Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a massive marketing budget to make your company stand out in the digital space. Having a technical SEO strategy can get you just as far. When you optimize your site technically, you’re making it easier for search engines to crawl and understand it. It can land you higher rankings on SERPs and significantly boost your earnings.
But technical SEO isn’t just to make Google like you. It’s also for your audience. Users will be able to load your site faster and navigate it with greater ease. Technical SEO hits two birds with one stone, helping brands hit their marketing goals while being cost-effective.
What Is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A content management system (CMS) is software that lets you create and modify your website. It eliminates the need for technical knowledge, allowing users to build a website even if they don’t know how to code. Your chosen CMS will take care of the basic infrastructure so you can focus more on managing and optimizing your site.
There are two components to every CMS. The content management application (CMA) is a user interface that lets you create, design, and modify website content sans any HTML knowledge. Then there’s the content development application (CDA), which takes care of the process behind the scenes. It stores the content you input into the CMA and ensures its visibility to your visitors.
These two core parts work together seamlessly, letting you run your site without difficulty.
Crucial Elements of Technical SEO That Boost Your Website Performance
All brands should take Online Reputation Management (ORM) seriously because the name they’ve built depends on it. One of the ways you can protect your brand’s online reputation is by implementing a technical SEO strategy. It will enhance your visitors’ experience on your site, making them more likely to say positive rather than damaging things about you.
You can choose from various CMSs to help you with technical SEO and ORM, including WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. Once you’ve picked a suitable one for your needs, you can focus on the following technical SEO elements to boost your site’s performance:
Page Load Time
Page load time refers to how long it takes for a browser to show your site’s pages. While it may seem trivial, it doesn’t just affect your SERP rankings but also your conversion rate and earnings. Visitors won’t wait more than a few seconds for a page to load, so time is of the essence. A seemingly harmless increase in page load time can drastically raise your site’s bounce rate.
The more images, videos, and text you put on a page, the slower it will take to load. Here are some tips on how to boost page loading time:
- Compress your files. When you reduce the size of images and other elements, they’ll take up less space, and your pages can load faster.
- Use cache plug-ins. They provide static versions of your pages and will send them to repeat visitors to speed up page load time.
- Use a content distribution network (CDN). A CDN will save copies of your site on servers across various geographical locations. The server nearest to the site visitor will deliver the information to cut page load time.
- Check your 301 redirects. Each one can take a few seconds to process, so they can add up and significantly slow down your site’s speed.
SSL and Security
Security is a massive priority for Google and other search engines and is one of the factors for how they rank results. For this reason, you must equip your site with a secure sockets layer (SSL). It will create a protective barrier between the server and browsers, protecting your site and visitors.
When a user sends sensitive information to your site, such as personal or payment details, your SSL will prevent hackers from intercepting it. All eCommerce sites should pay for an SSL certificate not just for ranking purposes but for their buyers’ safety as well. Those with one will have a domain that begins with “https://,” and a padlock icon will appear in the URL bar.
SSL certificate prices vary. Some CMSs offer free SSL certificates so that you can protect your visitors from the get-go. On the other hand, some providers require you to pay a monthly fee for a custom one. Most standard SSL certificates will last you one to two years, but you can purchase a more advanced type if you want a more long-term solution.
Google has a mobile-first practice wherein they use sites’ mobile versions for indexing and ranking. While you don’t need to have a mobile version of your site to rank in SERPs, it’s highly advantageous if you do. Making your site mobile-responsive should be a top priority, not just for ranking purposes but also to reach a wider audience. Most users spend more time browsing on their smartphones than on their desktops.
So if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, now’s the time to change that. You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test to see how your site looks when visitors access it on their smartphones. Type in your site’s URL, and you’ll have your results in a few minutes. You’ll get a screenshot of your site on a mobile device with a list of usability issues that Google may find. These can include the usage of Flash, which most smartphones don’t support, and small fonts that can be hard to read on a mobile device.
Google will also let you know if you have availability issues, wherein it can’t reach your site, or unloadable elements like images or videos. You should resolve these issues and aim for a “Page is usable on mobile” status.
Scan All Broken Links
All the hard work you put into your site can go down the drain if you don’t fix broken links. Your site should be a valuable resource for your visitors, but broken links can hinder them from getting the information they need. It can also be frustrating for them to keep getting 404 errors, so they might not want to revisit your site. Aside from harming the user experience, broken links also hamper your SEO efforts. They break the link equity flow on your site and can lead to lower rankings on SERPs.
Before you can fix the broken links on your site, you have to find them first. The easiest way to check for them is to access Google Webmaster Tools and look under the “Crawl Errors” section. You can also create a custom filter on Google Analytics to track down your 404 error pages. However, these two methods don’t include broken external links, so you have to look for another way to spot those.
It can be overwhelming to find broken external links manually, as you’d have to go through all your pages individually. In addition, you have to repeat the process regularly because the internet is continuously changing. You can get started by scanning your high-value pages before moving on to the rest of your site. That way, you’re sure that the most crucial links are up and running. You can also use a third-party tool to search for you, saving you time.
There are a couple of ways to fix a broken link. You can replace it with a valid one or remove it entirely. If it’s an internal link, you can use a 301 redirect to lead visitors to another relevant page. It’s an effective way to keep the flow of link equity on your site, increase page views, and improve SEO.
You should never have duplicate content on your site to avoid confusing search engines. When they see duplicate or very similar pages, it’s hard for them to identify which is more relevant for a particular inquiry. You can avoid this by using canonical URLs to label your high-priority pages.
There are several methods to establish a canonical URL for duplicate pages. One of the easiest ways is to create a 301 redirect to inform Google that a specific page is more valuable than other versions. You can also use rel=canonical tags and headers. If you have a large site, it’s best to indicate your canonical URL through the sitemap. If you don’t do any of these steps, Google will be the one to identify the best version of your duplicate pages.
Does CMS Matter to Improve Your Search Ranking?
CMS isn’t a ranking factor for search engines. Google is more concerned with the value you provide users than the back end of your website. However, CMSs make it easier for website owners to follow technical SEO best practices that will improve their search rankings. Here are some ways CMSs can help:
- They provide attractive themes and plug-ins that enhance user experience.
- You can create SEO-friendly permalinks.
- You can manage metadata easier.
- You can optimize your site’s pages and images.
- You can improve page load time.
It’s essential to choose a CMS that supports your technical SEO efforts. Choose one with the right set of tools and features that will help you optimize your online store or website for both search engines and visitors. With the right platform and strategy, you can tap a wider audience, boost sales, and find more success for your business.