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Complete Technical SEO Guidelines for Beginners

Last updated: Dec 22, 2022

Complete Technical SEO Guidelines for Beginners
Cover image: Illustration of technical SEO, which is an attempt to optimize the website from a technical perspective. Find out the information in this guide.

Disclaimer: Our team is constantly compiling and adding new terms that are known throughout the SEO community and Google terminology. You may be sent through SEO Terms in cmlabs.co from third parties or links. Such external links are not investigated, or checked for accuracy and reliability by us. We do not assume responsibility for the accuracy or reliability of any information offered by third-party websites.

Ensuring targeted website pages can be crawled and indexed by search engines is a fundamental thing in technical SEO. No matter how good the content of the page is, it will be in vain if the page itself can not be crawled by Google.

There are many technical things that need to be considered in the implementation of SEO. Through this guide, we will explain what kind of a technical SEO checklist you need to know so that your website pages can appear on the SERPs without a hitch.

What is Technical SEO?

Figure 1: Illustration of the technical SEO optimization process on the HTML code of a website. The website needs to be optimized from the technical side to maximize the crawling and indexing process.

Technical SEO is an effort made to make it easier for search engines to find, understand, and display websites with the highest rankings on search results pages or SERPs (search engine result pages).

The main focus of technical SEO is optimizing the crawling, indexing, rendering, and ranking processes. It ensures that there are no technical constraints on the website that can hinder the way search engines work.

If likened to, the technical part of SEO is the foundation of an optimization strategy. As a webmaster, you must optimize all three aspects of SEO, namely technical, on-page, and off-page, simultaneously so that the website can get a high ranking on the SERP.

The Importance of Technical SEO

As previously explained, technical SEO is one aspect of optimization whose goal is to strengthen the foundation of the website. It complements other aspects of SEO, and vice versa.

As an illustration, high quality and well-written content will not get organic traffic if search engines do not display it on the SERPs. A high amount of traffic will also be useless if the audience is not comfortable with how slow the website loading speed is.

This is why you should not underestimate the technical optimization process on your website. Here are some reasons why it is so important for you to pay attention to:

  1. In line with Google Webmaster Guidelines.
  2. Search engines can crawl (crawl) any web page.
  3. It prevents search engines from finding pages you don't want displayed.
  4. Website content is easier for search engines to understand.
  5. Users feel comfortable when using the website.
  6. The appearance of the website can be adjusted to the user's device.
  7. Loading time is much faster, thereby increasing user interaction on the website.
  8. Websites appear more attractive on search results pages.

Technical SEO Checklist

After understanding what technical SEO is and its benefits for website performance, now is the time for you to find out what the checklist for technical optimization is.

There are four aspects that you can optimize your website by considering the aspects that are important in SEO practices. These four aspects are related to how search engines work, namely:

  • Crawlability: how easy it is for search engines to crawl a website.
  • Indexing: how well search engines understand and index all web pages.
  • Renderability: the ability of search engines to render or access code, evaluate content, and visually understand the layout of the website.
  • Ranking: how high the website ranks on the search results page.

The following is a technical SEO checklist that is important to apply on a website:

Use XML Sitemap

Figure 2: Screenshot of the XML sitemap file of a website. An XML sitemap can make it easier for web crawlers to explore websites.

An XML sitemap is a file that contains all the links to a website's pages. An XML sitemap is used by a web crawler—an automated crawling robot—as a map for browsing and understanding website content.

The role of the XML sitemap file in the crawling process is vital. With this file, web crawlers can browse each page and understand the structure of your website. If you want to create an XML sitemap, you can use the Sitemap Generator from cmlabs.

In order for the XML sitemap to be used by search engines, you can upload it to Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools. Make sure that your XML sitemap file is kept up-to-date with new content.

Optimize URL Structure

URL is a string of characters that serves as the document address of a web page. URLs are used by users or web crawlers to access web pages.

URLs that are created by default and are not optimized can hinder the crawling and indexing process of the page. Therefore, you must create a simple and understandable website page URL structure.

The following are tips for creating user and search engine-friendly URLs:

  • Use words that are relevant to the content of the page.
  • Enter the target keyword in the URL.
  • Avoid using numbers, years, or anything else that changes easily.
  • Make URLs denser by removing unnecessary words.
  • Each word is separated by a dash (-).
  • Use lowercase letters so that users don't get confused when typing URLs.

To get more information about URLs, you can read all about it in our guide on how to create SEO-friendly URLs.

Unblock Search Robot

You can set what pages web crawlers can and can't find by using robots.txt. This file contains some rules that you create for search engine robots to use.

If you want to prevent search bots from visiting a page, then you can give a 'disallow' instruction. As for the pages that you allow to be searched, you can give an 'allow' instruction.

You can easily create a robots.txt file using a free tool from cmlabs, the robots.txt generator.

Increase Mobile-Friendliness

Figure 3: Illustration of a number of people using smartphones. Users today prefer to access websites through mobile devices.

The increasing number of users accessing the website via smartphones makes Google more mobile-first in related algorithm updates. Websites with a good mobile appearance will rank higher than other websites that are not mobile-friendly.

You can measure how responsive your website looks on mobile devices by using the Mobile Friendly Test from cmlabs. To identify issues and recommend improvements, you can also use Google Search Console.

Optimize Server Performance

Maintaining server performance is important in SEO practices. Poor server performance may cause issues in the HTTP that prevent users or search engines from accessing the website.

Of course, such problems will be bad for the website. In addition to the fact that users will leave the website, search engines may remove your website from their index because of a bad user experience.

To make sure nothing bad happens, you can follow these best-practices:

Increase Loading Speed

This technical SEO checklist is very important for you to pay attention to. When web crawlers browse slow web pages, some of your website's content may not be indexed by search engine databases. The slowness of a website makes the crawling process ineffective.

From the user's perspective, a slow website will certainly not provide a good experience for them. Thus, users will leave the website faster which leads to the increased number of website bounce rates.

How to speed up the website loading speed? You can follow this guide:

  • Use images with file sizes of under 100 kb and WebP format for fast website loading. Alternatively, you can also use JPG files for photos and PNG for logos if the CMS doesn't support the WebP format.
  • Fix internal links by replacing broken links or redirect links.
  • If you are using WordPress, remove unnecessary plugins.
  • Use asynchronous loading.

Learn more in our guide on how to effectively increase website loading speed.

Use Structured Data

Structured data is a line of code that contains information about the content of a page. Structured data is made to tell the content of the content explicitly to the search engine so that it can understand a web page better.

Websites that use structured data will have rich snippets on the search results page. Rich snippets will make your website look more attractive than other websites. Some examples of rich snippets are recipes, videos, listicles, FAQs, and more.

Creating structured data is very easy. To generate structured data automatically and for free, you can use the JSON-LD Schema Generator from cmlabs.

Thus, an explanation about the definition of technical SEO, benefits, and best practices to optimize your website. Implementing the technical optimization checklist is not an easy thing. Therefore, you can use SEO services to help develop websites, both technically and in terms of content, and backlinks.

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