A Guide to Technical SEO for Small Business Owners
A Guide to Technical SEO for Small Business Owners
Using keywords, internal links, external links, long-tail keywords, and link building are all best practices in terms of coming up as part of the organic search results. While these methods will help with your SEO efforts, there is still so much more left to do.
The architecture of your website is a big factor for SEO. This involves the way your site is actually constructed, meaning it needs to be organized logically. If your site only has a minimum amount of pages, it won’t really make a difference, but if you have an e-commerce site with many pages you need to make sure it’s as easy as possible to navigate. Let’s take a deeper look into the different factors of technical SEO.
1. Crawlability And Indexability
If your site is having problems, start by checking for Crawlability and indexability issues. If Google is struggling to crawl or index your site, your SEO can significantly suffer.
To display your site in the search engine results pages, bots need to be able to identify your content and organize it accordingly. If they’re unable to do so, even if all of the other elements of your site are optimized for search engines, your website will be invisible.
An all-too-frequent error is a badly-formed robots.txt file. The robots.txt is a text file of directives for the search engines regarding which pages to crawl and which not to. If these are incorrect or malformed, your whole site could be ignored by all search engines. This kind of error sometimes happens following a site migration or the launch of a new site for example.
2. HTML Tags
HTML tags are bits of HTML code that identify various elements of a document and may also determine the way that a web browser will display that element by default. The primary HTML tags include:
- title tags
- meta descriptions
- header tags (H1, H2, H3)
Proper implementation and optimization of your HTML tags can help improve the organization of your site and make it easier for Google to make sense of a page.
Missing or poor HTML tags are a missed opportunity for your SEO. At worst, they may even prevent content from being visible on a search engine results page.
When you see a URL with a bunch of random letters and numbers that don’t tell you anything – that’s the kind of URL you might want to avoid because it is not good for any type of SEO. The best is to have a URL that is easy to read and gives the user a clear understanding of what the page is about when you want to successfully link to your site.
Here are examples of the various formulas:
yourwebsite.com/category-name (category page)
4. Mobile Responsiveness
Your site’s looks and functionality don’t just matter on the desktop. Google has emphasized that a site’s mobile responsiveness has become equally, if not a more important SEO element than its capabilities on a desktop computer.
A responsive website adjusts itself automatically so visitors can navigate it easily from any device, especially their cell phones.
Make sure to select a hosting service that offers mobile responsiveness in each theme and template. If your site already exists without responsiveness, it may be time to hire an expert to create a mobile template for you.
If a page is ever deleted from a website, or when it changes domain names, the visitor and engine will be redirected to a new location or to an error page if there has not been an established redirect. Redirects are important for the human user and search engine because no one wants to end up on a page that no longer exists. There are various reasons why someone would use a redirect and different methods of how to redirect properly.
As a small business trying to do its best for SEO, you want to make sure you are redirecting people correctly. Improper redirecting can lead to unhappy or frustrated customers and lower engine rankings.
6. Canonical URL
A canonical URL is the preferred URL that you want Google to display on the search engine results page when duplicate or near-duplicate pages exist.
Using canonical links provides information to search engines about which page should be presented should a duplicate issue arise. This makes the life of a crawler easier as it has one less decision to make.
To give this information to search engines, create a canonical link element that can be inserted into your page’s code. It can be placed in the HTTP header of a document.
7. Site Map
Sitemaps are crucial for SEO. A sitemap is a blueprint of your website that allows the engines to find, crawl, and index all of your content. Sitemaps tell Google which pages on your site are most important, when the page was last updated, and how frequently the page is changing.
They also help search engines discover new pages—even when they are not linked from the main site.
There are four main types of sitemaps:
- Normal XML Sitemap: It’s usually in the form of an XML sitemap that links to different pages on your website.
- Video Sitemap: Used to help Google understand video content on your page.
- News Sitemap: Let’s Google find content on sites that are approved for Google News.
- Image Sitemap: Helps Google find the images on your site.
Google mostly finds website pages through links. So if you have a newer site without many external backlinks, then a sitemap will be a big help if you want Google to find pages on your site.
8. Responsive Web Design
“Time spent on a page” is one of Google’s indicators if a site is giving valuable information to queries. Responsive web design will make your website easier for people to read and navigate your site, therefore increasing the time they spend on it.
Responsive web design helps optimize websites for mobile search, improving your site’s functionality and design by scaling the content to users’ devices, thus providing a consistent experience across all devices.
Google will promote websites that are implementing a good user experience, using the metrics of content, design, and functionality as baselines of judgment. If your site is not optimized based on these factors, you will lose ranking and as a result, lose traffic on your website. Therefore, a loss in track is a drop in sales.
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