Just like on-page and off-page, there is another area of SEO, i.e., Technical SEO that may affect the site’s rankings. It doesn’t include activities such as content optimization and link building. Rather, it covers all the technical aspects of a website.
The technical SEO focuses on website and server optimizations. It may include technical aspects, such as site structure, navigation, XML sitemaps, indexing, crawling, redirects, and duplicate content. We can say that it deals with the non-content elements of the website.
Technical SEO plays a very crucial role and can have a direct impact on the search rankings.
An individual can have well-written and researched articles on the site. However, if there are technical errors or issues with site backends’, your site will never rank on the search engines. Therefore, it is very important to pay special attention to these technical elements of the website.
The technical aspects of the site will make the site more efficient for indexing and crawling. This way, search engines will deliver the right content to the users. Technical SEO for beginners may look a little tricky. However, there are a few basics that one has to keep in mind in order to excel at it.
We have covered all the aspects of this extensive guide. Continue reading to know more about technical SEO and how one can optimize the site for technical SEO without any problems.
Intro to Enterprise Technical SEO
Whether it is about marketing strategies or different techniques, there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. This approach is a complete myth. There are chances that what works for one may not work for the other. Similar is the case of SEO.
In SEO, enterprises need to have better strategies and data analysis than small-scale or mid-scale companies. An enterprise cannot just rely on content and link building techniques. They need to ensure that there are no technical errors or faults on their site.
One of the biggest factors that could affect Enterprise technical SEO is a huge number of pages. When there are a lot of pages present on the website, optimizing each one of them can be tricky.
If there are issues with even a few pages, it could affect the rankings. Therefore, enterprise technical SEO practices would require a more strategic approach than traditional practices.
When done correctly, enterprise technical SEO could help a brand leader within its industry. Different enterprises have a huge reputation attached to their name. To maintain that brand authority and lead in the market, they need robust techniques and strong technical SEO.
Why is Technical SEO important for enterprise sites?
Technical SEO can help enterprises to stay ahead of their competitors. If the pages load slowly and are unresponsive, there are chances that the users will not visit their page. In enterprise sites, there are so many pages. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to prioritize technical elements.
If there are no technical faults, the search crawlers are likely to prioritize that website.
Local searches are growing these days significantly. Many users search terms such as Restaurants near me or the best shopping places near me. However, enterprise sites have varied subdomains for their branches.
(Source : Google Images)
It becomes essential for SEO agencies and consultants to ensure that the enterprise ranks for different location-centric keywords and answers Google users’ queries, according to the location.
If a user searches for a query, the search engines will crawl the web pages based on different factors. When there are multiple pages on a site, it will get difficult for crawling if there are technical errors.
An enterprise site should be well-optimized for different search queries related to their brand. It should be fast and easy to navigate for users.
Here are some of the main reasons why technical SEO is important for enterprise sites.
1. Site speed could affect the rankings
If the website loads slowly, it is likely that the users will click back. If the users go back to the search engine, it will increase the bounce rate. The Google crawlers will automatically decrease rankings if they see users are clicking back within seconds.
The content on the website won’t make a difference if it takes a huge amount of time to load. Enterprises sites need to ensure that all the pages on the site load fast. Else, it will affect their rankings and reputation badly.
One can certainly improve the site speed and load time by optimizing different aspects. As an SEO consultant, you must ensure that the images are properly optimized, and there are not many plugins. Otherwise, it will add up to the load time and affect the rankings on search engines.
2. Broken links would affect the user experience
If you have some content written on your website that leads to another webpage, the user gets incited and clicks on that for more information.
What if the link is broken? What if the link leads to nothing? The user will be annoyed, and the user experience of your site will suffer. Therefore, it is important that you fix all the broken links.
Every site at one or the other point will have a few broken links. Enterprise sites may have a large number of broken links.
Salesforce has close to 60,000 pages on its website. What will happen if a few links are broken and lead to nothing? It will not only affect the user experience. But it will also affect the rankings.
Therefore, it is very important to fix the broken links on your website. Various tools may help you in detecting broken links.
(Source : https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/)
Agencies and SEO consultants use Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Sitechecker, and Ahrefs Broken Link Checker to detect all the broken links in an enterprise site.
3. Crawling errors will affect the accessibility
SEO consultants should never ignore crawling errors. If your site is crawler-unfriendly, it is likely that search engines will not even detect your webpage.
If the search engines can’t read your sitemap, they will not crawl it. The search engines will not show your website or any of your web pages. Therefore, it is important to ensure that all the pages are indexed properly.
(Source : Google Images)
Submitting an XML sitemap to all the major search engines, including Google, Bing, and Yahoo will ensure that the robot’s search engines can crawl the site.
4. Duplicate content can harm the rankings
Duplicate content is one of the technical faults that could affect the rankings. In enterprise sites, there are chances of having similar content on two of the pages.
If there is duplicate content, the search engines can penalize both the pages. To avoid these penalties, the agencies must ensure there is no duplicity of the content on any web pages.
(Source : https://www.copyscape.com)
This can be checked with the help of tools such as Copyscape and Siteliner. These tools will help in identifying similar and duplicate content on the web pages.
5. Users may leave the site because of the HTTP warnings
The main difference between HTTP and HTTPS is that of SSL certificates. It is very crucial to have a safe and secure website. SSL is one of the most important elements that could affect the rankings.
One must know that secure websites rank better than the unsafe websites. Therefore, it is crucial to implement an SSL certificate. The HTTP warnings may show that the site is unsafe. It may lead the users to leave the site.
(Source : Google Images)
Enterprise sites may have different subdomains for different countries. Therefore, they need to have SSL for all their counterparts and subdomains.
SEO agencies must ensure all the pages on the site are encrypted and safe with HTTPS.
6. Redirect your users properly
Many-a-times, we come across 404 errors. These are the pages that have been deleted or moved. However, the crawler has already crawled the page. If the user clicks on it, he/ she will be frustrated because of not finding the information on the webpage.
It is necessary to redirect the page properly if it has been deleted. Solve all the errors and redirect the users with 301 redirections.
When there are more than 1000 pages, it becomes even more important to redirect the users properly.
7. Mobile-friendly sites are the future
One of the technical SEO basics is that the sites should be mobile-friendly. When there are multiple pages, it is even more important to optimize the site for mobiles.
If it is an ecommerce site, it is crucial that the site should be safe and mobile-friendly. Most of the users these days are glued to their mobile phones. Therefore, the site must be optimized and mobile-friendly.
The SEO agencies and consultants must ensure that the mobile site is friendly and structured, similar to the desktop version.
How to differentiate your agency and skills from other SEO agencies – Ways to stand out
The number of marketers and SEO consultants is on the increase because of the demand. As an SEO agency or a consultant, you will have a great opportunity to work with high-level clients. The market is flooded with SEO agencies, consultants, and freelancers. We will now talk about how you can differentiate yourself and get an opportunity to work with the best clients.
Here are some of the ways you should keep in mind in order to differentiate yourself:
1. Choose a niche or an industry
There are agencies that provide services in a specific sector. For example, SEO services for the hotel industry or the travel sector. You can differentiate yourself by choosing a specific niche for your agency.
2. Approach in a unique way
How you approach the clients will make a huge difference and help you stand out from the others. Every SEO agency is offering the same set of solutions. Stand out from the others and include the key factors that set you apart. Don’t just offer a solution or talk about your services. Tell the client how you can solve the problem, or how your agency tackled it in the past.
3. Try a unique pricing
Many agencies have set prices and packages they offer. On the other hand, various agencies are offering performance-based pricing these days. That way, the clients will pay only when they get the desired results.
You can try this unconventional price. It can be risky for your agency. So, you must think twice whether you want to follow this or not.
4. Do branding for yourself
There are many agencies out there that look almost similar to each other. They follow the same template, similar names, similar logos. To stand out from the others, you must have an identity for yourself.
Pay special attention to creating your brand before you sell your services. Choose a unique name and logo for your SEO agency. Focus on building a unique identity for your SEO agency.
Again, there are no standards or a one-size-fits-all approach for SEO audits. As a consultant, you should pay special attention to the competitor and the industry you’re working in.
A technical SEO audit should be well-researched and structured. It should contain all the important information related to technical aspects. However, you should make it easy to understand for the clients’. Don’t use technical terms or jargon that are known only to the people of the industry.
Aim to highlight the loopholes and the recommendations in your SEO audit. Make it more valuable by conducting proper research and investigation. Don’t rush in making the site audit for your client. We recommend you to take the proper time and research extensively.
Technical SEO Tools every agency should have
You will need various tools to create effective SEO audits and analyze them properly. Here are some of the essential tools that every agency should have:
1. Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is an effective tool that will help you in crawling the site. It will help you detect the various technical issues that the site is having.
It will detect missing page titles, errors in URLs, canonicals, and responsive codes. It will help you identify the issues with images and meta keywords.
2. Google Search Console
(Source : Google Images)
Google Search Console is another crucial tool that every SEO agency or consultant must-have. It will allow you to measure the site’s performance and will also tell you about the various technical issues. You can monitor the client’s site performance with this free tool.
3. GTMetrix Page Speed Report
Another tool that is a must-have for SEO agencies and consultants is GTMetrix Page Speed Report. The tool will give you a detailed report of the site-speed. It will help you identify the issues that are affecting the speed of the site.
One can also use Google’s Page Speed Insights to determine site speed performance. However, GTMetrix will give you a detailed and better overview of the issues that are affecting speed.
(Source : https://www.semrush.com)
SEMrush is one of the most-trusted tools when it comes to analyzing SEO audits and backlinks. It will give you detailed information about the keywords and the backlinks.
The tool will be really helpful for conducting detailed competitive analysis and reports. Know more about the competitors with the help of this tool.
It’s hard to think of any other alternative tool for Ahrefs. The tool will provide you with detailed insights regarding keywords, links, and SEO health of the site
You can analyze backlinks, broken links with the help of this tool. Use this tool for conducting audits and get insights about the SEO health of the client’s site.
How to conduct a technical SEO audit?
Now, that you know, the importance of technical SEO for enterprises. You must know how to conduct SEO audits. So, if a client approaches you, then you can easily prepare an audit report.
There are three parts of SEO audit reports, based on the different aspects of SEO:
- Technical SEO audit – crawling errors, hosting issues, sitemap errors, hosting, etc.
- Links audit: Backlinks analysis
- On-page audit – content, keywords, competitor analysis, metadata, image optimization, etc.
Let’s understand how to conduct an in-depth technical SEO audit. Here are the steps that one should follow in order to conduct a technical SEO audit.
1. Begin by crawling the site
Crawling is the basis of the technical audit, and every technical SEO audit must begin with crawling the website. One can use various tools for crawling the site.
Here are the tools that can be used for crawling:
The above tools can be used to fulfill the purpose of crawling.
When you crawl the site, you will get information about broken links, duplicate content, excess redirects, image issues, site’s performance, and unlinked pages. Therefore, you will understand the various errors that are affecting the site’s performance.
This will give you a brief idea of the factors that you’d need to work upon. You can highlight all these errors in the technical SEO audit report.
2. Check if there are different browsable versions of the website
If the website has multiple versions, it will negatively impact the search engine rankings.
If the client was using the HTTP version before and has switched to HTTPS, this type of error may come. Therefore, it is crucial to check the number of browsable versions of the visible website on the search engines.
This type of error can also occur when there are different mobile and desktop versions. The search engines will get confused about the version that must be shown or which version is the correct one.
It can negatively impact your rankings. Ensure that there is only a version of the website and make sure that the client’s websites are using the HTTPS version.
3. Check the sitemap of the client’s website
Sitemaps play a crucial role when it comes to crawling the website. You must check that the client’s website doesn’t have any errors in it. Otherwise, it would affect the crawling and will drastically affect the search rankings.
Enterprise sites have multiple pages. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the site’s sitemap is free from all the errors.
(Source : Google Images)
One must remove blocked URLs and redirects them from the sitemap. If they are not removed, the search engine will not crawl it.
It is likely that the enterprise site may have subdomains. If your client has different subdomains, then you must ensure they are included in the sitemap. You may add rel = “alternate’” tag to the site’s sitemap to include different mobile and desktop subdomains.
4. Test the speed of the client’s site
As mentioned above, the site speed could affect the overall performance and the ranking of the site. You must conduct a site speed test.
If the client’s site has slow load-time, then you’d have to address this issue.
There are various factors that could affect the speed performance of the site. Here are some of the issues that you must analyze:
• High definition and large size images
• Embedded videos
• Plugins and widgets that the site is using
• Repetitive script
• The theme of the site
(Source : Google Images)
You can use Google Page Speed Insights to test the speed performance of the site. The probability of bounce rate increases with an increase in the load-time. Suppose the load time is more than 5%, the bounce rate probability increases and may go up to 90%.
It is crucial to resolve the site errors, especially when you are dealing with the technical SEO for an enterprise. These sites have their own credibility and brand name attached to it.
If there are certain issues and faults with the speed or anything else, it could affect that client’s overall image.
When preparing your audit report, you must check these factors and look out to resolve this.
5. Check internal as well as external links
After you have tested the speed, you must analyze internal as well as external links of the client’s site. You must check orphan pages, broken links, and click depth.
(Source : Google Images)
Orphan pages are those web pages that are not linked with any other page of the client’s website. To check the orphan pages, you can use the Website Auditor tool. It will help you find all the orphan pages, and you can address the issue with ease.
The number of clicks it takes to reach a specific page if you have started from the homepage is the click-depth. It must be as minimum as possible. It should not be more than 3. This can also be analyzed with the Website Auditor Tool.
6. Check for the common HTTPS issues
You must ensure that all the pages, redirects refer to HTTPS pages. The mixed content error could occur when the other resources on the site load with an insecure or HTTP connection over a secured HTTPS version site.
If such errors exist, then those pages will not load properly. The browser will prevent these from loading. It would affect the security and the crawl ability of the site. Therefore, when analyzing technical SEO audits, you must check these factors.
7. Check the analytics
You must check whether the analytics code is installed correctly or not. If there are some errors in it, you will have to fix it at the earliest.
(Source : Google Images)
Google Analytics will report correct data only when the code is placed correctly, that is, above the header of each page.
After this, go to Google and type “site: domain name of the client’s website”. It would reflect the number of pages that are visible or are getting crawled.
Compare the data from these search results. The number of pages shown here must be similar to your metric data.
If the number differs, it is likely that some of your pages are not properly crawled. You will have to check what are the errors that are arising on those pages.
8. Perform backlink audit
Backlinks play a crucial part and affect the search engine rankings. Search engines consider backlinks as an important factor for determining your rankings. If a site has more backlinks, search engines will consider your site useful and relevant.
You should perform a backlink audit for the client to understand and find out about their site’s backlinks.
(Source : https://neilpatel.com/backlinks/)
You can check the backlinks using tools such as Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. These tools will provide you information about the backlinks.
You can conduct a competitor analysis using these tools and see the keywords competitors are ranking for. You can compare a client’s site with the competitor’s and create your own strategy.
Check these factors and begin your technical SEO audit.
Live review of completed audit – Technical SEO Audit Scorecard
After you have conducted a site audit, you can open the template SEO audit scorecard. There are tables based on different technical elements that may affect the technical SEO. Fill in the details based on the information you have gathered in the site audit.
You will need information for the different inspection elements that have been mentioned in the template. The different inspection elements include URL issues, Sitemaps, page speed, mobile server errors, and other technical elements. Basically, it covers all the technical elements that we have discussed so far.
You will have to check these parameters to create your Technical SEO Audit Scorecard.
All these parameters and elements can be analyzed using the various tools mentioned above. The tools will help you identify the performance of respective elements.
After you have gathered all the information, you can start filling in the details in order to complete your report. The score for each parameter has been mentioned in the scorecard. When you open the scorecard, you will get a better analysis of the same.
It will also help you understand the key areas where the client is lacking and where you need to work. Use the scorecard for analyzing the client’s site and create a robust SEO strategy for your client.
Machine Learning and SEO
With the coming of machine learning and AI, Google’s algorithm has changed in terms of ranking efforts. Google rolled out Rankbrain that has improved the search results scenario. It is now more dynamic than ever.
You can use it to improve your SEO and break down the data.
A look at Dataiku and its uses for Enterprise SEO
For Enterprise sites, SEO can be very tricky. They will have a sheer volume of data to analyze and manipulate. However, Dataiku’s OnCrawl SEO plugin will make the task easier for you to analyze.
(Source : https://www.dataiku.com/product/plugins/oncrawl/)
The plugin will provide complete access to all your SEO data. Dataiku allows non-coders to extract information and identify content for real-time indexing as well. It is an efficient tool that will allow you to analyze the performance of your competitors in real-time.
It is a crucial tool for all the data analysts as they can easily prepare and explore structured and unstructured data. It can be referred to as the hub for enterprise analytics.
Enterprise sites have a huge set of target audiences from different locations. It will be tricky for analysts to analyze the data. However, with the coming of Dataiku, the task of analyzing the data has become much easier. The advanced tool can be used for analyzing the data and identifying different clusters.
Various brands fail to execute Technical SEO and Enterprise Technical SEO properly. When an enterprise fails to execute it effectively, it can risk their reputation in the industry. Enterprises have their own brand dominance and power attached to it. If they fail to maintain it digitally, they will lose out on their customers.
By applying technical SEO effectively, enterprises can maintain their image and credibility. Many brands perform well in terms of content and building backlinks. However, a minor technical failure could adversely affect the performance and search rankings.
As an SEO consultant, you must pay special attention to your client’s site’s technical aspects. Conduct thorough research and audit before starting on building your strategy for your client.