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Technical SEO in 2024

One of the biggest things that we’re seeing right now is technical SEO making things either better or worse. This involves the practice of optimizing both the structure and the backend elements of your website to improve its ranking in search engines. The focus is on ensuring that your site meets all the basic requirements that the search engines are looking for, for getting them indexed and crawling properly. It’s crucial, honestly, for your overall technical SEO strategy as it lays the foundation of your site’s search engine visibility.

All these things can have major impacts on your ability to rank

  • If your site’s got broken links
  • If Google can’t access it
  • If pages are down or broken
  • If images are broken or not working
  • If it’s not compatible with mobile

Don’t think it can’t happen, and a lot of times this stuff is not visible to the average user. There is behind-the-scenes stuff going on, and you have to use a tool for an audit tool to see what to work with. If these problems have significant impact or technical issues, it can seriously affect your ability to get ranked.

Regular audits and maintenance are going to be essential to keep up with the evolving algorithms and the basic standards that each of the major engines are looking for. Now there’s a bunch of key aspects here that we’re talking about.

These are five big technical SEO issues that we see a lot of. If you’re doing these badly or you’re not meeting the proper goals that Google wants, and you’re not going to rank well.

We will get into those items in more detail in future blogs and videos, but first a few other things:

Mobile Friendliness

We’ve talked about this, we’ve been talking about mobile friendliness forever, but if your site does not look good, is not responsive on mobile, doesn’t function the same on mobile devices, your site is going to have a really hard time ranking.

Google is a mobile-first index, so Google judges you on what you present to users on the mobile device. You could be super-fast and snappy on a desktop, but if you’re slow and lethargic on a mobile device, you are not going to rank well. You must be mobile-friendly.

Your site’s got to be crawlable

The bots have to be able to find stuff easily and make sure they can get to the pages of your website. This may be involved in your robots.txt files, sitemaps, or other ways to let Google know about your URLs and your websites and your images. Your website’s architecture and how you navigate have to be logical, clear, and make it easy to get around and find stuff.

This is one of the things I was mentioning with that other client that I’ve got that I said the site’s really bad; it’s really hard to find stuff. It’s just not laid out well and it’s very difficult to find what you’re looking for. That can be a major problem for them.

Technical SEO using URLs

You want your URLs to look good too. This is a problem that I have with a legal client of mine who has had a website for 15 years. He’s well known, he does pretty well, and he’s always trying to do better, but his site has a bunch of technical SEO issues. It’s slow, there’s too many items loading up, third-party scripts that have to go off-site to get information.

His URLs are stuffed with a ton of keywords without proper organization. They’re all over the map, some are good, some are bad, it’s a nightmare, and the structure is ugly. It doesn’t work right. It’s got to be clean; it’s got to be easy to find, it’s got to make sense. Of course, you want to include relevant keywords where it makes sense, but you have to be consistent in the way it’s done.

For example, if you are creating a service for here in my hometown. There are three or four different counties, you got Hillsboro, Pasco, and Pennell County. So, you may create a service area kind of menu item, and under that, you’ll have the three counties. Well, what does that URL look like? and then /service-areas/hillsboro-county and so on. You want to be consistent, and you don’t want to put something like “Hillsboro County Best Personal Injury Attorney in Tampa.” That’s the wrong way to go about it. Save that for the service area page where you’re talking about you being a personal injury lawyer or a motorcycle accident injury lawyer or some other divorce lawyer or whatever it may be. Keep these things clean and structured.

Canonical tags

These help you avoid duplicate content issues. This happens a lot on e-commerce sites. If you look at a site like Amazon and think about how many times people search for different things. When they search for those things, the keyword that’s being used gets added into the URL, and then Google can find that URL. If they saved the thousands of different ways people search for the same thing, we’d all end up on the same product page, but they’d have millions and millions of duplicate URLs in the site. Canonical tags help us tell Google what the preferred URL of the original version of the web page is.

Watch out for errors: 404 errors and redirection

Broken links: if you got people linking to your pages and those pages are no longer there and they’re just slowly dying off, you’ve got to manage these broken links and you need to redirect those links to new places. This happens a lot when you build a new website.

I had a consulting client a couple of years ago; they came to me, and they had a very big, very well-known site with over a million visitors a month, and somebody talked them into a redesign and changing their URLs and they did not know what they were doing.

They completely screwed up their URL structure; they did not know how to forward things properly, they changed everything up, and their traffic dipped by 75% almost overnight because they did not do the error checking, fix the broken links, and implement redirection for old URLs to new URLs. Again, this is the whole topic all by itself, but be aware of this technical SEO issue. If you have broken links or errors, you need to fix them because these are things that your users might not see because it’s a link coming from somewhere else.

Internal links have the same impact: if you have links on your page that go to other pages of your website that are broken, this could cause major problems. You must do audits.

XML sitemaps

Having the ability to tell Google where to find stuff, where your URLs are, makes it easy to find them.

This is particularly important for e-commerce sites that typically use databases to store the information; that don’t have actual pages sitting on a server somewhere. You have to make sure there’s an XML sitemap that lists out the physical URL to find each and every product on that page.

Internal Linking

Internal linking, as I mentioned, is also a smart way to do this. Internal links helps spread the equity of your site to other places, and the idea is that as people go to your pages from one to the other, they go deeper into your website, and they find more information. You want to be able to interlink your content as much as possible so that you can help people get around and help the search engines find all the different parts of your website.

You want people looking at a second or a third page, so they spend more time on your site, and they don’t bounce around as much. Internal linking is super important, it’s under looked, underutilized, and easy-to-do. So, if you go look at your website and you look at the content on your page, not the menu at the top or at the bottom but at the actual page’s content, and if you don’t have links in the content within the words of paragraphs pointing to other places of your site that makes sense, you’re losing out on a lot of potential value.

International and Multi-language Technical SEO

If you’re international, you sell products and services, and you have multiple locations or multiple languages for that matter, you have to make sure you’re implementing href language tags for the different languages and different regions. I have a whole hour-long class just on multilingual and international technical SEO because it’s important.

You can’t just say okay I’m going to have a Spanish language page and English language page and I’m going to use some translate tool to translate into Spanish because other things also need to change. It’s not just the content, your menus must change along with the footer and the header. Any images that you might be using have to change to use Spanish instead of English. Buttons that show up must be changed from English to Spanish.

And let’s face it, if you say you speak Spanish and somebody calls into your office or chats with you and the person responding doesn’t know how to speak Spanish, you’re not multilingual. So, these are problems you must address if you’re doing that.

There are other things like JavaScript, your server being optimized to respond quickly and then, like I mentioned, audits are going to be important. You need an audit tool that you can use to regularly check to see how your site is doing on all these technical SEO issues.