There are three types of Search Engine Optimization: On-site, Off-site, and Technical SEO. While on-site and off-site are typically top priorities for businesses, technical SEO can have a huge impact, more so than businesses expect. As important as content marketing and backlinks are, making sure that the structure of your website is optimized for search engines is equally as important, if not more important. On and off-site SEO strategies can only take you so far if your website’s HTML isn’t search-engine optimized. Most business owners that made their own website may not know all of the ways to optimize their website for search engines. Luckily, these should all be extremely easy, no matter what web builder you used. Here are some easy changes you can make to your website’s code (and when I say easy, I mean it) to improve your technical SEO.
Use Heading Tags
In HTML, it’s best practice for headings to be specified with heading tags(<h1> to <h6>). When you’re a web developer who’s staring at the code of a website, it’s really easy to discern what is and isn’t a heading, and what should and shouldn’t be. However, this is often different on a web builder, and those who aren’t aware of this may try to just change the font size, color, and/ors style of the paragraph text when building a page or blog post. Visually this does work, but as far as ranking it doesn’t help as much as you’d think.
Be sure that you use the heading tags when building pages on your website, including blog posts. When you build your business’s style on your web builder, the program will change the fonts and colors of each heading automatically to match your website’s style, so you won’t need to worry about changing it on your own. This way, when your site is being indexed, the crawlers can read the difference between your headings and paragraph text. This will also help your pages on your website optimize for featured snippets, as a lot of them use heading tags to determine sections of the page.
Write Alt Text for Images
Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) can’t see images. While this may be well-known among web developers and digital marketers, it may not be known to those outside of the industry. The crawling programs used to index your site can only read code, and images aren’t compatible with code. This is why alt text is important to use for images. Not only does it increase accessibility to those who can’t see the images, but crawlers can also read the alt text as code, which adds words to your website and helps you rank higher. It’s generally considered best practice to incorporate your keywords for the page in the alt text, to help push the page towards that keyword on SERPs.
Optimize Title and Meta Descriptions
One of the best things to do for your website is to optimize your Title and Meta Description tags on each page of the website. If you don’t already know what the title and meta description tags are, don’t worry. They don’t show up on your website itself, so it’s not really something you can see unless you know to look for it. The title and meta description tags live in the head of your HTML document, and show up on the SERP. The title shows up as the title, and the description shows up underneath as the description of the webpage. If it sounds pretty straightforward, it’s because it is.
If you don’t specify what header and description you want to show up, then something random from the page will be dropped in automatically, which may not always be what you want. It’s best to ensure that the description and header say what you want them to. The more control you have over what shows up on the SERPs, the better.
Improve Site Speed
Site speed makes great changes to your technical SEO and your ranking. The faster your site speed, the higher you’ll rank. Site speed mostly means how quickly your website and the pages on it load. PageSpeed Insights is a free site speed test software that quickly checks your site speed on both a computer and mobile platform. If your site speed is green, then you’re all set! If it’s yellow or red, try reducing the file size of images or other files on your website, or try a fast-hosting host or a faster DNS provider. Increasing your site speed will also increase visitor satisfaction, making them more likely to visit again.
Today, over half of all queries on Google are searched on mobile phones. Because of this, you’ll need to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. Google has a great Mobile-Friendliness Test that shows you how well your website performs on cell phones for free. If your website shows up as not mobile-friendly, a huge component of this could be site speed. It could also be that your CSS implemented by your developer or web builder wasn’t optimized with a responsive layout. This is highly unlikely to happen today, but it could be the case for an older website. Make sure that your website is compatible with cell phones, as it can make a difference not only with your performance on SERPs but with visitor experience as well.
Refine Your URLs
On your website, each page has a unique URL. Though I’m sure you already knew this, it’s important to understand that having a long, confusing URL can affect your ranking. If you have the ability to change the URL of a given webpage (which you should), then be sure to include your targeted keyword in the URL to help push your page up the ranks on the SERP. Having random symbols and letters in your URL makes it look less clean, but converting it to say /home, or /improve-your-technical-seo will make it nicer for search engines, and also for your personal organization.
Create Lots of Internal Links
One of the ways to increase your off-site SEO is through backlinks or links on other websites back to your own site. However, internal links are also a great form of technical SEO. A great way to do this is to reference previous blog posts. We previously did a series of two posts explaining Why you should use Social Media and How to use social media. Having a lot of links to other pages on your website will make sure that all the pages of your website get indexed, increase visibility of your website, and will provide a higher chance of your pages being viewed.
When I said that these technical SEO strategies were simple and easy to complete, I really meant it. Most, if not all web builders you could possibly be using will have ways to do most of these strategies, and the other ones just involve copying and pasting your URL into a free software. You’ll be surprised by the impact that these tools have. You may not see results right away, that’s just the way SEO works, it’s a long-term method but it does pay off, even if the results aren’t instant. It’s important to just be persistent and not give up on the efforts.
Contact Us today to learn more about how Ascent Digital can improve your SEO!