1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

6 Tips to Improve Your “Technical SEO” That Most Websites Completely Ignore!

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by t0mmy, Jun 25, 2016.

  1. t0mmy

    t0mmy Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,569
    Likes Received:
    13,920
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Spain
    Home Page:
    [​IMG]
    6 Tips to Improve Your “Technical SEO” That Most Websites Completely IGNORE!

    When it comes to SEO, most people focus on two aspects..

    On-Site: 9 out of 10 websites aren’t doing anything more than installing an SEO plugin (like Yoast for example) and making sure they get a decent grade before publishing a page or post. Yeah, it helps, but a passing grade doesn’t really mean that your on-site SEO is perfect.

    Off-Site: Links. Is there really anything as important as links? No, and there never will be. Outreach, press campaigns, guest blogging, etc. Any means necessary to get quality links with strong metrics to help improve the authority of your website. Most SEOs are only concerned with links when they think of off-site optimization.

    Posting quality content, building high quality links, and using an SEO plugin will give you better on-site and off-site optimization than most websites, but there are always going to be websites that go above and beyond.. and those are the guys that are out ranking you.

    The technical part of SEO is often missed, mainly because people get too focused on links and content, but also because it isn’t discussed often. When you look at other SEO blogs what are all of the articles about? They all talk about building links and how content is king. To someone brand new to SEO they wouldn’t even know there was a technical aspect of SEO that needs to be addressed.

    As Google has advanced their algorithm, there have been more factors that need to be included as part of search engine optimization. Throwing up some content and blasting links across the web won’t cut it any longer. You want the search engines to be able to crawl your entire website, and do it often. The results start to come when you are able to achieve the balance of posting content so often that the search engines are crawling your website daily along with taking measures to constantly increase the authority of your website.

    There are some parts of SEO that most ignore or simply don’t know about. These are more technical aspects, but if you take the advice I’m going to review in these six tips, I can assure you that your website will perform better in the SERPs.

    Improve your website performance with these Technical SEO tips.


    1. Make your website navigation so simple that a 3 year old could figure it out.

    There are two main reasons why your navigation should be a very important part of your SEO:

    1) You want your website visitors to be able to buy whatever you are selling or claim whatever offer you are presenting to them. Not every visitor is going to land on a dedicated landing page without navigation options. What if someone lands on a piece of blog content and they love it so much they want to learn more about what you are offering? They need to be able to quickly find your navigation menu and click over to what they are looking for within seconds. If they struggle to find something they will leave and look elsewhere.

    2) Time on website and bounce rate are metrics that do impact your rankings, and don’t let people tell you otherwise. Just like click through rate effects the SERPs, time on site and bounce rate play a part too, even if Google dances around the topic and doesn’t make it clear. Think logically for a minute.. if someone lands on a website and leaves after a few seconds what does that mean? It means that the website they clicked on wasn’t a good match for the search term they entered.

    This is an argument saved for a later day, because there are those that will say it doesn’t have an impact, but use logical thinking and it makes perfect sense as to why Google would indeed factor this into their algorithm, even with just a slight weight.

    Don’t forget to make sure that your navigation is optimized on mobile and tablet devices as well, as the majority of your traffic will come from these sources.


    2. Take every possible measure to increase the speed of your website (and clean up its code)

    If your website takes longer than 2 seconds to fully load on any device you are asking for trouble. People are impatient and aren’t going to wait around for a website to load. They want to find what they are searching for right away. If your site doesn’t load right away they will click back and find one that does. User experience is everything, so do whatever it takes to keep as many visitors on your website as possible.

    Go to Pingdom right now and find out how long it takes your website to load fully. Seriously, do it now. I will wait..

    Ok, so does it load up in less than 2 seconds? Probably not, as most websites don’t. Unless your website is 1.5 seconds or under, you need to keep reading this section and get your load time improved.

    Here are four tips that are so easy to take advantage of. I’m willing to bet if you do these that your load time will be considerably faster right away.

    1) You must have quality hosting. The $1/month hosting is crap. Your website sits on a slow server with hundreds (thousands) of other websites. If you are SERIOUS about performance and want to eliminate any issues, spring for a dedicated server.

    2) Run a Google PageSpeed Insights and GTmetrix report. Both of these reports will spit out a list of suggested changes. Make them and re-run the reports and watch your times improve greatly.

    3) If you are running a WordPress website, install and configure W3 Total Cache. This plugin really helps the overall performance of your website. Us this resource to properly configure the settings of the plugin.

    4) Again, for WordPress websites, install WP Smush to compress and optimize all of your images. You can manually compress old images and then all new ones you upload will automatically be compressed. This is a quick way to shave off a lot of load time.


    [​IMG]


    3. Set up redirects and eliminate ‘page not found’ errors.

    It would shock you at the number of websites I come into contact with that are a complete mess, filled with redirect issues and pages that can’t be found. Not only does this royally piss off your website visitors, but the search engines don’t like to see these errors. It tells them that the website isn’t reliable and could possibly provide their users with a bad experience.

    With so many websites switching over to HTTPS after Google announced publicly that it was now a signal that did impact rankings, it’s caused a lot of errors. When you switch to HTTPS you have to change all links on your website to HTTPS. If you have a site with thousands of pages that is a lot of manual work. There are some scripts and plugins that claim to switch all links for you, but I always say manually doing it is the safest bet.

    If you are using a validation SSL (the ones that have the green bar in the browser with the company name) then all links on each page must be HTTPS for it to display the bar.

    If you are using WordPress then I suggest installing the 404 to Start plugin, which will redirect all errors to a page of your choice. I usually set this as the home page.

    Also, to ensure that all pages redirect to HTTPS (www, non www, http, etc.) throw this code into your website’s .htaccess file:

    Code:
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.YOURWEBSITE.com/$1 [R=301,L]

    4. Use rich snippets to increase your CTR.

    Rich snippets. You have heard them mentioned before, but are you using them on your website? Probably not.

    Why?

    Because schema markup is confusing as fuck and a complete pain in the ass. It can take some time to understand it, but once you do, I promise it will help you get more traffic. Not because it will help you rank higher (because it isn’t a factor in Google’s algorithm) but it will help you get more clicks.

    Think about it for a minute. If you see two results in the SERPs right next to each other and one has the stars next to it you are going to instantly drawn to that result. It’s no secret that the SEP results using rich snippets will always have a higher click through rate. It’s common sense.

    Laziness is the main reason most websites don’t use this, but there are ways to get started, and if you have noticed, I tend to favor WordPress because it’s so simple to work with, and guess what? There are many plugins that will help you get rich snippets without the hassle of reading through all the documentation. Here is one of them, but there are several to select from so pick the one that suits your needs the best.

    If you are on page one, you need this. You could be ranking #4 and pull in more traffic that the top spots because of rich snippets. People are just drawn to them, so it’s an easy way to really increase your traffic without a whole lot of work!


    5. Make your URL’s are ‘search friendly’ with a focus on your main keyword for each particular page or post.

    You need to gather all of your website’s URLs and there are a few tools that can do this. Personally, I use Screaming Frog because it has several benefits, and if you are serious about SEO or “sell” SEO then this is a tool you must have.

    Run a crawl and then separate the data. It returns a lot of useful information, but for this purpose, copy the entire URL column of data and paste it into a new Excel spreadsheet. Now, you will have to go through each URL and make sure they are properly optimized. You want to look for ugly URL’s, like “www.yoursite.com/jhdsfhsdf/45342543/2435/345345” Instead, you want a structure that looks like “www.yoursite.com/the-target-keyword/” and features your main keyword for the particular page or post.

    You can also use Screaming Frog to help with tip #3 above. If you switched to HTTPS you can simply run a “find” query in the crawl result Excel document for “http:” and it will highlight any pages that aren’t correctly switched over.

    Don’t fear numbers in your URL, especially if you are trying to get your content approved for Google News syndication. You can still set it up to create search engine friendly URL’s. If you are going this route, use the Yoast SEO plugin and use the title as the URL, with it set to eliminate common words (it, is, etc.). You can also set it so it inserts the numeric value, which will allow you to be compliant for Google News if that is something you eventually want to shoot for.


    6. Remove all ‘thin content’ from your website (or use ‘noindex’ tags).

    If your website is several years old there is a very good chance that you have some crappy content posted and indexed. Years ago everyone was on a “500 word article” kick and most of the content posted was exactly 500 words per page. That creates such a huge footprint and it’s one I would try to erase if I were you.

    Look at the blogs that are ranking high in the SERPs these days. They all feature long form content with substance. They also don’t read like they were written by a “native” speaker. What does that even mean?

    If you have content that one would deem to be ‘thin’ then you need to cut your losses and get rid of it. You can physically delete the pages and posts from your website or you can just assign the ‘noindex’ tag to the content you don’t want the search engines to index in the SERPs.

    Personally, I would delete it rather than ‘noindex’ it, as it really takes the same amount of time and I prefer to just not have any thin pages on my sites.

    If your content was written well, but just short, then consider having it re-written and beefed up rather than deleting it. If it’s content that you can build on, do that, and when done just have Google crawl the page again by sending the URL through Google Webmaster Tools.


    Final Thoughts

    While these tips will help most websites improve their rankings and result in an increase of traffic, most won’t take action.

    Why?

    Technical SEO just isn’t fun and sometimes you have to wait to experience the results of your hard work. When you set out to do a link building campaign, you see results of your effort first hand. There isn’t a better feeling than seeing new indexed links show up in OSE or in Ahrefs with strong metrics. Then, you see rankings move up and attribute that to your link building efforts.

    As always I hope you enjoyed the red. I’m sure some people reading have some questions, so please drop them below in the comments and I will do my best to answer them all and help you with whatever SEO roadblocks you are facing or questions you might have. Until next time.

    P.S. I'm looking for some new SEO topics to cover in my posts. I'd love to hear some suggestions..
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 26
  2. nanavlad

    nanavlad Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2009
    Messages:
    2,490
    Likes Received:
    921
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    SEO Consultant
    Location:
    Proxy Central
    Thanks
    Very timely article for me
    Its amaizing how you forget to do some basic things in the rush to get your website up and running,
    Will bookmark and keep this article and use it as my guide for all my websites
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. TheFreshPrince

    TheFreshPrince Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    246
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Student / Entrepreneur
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Home Page:
    As always quality content. Do you a resource you use to learn more about rich snippets or do you focus mostly on the plugin?
     
  4. I2on4ld

    I2on4ld Junior Member

    Joined:
    May 28, 2016
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Cant argue more with your guide, very nice tutorial and thats completely true,..

    Many web owner (including my self :D) spend too much time on watching their competitors backlinks, watching their keyword rank, building backlinks and writing contents but didnt spend enough time to Design the page navigation, make a simple fast-to-load yet still attractive website theme to make their visitors spend their time to surf the web.

    Reading your post make me remember to spend some time to manage a very basic thing for my web :)

    Regards

     
  5. Skyebug77

    Skyebug77 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    1,935
    Likes Received:
    1,357
    Occupation:
    Marketing
    Location:
    Portland,Or
    Nice tips.....thanks for sharing.
     
  6. Zwielicht

    Zwielicht Moderator Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2013
    Messages:
    6,627
    Likes Received:
    11,760
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Private Investigator
    Location:
    Riverside, California
    Home Page:
    Another great article Tommy, but damn it, you beat me to it; I've been planning on writing a guide on this topic here for 3 months! :p

    Concerning #3 (redirects), I actually ran an experiment back in April which I documented on my business site that you might be interested in. I basically removed about 200+ articles on my business site that were receiving little to no organic traffic each month (but all of them were indexed and ranking) without 301 redirecting any of them and this is what happened.

    For the first two weeks, the site's rankings and traffic fluctuated to the point where it dropped to a historical low. However, and this was unexpected, on the same day Google deindexed the pages I removed, my rankings and site traffic shot up even further than what they were before the experiment. The traffic and ranking increase is ostensibly "permanent" and there wasn't even an "increase in 404 errors" message in my Google Search Console.

    Anyway, I'm glad you posted this guide. Many SEOs forget about technical SEO and occasionally on-page SEO, so hopefully this'll help some members improve their tactics.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  7. dmocks

    dmocks Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2016
    Messages:
    52
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Local SEO Consultant
    Location:
    United States of America
    Home Page:
    So I am still new to seo. I am in week one of getting my first client ranked to the top five. I think it's just Google testing my improvements out. It's local and it's a great keyword.

    Question:

    When I delete a page do I have to resubmit a site map?

    Also to improve my technical SEO should I spend the time needed to learn Google webmaster tools and schema makeup?

    Topic suggestions: you could cover the basics of on boarding a new or first client. Like what should you ask for, when should you not take on a client ect.

    Thanks t0mmy great content as always. You are the writer that keeps me coming back to BHW for more great info.
     
  8. abhi007

    abhi007 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2010
    Messages:
    5,713
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    Location:
    Theatre of dreams :)
    I loved the rich snippets part you have mentioned, never cared to dig deeper into it.
     
  9. tokokipiani

    tokokipiani Power Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    126
    Well done. Nice reaf for the weekend. :cool::cool:
     
  10. DerekFranklin

    DerekFranklin Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Facebook Advertiser
    Location:
    Czech Republic
    Home Page:
    Do you a resource you use to learn more about rich snippets, As always quality content.
     
  11. main character

    main character Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    28
    Hey t0mmy, if I switched my site over to https and set the htaccess as well, should I changed all the links in my PBN to point to the https version of the site as well?
     
  12. krishnacode360

    krishnacode360 Power Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    206
    Simple , yet powerful steps to be taken . This changes rankings a lot.
    Thanks OP
     
  13. Crazy Monkey

    Crazy Monkey Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2015
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    245
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    In Jungle
    Nice buddy, Thanks for sharing your information
     
  14. MoneyEagle

    MoneyEagle Regular Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    143
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    Internet Marketing
    Thanks again Tommy!
    Do you recommend any more WordPress plugins or themes for blogging?

    Thanks again.
     
  15. therealgamer420

    therealgamer420 Junior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2015
    Messages:
    195
    Likes Received:
    56
    I like the content of your guide but the color green is painful in the eyes. Haha.
     
  16. wpblog

    wpblog Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    23
    Home Page:
    Another great post, Tommy:).
    I never think there is a plugin that can solve the complicated Schema.org Rich Snippets thing.
    Thanks for the guide.
     
  17. t0mmy

    t0mmy Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Messages:
    6,569
    Likes Received:
    13,920
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Spain
    Home Page:
    Not really.. Google would eventually find out themselves, but it wouldn't hurt.

    I wouldn't say do it to improve your SEO but I would encourage you to learn GWT inside and out, it's a great tool with a lot of useful data.

    Great topic suggestion, I'll cover it over the next few weeks :)

    Google is your friend..

    No, going back and changing all the links that pointed to your site over to "https" would not look natural, simple common sense really.. leave it be.

    Deal with it..

    Cheers for the feedback as always folks!
     
  18. hvdnghia

    hvdnghia Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Messages:
    84
    Likes Received:
    4
    I need more 20 articles with 1000 words+ to start my new site. On page with 3% kW per article. Link them together. Contents is really king with social bookmark in my 1000 search nich, now I'm in top 3 in 3 months with 80 articles 100% unique content.
     
  19. nifras

    nifras Junior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    128
    Likes Received:
    23
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    ?????
    Home Page:
    Thanks man
     
  20. stevenjcolwell

    stevenjcolwell Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2016
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    40
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    SEO
    Location:
    UK
    Amazing article!