Here are some best practices you should pay attention to.
Your website must have an SSL or HTTPS certificate
Using SSL certificates to have HTTPS has been a positioning factor for the past 5 or more years.
It is vitally important to use HTTPS encryption on your website and if you are still using an HTTP version, it is time to fix it.
You can easily confirm if your website has an HTTPS version by simply looking at the URL bar of your browser.
If you see a padlock, it means you are using HTTPS. If not, you are not using it and you should change it as soon as possible.
To do this you just have to access your hosting provider and activate a free SSL certificate such as “Lets Encrypt” although there is also the possibility to pay for other more secure certificates such as Wildcard.
Once the certificate is activated you have to redirect everything that was previously http to https. If your website is developed with WordPress you can use the Really Simple SSL plugin and you will have it solved in a couple of clicks.
Make sure you don’t have duplicate versions of your website on Google
It is very important that you only allow Google to index one version of your website, otherwise you may run the risk of being penalized for duplicated content.
By default, these are the different versions of your website and you should point all of them to a single version to optimize indexing.
If you choose the version without www or with www is up to you, but all the other versions should have a 301 redirect to the primary one.
Everything is OK if you get redirected when you try to access a secondary website. However, if you can access the different versions, you should implement redirects as soon as possible.
Fix crawl errors
You can identify any crawl issues on your website through Google Search Console or paid tools like Semrush.
Just visit the coverage report or set up Site Audit and you’ll see both errors and excluded pages, as well as those with warnings and those that are valid.
Resolve the errors you find and explore the cause in more detail; from 404 errors to incorrectly canonicalized pages.
The Semrush report gives you clear guidelines of all the problems you need to fix if you want your website to be easily indexable.
Optimize the loading speed of your website
Slow websites generate bad user experience.
In fact, Google has recently confirmed an update (Core Web Vitals) that will focus even more on user experience as a ranking and indexing factor.
Therefore to improve technical SEO you must make sure that your website loads quickly. Otherwise you will lose a lot of traffic and increase the bounce rate.
No one expects a slow loading website.
You will find slow pages using Google PageSpeed Insights tool.
Fix broken links and redirect chains
Broken links are another factor linked to bad user experience. No one wants to click on a link and find that it doesn’t take them to the page they were expecting.
You can find a list of broken links in the Site Audit report, and you can troubleshoot and identify problems to both update the target URL and remove the link.
If your website is built on WordPress I recommend using the Broken Links Checker plugin which will help you quickly identify and fix all the broken internal links on your website.
Find and fix HTTP links on HTTPS pages
Most websites migrated from HTTP to HTTPS some time ago, but it is common to find that some internal links point to HTTP pages and not to their current version.
If there are only a small number of incorrect links, you can fix them manually in your CMS. However, if they are present on multiple sites, you should run a search and replace them in the database.
If you use WordPress you can use the better search and replace plugin to perform this action. But be careful as you might break your site.
Your website has to be Mobile-Friendly
Usability on mobile devices is a key factor in Google’s next page experience update.
Therefore, you must ensure that your website is compatible with mobile devices because Google uses mobile-first indexing for all websites.
If you are not offering a mobile optimized website, your organic traffic will suffer.
You can check your site’s compatibility with mobile devices with this Google tool.
Use SEO optimized URLs
An SEO optimized structure makes it easier for search engines to crawl your pages. Your page URLs should be simple and descriptive.
It is important to minimize the number of words in the URL, eliminating all those that do not add value. Use hyphens in your URLs to separate words and never use underscores.
Here you can see an example of an SEO optimized URL:
- GOOD OPTION: https://www.tudominio.com/checklist-seo-tecnico/
- NOT SO GOOD OPTION: https://www.tudominio.com/checklist-como-mejorar-el-seo-tecnico-de-tu-web/
It is vital to avoid non-descriptive urls:
- BAD OPTION: https://www.tudominio.com/category.php?id=32
Add structured data
If you are not yet using structured data, you need to implement it as soon as possible.
Structured data helps your website stand out on the search results page by adding complementary content such as stars and ratings that greatly improve the visibility of your pages.
It should be noted that, when we talk about SEO, Structured Data tags will not make your website appear on the first page of google in a magical and automatic way. However, it is an important part of the overall SEO strategy, together with the other points from this checklist.
Only the concrete combinations that you can find in Google Search Central are useful if you want to generate a rich snippet in Google.
Ensure less than 3 clicks of page depth
Ideally your site’s pages should be less than 3 clicks deep if effective SEO strategy is applied.
If this is not the case, you need to rethink the architecture of your website to achieve a flatter structure that is simpler to navigate.
When a page is further than 3 clicks it is much less likely to be found by both the users and search engines.
You will surely have some pages that need more than 3 clicks to be found and you can check it very easily in your Semrush Site Audit report. Another option is to use Screaming Frog to identify all those URLs that are further than 3 clicks.
Check for 302 temporary redirects
302 redirects indicate a redirect is temporary, while 301 redirects indicate a permanent one.
You will find any 302 redirects clearly highlighted in the Site Audit report as pages that have temporary redirects.
Find and fix redirect chains and loops.
Your site should not send anyone through multiple redirects (a redirect chain), nor should the redirects create a loop.
Simply put, redirects should go from page A to page B.
The site audit report will highlight any issues with redirect chains and loops.
To resolve this you should update all chain redirects to point to the final target. Another way is to remove and update the one redirect causing the loop. Typically, we find loops composed of 2 redirects.
- Redirect 1: from A to B
- Redirect 2: from B to A
In WordPress you can easily manage redirects using the Redirection plugin.
Technical SEO allows you to optimize your ranking in the organic search results by making it easier for search engines to interpret the content of your website so that they can index it quickly. In this article I have compiled some of the most important aspects to take into account. Yet, there are many others.