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8 Technical SEO Tactics You Need to Know in 2015

As Google’s algorithm becomes more focused on detecting User Experience behavioral patterns, technical SEO is becoming more important each day. Many people overlook technical SEO and focus solely on content. If that is you, then frankly, you need a better strategy. Without a solid technical SEO foundation to stand on, you are setting your campaign up for failure. Technical SEO is normally executed at the very beginning of an SEO campaign. If you are optimizing a website being redesigned, you should first start off with a SEO website redesign audit, which involves some additional steps in your SEO process prior to launching the website. That said, here are 8 technical SEO tactics you should be implementing on every website you optimize.

1. Make Your Website Mobile Ready

A website that is mobile ready means more than using a responsive framework. There are several additional technical factors that come into play. Be conscious of the fact that mobile devices that aren’t hooked up to wi-fi don’t load data as quickly, so it’s important that your website is blazing fast. Today’s standards suggest that your page load time should be less than 1 second. Google provides a free tool called PageSpeed Insights to help you test your website. Pagespeed Insights Score As you can clearly see, Mobile website factors go far beyond a responsive design. Fixing the items listed in the image above will help your site perform better and load faster. Items like enabling compression and leverage browser caching are simple to implement. It simply requires some minor additions to your .htaccess file (using Apache). If you find that your website is failing the PageSpeed Insights test, follow the instructions listed in the report and read the documentation provided. If implemented correctly, you will surely start seeing faster page load times.

2. Consider Using HTTPS

More and more studies have begun to show that websites using HTTPS are beginning to gain share of urls ranking on 1st page. Even if you don’t require a secure encryption, using HTTPS can provide your website with some ranking benefits, especially if you are in a highly competitive niche.

3. Avoid Duplicate Content With Canonical links and 301 Redirects

This is important because Google considers the www – version of your home page and the non-www version of your website’s home page as two separate pages. This is because www is just a subdomain. So to prevent your rankings from being hurt due to duplicate content issues, create a 301 redirect going from the www version to the non-www version or vice-versa. If you are nervous about doing that, and you don’t have a developer on hand to help you, at least use a canonical tag. Canonical tags tell search engines which version of the page you prefered to be displayed. That way Google can ignore one version of the page and index the version you specify in your canonical tag.

4. Plan a Strong Website Architecture

A strong website architecture not only leads to a better User Experience, but it also helps you rank better. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate and that your interlinking structure makes sense for the user. Moz does a great job explaining this concept in one of their Whiteboard Fridays.

5. Make Use of Structured Data Whenever Possible

If you aren’t familiar with structured data, now is a great time to start learning. Use schema.org as a reference guide. They provide examples on how to implement and properly use structured data. One example of a situation where you would benefit from using structured data is if your local business website has contact information such as your Company Name, Address and Phone Number. In this case you would use Local Business schema markup which specifies each piece of your contact information (e.g. Name, Address, City, State, Postal Code, etc…) Google recommends that you use structured data throughout your website and has mentioned that it will be even more important moving forward.

6. Prevent 404 Crawl Errors After Launching a Website Redesign

Now this is a pretty big one. If you are redesigning a website with new content, architecture and url structure, you will need to create a 301 redirect plan prior to launching the new website. When you launch the new version of your website, Google doesn’t eliminate the old page urls from their index right away. Therefore, anyone who clicks on your search result will end up finding themselves on a 404 Not Found page. To prevent this from happening, you should create a document listing all of your redirects, and apply them to the .htaccess file as soon as the new redesigned website launches. Even then, you should be using Google Search Console to monitor crawl errors closely over the next few weeks. Sometimes there will be pages you missed that you can fix as soon as Google detects it.

7. Configure Your Robots.txt File

Robots.txt files come in pretty handy when you have specific pages that you don’t want being indexed in Google’s search engine. For instance, maybe you built a custom Content Management System and you don’t want your admin area to get indexed… or maybe you have a directory with important documents that you want to keep out of Google search. This is where robots.txt files can help you. It’s a simple txt file containing a series of commands for robots like GoogleBot and other crawlers to follow. In some cases, you may find that your Title tag in the search results isn’t displaying the way it’s supposed to. This could perhaps be the effects of Google using your DMOZ title over the one you set in the head of your page. To prevent Google from manipulating your title tags, you can use the META NOODP and NOYDIR tag.

8. Create and Submit Your Sitemap.xml File

This is a commonly known SEO tactic, but also very important. Always create a sitemap.xml file and submit your sitemap to Google using Google Search Console. You can specify which pages take priority of importance over others and help Googlebot understand the intended structure of your website. There are many other technical SEO factors to be aware of. This list will definitely give you a good start though.
By |2017-06-25T06:33:35+00:00October 19th, 2015|Categories: |0 Comments

About the Author:

Joshua Belland is the CEO & Founder of Joshua Belland SEO Consulting. He specializes in developing SEO driven content strategies, while using his web development skills for technical SEO. Josh's career in SEO started in 2009 and uses his blog/writing as a means to give back to the SEO community while educating other's in the industry. Linkedin | Google+ | Twitter

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