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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical component of any successful digital marketing strategy, helping businesses gain visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) such as Google Search. While many marketers focus on content and link-building strategies, technical SEO – the process of optimizing your website for the crawling and indexing phase – is equally important. Here are 12 key technical SEO factors that play a crucial role in how your website ranks on Google.
Crawl errors occur when search engine spiders fail to crawl your site successfully. These errors can prevent your site from being indexed and ranked on SERPs. Regularly check your Google Search Console for any crawl errors and fix them as soon as possible.
HTTP Status Codes
HTTPS status codes are responses from a server about the status of a requested URL. For example, a '200' status code means the page loaded successfully, while a '404' status code indicates a page not found. These codes are important for SEO as they affect user experience and search engine crawlers.
An XML sitemap is essentially a roadmap of your website that leads Google to all your important pages. It’s a way to tell Google about all the pages on your site, including those that may not be easily discovered by Google’s regular crawling process.
Site Load Time
A slow-loading website can lead to a higher bounce rate, negatively impacting your SEO. Google has also started using mobile page speed as a ranking factor. Use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights to identify issues that may be slowing down your site.
With the majority of web traffic now coming from mobile devices, it’s crucial that your website is mobile-friendly. Google has shifted to mobile-first indexing, meaning it primarily uses the mobile version of a site's content for ranking and indexing.
Keyword cannibalization is when multiple pages on your site are targeting the same keyword, causing them to compete against each other in the SERPs. This can confuse search engines and dilute your SEO efforts.
The robots.txt file is a simple text file placed on your website to tell search engines which pages they can or can't crawl. It’s an essential part of technical SEO as it helps search engines understand your website structure and index it more efficiently.
Duplicate metadata, such as title tags and meta descriptions, can negatively impact your SEO efforts. Each page on your site should have unique metadata to help search engines understand the content and relevance of each page.
Brand Query Ranking
Brand query ranking refers to how your site ranks for branded search terms. Ensuring your site ranks high for your brand name can help improve visibility and credibility.
Meta descriptions are short snippets of text that describe a page's content. They can influence a user's decision to click on your page in the SERPs. While not a direct ranking factor, well-written meta descriptions can improve click-through rates.
Duplicate content is content that appears on the Internet in more than one place. This can confuse search engines and can lead to penalties. Use tools like Copyscape or Siteliner to check your site for duplicate content.
Broken links can lead to a poor user experience and can also harm your site's SEO. Regularly check your site for broken links and fix or remove them promptly.