How Does Technical SEO Work?
Technical SEO is the practice of making your website easy to crawl and understand by search engines. It's about making sure that Google, Bing, Yandex, ... know both what your URLs are (i.e., they're not counting on humans to index pages properly) and how to interpret those URLs (for example, if you have pagination or other parameters in the URL).
Also, part of technical SEO: using tools like Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl to fix any issues crawling/indexing your site.
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Why it is important?
Technical SEO is important because it's one of the most foundational pieces of a successful SEO campaign. If your site isn't easy for search engines to crawl and index, you're going to have a hard time ranking in search results. Even if you have great content and a strong link profile, technical SEO issues can prevent your site from reaching its full potential.
That's why it's important to make sure your site is technically sound before you start any kind of SEO campaign. And if you're already seeing some success with your current campaign, don't forget to check on your site's technical health regularly - it's always changing, and small issues can have a big impact down the line.
What are Some Common Technical SEO issues?
There are two main types of technical SEO issues: crawlability and indexability. Crawlability is about making sure the search engines can find and access your content in the first place, and indexability is about making sure they know what your URLs mean so that they can interpret them properly when finding pages.
Some Common Crawlability issues include:
Non-indexable Pagination Links (i.e., next to or previous) - if your website has pagination that includes parameters such as URL? Page=2, then Google will be unable to interpret those links when crawling because it doesn't know which page you're linking to. As a result, Google may not visit subsequent pages when following these links.
Nonindexed internal URLs - if you have product pages on your website that are not indexed by default, search engines may not be able to find these URLs when crawling the site. As a result, they won't be able to access this content and incorporate it into their indexes.
Redirects - sometimes redirecting one URL to another can cause issues with crawling because search engines don't know which page has the most authority. For example, an HTTP 301 redirect could send traffic for example.com/blue to example.com/red, but Google might assume that red is actually more relevant since it ranks higher in its index, resulting in a lower-quality score for blue.
Some Common indexability issues include:
Duplicate Content - if you have multiple pages with the same or very similar content, Google may not be able to decide which page is the most relevant and important, which could hurt your site's rankings.
Parameters in URLs - as mentioned earlier, parameters like URL? Page=2 can often cause confusion for search engines when trying to understand what a page is about. As a result, these pages may not rank as well as they should.
Non-Canonical URLs - if you have multiple versions of the same page (e.g., http://example.com and https://example.com), search engines may not know which one to index and give preference to. This can cause ranking problems for the page.
404 Errors - if you have links to pages that don't exist on your site, or if the content on those pages has been permanently removed, you may see 404 errors in your Google Search Console account. These errors can hurt your site's overall search rankings.
There are also a number of other technical SEO issues that can affect your site's rankings, such as improper use of hreflang tags, slow website speed, and bad sitemaps. That's why it's important to check on your site's technical health regularly and address any issues that you find.
How Can I fix These issues?
If you're experiencing any of the crawlability or indexability issues mentioned above, you can use Google's Search Console to take care of most issues.
For crawlability problems, try using the Crawl Errors report in your Search Console account. This will give you a list of URLs that are giving search engines trouble when trying to crawl them, along with suggestions for fixing these issues. Note that it takes time for search engines to re-crawl recently fixed URLs, so it may be several weeks before any changes are reflected in your rankings.
For indexability problems, look at your site's robots.txt file and XML sitemap(s). Robots.txt tells search engines which pages they're allowed to access on your website (for more information about this file, see our beginner's guide to robots.txt), and an XML sitemap helps search engines find all of the pages on your site. If you're having problems with duplicate content, parameters in URLs, or non-canonical URLs, these are all things that can be fixed by modifying your robots.txt or XML sitemap.
If you're not sure how to fix a particular issue, or if you need help troubleshooting a problem, don't hesitate to contact us for assistance. We'd be happy to help!
Now that we've covered some of the most common crawlability and indexability issues, let's take a look at how you can go about fixing them.