What is Technical SEO?
Technical SEO looks at a site from the viewpoint of the search engine with the end goal of making your site as Google friendly as possible. If you think of link building and content marketing as scale up solutions, then think of Technical SEO (and on page SEO) as laying a solid foundation.
How can Technical SEO help you dominate your niche?
Sites that give Google a deeper understanding perform better in search results. Failing to submit a technically sound site to Google could be likened to submitting a 10,000 word dissertation to your English speaking lecture written in Spanish. It might be good content but if the examiner can’t read it then it is useless.
Our Technical SEO Process
Technical SEO is the most black and white aspect of SEO. We look at several factors. Our process outlined below was updated on the 27th of March 2019, but the factors we assess are constantly evolving. Our process is in no specific order as we take everything into consideration.
Encryption is considered a security factor by Google. Not having an encrypted website can lead to lower results in Google. We make sure your website uses HTTPS and is serving all content (scripts and images) from an encrypted domain to avoid mixed content issues.
Google and other Search engines have become more and more obsessed with user experience since 2018. Since the majority of searches now happen on a mobile device, having a mobile friendly website is often a deciding factor in ranking competitively.
Duplicate content does not result in a direct penalty, contrary to popular belief. However, duplicate pages can weaken your content’s ability to rank competitively as Google will only rank one instance of a page it deems duplicated. If can be serious if Google indexes and only shows the wrong page. Moreover, duplicate pages may mean that your link profile for a single piece of content is spread out across different pages, weakening the content’s ability to rank competitively. We make sure your website has no duplicate content or, when needed, canonical tags are used to properly classify duplicate content.
If you have a well built website with proper internal linking and sound navigation then a sitemap probably isn’t top on your list of priorities. However, a sitemap is easy to setup and ensures Google and other search engines can find an index your content.
A robots.txt file allows you to block certain areas of your website. However, recently Google announced that a robots.txt file should not be used to keep webpage out of Google, the no-index directive should be used instead. With that in mind, it is important to ensure nothing is blocked in the robots.txt drive as even blocking admin folders can mean Google cannot properly render your website fully.
Structured data allows you to send hints to Google about what your website is about. This can result in featured snippets or additional extensions in organic listings. A few of the structured data practices we use are FAQ schema, reviews schema and local business schema. This helps Google better understand your website and assign higher relevancy to your page. Also, extensions like reviews are associated with a higher CTR.
Status codes control if a page can be retrieved from the sever. A 200 status code means a page can be retrieved from a server and Google and other search engines can crawl it. Status codes beginning with 3 are moved, status codes beginning with a 4 are not found and status codes beginning with a 5 are blocked by the server. You ideally want all of your pages to send a status code 200 back as these will be accessed by Google. Any pages with a 301 (permanently moved) code will also crawled, but the new page will be shown. 401 (not found) pages should be reinstated or redirected and issues with the server resulting in 5xx status codes should be resolved. We also pay close attention to 302 (temporarily redirected) codes as these can withhold link juice to the older page, meaning the new destination may see a dip in organic traffic.
URL paths are what makes up the URL structure of your addresses. We give these a look over to make sure they are logical, however, changing these and redirecting the page may have more negative implications that sticking with a pre-existing path.
Using international SEO is a great way to rapidly scale a website, tapping new markets and ultimately driving up revenue. However, this can be complex and any mistakes can confuse search engines and cause them to misinterpret the pages. We check for language mismatch issues, incorrect hreflang links and hreflang conflicts within the page source.
Most websites include a redirect from their non-www version to their www version, e.g. if you click on https://a1seoglasgow.co.uk, it will take you to https://www.a1seoglasgow.co.uk. Not implementing this redirect can result in link juice being spread between www and non-www versions. We ensure this redirect is in place.
Broken CSS & Scripts
Broken scripts and CSS can mean that your website isn’t displaying the way it should to visitors, ruining the user experience. Moreoever, for Google, if scripts and CSS files are broken, Google cannot render your website properly which may have a negative effect on rankings.
For a page to rank on Google and other search engines, it must first be available to those websites. The correct way to remove a page from Google is by using the no-index directive. We look at what pages are set to no-index and review if these are appropriate or not to ensure certain pages aren’t accidentally blocked from crawling.
Some on the on-page SEO factors we look at are sometimes also classed as technical SEO, for example, broken links, internal linking and broken images. View our On-Page SEO services here for a full break down of our process.
Speed is a factor Google uses to rank your website. There is strong evidence to suggest that Google uses time until first byte (how long it takes your server to respond) to determine page speed and assign rankings.
Furthermore, without getting too geeky, a slow website wastes crawl budget (how much resources Google will use to analyse your website) meaning that less of your potentially quality content is being seen by Google and shown to Google users.
At A1 SEO Glasgow we analyse your page’s speed and carry out speed updates through our in-house resources, or work with your development team to implement fixes.
Things we look at:
Render blocking resources | Server response times | CSS optimisation | File compression | CSS minification | JS minification | Image optimisations (size and next-generation formats) | Redirect chains
RENDER BLOCKING RESOURCES
Render blocking resources are scripts) that have to load at the same time as the rest of the page. Therefore the page cannot fully load until all of these scripts have loaded. The solutions for this is to load these scripts after the main content of the website is loaded.</p> <p>This lets a website completely load in the eyes of the users with the scripts being loaded whilst the users browses your web page.
SERVER RESPONSE TIMES
Server response time refers to the speed the hardware your website is stored on responds in. Typically server upgrades are very complex and can be costly. Hosting upgrades could be considered, however, using more aggressive caching can take strain away from the server leading to faster response times.
As with render blocking resources, CSS files are loaded in line with the rest of the page. Any unessential CSS can be delayed to load once the website is fully visible to the user. In 9/10 cases the above fixes are enough to bring a website above competition. However, for some more competitive niches, more complex, bespoke solutions are required.
File compression is a bit complicated to explain. Essentially we can work with your server to zip an unzip files to improve web speed. Pingdom, a thought leader in speed optimisation, has wrote this guide to gzip and file compression which we would advise anyone really interested in to read.
CSS files control the design of your website, however they can have hundreds, thousands and sometimes even tens of thousands of lines of unnecessary code. This unnecessary code creates unnecessary strain on page load time. A1 SEO Glasgow can optimise CSS files to ensure that they contain no unnecessary lines of code.
IMAGE OPTIMISATIONS (SIZE AND NEXT GENERATION FORMATS)
Chances are image sizes are slowing your site down. Images are imporant for design and brandning, however sometimes the file is far too large for purpose.</p> <p>Next generation image formats like WebP can decrease file size drastically whilst retaining quality. This is something that can be rolled out with relative ease depending on server setup. Essentially with a Apache server it is a breeze, with NginX it is a little more complete (as with everything in NginX).
Sometimes when restructuring your website you will move pages around and send old pages to new ones via redirect. This is good practice for retaining SEO value obtained from link building. However, you should update your internal links to their proper version. Failing to do so creates redirect chains. With redirect chains, web users have to load each page before the next can be loaded. These pages may have no information on them but web user’s browsers still have to communicate with your website’s server for each web page in the chain. Optimising these chains reduces page speed for users navigating through your website.
Migrations are often turbulent times for a site’s visibility in Google. During migrations parts of your website can move, change or completely disappear.
Some of this is necessary due to redundant content and/or logical restructuring. Some of this is not necessary and can come from a lack of understanding of how search engines view web pages.
Google sees URLs as physical locations on the web. The term URL literally stands for Uniform Resource Locator. You build rankings to individual pages. When those pages disappear or are not in their usual address Google drops them and shows the next best page.
A1 SEO Glasgow specialise in salvaging site migrations gone bad, and consulting in how to avoid disaster when looking at restricting your website.
We can look at recreating the previous structure or redirecting the old pages to the new.
Search Engine Tools
There are two main tools we can use to help your website get indexed by Google and Bing; Google Search Console and Bing – Webmaster Tools.
These tools can also be used to pick up various errors on your website. However, we use other tools like Screaming Frog (yes that is a real name for a real software company), Ahrefs, SEMrush and Deep Crawl to ensure your website remains technically sound.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console allows you to submit a sitemap directly to Google. Naturally Google will find your sitemap and start to pick up pages but pointing them in the right direction speeds up this process.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools is more or less a carbon copy of Google Search Console but for Microsoft’s search engine Bing.
How long before you can see results?
Technical SEO results are tangible. For technical SEO it really depends on how quickly A1 SEO Glasgow can get started on your website.
With Technical SEO we are in control of everything. You don’t have to wait a few months to see the results of a link building campaign roll in, results are almost immediate. Granted it does take some time for Google to reassess the quality of your site but you should see an increase in rankings after work is completed.
Trusted by Local Business
Over the years we have had the privilage to help some of Glasgow’s most beloved brands grow their search presence. Below is a selection of some of those brands.
We have seen unbelievable growth year on year since working with Graham and the team. The initial process was simple and Graham worked hard to put complex SEO terms into plain English for our senior management team. Organic revenue started to increase dramatically after 4 months, continuing to this day.
Having worked with A1 SEO for a number of weeks now, they've helped my business grow a lot within that short space of time. SEO, PPC and more, highly recommend.
Exceptional at what they do, we needed a tonne of SEO and Digital marketing help and Graham and his team did not disappoint! 10/10.
We've worked together with several local SEO clients over the last period and Graham is not only astute, he brings a wealth of knowledge. He does what he says on the tin. Would recommend 100% and look forward to working together again to improve our clients rankings in the SERPS!
We used A1 SEO for our client, USC Hydraulics', website and were surprised by the results that the company delivered for us within a short space of time. The knowledge from the team was second to none after prevous experiences with SEO companies. We now rank much higher on key search terms in our industry and the long term stategy we have in place is working.
Graham is by far the best in SEO he not only goes out his way to help you but knows exactly what he is doing. Nothing is too much trouble for him. Thumbs up from Discount Pet Supplies
Outstanding knowledge of current SEO strategies and best-practice; A1 was really helpful in identifying the root causes of our ranking problems to deliver sustainable improvements, rather than artificial short-term boosts.
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