Basic Technical SEO

There are a number of technical, but still quite basic, SEO techniques that you can perform to help your overall website rank higher in search engines.

For instance, websites that load quicker are rewarded for doing so by Google's ranking algorithm.  To help in this matter Google have their own tool to measure the performance of your website page loading speed, called PageSpeed

Although some of the information provided here may be very technical to understand, it will give you an indication of what images, in particular, are causing problems.  Watch the video below to see how to use PageSpeed to identify the images on the website that could be having a negative effect on your SEO

Optimise images to reduce file size

High-resolution images are one of the biggest factors that will slow down the loading time of your website.  Many images can be optimised so that their file size becomes nearly half.  This has a great impact on the loading speed on your website.  

There are a number of websites that you can use to optimise (reduce the file size of) images without losing any quality.  Two that we would recommend are:

Optimizilla

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Fix broken Links

Google will penalise your website if you have broken internal links.  An internal link is a link from one page on your website to another.  Your SEO rating will be severely affected if you have broken links throughout your website.

Dr Link Check

Dr Link Check is a great free tool that scans your website for broken internal and external (inbound) links.  It provides you with a simple snapshot of which page on your website the link is coming from and its intended target.

Any URL's that you changed when optimising them for keywords will likely report an error 404 code.  

If they do, Dr Link Check will tell you the destination that is trying to be linked to  (the top line in the image above), and where that page is trying to be linked from (the lines below).   If you hover the mouse pointer over the 'broken' tag it will inform you of the error code. 

All error 404's should be simple enough to fix by repairing the link and pointing it to the correct URL with the new name.  If you have other error codes then make a note of these and present them to your IT support team.

Disavow Bad Links

In the same way that Google will penalise your website for broken internal links, it will also penalise you for links from websites that Google deems as 'spammy', irrelevant, or unrelated. 

These are called Toxic Links and harm how Google sees your website.  Google rewards links from other websites that it deems to be related or has associated content. 

So, if you have a manufacturing service and you have 100 links from a Film & TV related web forum you could expect to be penalised. Whereas if you have 2 links from industry or trade bodies you could expect to be rewarded.  These rewards and penalties effect how highly you rank in search engine ranking position (SERP) for keywords.

A good tool to use to check for inbound links that could be seen as spam is Moz Pro's Link Explorer Tool which features a Spam Score rating.

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If for whatever reason you have toxic links then it is a good idea to disavow them. To disavow a bad link means to deny responsibility for it. The simplest way to do this is to register for a free account with SEM Rush.

SEM Rush

Once you have registered a free account with SEM Rush you can perform a search for other websites that link to yours. You do this by selecting the Backlinks option under the Domain Analytics tab on the left hand column, and then select the Backlinks tab beneath where your domain name is shown in large text.

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Unlike internal links which you have complete control over, inbound links (or backlinks) can just appear without you knowing.  

Google takes backlinks seriously because if you have links to your website from other well-respected websites then Google will see you as being important, and will reward you in search results.  However, in the past, this opened up an opportunity for the system to be abused and people were acquiring links from any site they could.  Because of this Google began to heavily clamp down on the practice and now penalises such behaviour.

For this reason, it is very important to disavow any links to your website that you do not recognise or know to be completely unrelated to your business.

Submit Your Sitemap

A sitemap (or XML Sitemap) is a file that lists all the pages of your website.  It is used to tell Google and other search engines about the structure or hierarchy of your site content.  Search engine web crawlers like Googlebot read this sitemap file and crawl your website with more accuracy and efficiency.  As discussed in the previous section it is very important for Crawlers to be able to move around your site freely to discover content and site structure in order to rank you properly in search results.

Updating the sitemap for your website is pretty straightforward and should be done whenever new content is created, or the names of URL's are changed.  To create your own sitemap use a service such as XML- Sitemaps

XML-Sitemaps will crawl your website and produce a file that lists all the individual pages that exist.  The next step is to upload this to the domain where your website is hosted and then tell Google where this file is located.  Once you have done this Google will have the information it needs to tell the Crawler how your site is structured.

Whoever set your website up will have access to your domain and you should provide them with this file if you do not have access to the domain details yourself.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free web service by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your site's presence in Google Search results.  

It includes features such as being able to see what search terms (keywords) people are using to find your website.  Google Search Console will let you know how many times you appeared in results for these search terms, and what percentage of people actually clicked through to your website.


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