SEO: as simple as Do Re Mi, ABC, 123!
While it may seem that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is complicated and best left to the pros, little do many know that a little understanding and constant effort is what reaps the benefit. In my first job I landed with a SEO related work with no prior experience or knowledge of this field. Starting with creating backlinks, I expanded my role to social media handling and off-page optimization. It is still a constant learning curve for me, with new updates from google and the ever increasing demands on the net.
SEO is a vast topic with many aspects to look into if you want that top search engine rank. I have neatly divided it into 4 parts, which again link into one another. Those are:
A few of these points might ring a bell in your head, and many of you might understand what those mean. This is going to be a mini series where I take you through each point and try to put it down in simple terms. SEO shouldn’t be this hard, not when the internet is accessible to everybody!
Today we are going to crack Technical SEO. In basic terms, it means an easy allowance for search engine bots to crawl easily through your website. They crawl to check if everything is in place, secured, fast and have good connectivity so that people of the internet can easily maneuver through your website. Things like the structure of your website, working (or dead) links in your content or even the load time of the page means a lot to Google when it comes to search engine rankings. It is also like killing two birds with one stone since technical SEO also enhances readability for the users as well as search engine. Therefore, I present thee with a few basic pointers to get started with technical SEO
Check the locks first
The lock icon right beside the site address, that is what we’re looking at. It means that we are keeping the website secure which is an important factor for Google ranking. Just make sure you use SSL or Secure Socket Layer which encrypt the link between your site and the browser. It makes sure that all credentials entered into any site will be kept to the site and browser alone. So give more preference to “https://’ rather than “http://” and install an SSL certificate on your site. Although most good website builders already include SSL certificates by default.
Ready for any Screen
Google has mentioned that a website is responsive if it adjusts to any device. While websites have been made with a large computer screen in mind, it is important to have a mobile friendly version where information is as easy and quick to navigate. With most searches now being made on the go and the internet being super accessible on the mobile, it is very important that websites cater to this growing group.
Need for Speed?
Imagine you are browsing google and every time you click open a website, it takes forever to load? Pictures, videos, gif or even links are blank and that refresh button just doesn’t seem to stop? It does get frustrating. Slow traffic, slow replies and slow internet are a few of my pet peeves. In the era of 5G, pages should load in 3 secs otherwise be ready to lose all that traffic that you have worked hard for.
To reduce the load time you can use adaptive images which reduce the weight of the image without sacrificing on the quality; caching your website loads your static resources faster, reducing the load time; checking the plugins used on your website which might drag the speed if poor/ heavy or outdated.
Give it a Structure
Structured Data makes it easier for search engines to understand your products or contents or business of your website, and index them relevantly for effective outcomes. It is a code that you add to your website, usually in a fixed format, that the search engine can understand and piece it together for the bigger picture.
It also makes the website more appealing with “rich snippets” like 5 star rates and customer reviews etc that can boost the click-through rate (CTR) and in general get more traffic. These sites are given more preferences and are considered of higher quality, so it is advised to take that extra mile.
To map or not to map?
Sitemaps works like an index where all the information of your pages, links, videos and files are stored. Google search bots uses this to effectively crawl through your website so that no content, link or effort is unnoticed. It lets them know which pages have valuable content and should not be missed. There are different categories of sitemaps for different contents like videos, images or news. It updates google about when was the page last modified, or the priority content and even how frequently uploaded. Sitemaps are necessary for larger websites with multiple pages and links since there are more chances of things being left out. Smaller or newer sites with less external links which are rich with media links are also advised to install XML sitemaps on their sites.
Avoid content confusion
I did say technical SEO and that does kind of come under on-page SEO so of course we will be talking about content. Now, if you have duplicate content (the same content on different pages) then search engines will get confused as to which page to rank the highest and eventually give both a lower score. Duplicate content can also be a technical issue as different URLs can show the same content. With the use of canonical link element you can point out which URL is the main site and have search engines rank that page instead of the other.
Another point is to remove dead links in your site. No one likes seeing a 404 error page when they click a link. It is like hitting a wall and God knows that is painful. This shows that your site is not updated regularly and your resources are outdated, which of course makes your page and site less credible. While there might be a few deadlinks embedded in your site, keeping the numbers as low as possible will do good. There are tools that can help you find dead links on your site so that you can delete or redirect them to more credible sources.
These are just some of the tricks that boost your page ranking, and we have not even scratched the surface of SEO. A little dabbling and learning on the Internet will help you understand technical SEO, making it as simple ABC. Do keep in mind that SEO needs constant supervision and updating, not a one night's job as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a Day. Keep an eye out for the next of the series which will be on On-Page SEO.