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Technical SEO, why is it so important for SEO?

Optimizing your website to be visible on search engines is crucial to achieving your business and branding goals. The natural referencing of a website, or SEO, is based on 3 axes: technique, content and popularity. But what do we mean by technical SEO? What are the important technical elements of a website to work on to optimize its natural referencing? How to properly manage your website?

What is SEO technique?

Technical SEO represents all the methods of optimizing technical elements of a website in order to guarantee its good indexing by search engines and improve its positioning in the results pages of Google or Bing (SERP). In this, it differs from the content optimizations of a website which are just as important for natural referencing.

When we talk about technical SEO, we think in particular of sitemaps and robots.txt files, the detection and resolution of error pages (404, 500, etc.), page markup, site speed optimization, structured data, etc …

Why is technique so important for SEO?

A good technical optimization in SEO allows engine robots (also called crawlers or spiders) to easily access the important pages of a site without getting lost, and thus allow their rapid indexing.

The optimization of the elements of technical SEO allows a better analysis by the engine robots, favouring their understanding of the site. This understanding is essential for good SEO.

A coherent site architecture is also a decisive preparatory step for the structuring of the content, organized in semantic silos, building the site according to a logic that facilitates its exploration by robots and Internet users in search of information. It ensures that the site is relevant to specific themes.

The essential technical elements of a site

The following list is not exhaustive, but it contains the main technical elements to take into account and to monitor on a website.

Domain name

This is the address of the site on the web. It is accessible to Internet users with or without www. But when creating it, you have to choose whether it includes the mention www, and declare it to the search engines. Thus, no confusion is possible: there is only one site, and not two. For Google, this is done in the Search Console tool. You must also declare the name chosen in your content management system (WordPress, Drupal or others). This procedure avoids page indexing and duplicate content problems, which are detrimental to SEO.

Site architecture

The architecture of the site is essential for the organization of its content: it must facilitate the user experience and the exploration of robots, commonly called “crawl”. The objective is to quickly understand the contents of the site: this gives confidence to Internet users and the engines index its pages more easily. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the pages are easily accessible, not too deep, a maximum of 3 clicks from the home page. The structure of the URLs, or the address of each page, must be simple and explicit so that the Internet user, as the robot, knows by reading the URL where on the site it is located.

Markup

HTML tags are pieces of code that identify certain types of content on the page, so they should be taken care of.

– The Title tag states the purpose of the page and appears as a clickable blue link in search results. It is particularly important because of its weight in the Google algorithm;

– The Hn tags structure the text thanks to sub-titles making it easier to read;

– The Hreflang tag designates the language and country for which the page was created;

-Placing a “no index” tag on a page indicates to the engine that it should not index this page for various reasons (poor content, resulting from personalized filters …).

Robots.txt
The robots.txt file tells robots which pages they can crawl and which they should not, thanks to a particular syntax. It is a simple text file located at the root of the site. There are tools for testing the robots.txt file to verify that nothing is blocking the crawling and indexing of the site.

XML Sitemap File

The sitemap.xml lists all the important URLs of the site to be indexed by the engines. It can be created via an extension in the content management tool so that the URL of each new important page is added to the sitemap. For Google, the sitemap must be submitted in Search Console. It is possible to have several sitemaps, listing pages, but also images, videos, etc.

Mobile compatibility

The site must be optimized to facilitate navigation on a smartphone. Google offers a tool to check mobile compatibility and provide optimization advice. Be careful with the content: it must always be accessible and must not be different from one device to another (mobile vs desktop).

AMP format

This Accelerated Mobile Pages format is important for information sites. These pages are displayed more quickly thanks to a lighter HTML code, favouring the click-through rate on mobile. AMP pages are accessible from the engine results page or other compatible sites. Extensions of the content management system, or plugins, make it possible to adopt the AMP format.

Webperf – Core Web Vitals

The Essential Web Signals (Core Web Vitals) translate the speed of loading of the contents of the site through 3 indicators: the loading time of the most important block of content above the waterline (without scrolling the page down – LCP), that required for visual stability of the page (CLS), and the time required to properly interact with certain elements (click on a link, an action button – FID).

Here too, Google offers tools to check that the site reacts within acceptable times. If these indicators have for the moment a negligible weight in the referencing of a site, it is advisable to take care of its loading speed to offer a satisfactory user experience (UX).

SSL certificate

Providing a site with an SSL certificate ensures that the Internet user has secure browsing while protecting their personal data, which gives them the confidence that is essential to retain visitors and customers.

In the case of an existing site, installing an SSL certificate requires migration of all the pages of the site from HTTP to HTTPS. It is necessary to call on a developer or an SEO agency to keep the referencing of the existing pages by redirecting them correctly to the pages in HTTPS.

Structured data

Here too, elements of code specify certain types of content to the engines: organization, article, event, cooking recipe, job posting and many others. Thanks to a particular display in search results, structured data increases the click-through rate and traffic on the site.

Internal mesh

The last essential element of technical SEO, the internal mesh corresponds to the links towards other pages of the site. It offers Internet users additional information for their search, encourages them to continue browsing, and promotes the exploration of other pages by robots. The internal mesh allows the diffusion of the “juice of links”, that is to say, the power of the authority of certain pages towards other pages which are subordinate to them.

The technique of SEO can seem daunting, and its tasks tedious. It is sometimes necessary to approach an SEO consultant to benefit from natural referencing advice.

Some tools will be your friends!

The essential tool: Google Search Console
Search Console is a free tool from Google to check the technical health of your site. By declaring your site, your “property”, you can follow its performance in search results, the indexing of its pages, detect erroneous pages, links and domains that point to your site, and so on. Search Console also offers features for submitting certain files, such as sitemaps, or URLs to speed up or re-request indexing. It can also be connected to Google Analytics.

In the case of serious problems, it is via the Search Console that Google communicates with the owner of the site to warn them of the application of penalties. The latter will endeavour to rectify the state of his site and will communicate the corrective actions taken in Search Console.

Crawl tools: Screaming Frog, Oncrawl, Botify
These tools offer exhaustive explorations of a site, like a search engine robots. They facilitate its regular control: error pages, non-compliant markup, etc.

Webperf – Speed: Dareboost, Lighthouse, GT Metrix
To provide an optimal experience for its visitors and make crawling faster, these solutions help track page load times and take the necessary corrective actions.

In conclusion, technical SEO is essential for a good SEO of your site. It calls on in-depth knowledge that only an SEO agency and a consultant will be able to provide you. So take your time to choose your SEO partner who will support you in the technical optimization of your website.

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