10 Technical SEO Tips To Instantly Boost Your Site’s Rankings (Updated)

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Technical SEO is that aspect of SEO that baffles even the most seasoned SEO experts. Identifying technical issues and fixing those issues promptly can really boost your site’s rankings. Therefore it’s vitally important that you spend some time fixing the technical issues on your site.

In this article, we will explore 10 technical SEO tips which will give an instant boost to your rankings.

Technical SEO is that aspect of SEO that baffles even the most seasoned SEO experts. Identifying technical issues and fixing those issues promptly can really boost your site's rankings

10 Technical SEO Tips To Boost Your Site’s Rankings

1. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile-Friendly

One of the major Google algorithm updates last year was to give increased preference to mobile-friendly, responsive websites. In what was termed as ‘Mobilegeddon’, several top websites were penalized for not adopting a more mobile-friendly web template.

So how do you check the mobile-friendliness of your website? You can use any of the following free tools:

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test will determine whether your website meets Google’s criteria. HubSpot’s Marketing Grader and GTMetrix provide deeper insights into what you can do to improve the mobile-friendliness of your website.

Google's Mobile-Friendly Test - Technical SEO Tips

Pro Tip: Check out this article by Startup Cafe Digital on how to make your website 100% mobile-friendly and download the mobile SEO audit checklist.

2. Create an XML Sitemap

Sitemaps are necessary for Google to find and index your webpages.

So ensure that you create an XML sitemap of your site. You can create it using Yoast SEO plugin or Google’s very own Google XML sitemaps plugin.

Once you’ve created the sitemap for your website, submit it to Google via Google Search Console.

3. Speed Up Your Website

Site speed matters. Make no mistake. If your site is slow and takes a long time to respond, Google will place a small penalty on your website. That means even if your content is gold standard for that particular topic, your website will rank lower in SERPs than it would if your website had faster load times. This is a technical SEO aspect that you simply can’t afford to ignore.

Follow these steps to speed up your website:

  • Optimize your site’s images – Use a compressed image format like JPG in majority of your posts. Use a tool like TinyPNG to further compress the image files.
  • Enable browser caching – This lets you temporarily store some data on a visitors’ computer, so they don’t have to wait for it to load every time they visit your site.
  • Enable compression – According to Yahoo, enabling compression on your website can reduce HTML and CSS files by 50-70% and increase site speed significantly.
  • Reduce server response time – Google recommends keeping server response time under 200ms.
  • Use a Content Delivery System (CDN) – Use a CDN like Cloudflare or MaxCDN to increase your site speed
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Learn more about how to implement these steps in this comprehensive guide.

Pro tip: Download our FREE eBook: “How to Increase Site Speed”

4. Fix Your Site Errors by Running a Weekly Technical Audit

Running a technical audit every week is a must if you want your website to rank well on Google on a consistent basis.

There are many tools on the market which can help you do this, but we highly recommend you use Raven Tools, WooRank, or SEMrush.

We use SEMrush to perform technical audits because it offers the most comprehensive glimpse to the technical aspects of your website.

Technical SEO Tips: Use SEMrush to perform site audits and fix technical SEO errors

SEMrush will scan your website for errors and warnings as well as provide tips to fix these errors.

If you don’t use SEMrush already, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial here.

Pro Tip: Check out this guide on how to fix technical issues and optimize your site using SEMrush.

5. Leverage Internal Linking

Having trouble generating backlinks from external authority sites? Take advantage of internal linking.

Pro tip: Link from high-authority pages on your site to pages you want to rank.

6. Include Keywords in Your Image Alt Text 

Google can’t see what’s in an image. Rather it uses metadata such as the image file name and image alt text to determine what’s in an image.

Therefore you should include keywords in your image alt text. Think of alt text like the meta description for your image. Use it like a caption.

7. Use Canonical URLs to Avoid Duplicate Content Issues

Your first priority should always be to delete the duplicate content on your site. Once again use an SEO tool like SEMrush or Raven Tools to scan and fix duplicate content issues on your site.

That being said, there are some cases where having duplicate content on your site can’t be avoided. In such cases, use canonical URLs.

Canonical URLs come in handy when you’re replicating a blog post from one website to the other. They are especially useful if you’re running an e-Commerce website with hundreds of identical pages.

Technical SEO Tip: In order to avoid content duplication, set up a canonical URL using the rel-canonical tag via Yoast SEO WordPress plugin

So in order to avoid content duplication and a Google penalty, set up a canonical URL using the rel-canonical tag. You can add the rel-canonical tag via Yoast SEO WordPress plugin.

8. Implement an SSL Certificate for Your Website

Google confirmed back in 2014 that SSL certificates aka HTTPS encryptions are now a ranking signal.

So if you’ve been thinking of getting an SSL certificate for your website, now is the time to upgrade, not just for enhanced security, but also for SEO.

We recommend SSL certificates from Namecheap if you’re looking at cheap, yet effective SSL implementation.

Pro Tip: Though there are several web hosting services which provide SSL certificates, I highly recommend you try Namecheap SSL certificates. They are reliable and highly cost effective compared to other SSL providers. Click here to get an SSL certificate from Namecheap for just $9/year.

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9. Check and Fix Crawl Errors in Google Search Console

Check for crawl errors in Google Search Console once a week and fix them promptly as these are serious technical issues that may hinder the performance of your website and hurt your rankings. While you’re at it, check your robots.txt file as well to make sure you’re not blocking pages that shouldn’t be blocked.

10. Use Google AMP

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. These pages are designed to load super fast on mobile devices.

While Google has not made announcement whether implementing AMP is search engine ranking signal, Google has been pushing publishers to use AMP. AMP posts also get highlighted in SERPs as you can see below.

AMP - Technical SEO Tips

Pro Tip: If you use WordPress as CMS, it’s super easy to implement AMP. Just download the Google AMP plugin and you’re all set.

Bonus Tips & Resources

Technical SEO is a vast topic that requires constant diligence and updation. While we’ll keep updating this article to provide you with deeper insights into SEO, here are some more tactics you can use to optimize the technical SEO of your site:

  • Use Schema.org structured data – Click here to learn more.
  • Check and minimize the number of 301 redirects for your site.
  • Check your robots.txt file every month and make sure you’re not blocking pages you shouldn’t be.
  • Always prefer subfolders over subdomains – This is a long, on-going debate, but most SEO experts agree that subfolders rank better in SERPs than subdomains.

Here are some more technical SEO resources you should check out:

In Conclusion

Technical SEO often takes a backseat to on-page and link building aspects of SEO. But it is equally important to fix technical issues on your site to perform better in SERPs.

Which is your favorite technical SEO tweak? Let us know in the comments section.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on Aug 18, 2016 and has since been updated for relevance and comprehensiveness.

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Sandeep Mallya is the Founder/CEO of Startup Cafe, a Bangalore-based digital marketing agency. He is an active member of the startup community, having worked with several early-stage startups and accelerators. 99signals is Sandeep’s inbound marketing blog. Here you can find tips and insights to grow your site’s traffic.

15 COMMENTS

  1. […] Technical SEO baffles even the most seasoned SEO experts. In this article, we will explore 9 tips which will give an instant boost to your site's rankings.  […]

  2. Pretty good tips shared here.

    “Canonical URLs to Avoid Content Duplication” is something I’ve been looking more into because I was exploring having my content syndicated to get more exposure to my brand. But, I was worried about duplicate content — until I heard about this.

    Certainly something I’ll be studying up more on.

    • Hey Warner – Good to see you here. Glad you liked the article. Canonical URLs are something that I use frequently as I usually replicate some of the posts from here to my agency blog. Really helps to avoid content duplication.

  3. These are really awesome tips but I had some more points and sharing them below

    1. robots.txt file should be present
    2. sitemap.xml should include in robots.tx file.

    Thanks

    • Thanks, Rajesh. Glad you found the article useful. And thanks for sharing your points across. If you refer to point 9, you’ll see a brief pointer about robots.txt file.

  4. For effective web SEO and to build trust among web audience, hosting plays an important role because factors such as down time and security breach can be very disastrous. While choosing type of web hosting I would suggest to go for managed cloud hosting because its comparatively easier to launch, manage and it’s also very secure, the best thing about managed cloud hosting is that it’s down time rate is very low. Cloudways also offer excellent managed ecommerce cloud hosting service with top rated features, more details on https://www.cloudways.com/en/managed-ecommerce-cloud-hosting.php

  5. For effective web SEO and to build trust among web audience, hosting plays an important role because factors such as down time and security breach can be very disastrous. While choosing type of web hosting I would suggest to go for managed cloud hosting because its comparatively easier to launch, manage and it’s also very secure, the best thing about managed cloud hosting is that it’s down time rate is very low. Cloudways also offer excellent managed ecommerce cloud hosting service with top rated features, more details on https://www.cloudways.com/en/managed-ecommerce-cloud-hosting.php

  6. Great tips. Few questions though:
    1) Is internal linking in blog enough, or needs to be done in website content as well?
    2) Is it necessary to make your website HTTPS?
    3) Is it necessary to change the web hosting for SEO purpose, if we have already purchased one?

    • Hi Ketan – Glad you liked the article. Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) Internal linking is good for website content as well. However, blogs offer more internal linking opportunities.
      2) Google now considers HTTPS as a ranking signal. While it’s not necessary, many SEO experts believe that an SSL certificate will gain more importance in the coming years. You’ll find more information about HTTPS here: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/08/https-as-ranking-signal.html
      3) If you’re happy with your web hosting service, then there’s no reason to switch. Having said that, you can always upgrade your existing plan to improve your site’s performance.

  7. Hey, Sandeep, all the things you mentioned are the best practices, but even this is less when it comes to improving ranking. Can you suggest some new thing that can be done to have a leeway against the competition?

    • Hi Ravish – I agree. There are several factors which contribute to your content ranking well in search engines. High-quality content and relevant backlinks are key signals to get your article performing well in SERPs. But technical SEO is gradually gaining more prominence. Site speed and SSL certificates may be minor ranking signals now, but will definitely be more important in the years to come. I’ll try to cover other aspects of SEO on 99signals soon. But if you’re in urgent need of some really exceptional SEO tips, please check out backlinko.com by Brian Dean. He’s just brilliant!

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