Technical optimisation is an important part of any search engine strategy and should form the basis of your efforts. This process involves auditing various aspect of your website in the same way a search engine will crawl them. In this article I will cover:
Meta data and headings.
Use keywords in your page titles
Your page titles are one of the most prominent yet straightforward areas to include your target keywords. Due to this, it is important to include well structured, keyword focused titles on all pages you are targeting, and the rest of them for good measure. A page title should be between 10-70 characters, this is so you can be sure that it will be displayed properly on the search engine and it doesn’t get cut down.
It is important to understand the difference between a page title and a main heading (H1 tag) for SEO.
A page title is the name of the page that shows in the search results, and search engines place a lot of weight on these for page rankings.
A main heading, or H1 tag, could be mistaken for the page title, as it does appear to be the title of the page, however it is in fact the main heading, but again, this does have a huge influence on page rank.
Define your page structure with headings
Headings are key when it comes to optimising for search. Every page on your website should have a H1 tag, which is a main heading, and it should be located above all other headings, e.g. H2’s and H3’s, but you should never have more than one H1 on a single page. Your H1 should include your keywords for that page, just like your page title.
Add meta descriptions
Missing a meta description will not affect how you rank on a search engine, as algorithms place no weight on them as a ranking signal. However, it is still worth while investing time in this area, as it is your first opportunity to sell your business to potential customers when they see your listing on a search engine.
If you are new to writing meta descriptions, then read our blog post on how to write a good meta description.
Avoid duplicate page titles
Search engines are all about original content and fresh ideas, anything that is duplicated can create conflict for a search engine as it struggles to decipher which page is the most relevant for the desired term.
Links and images
Act swiftly on page errors and broken links
Search engines want to give internet users the best possible browsing experience. Nothing prevents this more than missing web pages that take users to a dead end. Monitoring dead links on your website is a great bit of housekeeping that will keep you in good stead when it comes to where you rank.
You can check your site for broken links quickly and easily using this broken link checker tool.
Fix broken images
Broken images will not only damage your SEO, but also your user experience. It does not give a great impression of your site if a user can see that there should be an image on your page but the image is not displayed. It will also negatively affect your SEO as pages with broken images are not in keeping with a search engines desire to give the perfect user experience. When you crawl your website and come across any broken images, ensure they are fixed as soon as they are found, or remove the image from the page.
Add relevant anchor text to links
Including relevant anchor text on links makes it much easier for a search engine to understand the context of the links on your site. Therefore, it is important to have relevant anchor text for your links to ensure that the search engine is not going to struggle to read your site and help you rank for your chosen keywords.
Include ALT text on images
Including ALT text on your images is an easy way to give search engines a further understanding of what your page is about, as you should include relevant keywords in them, giving the search engine an understanding of what the image is, and how it relates to the page. Using your keywords in ALT text will improve your likelihood of ranking higher for your search term as Google will understand that your page is relevant to this keyword, providing that the rest of the page is well optimised for your keywords. Try to ensure that all your images across the site do have ALT text.
Content and URL’s
Avoid duplicate content
Once again, in the same way that a duplicate page title is harmful to your SEO, pages that have content that is considered as duplicate should also be avoided. Duplicate content is bad your site as search engines may not show both pages in the search because they are forced to choose which version is likely to be the original, or most relevant version. Therefore, if you have pages with duplicate content you are jeopardising your chances of getting the desired high rankings.
Write plenty of amazing, original content
It is recommended to have at least 250 words on a page to improve your technical optimisation for your site, however exceptions can be made for non-key pages, such as contact pages. This is because if a page has a low word count then it gives the search engine less content to look at, this means it is more difficult for the search engine to understand the page and to judge whether it is a good quality page or not, and what you are trying to target. Therefore, to improve your on-site SEO it is strongly advised that your key pages include over 250 words, and don’t forget your all-important keywords. Be sure to avoid keyword stuffing, as keywords are good – but too many in one place can harm your SEO severely.
Search engines love lots of content to help them understand the page, so it’s important to remember – the more, the better, as long as it’s original.
Selecting the right URL’s
When creating pages, it is important for your technical optimisation to ensure all pages have simple, relevant and easy-to-read URL’s. This helps search engines categorise and understand your pages easier through the choice of slug for that page. It is also beneficial for your users as they would prefer an easy-to-read URL, over a long and complicated one.
Crawl your site
Regularly Crawl your site for errors
A website crawl involves allowing software to look through your site in the same way a search engine would, picking up any technical errors and flagging them with you to make you aware of the fixes you need to make.
To stay on top of your technical optimisation you should crawl your site for errors regularly. You will discover the issues that I have covered in this blog post, all of which you can now do your best to amend, with your new understanding of technical SEO.
There are many tools available to you that will crawl your site and help you discover technical issues with your site.
Price: Free with possibility to subscribe for added benefits
About: This crawler tool will identify any technical issues, without having to download any software or leave the site. You can use this on your mobile devices or a desktop, and you can download a excel-compatible file upon completion to view your crawl in a spreadsheet.
Price: Starting from $99/mo
About: Raven Tools is a marketing platform that allows you to manage many important parts of your website all in one place. It has sections for SEO, social media, AdWords and more. The crawling tool on Raven tools will audit your site for any errors and show you them in a easy-to-use table lay out, with different sections to separate all aspects of your technical optimisation.