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The Ultimate Guide to Technical SEO and Ranking Higher in 2024

January 26, 2024 | Team DMB
The Ultimate Guide to Technical SEO and Ranking Higher in 2024

Search engine optimization (SEO) is always important for driving organic traffic and growth for websites. While most people think of keyword research, meta descriptions, and backlinks when they hear SEO, the technical side is just as important. Technical SEO focuses on improving the underlying structure, speed, and performance of a website to help search engines better crawl, index, and rank pages. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the key technical SEO factors you need to know and how to implement the most effective strategies for your clients with the help of white-label SEO services for agencies.

Common SEO Tactics

Let’s start with a quick overview of some of the more well-known SEO tactics. Keyword research is analyzing what terms and phrases your target audience is searching for, and then optimizing your content around those keywords. Crafting compelling meta descriptions gives search engines a summary of what each page is about. And backlinks signal credibility and authority, especially when published on high-quality websites in your industry.

While these on-page and off-page optimization factors are important, technical SEO takes it a step further to consider how search engines interact with your site on a technical level.

The Importance of Technical SEO

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Technical SEO has become crucial for long-term organic growth and performance. With regular algorithm updates from Google and other search engines, they are getting smarter at crawling the web and understanding website architecture. Sites that make it easy for search engines to navigate and process their pages will be rewarded over those that have technical limitations or errors.

Some of the main benefits of technical SEO include:

  • Faster indexing and crawling for new pages and content
  • Reduced bounce rate by improving page load speeds
  • Higher rankings by avoiding technical penalties from search engines
  • Increased conversion rates thanks to a seamless user experience

By laying the proper technical foundations, websites can scale their growth more efficiently through other SEO tactics and content marketing.

Site Architecture

One of the first technical SEO factors to optimize is your website’s infrastructure and site architecture. This includes how your pages and content are organized, assigned URLs, interlinked, and presented in the site navigation.

Search engines should be able to easily crawl through your pages and understand the hierarchical relationships. Some best practices include:

  • Simple, descriptive URLs using hyphens instead of underscores or special characters
  • A sitemap that outlines all the pages and how they are connected
  • Breadcrumb navigation showing page hierarchy
  • Internal links to related content within the site structure
  • Labels and metadata to indicate page types (e.g. blog, product page)

Optimizing your site architecture makes it faster for search engines to discover and categorize all your important pages.

Mobile Optimization

With more and more people searching on smartphones, having a mobile-friendly site is no longer optional. Google even factors mobile optimization into their main search algorithm and rankings.

Some key technical considerations for mobile SEO include:

  • Responsive design that adapts layouts for all screen sizes
  • Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for faster page loads
  • Eliminating pop-ups and interstitials that hinder usability
  • Simplified navigation menus and CTAs for small touch targets
  • Mobile-specific technical configurations

Following mobile-first and mobile-friendly design principles will prepare your site for the present and future of search.

Page Speed

Page speed refers to how long it takes for your pages to fully load. This affects user experience as well as how search engines interact with your site.

Google has made page speed a ranking factor in their algorithm, prioritizing faster-loading sites. You can improve page speed through various technical optimizations:

  • Minifying code to reduce file sizes
  • Compressing images and media
  • Asynchronous loading for non-essential elements
  • Caching and CDNs to distribute resources
  • Optimizing server response times

There are a number of free tools to audit and monitor your page speeds. Aim for sub-3 second load times on mobile for optimal performance.

Crawlability and Search Engine Visibility

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Crawlability refers to how easily search engine bots can access and traverse a website to discover its pages and content. This is a foundational technical SEO factor, as pages that can’t be crawled essentially remain invisible to search engines.

There are two key elements for crawlability:

Allows Access

First, a site needs to allow search bots to access its pages. This involves both permissions and directives:

  • No blocking bots via robots.txt or meta robots tags
  • Submitting XML sitemaps to guide search bot crawling
  • Implementing proper crawl rate controls

Blocking parts of a website tells engines those pages should not be indexed. Without access permissions, bots can’t crawl pages.

Navigable Site Architecture

The second crawlability aspect is having a navigable site architecture and internal linking structure.

Ideally, a crawl should spider out through page links and menus, indexing everything easily. Tactics to improve this include:

  • Descriptive URL structures with words instead of random IDs
  • Outbound links to external high-authority domains
  • Intuitive internal linking between related site content
  • Hierarchical metadata to outline page relationships
  • A structured architecture tells search bots which pages and parameters are most important.

This allows deeper, more relevant crawling. By granting access and optimizing navigation, websites enable fuller, higher-quality indexing of their pages.

Indexability for Content Visibility

Once search engines crawl a page, the next technical step is indexability – actually adding that page to the algorithmic index.

Indexability depends on engines efficiently processing and understanding the content:

Machine-Readable Page Rendering

Search bots should see the same fully-rendered page content as users. Dynamic JavaScript and opaque images may obscure content from crawlers. Ensure mobile-friendly, static text versions are visible.

Semantic HTML Markup

Pages need descriptive HTML tags – H1 headers, paragraph text, image alt attributes, etc. This identifies content types and relationships for search engines.

Natural Link Anchor Text

Links should use descriptive anchor text so crawling bots can extract context. Avoid overuse of “click here” type generic anchors.

Quality, Unique Content

Thin, low-value content not sufficiently optimized for search users will rank poorly in indexes, if at all. Unique, robust content has higher indexability.

By optimizing content elements for search engine processing, pages achieve greater visibility through reliable indexing.

Rendering for Search Engine Accessibility

Rendering is the technical process of displaying a fully-formed webpage to users. For search bots, poor rendering can limit their capacity to digest page content.

Some common rendering challenges include:

Crawl Budgets

Crawl budget is the limit search engines place on accessing server resources when crawling sites. Excessive dynamic rendering strains this budget. Simplify architecture.

JavaScript Rendering

JavaScript generates dynamic page content, but search bots may not process it fully. Ensure mobile-friendly, static HTML rendering.

Restrictive Site Architecture

Overly complex navigation and URLs inhibits rendering. Allow generous access and logical page hierarchies.

Heavy Page Resources

Large file sizes, and multiple media content slow down rendering. Compress files and optimize page load performance.

Optimizing the presentation layer for simplified rendering removes obstructions to search engine accessibility and visibility in results.

Rankability for Search Engine Rankings

Once a page is crawled, indexed, and rendered properly, the final technical step is rankability – how search engines score and position that page in results.

Rankability depends on positive signals of relevance and authority to search users:

Optimized Content Relevance

Pages must match search intent with keywords and topic optimization to rank for terms. Unique, high-quality content performs better.

Trust Metrics

Rankability improves with trust signals like high domain authority, quality backlinks, engagement metrics, and lack of violations. Ethical practices matter.

Technical Performance

Fast-loading, mobile-friendly pages outperform slow, clunky sites. A seamless user experience improves rankability.

Link Neighborhood

The ranking power of linking domains passes through links. Quality sites linking to your page lend rankability boosts.

On-Page Authority

Internal links, length, multimedia, structured data and other page elements influence relevance scoring. Optimize architecture.

By focusing on positive ranking signals, sites can improve the position their pages achieve in search results.

Clickability Drives User Engagement

Beyond just ranking, sites need searchers to actually click through to their pages. Clickability depends on preview snippets and engagement.

Attractive Snippets

Snippets with branded names, meta descriptions, and page titles get more attention over generic results. Optimize snippets.

Quick Answers

Direct answer results in the SERP capture clicks by solving queries immediately. Feature structured data for rich results.

Positive User Experience

Fast-loading pages with consistent navigation and quality content retain visitors longer after clicks. Reduce bounce rates.

Mobile Clickability

Small screens and fat fingers make click targets and buttons hard to engage. Simplify mobile CTA design to maximize results and conversions.

Trust and Authority

Users prefer clicking reputable, familiar sites. Earn brand trust through content and UX quality over time.

Clickability combines design, content, and technical factors that entice searchers to visit your pages from results. Maximizing engagement leads to higher conversions.

Site Performance Monitoring

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Optimizing technical SEO is an ongoing process requiring diligent monitoring. Use web analytics and performance tools to catch issues before search engines do.

Web Analytics

Review site analytics regularly for changes in organic traffic and rankings. Drops may indicate technical problems. Drill into landing pages, keywords, and segments.

Page Speed Tests

Page speed tools like Pingdom and WebPageTest reveal optimization opportunities. Test regularly and after site changes. Meet target speeds.

Technical Audits

Conduct manual technical SEO audits quarterly. Crawl the site to spot errors. Review JavaScript, structured data, meta tags, etc.

Search Console

Monitor Search Console for manual actions, crawling errors, or drops in impressions. Dig into issues and optimize accordingly.

Staying on top of technical performance is necessary to maintain and improve SEO results long-term.

Fix Common Technical SEO Issues

Some frequent technical issues that compromise SEO include:

Duplicate Content

Duplicate or thin content across domains dilutes signals. Consolidate and redirect copies to canonical versions.

Broken Links

Fix 404 errors immediately and redirect expired pages. Don’t lose link equity and crawlability.

Server downtime

Server outages or slowdowns negatively impact crawlability. Invest in reliable hosting and monitoring.

Unsecure Sites

Switch to HTTPS and SSL certificates to resolve security warnings. It’s vital for rankability.

Bloated Pages

Streamline page code, resources, and eliminate render-blocking practices to optimize speed.

Addressing these recurring issues will resolve many technical deficiencies holding back organic growth.

Going Beyond Keywords and Content to Rank Higher with Technical SEO

While keywords and content are crucial for SEO, don’t neglect the technical foundations of your website. Optimizing your site architecture, mobile experience, page speeds, and more can directly impact organic rankings and growth. Use this ultimate guide to identify any technical gaps holding your SEO back and turn them into opportunities.

Contact Digital Marketing Blueprint for White Label SEO Services for Agencies

If you need help improving technical SEO or want to white-label our services for your agency, contact Digital Marketing Blueprint today! Our technical SEO experts can audit your site, identify issues, and implement solutions tailored to your business goals. We also offer white-label SEO packages to agencies wanting to expand their service offerings under their own brand.

Get in touch for a free consultation on how we can help with your technical SEO and online marketing needs with white-label SEO services for agencies.

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