Technical SEO is the practice of optimising the technical aspects of your site in order to increase ranking in SERPs (search engine results pages). In essence this is is making your site faster and easier to crawl.
Why is technical SEO important?
As with most optimisations nowadays, it ultimately revolves around Google wanting to serve the best possible content to users and in turn, satisfying their search query. Part of the users satisfaction is in your sites performance.
If your site is very slow to load or isn’t responsive i.e. doesn’t work properly on different devices, Google will be less inclined to serve your site to users as it doesn’t want to give them a bad experience.
Equally, if Google cannot properly crawl your website it may not be able to figure out what content you have or where your site sits performance wise.
So the funny thing with technical SEO is it’s actually easier to get it wrong, be it a typo in your robots.txt file or overloading your site with unnecessary plugins.
Do I need a Robots.txt file?
If you are running a WordPress site or pretty much any modern CMS on a fairly standard info or Ecommerce site, chances are you won’t need a robots.txt file.
The robots.txt file effectively gives you extra control over what search engines crawl and index. It’s very powerful and also very easy to get wrong, so as it’s likely not needed, it’s best to leave it. If you’re not sure, speak to a developer or expert or really knows what they’re doing with these files.
What else do I need to watch out for?
There’s a few other things to check when it comes to technical SEO…
- Dead links
- Duplicate content
- Secure (SSL certificate)
- Structured Data
- XML Sitemap
What is Structured Data?
Structured data formats your content in such a way that search engines will be able to better understand what it is and how it might serve it up to its users. Structured data can include product details, recipe ingredients, FAQs and more.
FAQs in particular are a neat trick when it comes to ranking and can provide a little boost if you add FAQ Schema to your pages. You can read more about Structured data and the universal formats here.
What is an XML Sitemap?
A sitemap is a guide for search engines crawling your site. This roadmap ensures that robots won’t miss content. In theory, robots won’t need it anyway as they’ll follow your internal linking structure in the same way users would; using menu navigation and other links.