying to find. For this, search engines need to find the best pages and serve them the top results.

here is one thing though that I want to mention: Google is not the only search engine, but it’s the most popular, which is why we refer to Google when we talk about search engines.

Site Structure

Site Structure is an important practice for SEOs to follow. It should be in hierarchical order. It helps not only users but also crawlers navigate through your website easily.

Tell Search Engines Which One You Prefer With Canonicalization

You use this tag when there are duplicates of your content. If you don’t use this tag and if there are two versions of it, then Google will decide which is more authentic, but if you pick or place that canonical tag, then Google will know which page is original. It won’t create duplicates. You put a canonical tag on your duplicate page.

And this is also true in e-commerce because when a person searches for different sizes and colors, other pages are made, and if you add a canonical tag, it becomes easier for search engines to identify the original version. If there’s only one page, then you can see that those pages have *self canonical tag*. meaning they’re telling search engines that they’re theirs only. They’re the original ones.

In other words, when you have two identical contents, you use the Canonicalization tag to let Google know which is your preferred version.

Sometimes, Google doesn’t know which page to index when it crawls the same content on different web pages. This is why, rel=”canonical” tag To help search engines index the preferred version of content.

Mobile Friendliness

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Google indexes websites if they are mobile friendly.

HTTPS

If your website’s address bar has a lock, then that means it’s secured (HTTPS).

Not only is it important information-wise, but it is a ranking factor as well. It uses encryption to protect information between clients and servers.

URLs (Uniform Resource Locator)

Your URLs should be easy to understand, descriptive for both, users and search engines. Their format should be consistent so that search engines can understand the relationship between different pages on your site.

And make sure you are using a static URL instead of dynamic.

For example, tell me which one is easier to read:

Dynamic URL: https://digitalsearchinsights.com/?p=282

Static URL: https://digitalsearchinsights.com/what-is-seo-and-why-is-seo-important

Now, tell me, which one is easy to read?

A clean URL can send search engine crawlers information about the destination page. So, it becomes more important to structure your URL properly.

XML Sitemap

Extensible Markup Language (XML), it contains a list of URLs. The purpose of XML sitemap is to provide search engines with information about the most recent changes made to them. It contains a list of websites and the frequency with which they are updated. With the help of an XML sitemap, we can request that search engines crawl and index essential pages. It’s basically for search engines.

HTML Sitemap

It’s a list of URLs for a website. It is structured. Meaning, if you have a big website, you can click on the HTML sitemap and see any product or post monthly or yearly. They’re categorized.

Hreflang Attribute

If a website is multilingual, then use the hreflang tag. It’s an HTML attribute. It’s for multiple languages. This tag shows Google that you have a copy of this language.

Broken Links, Redirect Chains, And Link Authority

404. When you create a new page and then share a link to that page, and when you delete that page and then people visit, it’s 404. meaning it’s deleted.

Make sure you are redirecting those broken links to a relevant page.

301 And 302

  1. 301: Permanent Redirect
  2. 302: Temporary Redirect

You use temporary redirects when you want to do A/B testing, or redesigning your website. In 301, your link authority doesn’t pass because it’s temporary.

But with a permanent redirect, which is 302, link authority also gets a pass. Usually, it’s when you go from non-www to www.

Redirect Chains

It’s better to update your redirect URLs, but if you have to do it, then don’t turn your redirects into chains. For example, A user has to go from (website 1) to (website 2) to (website 3). Make sure the user is going from (website 1) to (website 3).

What is Robots.txt file and Robots Meta Tag?

Hmm, I always confuse this with Robots meta tags. Hah! But robots.txt tells search engines which pages you can index and which you can’t. By default, robots.txt will index, but there are things that you don’t want to index. So, you can disallow them if you don’t want certain pages to be indexed.

Robots meta tags also known as Robots tags is a piece of HTML code that you place in the head section of your HTML webpage.

Noindex – <meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

If you want to prevent some pages to being indexed, then you can put a noindex tag.

Nofollow – <meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

 If you are linking to a website but think it could be spammy, then you can place a nofollow tag so that the link you are giving, won’t give any authority.

Noarchive –  <meta name="robots" content="noarchive" />

There are more than these three, and I learned today that there are more than these three.

There is one significant difference. According to Google they will still index a page behind a robots.txt DENY, if the page is linked to via another site. However, they will not if they see a meta tag:

While Google won’t crawl or index the content blocked by robots.txt, we might still find and index a disallowed URL from other places on the web. As a result, the URL address and, potentially, other publicly available information such as anchor text in links to the site can still appear in Google search results. You can stop your URL from appearing in Google Search results completely by using other URL blocking methods, such as password-protecting the files on your server or using the noindex meta tag or response header.

Introduction to robots.txt

Thanks to Semrush’s article: Robots Meta Tag and X-Robots-Tag Explained.1

What are X-Robots Header Tags?

They are more complicated than Meta Robots Tags. X-robots-tag are complicated. You can control how non-HTML content is handled. This is not an HTML tag but an HTTP header response. And if a directive is getting used as a meta robots tag, that directive, or in fact, any directive, can also be used as an x-robots tag.

This is what an x-robots-tag header response looks like:

x-robots-tag: noindex, nofollow

Improve Page Speed

There are many ways you can increase and/or improve page speed. Let’s look at them:

Images In Webp format

When you are using images, make sure they are in webp format. It will take up a lot of space if you webp format.

Improve Page Speed By Minifying CSS And JavaScript. Bundle Your Files

Minification: It removes things like line breaks and spaces, and this helps to condense a file.

Bundling: It combines a bunch of the same coding language files into a single file. For example, a bunch of CSS files could be put into one larger file to reduce the number of CSS files.

Both minifying and bundling the files, not only increase the speed of your website but also reduce the number of HTTP file requests.

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. The speed to deliver the content is much greater than with non-AMP delivery. AMP can deliver fast content because it delivers from its cache servers and not the original site. It uses a special AMP version of HTML and JavaScript.

Conclusion

Some of these topics can have a post of their own, and I will discuss some of these things in depth, which can have a post of their own. But these things are important when you do technical SEO. These things affect your rankings.

These things can be complex and hard at first, but with time, they become easy because you start understanding. In order to improve your rankings, these things are a must.

At last, I would say this again: understanding technical SEO is important because it can help the relationship with developers. Communication becomes easy because you start understanding things. You don’t have to have full knowledge, but the more, the better.

But I hope you now know “What is Technical SEO?”

FAQs

Q1. Does technical SEO require coding?

No, it doesn’t. You can do technical SEO if you don’t know coding, but it’s always a plus if you are familiar with or know programming.

Q2. Is technical SEO difficult?

At first, it can be complex to understand, but with time, you will be able to do technical SEO.

Q3. What are the different site maps?

There are two categories of sitemaps: XML and HTML.

  • HTML Sitemap is for users.
  • XML Sitemap is for crawlers.

Q4. Why create an XML sitemap?

Because it helps search engines. It provides a list of all URLs on your website to search engines. It also helps to index those pages that would have been missed otherwise. It also helps search engines understand the structure of your website.

Q5. How does sitemap affect ranking?

It doesn’t affect the ranking, but it does help the pages of your website get crawled more. That can be new URLs or those URLs that you prioritize.

Resources

  1. Robots Meta Tag and X-Robots-Tag Explained

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