Optimising technical SEO will make it easier for Google and Bing to crawl, index and surface your pages in search results. This quick-fire checklist will help to run through some of the issues that could be flagged and make adjustments to improve rankings.
Use ‘hreflang’ to identify multilingual content
Have you been focusing on transcreation in recent months for pages that will be tailored to international audiences? Using the HTML attribute known as ‘hreflang’ for this content will communicate specific details to Google about language and geographic targeting.
Why is this important? Google would otherwise view the same pages in different languages as duplicate content. This means that it may only index one of them, which is not ideal for SEO. Implementing hreflang can also help pages in different languages to rank higher in SERPs in the regions that you are targeting.
Optimise pages for fast load times
Ensuring that pages load quickly is a well-worn technical SEO objective, but it is really worth taking the time to tweak HTML and other on-page elements to improve the user experience. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will give you an overview of how your pages are performing here, with a score of between 0 and 100 for both mobile and desktop.
Create a sitemap
Google says that sitemaps are the second “most relevant” source of URLs, so it makes sense to create one for your site. A sitemap will list all of the pages on your website. There are three main sitemap formats, but XML files are generally used to detail structured listings that help web crawlers to index pages in search.
Fortunately, you can automatically generate a sitemap using any of the most popular content management systems (CMS). Google also uses the URLs in sitemaps to identify the master copy of a page, which is something that can also be achieved with the use of canonical tags.
Fix duplicate content
A common thread running through many technical SEO fixes is duplicate content. While content that appears multiple times on a site will not be directly penalised by Google, it can lead to backlink dilution, undesirable URLs being surfaced in SERPs, and wasted resources.
To see if you have any issues with duplicate content, head into Google Search Console, bring up the ‘Coverage’ report, and tick the box to show ‘excluded URLs’. Any problems will be listed here. To fix the problem, you only need to select one of the URLs to be the primary version by using the ‘rel=canonical tag’.
Use HTTPS redirect
HTTPS, a protocol for web browser connections, has been a signal in Google’s search algorithm for six years now, and its use can have a positive impact on SEO. HTTPS pages load faster and are much more secure, which can lead to better search rankings. Even if you have HTTPS in place, your website can still be viewed via the HTTP version if you do not have a redirect code in place. You can check whether this is the case by trying to load the HTTP version. An automatic redirect here indicates that all is well.