So far, we’ve been talking about all the high-leverage things in an SEO strategy.
If you think of SEO as building a house, we’ve set the foundation, walls, roof, added furniture, and did landscaping…
…now it’s time to talk about the electrical, wiring, and plumbing.
Water and electricity won’t make your house look or feel amazing—but without them, the rest just wouldn’t matter.
That’s how you should think about technical SEO.
Technical SEO is everything you do to make it easier for search engines to find and index your content correctly.
This can sound intimidating if you’re not technical (like me!) but don’t worry.
You mainly need to take care of four major things:
1. Make sure search engines can index your pages
First things first, search engines can’t index and rank your pages if they can’t find them or if you’re accidentally blocking them.
The easiest way to do prevent this is to:
- Submit an XML sitemap to search engines
- Check that your robots.txt file is not blocking crawlers from pages you want to rank
These are some helpful resources on how to do that:
2. Fix errors and broken links
Sometimes, search engines will find errors when crawling your website.
For example, maybe you’ve deleted a piece of content and its URL is returning a 404 error.
If third-party sites are linking to a URL that’s showing an error, you’re missing out on the value that’s being passed from those links—search engines will consider these to be “broken links.” That’s one of the biggest problems with errors.
You can solve this by regularly checking your site for errors (we’ll explain the tools you can use for this in the “Tools” section of this guide,) and then decide whether you need to fix that error or not—most errors can be fixed easily with a redirect to a new URL.
Here are some great guides for you to get started:
3. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
It’s 2019. We don’t need to explain that everyone browses the internet on their phones. You already know how much it sucks to visit a site that’s not mobile-friendly.
In an effort to provide a better experience to their users, Google and other search engines have started to use mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor (especially for mobile search results.)
If you’re just getting started, most modern content management systems and website builders (e.g. WordPress, Squarespace, Shopify, etc.) have already taken care of this.
If you’re dealing with an existing site that isn’t mobile friendly, you might need to talk to a developer about fixing this—ASAP.
If you’re not sure, Google has created a handy tool to test if your website is mobile-friendly:
4. Speed up your site
The last major thing that’s really important is to make sure your site doesn’t take forever to load.
According to Google, the longer it takes for content to load on their devices, the less likely users are to engage with it.