With billions of searches made daily, what are the chances for a small business or startup to make the cut? Certainly, very small, and that’s why they need to apply. SEO is perhaps the best source of organic traffic for websites. Businesses look to use SEO on their website but need instant results too. SEO can certainly take some time, but the result is for everyone to be seen.
Technical SEO is all about developing a solid foundation for a website. It ensures that Google can easily crawl your website, and it can be indexed without any error. Certain technical aspects can make any website lose rankings within a few days.
The following are eight such factors that can make a website rank high on Google searches. And any blemish in this concern can be fatal.
HTTPS has been a ranking factor for websites since 2014, but still, small businesses and startups think of it as a financial burden rather than anything else. HTTPS protects the confidentiality of the data so that no one can infiltrate it easily. On the other hand, HTTP is a non-secure protocol that sends through your data between your browser and the server in plain text.
Because websites have to buy a TLS certificate, an HTTPS connection can work, they think of it as a cost, but it is an investment. There is no excuse for not using HTTPS encryption, as this is the standard now. Not a single person will be inclined to buy a product from a non-secure website as he has to provide sensitive information like his Credit Card number to complete the transaction.
Take a look at your browser’s URL bar, and if a padlock is visible, you are using HTTPS, else it is plain HTTP which you have to change.
Duplicate content is akin to a great risk for any website. Google penalizes the website for this act as this is termed as plagiarism. You cannot simply copy written text from a website and copy it as your own. But your content can become duplicate and Google, as always, will penalize your website for no apparent mistake.
See the example below to understand this aspect easily.
When two product pages can be found in the same category, it may show two different URLs and Google may think the content on one of the pages as duplicate. You can avoid this mistake by deleting the old content or use 301 redirect to (see point no 4) like redirecting the HTTP version to HTTPS version.
The speed with which your website loads may not be a concern to you, but Google takes this aspect seriously. And also, the visitors. It’s a matter of a few seconds; in most cases, 3 seconds, and the person trying to visit your website will leave it for good. It is one of the top-ranking factors for Google, and severe penalties can be imposed by it. A fast loading website is a requirement for good SEO and ranking on Google.
Start by running a page speed test so that you know if your site is optimized or not. You can use free tools available online, which offer you a wealth of information to make the speed of loading your website lightning fast. Some of the most important aspects in this regard are optimizing huge images, getting a fast WordPress theme, replacing or adding efficient plugins, and compressing scripts and HTML files.
301 redirect chains can make your page lose the rankings as Google suggests not to follow these chains with multiple steps. As discussed above, redirects are great to eliminate duplicate content issues and remove old content indexed along with the new one. That’s why redirects are used a lot. But as per Google’s direction, less use of this is advised.
Again, there are software and tools available for this aspect to easily spot redirect chains and fix them right away.
Websites need to identify any crawl errors and fix them for a better ranking. A crawl error occurs when a search engine tries to reach a website or a particular page and fails at it. Every page on the website must lead to an actual page with no 404 error pages and a minimum number of 301 redirects. OK server response is required for an error-free website.
Broken Links and 404 error messages are again a sore sight to the visitors and something that Google also doesn’t like one bit. It simply means that one of your website’s pages or even the website itself cannot be retrieved on the browser. The pages being tried to be reached are not accessible, and that is not a good sign.
These broken links must be fixed along with outbound links. Periodically check your site’s audit report so that you know the issues identified in it. The least you can do is to update the target URL or remove the error link, so no error message is shown to the visitor.
SEO friendly URL structure is another requirement so that it is easier for the search engines to scroll through your website. An example of an SEO-friendly URL is mentioned below.
A non-SEO friendly URL structure will be something like this:
Ideally, your website’s page depth shouldn’t be deeper than three pages; that’s three clicks. This means that any URL/link deeper than three clicks will make it tougher for the search engine and your visitors to find it. The site structure needs to be flattened as much as possible for the best results.
If you are running a local or small business, make sure that you knowhow to deal with the technical aspects of marketing your website. If you don’t do this, it will give your competitors the edge.
If you think that you can add something valuable to this blog or want to ask a question, you are more than welcome. For any feedback too, please use the comments section below.
Meta: Want to know about technical aspects that can affect Google rankings? Go through this blog to know everything that is required to save your rankings for the better.