When you launch a website, you hope to attract thousands of visitors and hundreds of clients a day. But these numbers require more than just an operational website. To land on your website, an internet user has to find it through a search engine. But, unfortunately, an array of other websites likely offer similar services to yours. So how can you fight for the attention of your potential user?
The higher your website ranks in a search engine, the more often it will be noticed. Thankfully, you can raise your website’s rank on a search page with several SEO techniques.
What is SEO?
SEO is an abbreviation for search engine optimization—a set of techniques that make web pages more visible to the searching robots of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other searching systems. There are two levels of search engine optimization:
- Content SEO - refers to the creation of well-structured and clear content optimized with relevant keywords, meta tags, and more.
- Technical SEO - ensures search engine crawlers can index your web pages and rank them higher.
Technical SEO is something that remains behind the scenes—website visitors never see it, but search engine crawlers do. If your website is well-structured and optimized, it will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The development team can not improve content SEO. But technical search engine optimization is completely in their hands.
What are the effective technical SEO techniques?
What do crawlers pay attention to? They are dedicated to ensuring website visitors receive the best possible experience, and they rely on a series of algorithms to evaluate this metric. Several factors affect your website’s ranking:
Correct server response
Before releasing the website to the production server, check all pages for the correct server response. HTTP status code 200 indicates a web page has been loaded successfully.
Crawlers judge status codes indicating client or server errors and redirects (such as 400, 404, 500, 502, etc.) negatively, so minimize them as much as possible. For some websites, it may be hard to completely get rid of these status codes. If that’s the case, avoid default status code pages. Adjust them to your website design to achieve better results.
Server information helps searching robots correctly index pages, process page keywords, and place the page in search results based on it’s value (in the crawler’s opinion).
Sitemap.xml is a special file in the root directory of a web application containing URLs to all the pages of a website. This file helps search engine crawlers find and scan all important pages, even if no internal links point to them. Carefully check the sitemap.xml file for non-existing pages or pages you don’t want to appear in search results.
This file also includes information about the most recent content update. This is positive since it allows crawlers to discover new website content and scan it for display in search results.
Robots.txt is a file created for search engine robots that helps correctly set web page indexation. This file indicates which pages should not be indexed by the crawler. There are several rules you should follow to correctly integrate this file and make sure the crawler can find and understand it:
- The file should be placed in the website’s root directory;
- The website link should be allowed for indexation;
- In the `Host` directive, the main site link should be set;
- Technical and unused website pages should be disallowed from indexation;
- The file should include a directive with a link on Sitemap.xml.
Neither sitemap.xml nor robots.txt can reliably protect sensitive data from indexation—you should use a firewall or password for that.
Compare two types of URL:
Which one is more attractive? Definitely the second one. It is well structured and understandable for both human readers and robot crawlers.
Make your URLs user-friendly. This will improve you several positions in a SERP.
Provide correct meta tags for each page of your website. They help crawlers recognize what a page is about.
For example, the `<meta name="description" content="Welcome to home page">` meta tag provides a description of you page to the crawler.
Special meta tags can also help display correct information when a link is shared in social media. For Facebook, use a `<meta content="My lovely website" property="og:title">` meta tag to display the name of your site in the Facebook share card.
The first thing crawlers look for on pages is key HTML tags.
Always use the <H1> tag to specify the title of your page. It should refer to the page’s content, so make sure to use relevant keywords in the main headline. Remember, there should only be one <H1> tag for each page. Use the other headline levels to structure your content and make it more readable for website visitors and crawlers.
Don’t try to trick the crawlers by hiding key tags from the readers using CSS. This can result in penalization.
Page loading speed
Users don’t like slow websites, and neither do crawlers. The longer it takes for your website to display the information the user requested, the further down you’ll land on the results page.
You’ve probably heard about the mobile-first approach promoted by Google. The world’s most popular search engine pays attention to whether your website looks good on smartphones and tablets. So, if you want to be found, focus on delivering high-end experiences to users of various devices.
Remember the variety of browsers that can be used to open your website. All have different requirements that can affect your website’s display. Don’t avoid testing your web app in all the most popular browsers—this factor can also affect your search result position.
Creating a website doesn’t guarantee impressive traffic and increased conversions. Competition can be immense, and attracting visitors requires hard work. Better search engine ranking will get your business one step closer to your potential customer.
The technical SEO techniques described above will help your site satisfy both robots and real users. As a result, your pages will rank higher, your traffic will increase, and users will be satisfied with the high-end experience and be more likely to buy, subscribe, and engage.
Do you think your website can rank higher? We can help! Contact us for a comprehensive website audit. Together we will reach the top!