Are you looking to conduct a technical audit of your site?
That’s a very good decision. Technical SEO has been changing a lot in recent years, and it plays a crucial role in helping your site to rank well in Google results. As this search giant continues to develop ranking techniques, you should pay attention and follow the latest insights and recommendations.
If you don’t, then the probability of losing any competitive edge you have becomes very real. Consumers are impatient, and when a website has technical issues, they will bounce and go elsewhere.
Even though we haven’t seen a lot of major technical SEO changes in 2019, it is always important to review Google’s recommendations and to re-visit the technical performance of your website.
If you’re a bit new to the concept of technical SEO, then be sure you understand what it is. Technical SEO has nothing to do with your content. It has everything to do with how your website operates to give your users a great experience.
Here are five factors that impact your site’s technical performance – factors that you should regularly check and improve, if necessary.
1. Once Again: Make Sure that Your Website Loads in 2 Seconds
As stated, today’s consumer is impatient and has expectations for speed. A site or page that takes more than 2 seconds to load is frustrating. And Google recognizes this all too well – so well, in fact, that it provided a speed update in 2018 that set the goal of two seconds.
And this is probably the easiest thing for you to check, on all devices. Load your site from all devices, identify where any issues occur, and then fix them. Google even provides insights and guides to help with this.
That said, Google is also somewhat forgiving when it comes to loading speed. It clearly says that speed is one of the many factors involved in SEO rankings. It will tolerate and not punish a slower loading page if the content is rich, relevant, and unique. Keep that in mind.
One more reason why you should care about speed is the increasing number of people who browse Google on mobile devices (in fact, that was a major reason for the Speed Update).
2. Ensure that Your Website is Responsive
As stated, today’s consumer is in a hurry and on the go. This began with millennials, the first generation to be “connected” all of their lives. They love their mobile devices and use them for almost everything. They demand certain types of easy-to-view/read content, and they also expect speed.
Beginning in 2017, according to Perficient Digital data (below), the use of mobile devices to visit websites/pages surpassed desktop use. That percentage only continues to rise.
And Google has recently rolled out its “mobile-first” index. What this means is that the mobile version of websites will be indexed and ranked before their desktop versions. If this doesn’t convince you that your site must be mobile responsive, nothing will. And your competition is there; you can be sure.
To check it your website’s design is responsive, you can use Mobile Friendly Checker from Rank Watch. Based on the score of the test, the tool will give you tips and recommendations on improving the experience of users with your site (mobile viewpoint, compatibility of plugins, links, content, etc.)
Again, check the load speed, the visuals, the buttons, checkout, and any text to ensure that everything works perfectly.
3. Optimize Your Website for Voice
We all love our voice searches, whether by phone or via Alexa – so convenient. People are tired of typing in search terms when looking for products, services, or even specific websites. And consider how many mobile device users are using their GPS features to locate destinations. The point is this: voice search is becoming so common that it is the preferred method of even those who are sitting at home with Alexa next to them.
Since voice search improves the experience of Google users, it means that website optimization for voice is essential in 2018 and beyond. Here are some of the best practices to implement.
- Improve the loading speed of your website by optimizing files and content and reducing the server’s response time.
- Write in a natural, conversational tone. “This requirement is explained by the fact that one or two words do not conduct voice inquiries,” says Abby Booker, a UI writer from Trust My Paper. “Voice search is a conversation with a device, so your writers should provide responses that are in a short and simple style and tone.”
- Create an FAQ page on your website. By answering the most common questions about your business, you can use long-tail keywords needed for voice search optimization.
By implementing these tips, you’ll accommodate your websites for voice searchers – critical for keeping customers and Google both happy.
4. Perform a Complete Audit of Your Website’s Link Profile
It’s a known fact that links from popular, trusted domains help a website rank higher in organic searches. Google sees them as a sign of trustworthiness and content quality. If your website has accumulated a lot of backlinks, it’s time to review them and dump those linking it to low-traffic, poor-quality sources. You can get penalized for low-quality backlinks.
There are several tools you can use to audit your backlinks and get a full report of their profiles. Rankwatch has one called Backlink Checker. If you find low-quality ones, then take steps to remove them. Ask the domain administrator to remove any links to your website. If that fails, Google has a “Disavowal Tool” that will take care of it too (see below).
As a result, the search engine will not take them into account when assessing your website, which can positively impact your ranking.
5. Communicate Your Website’s to Google Better with a Structured Data Markup
This is a key proactive tactic you should be using. Google has a tool (Structured Data Markup Helper) that will allow providing the information that will help them index and rank you. You can “mark-up” elements of your site by type of data – anything from your physical address, to a site map, to articles, to an FAQ section and more. This tool will help Google better understand and interpret what is on each of your website pages.
So, there you have it – A 5-step framework to improve your site’s technical SEO and to keep Google happier with you.
Bear this in mind, though: technical aspects of SEO change rapidly, as both the technology itself and consumer demands change. Consider just one example. The technology that now allows virtual tours of travel destinations in real-time has become a huge advantage to travel-related websites. And those companies that have mastered this technology will naturally be more popular with both consumers and Google. You cannot sit back on your laurels simply because the technical aspects of your site are working well today.
The list above is not exhaustive, of course. But it does give you the current essentials to pay attention to as you run regularly scheduled technical audits.