The 20 Most Important Technical SEO Ranking Factors
SEO is the best way to skyrocket your company’s search rankings. But how to keep up, when the algorithms that underpin Google, Bing and Yahoo are constantly changing?
Your approach needs to adapt over time, if you want to generate the best results.
Understanding the nuances of technical SEO improves how customers interact with your website and ensures you improve your Google rankings. But how does technical SEO differ from regular Search Engine Optimisation?
The technical aspect refers to website and server optimisations that ensure search engines perceive your website as superior to others. In turn, this helps boost Google rankings.
Reduce Crawl Errors
Crawl errors occur when a search engine attempts to reach your page but can’t complete the process. Many of these crawl errors are caused by DNS or server issues. Either way, they limit your ability to reach customers.
Similarly, 404 errors occur when a linked page has been moved without being redirected.
Fortunately, you can quickly identify and solve crawl errors in the Google Search Console or an SEO tool like Screaming Frog.
Fix Broken Links
Checking that your links function properly is vital for improving Google rankings and making sure customers navigate your website effortlessly.
Since most broken links are usually caused by the web admin, it’s always important to confirm that renamed or moved content is relinked to the correct destination.
Customers are bound to click away if they encounter dead links, so identifying and fixing these issues is a priority.
Strengthen Thin Content
In recent years, Google has taken big steps to limit the ability of spam-ridden websites to reach the top of the Google rankings.
Currently, Google strives to provide users with highly accurate search results using its EAT guidelines: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.
If you have website content that serves little purpose, it’s time to update or delete them rather than let it harm your ranking value.
Switch to AMP
Google wants users to have the best and fastest experience when browsing the internet on a mobile device.
This is why they decided to create Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to enhance how content is presented and received.
While AMP isn’t a Google ranking factor alone, the fact that it dramatically improves your website’s mobile experience will level up your position on the SERP.
Delete Duplicate Pages
Duplicate content is an important SEO factor that needs to be dealt with.
Since multiple versions of the same page cause confusion for your website traffic and search engine algorithms alike, it’s best to remove duplicates ASAP.
In addition, less honest websites attempt to trick Google with duplicate content, resulting in harsh penalties for those who get caught.
Use HTTPS Protocol
Back in 2014, Google confirmed that HTTPS was an SEO ranking factor. So if you still haven’t updated your website, you can’t possibly reach the top of the Google Search rankings.
As the updated HTTPS protocol protects the data provided by your traffic when they visit your website, implementing this change limits leaks and safeguards against hackers.
Adopt a Clean URL Structure
Creating a consistent URL structure has a range of benefits for your website. Importantly, it’s recognised as a minor Google ranking factor that improves the visibility of your website.
However, a crystal-clear URL structure also heightens your web traffic’s user experience by offering an explicit indication of what’s on the page before they visit.
This SEO tip will help you attract more relevant traffic and reduce your bounce rate.
Optimise XML sitemap
An XML Sitemap ensures a search engine learns more about your website as it crawls, including when pages were last modified, where each page can be found and your most important content.
You should always optimise your XML Sitemap with your website’s most essential links.
Meanwhile, avoid including non-indexed URLs and pages without 200 HTTP status. This approach ensures your website is crawled and indexed with greater precision.
Optimise the Robots.txt File
Adding a robots.txt file to your website determines which URLs Google’s crawler can access on your website.
However, every website has a limited number of pages that can be crawled – known as a crawl budget.
You should only add relevant pages to your robots.txt file while omitting admin pages and temporary files to optimise website crawling.
Add Schema Markup
Structured data is intended to help search engines understand what information is being displayed, with one of the most common types known as schema markup.
By adding this information, you communicate with the search engine in a language it can understand.
While it sounds complicated, Google has its own structured data helper that means you don’t have to worry about creating schema markup manually.
Solve Redirect Loops
Once your website has amassed hundreds of pages, keeping track of your page structure can get pretty convoluted.
This can lead to situations where users and search engine algorithms get stuck in an infinite redirect loop that leads nowhere. Naturally, this is going to harm your search rankings.
Fortunately, SEO tools like the Google Search Console have features that identify these issues and ensure they get resolved quickly.
Implement Mobile-Friendly Changes
Today, it’s highly likely that most traffic is browsing on a mobile device. This means you want to implement numerous mobile-friendly changes to appeal to your average user.
Most businesses should adopt a responsive design that ensures their content looks incredible. Plus, focus on using simple fonts and large buttons while eliminating annoying pop-ups.
Review Page Loading Speed
The average user will leave your website if it fails to load within three seconds.
Google knows it – which is why you have to optimise everything on your website for speed, if you want to maximise Google rankings and conversions.
Numerous search ranking factors impact the performance of your website. However, you should carefully review server response times, limit the number of files processed and restrict HTTP requests.
Check for Meta Tags
Meta tags help Google display critical information about your pages in the search results, with the most important being meta title and meta description.
These sections provide powerful insight into what content is found on a specific page, helping search engine algorithms and users decide whether your content answers their questions.
Without optimised meta tags conveying extra information, you can expect your search rankings to suffer.
Websites are more appealing when stunning visuals accompany the text. However, photographs and graphics can significantly reduce your page loading times when uncompressed.
Always upload your images as PNG files and restrict the dimensions as much as possible without sacrificing quality.
In addition, include optimised alt image text, file names and captions to improve Google rankings as the algorithm will better understand what is displayed on the page.
Use Hreflang for Multilingual Websites
If your website caters to international customers, using hreflang tags tells Google which language is used on a page. This way, Google Search can serve the correct page to customers who understand that language.
While this change isn’t a direct ranking factor for SEO, it means global customers have a much better experience on your website. This will improve Google rankings via increased time on page and sales metrics.
Choose a Rank Tracking Service
Rank tracking tools help companies keep tabs on how their SEO updates are performing. As these services provide outstanding data on a myriad of metrics, they help you visualise what is and isn’t working.
Some of the most reputable services include SEMRush, Ahrefs and MonsterInsights. Meanwhile, SEO experts like First Page Australia can deliver a personalised strategy from start to finish.
Remove Outdated Code and Plugins
Businesses that have been operating for years have no doubt made many changes to their websites. This often means redundant code and plugins remain in the backend, leading to a slower website with a worse ranking value.
Go through your CMS and remove any plugins that no longer serve a purpose. You should also identify and delete old code that’s not needed while compressing any code that remains in use.
Add Breadcrumbs to Improve Navigation
When you design or rejuvenate a website, the user experience must remain at the forefront of your mind. One helpful SEO change you can make is the addition of breadcrumbs.
This provides beneficial secondary navigation, so users can move around each category with ease. Plus, it helps search engine algorithms receive a comprehensive overview of your site structure.
Test on Numerous Devices
You might be surprised to learn that websites can display remarkably differently, depending on the browser and device used.
If you’re looking to improve Google rankings, always test your website on as many devices as you can access.
This way, you’ll be able to identify issues for specific platforms and start generating suitable solutions to maximise SEO rank.
Chat to the Experts
Don’t let your technical SEO standards fall behind the competition. Get expert advice from the SEO team at First Page Australia and attain the highest possible search rankings.
As one of the best SEO agencies in the country, we’ve led hugely profitable SEO campaigns for hundreds of small businesses and multinational giants in Parramatta, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, and Gold Coast. Let our talented team conduct a comprehensive audit and start solving any problems.
Ready to find out more? Chat with our digital marketers and kickstart your journey up the search rankings today.