10 Aspects of Technical SEO Every Website Owner Needs to Implement
In a highly-competitive digital landscape, you have to stay on top of these things in order to rank well in Google, Bing, and Yahoo. I have an e-commerce store in a competitive market, so I need to pay attention to all of these things to ensure my pages rank as well as possible in SERPs. I'm no master at all of these things, but I'm learning!
1. Page speed.
In short, the slower your page loads the greater the likelihood it will not rank well in SERPs. Optimize images, remove unnecessary code and scripts, and always use a CDN.
2. Ensure mobile-friendliness.
It seems trite in 2023 to even have to mention this, but if any pages aren't conducive to mobile devices, they will get dinged in the rankings - and some websites out there still haven't gotten the message. Use Google Search Console to determine how well your pages are suited for mobile devices.
3. Submit sitemaps to each search engine.
This is technical SEO 101. You can submit your sitemap, which is usually auto-generated these days if you're using platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, or WordPress, to the search engines. The link is typically yourwebiste.com/sitemap.xml.
4. Use canonical tags if you have duplicate content.
This is something I've been doing more and more, as I have product pages with very similar content (which is something else I need to address). Typically, when there is duplicate content on a website, one of those pages is the so-called master page, the one in which you most likely want to rank highest in the search engines. For such pages, you want to add a canonical tag in the head of the site to tell the search engines that this is the page you want to be ranked. The tag looks like this: <link rel="canonical" href="https://mywebsite.com/top-page"; />.
5. Write original content and use appropriate headers.
This falls more under content SEO than technical SEO, but they're related. To use fewer canonical tags and have a better chance of all your pages ranking, write original, informative content for each page. If you're running an e-commerce store with hundreds of products, as I am, this is a huge challenge. My approach has been to re-write the top 20% of pages that receive traffic and not be as concerned about the rest.
6. Have a secure domain (HTTPS).
In 2023, this is also technical SEO 101. Nowadays, if you don't have an SSL certificate installed, the browser is going to flash a Not Secure warning on your site. This is enormously important for e-commerce stores, but even if you just have a knitting blog for stay-at-home moms you're going to have this issue. Install the cert and move on to more important things.
7. Have good site architecture.
Create categories and sub-categories on your website that make logical sense. Think of a well-organized file directory on your computer. You want sub-files to be appropriately associated with their parent files. Such is the case for websites. When you do this, it's much easier for search engines to crawl and index your website.
8. Fix all broken pages (404 error messages) on your site.
Search engines like these pages about as much as people do. Never just take down a webpage without redirecting it or putting new content on it.
9. Learn about Core Web Vitals.
I'm still wrapping my head around this one, but it's something Google introduced a couple of years ago. You can look at your website's metrics in Google Search Console. The three big ones to track are LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift), and FID (First Input Delay). It is about as exciting as it sounds, but Google wants us to pay attention to these metrics as they affect positive user experiences, which is their end goal (and should be ours as well).
10. Never let your guard down.
You have to always be checking up on your technical SEO health. There are a lot of paid tools out there that can be helpful, but if you can work your way around Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools, which are both free, that'll cover you pretty well.