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A Technical SEO guide for business owners

If you’re a business owner that has invested in SEO then Technical SEO is probably something you’ve heard of and want to know more about. Technical SEO can be broken down into a few main areas: crawling and indexing, site structure, as well as schema markup. In this post, we will discuss how these impact your website rankings.

Website crawling and Indexing

CRAWLING means how Googlebot crawls your website. Google bots crawl the web by following links which allows them to find new URLs on a webpage and also understand what a webpage is about.

INDEXING is very similar but instead of Google finding those pages, it decides if those pages are relevant for certain keywords or not – if it believes it isn’t relevant then they won’t show up in the SERPs (search engine results page) when said search is done.

Google developed the RankBrain algorithm for this specific function. Rankbrain is the reason why we are fixated on having a lot of topically relevant information on your website and blog to enhance Google’s understanding of your website. The algorithm was released in 2019.

XML Sitemaps

XML sitemaps are a great way to help improve crawling ability. They are a file (containing a .xml extension) that you create that contains a list of all the URLs on your website. This allows Googlebot to crawl your website more effectively and understand how your website is structured.

Schema Markup

Schema markup is code that you add to your website’s “header” which tells Google what the data on your page means. This helps Google understand your website better and can result in higher rankings for certain pages. The “code” that is used is called JSON and is a version of Javascript. JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation. There are various types of schema you can use for your business. For example, a service business will have a different schema to an online store or a fixed location business like a supermarket. There are 3 “main” ways of adding schema to your site.

  1. You can custom code the schema and use “insert headers and footer” plugins to inject the code.
  2. Use the structured data helper from Google and Schema.org to create the schema.
  3. Use a premium plugin to help with the schema. Although they can cost around $100 a year it can be a good option for many businesses especially if they don’t have the skill set required to do it correctly.

Website speed

Website speed is another important aspect of Technical SEO. We now know that page speed is one of the signals that Google uses to rank pages. This means that if your website is slow, you’re likely to see a decrease in rankings. Initially, when core web vitals was released John Mullner said that it would be more of a deciding factor to see who will be placed above a competitor. Once rolled out, that doesn’t seem to be the case. So, how do you improve your websites speed? We usually take a multipronged approach to this. We normally use premium VPS hosting by Cloudways (our preferred suppliers) and Cloudflare for their CDN and DNS service. This results in improvements across the board. We also look to improve other aspects of the site such as reducing image sizes, reducing plugins and sometimes even changing the theme to see all the improvements necessary. Googles Page Speed insights can show you how fast or slow your site is.

SSL Certificate

Another thing that is often overlooked by website owners is their SSL certificate. A secure connection is important for a website – not just from an SEO perspective but also for user experience and to show that you’re a credible business. Google has been giving more weight to websites with SSL certificates in the SERPs, so it’s worth looking into getting one if you don’t have one already. Most hosting providers should have an SSL certificate with their hosting plan. Otherwise, you can install an SSL from Cloudflare that lasts 15 years if you feel like it. You should have to pay for it. That could be quite unnecessary.

Duplicate and thin content

Duplicate and thin content are two other aspects of Technical SEO that can impact your website rankings. Duplicate content is basically when there are multiple versions of the same content on different pages of your website. This can be caused by things such as printer-friendly versions of pages, pagination (displaying results split over multiple pages), session ID’s ( identifiers for each visitor), schema markup and tracking pixels etc.

Siteliner is a duplicate content checking tool that can show you your duplicate content. It sometimes is not always possible to use accurately because certain words are needed. You would look at duplicate content as you would writing the same website blog post over and over again with only a few different points in all of them.

If you have a website with thin content then it is likely that those pages won’t rank very well at all as Google wants to work on delivering the best possible result for its users.

That is a simple understanding guide to Technical SEO for business owners. If you are battling with your rankings, please contact us today and we will map out a route to improve your rankings. We perform a variety of SEO services for Cape Town-based businesses. If you require help with your SEO, consider using BIAS SEO for your SEO needs.