Technical SEO is the foundation of your search engine optimization strategies. Without it, your site will not be able to reach the top of search results. So learn now how to optimize your site with technical SEO and the top issues you should avoid.
SEO Strategies can’t stand without a consistent foundation. Even if you create great content and build a qualified link network, Google won’t keep your site on top if it takes too long to load or has too many faulty pages.
We are talking about structural issues of a website, which relate to technical SEO. If you think of optimization as a pyramid, technical SEO is the foundation behind content production, link building, and authority building strategies .
Therefore, technical problems need to be avoided and corrected – or your pyramid may collapse.
In this article, we will explain:
- What is Technical SEO
- The Importance of Technical SEO 
- Key Factors of Technical SEO ]
What is technical SEO
Technical SEO is the set of optimizations related to the internal structure of a website . The intent is for pages to become faster, understandable, crawlable and indexable – which is basic for all the rest of the SEO strategy to work.
Technical SEO is part of SEO on page , which represents the optimizations that are under your control, within your pages.
On-page SEO, however, is more comprehensive and involves content production strategies, for example, that are not part of technical SEO. In addition, there is also off page SEO, which refers to the site’s relationship with other players with the intention of gaining market authority and building a relevant link network.
Technical SEO, for its part, deals with what’s behind the pages , in the site’s code and architecture.
That’s what you need for Google to be able to find your links and rank them. Although technical SEO factors may influence ranking , the focus here is on crawling and indexing. Then content authoring and authoring strategies will drive your pages up the search engine rankings.
The Importance of Technical SEO
Technical SEO is the principle of every search engine optimization strategy. That’s where you should start, because this part of optimization ensures that your links are found and indexed in the Google directory.
You need to ensure, for example, that your pages are crawlable by Google. However, some detail in the site’s HTML code may get in the way of plans. Many website administrators are desperate because their site does not appear in the search engine, while a technical SEO audit could quickly identify this issue.
In addition, technical SEO can also help Google better understand your pages . Let’s see later that structured data and site architecture, for example, fulfill this function. This allows the search engine to read important information from your site and understand which paths to follow. This will allow Google to index pages for the right keywords.
But make no mistake: Technical SEO should not only aim at Googlebot . While the techniques are essential to make the robot work easier, they are also responsible for providing a better user experience . And that is the focus of Google.
The intention of the search engine is to provide the best results for what the user is looking for. And the best results are pages that are aligned to the search term and that offer a good browsing experience .
When you simplify site codes, for example, it not only makes it simpler and more understandable for the robot, but also enhances the browsing experience by accelerating the loading speed. Another example is when you make your pages mobile-friendly, and the visitor easily accesses the site on any device.
And when Google realizes its effort to improve user experience, you can gain ranking positions because of it.
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Key Technical SEO Factors
Let’s now understand what are the main factors of technical SEO that you can optimize.
Realize that many factors can be identified and corrected by any professional with the help of tools like Google Search Console or plugins like Yoast .
However, some optimizations are a bit more complex and may require skilled professionals. Fiddling with code directly is not simple, and without specific knowledge you can make some serious mistake. So if technical SEO goes beyond your knowledge, don’t hesitate to ask a developer for help.
Here are the key factors of technical SEO.
If a page takes a few seconds to open, that time may already be a reason for the user to give up accessing it. Think With Google found that a load of up to 5 seconds increases the likelihood of the user giving up on the visit by 90%.
Improving page speed is a task for technical SEO . After all, load time is linked to the internal structure of the site, such as image size, code organization, and hosting server.
First, you need to identify how fast your pages load.
Google itself provides a tool for this: the Page Speed Insights . This tool gives you a score for your loading speed and the factors you can optimize to improve it.
Another well-known tool is the GTmetrix , which shows loading speed (not just a score) and improvement opportunities.
As you can see from the reports on these tools, there are a number of technical SEO actions you can take to improve load time. These are some of them:
- compress files sent by the server (Gzip);
- reduce the size of page images;
- eliminate superfluous characters from HTML, CSS and Javascrip codes (minify);
- create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs);
- enjoy the browser cache.
If you want to better understand each of these actions, check out our article on improving page speed , which provides detailed explanations.
Google has long been concerned about the search experience of mobile users. From the beginning of the use of smartphones and tablets, the searcher realized that the future of search was mobile . So it spared no effort to make mobile search more efficient.
In 2015, Google already announced the mobile-friendly update , which made responsiveness a ranking factor. One of his most recent attitudes was the adoption of the mobile-first index , which prioritized the indexing of the mobile version of websites, as mobile searches have already surpassed desktop searches.
Bottom line: Mobile is important for SEO, you already know. Now, it’s important to know what technical SEO actions you can take to improve the indexing and ranking of your pages.
The most efficient way to do this is to have a responsive site . With this feature, your pages have the same HTML code and URL, regardless of device. CSS code, in turn, is used to render pages according to the user’s screen size.
For Google’s algorithm to automatically recognize the responsiveness of your pages, you need to add the “viewport” tag to the header of the HTML code. This markup guides the browser on how to adjust page dimensions and scaling to the width of the device.
If this tag doesn’t appear, the browser tries to best fit the page display (as in the image on the left below). However, this tends to provide a poor user experience. And so Google may consider that your pages are not mobile-friendly.
In general, website design tools such as WordPress , Wix, or Shopify (for e-commerce) already include mobile optimization. So you don’t have to worry so much about coding.
But it’s always worth testing if your site is mobile friendly. This can be done with a tool that Google makes available for free: the mobile compatibility test . Take the time to evaluate your site and optimize the points that the tool report suggests as improvements.
Before you think about improving your site’s positioning in search results, there is a basic step to getting it there: crawling. This is the robot’s first step in organizing web sites.
Therefore, you should know if your pages are being crawled by Google . The first step to this is to submit a sitemap , which tells Google all the pages it should crawl on your site.
However, even if you show the way to the robot, it is common that it finds errors on the pages and cannot do so.
To identify which issues are hampering crawl and indexing, you can use the Index Coverage Status Report available on Google Search Console. In this report, you can see which pages were indexed and which had problems.
Pages may not be indexed for several reasons. These are some of them:
- server errors;
- redirection errors, such as a loop redirection;
- URL blocking by the robots.txt file ;
- URL block by tag “noindex” in page code;
- No such URL (error 404).
Each URL must be parsed to correct the error that is preventing its indexing. Remember that you may be missing out on valuable visitors to your business if your pages are not being indexed.
A good part of technical SEO is making it easier for Google to crawl. And one way to do that is to show the robot the paths it should take within your site so that it understands page hierarchies and internal link connections.
To do this, you need to have a well thought out architecture, with a logic of hierarchization and categorization of pages. This becomes even more important on robust, page-heavy sites that require clear organization.
A good site architecture is reflected in factors that influence crawling and indexing, but also the ranking of pages by Google. They are:
- URL formatting to be friendly (example.com/category/subcategory);
- the creation of sitemaps, which guide the robot in crawling site pages;
- The internal link, which shows Google which pages have the most authority on the site.
With these site architecture-related actions, you help Google understand its content and scan it completely, and make the structure more understandable for the user to navigate through.
Images have power. They are not just “cute” on a website – they can delight and persuade visitors to make pages fulfill business goals.
Behind them, however, there must be technical SEO work to ensure that they fulfill their role without affecting the loading speed and user experience on the page.
When you view an image on the web, you may not think it carries so much important information for technical SEO. This information has the function of identifying that image for Google that, despite the evolution of the algorithm, is able to understand only texts.
Now, let’s look at the main image elements that you can optimize, not only to improve the SEO of your pages, but also to increase the chances of them appearing well in Google Images .
The first element of technical SEO for images is the file name. This is the text you edit on your computer before you upload it.
It needs to be descriptive and user-friendly for Google to understand what the image stands for (eg red-pencil.png instead of IMG586.png).
Another data that the image carries is the alt text . This is alternate text, which serves to appear to the user when the image does not load or to be used in accessibility tools for users with special needs.
Alt text also plays a role in SEO by informing Google of the content of that image and helping to index it.
Image size is crucial for page load speed. When you reduce the weight of files, you improve the ranking of the page as a whole (speeding up loading) and the image itself, as Google prioritizes lighter files.
You can count on the help of tools that reduce kilobytes of images and eliminate superfluous information from files without losing quality. Optimus and Tinypng are good examples.
More advanced image formats – JPEG 2000, JPEG XR, and WebP – have better compression over JPG and PNG while maintaining quality. Prioritize these formats to speed up loading.
Ideal for technical SEO is to upload images in the exact dimensions in which they will be used. This prevents the site from resizing and the image from taking up unnecessary space, which may delay loading.
Images below the page fold (that is, not yet displayed to the user) may be postponed loading. To do this, use the lazy load feature, available in the WordPress plugin Lazy Load , for example. Thus, images are only uploaded when the user reaches them.
Duplicate Content is one of the most important topics of technical SEO, as it is very common to happen and can greatly impact optimization.
When we talk about duplicate content, we are referring to both text and images copied from other sites, as well as content that repeats within your own site, even unintentionally.
The first case is easy to avoid: just focus on creating original content for your audience . Plagiarizing text and images from other sites is not only unethical, but can also result in copyright crimes.
The second case is more complex and requires some technical SEO actions. You can have duplicate content on your site, for example when you refresh a page and create a new URL for it without disabling the old one.
Another example is when the same content can be accessed by different URLs, for example: http://www.example.com/page/ and https://www.example.com/page.
When Google realizes that there is duplicate content on the site, it tends to prioritize the ranking of original content. But this is not always clear to the robot, and the result can be a penalty for both pages.
So in order to solve the duplicate content issue on your site, you first need to identify which pages are having this error. The Siteliner is a specific tool for this and shows how many and which pages have duplicates in content.
After checking which pages have duplicate content, you can show Google what is the preferred page to index and rank . This is done with the canonical tag , applied to the main page code.
Another solution is to use 301 Redirect to direct both users and robots to the main page you want to gain authority. This is a way to prevent your pages from competing with each other in ranking, giving priority to only one of them.
You may have realized by now that Google likes organized sites, right? The organization facilitates the work of the robot, who can understand the pages and know where to follow their scan.
Structured data then helps in this task. Its function is to make markings within the code of the pages that guide the searcher about certain aspects of their content. Basically, they help describe your site to search engines.
These tags can be used not only for crawling and indexing, but also for displaying search results.
One of the main uses of structured data in technical SEO is rich snippets . If you’ve searched for a recipe on Google, you’ve come across them.
See this example:
That information about ratings, comments, and staging time are structured data markings. This type of tagging can also appear on other types of content, such as movies, local businesses, and products.
In addition to helping Google understand its content, they also pass on richer information to users , who have more background in deciding which link to click on in search results.
But structured data is not limited to rich snippets. Another widely used example is breadcrumbs , which presents the path the user took (categories and subcategories) to get to that page. This information can also be used in search results.
You can also use them simply to help Google understand what particular area of the page is about.
For example, you can enter contact information on the page, and it will be clear to your visitor. However, the robot will have to struggle to understand that that section is about contact.
To make his life easier then you can create a tag by stating this. In the code, this tag would look something like this:
To make these markings, you may need a bit more coding knowledge. But some WordPress plugins make this task easier, such as the Schema App Structured Data .
Google also wants to help developers create efficient structured data (and prevent them from black hat with this feature). That’s why he created a Structured Data Markup Helper , which also helps you insert them into your site.
You can also use the Structured Data Testing Tool to test if everything went well with your markings. The report shows how Google is reading your pages and if there are any problems reading the data.
In the topic of site architecture, we talked about creating sitemaps as a way to guide Google within its link structure. Now, let’s go into more detail about this feature, which is essential in technical SEO strategies.
A sitemap is a file (usually in XML format) that contains all the pages and documents on a site, as well as the connections between them. When you present this file to Googlebot, it identifies which pages to crawl and which pages are the most important.
Sitemap is even more important for sites that are very large or have single pages. Thus, the file ensures that they are all crawled and indexed by the robot .
There are different ways to send the sitemap file to Google. The simplest form is via Google Search Console, which has a specific sitemap reporting tool .
But with some more advanced knowledge, you can either specify the file path within robots.txt or use the ping function to request sitemap crawl. At this link , Google explains how you can do all this.
There’s nothing more frustrating than doing a Google search, finding exactly the result you wanted, but coming across a Error 404 that prevents you from viewing content.
You must have been through this already and you know how it feels. Google also knows this is a user experience issue and often penalizes pages that frequently experience this error.
Error 404 is a site response to a user request. When it appears, it means that the user requested an address, the site was able to communicate with the server, but could not find the address that was requested from it.
This can happen, for example, when a page has its URL changed, and the user tries to access the old URL. To prevent it from encountering an Error 404, sites can redirect visitors to the correct URL by applying Redirect 301.
However, these errors can happen even if all URLs are correct. When the URL has a typo, for example, Error 404 may appear. In this case, to prevent the user from leaving the site, you can create a custom error page that suggests other paths to the visitor.
There are also SEO tools that identify faulty pages that you can fix. Dead Link Checker , Screaming Frog and Google Search Console itself can help with this task.
Another very common mistake – and frustrating for users – is the unavailability of the site. In this case, the visitor does not come across an error page. He just can’t find the site!
Even worse is that when this happens, Google can’t read the site either. And so the pages cannot be indexed. When this happens often, the search engine understands that your site no longer exists. That way your site can disappear from search.
If you don’t want this to happen, you need to take care of the availability of your site. This is usually related to the website hosting service , which should ensure that your site stays as long as possible in the air.
In the hosting agreement, you must establish a Service Level Agreement (SLA), which determines the uptime promised by the company.
Their infrastructure is designed to operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However, hardware and software failures are common, as well as updates and maintenance that cause downtime (downtime). Therefore, the availability time is never 100%.
Still, you need to keep an eye on the hosting service and calculate your site’s uptime to see if the SLA is being met.
When designing a website, you need to consider the variability of browsers that currently exist. While some users use modern browsers such as Google Chrome or Safari, many use Internet Explorer as the default for browsing.
However, each browser makes a different reading of the websites, which may impair viewing in some cases. Older browsers, for example, do not support some more advanced development standards.
Therefore, developers should consider the limitations of each browser, and a technical SEO audit should verify compatibility in each browser. This is especially important if your audience tends to use older browsers.
Google is always concerned about the security of websites. After all, one of the worst experiences a user can have is to fall into a scam or have their information hacked .
Also in 2014, for example, Google announced that the adoption of the HTTPS protocol would become a ranking factor for the algorithm. The intention was to encourage more and more websites to adopt secure and encrypted connections to increase internet security.
Sites that adopt the HTTPS protocol ensure the protection of user data on sign-up and payment pages, for example. In addition to increasing the security of the site and users, these measures also give confidence to those who will log in or purchase on that page.
To adopt HTTPS, you must first purchase an SSL certificate, which can be done with the website hosting company.
When migrating from HTTP to HTTPS, it is important to ensure that all functionality will remain available after the change. Therefore, test before the complete change. Also, realize that the URL of your pages will change, so you can use canonical tags to avoid duplicate content and point Google to the main page.
The process of migrating to HTTPS is often quite complex and can cause problems for the site. That’s why it’s important to have specialized professionals for this, as you don’t want your site to lose data or be unavailable for a whole week, right?
Anyway, these are the main issues you need to take care of. However, technical SEO requires constant attention: No matter how carefully you code and optimize, there is always some opportunity for improvement or some mistake that went unnoticed .
Therefore, adopt a routine of monitoring and analysis, especially of the points listed in this article. Any failure can damage your SEO strategies and page placement on Google.
As you can see in this process, it is essential to be able to have a good hosting tool that ensures the full functioning of your site. Meet then the Rock Stage, Rock Content WordPress hosting solution!