Technical SEO

SEO is a combination of optimizations within content, technology and link building. Technical SEO is considered more difficult by many people. An SEO specialist or developer must then be involved (in the form of SEO outsourcing).

Technical SEO has a number of important points, including website speed and readable URLs. In this article, I explain more about technical SEO and how you can use it to improve your website (regardless of your location).

The content of technical SEO

Technical SEO is a part of online marketing that focuses on improving the technical aspects of a website. There are a number of things that fall under technical SEO:

  • website speed;
  • structure of the website;
  • clarity and readability of the website;
  • A secure website through an SSL certificate;
  • readable URLs.

I explain these parts further to you.

I’ll start with the most important thing: a technical SEO checklist

Here is a table of the most important issues for technical SEO, including their priority on a scale of 1-100, the estimated time for implementation on a scale of 1-100 and the type of developers needed to implement them. Please note that the priority and duration may vary slightly depending on the specific context and needs of the website.

Technical SEO FactorPriority (1-100)Duration (1-100)Type of Developers
Crawlability9070Backend
Indexability8560Backend
Website Speed9580Frontend/Backend
Mobile Friendliness9070Frontend/Backend
Canonicalization7550Backend
URL structure8060Backend
Sitemaps7040Backend
Robots.txt file6530Backend
Structured Data8570Frontend/Backend
HTTPS9060Backend
Duplicate Content8050Backend
Technical SEO checklist.

Keep in mind that this is only a general guideline and that priority and length of time may vary based on a website’s specific needs and complexity. In addition, some technical SEO factors may simultaneously be the responsibility of both front-end and back-end developers, depending on implementation requirements. It is important to work with an experienced SEO specialist and development team to determine the best approach for a specific website.

Website speed

Did you know that 53% of website visitors leave when the website does not load within 3 seconds? This means that there are many gains to be made in speeding up load times. Therefore, when your website loads within one or two seconds, you lose fewer customers.

Technical SEO

In addition, the speed of your website is also measured by Google. This is because a fast website improves usability for the visitor. The faster your website, the higher its search engine ranking.

There are several ways to improve the speed of a website; I’ll discuss the most important ones:

Compress images

Large images are an obstacle to website speed. The larger the image, the longer it takes a website page to load. A 100 KB image loads faster than a 1000 KB (1 MB) image. Suppose you have 10 images of 100 KB on your website, your website will load a lot slower.

Technical SEO | Compress Images

A handy tool for compressing your images is WordPress Smush. This plugin ensures that images are compressed without losing quality.

Optimize HTML, JavaScript and CSS

The structure behind a Web site determines how the Web site looks on the front end. HTML is the house, CSS is the interior and JavaScript provides functionalities. Clean code makes it easier for Google to crawl a Web page. Clean code refers to code that contains no unnecessary characters. Improve the code behind the website and make the website faster.

Technical SEO | Source code

Google recommends using HTMLMinifier, CSSnano and UglifyJS as tools. These tools truncate source code and clean up unnecessary code.

Reduce the number of redirects

Redirects aim to direct the visitor to the correct web page. Relevant information is delivered to the visitor through redirects. Redirects are a tool deployed when another page is updated. You also use redirects to connect old URLs to new permalink structure.

Technical SEO | Redirects

The major disadvantage of redirects is the longer wait for the correct page. Redirects therefore make for a slower website. The solution is to reduce the number of redirects. How to do this? I compiled a short list of areas of concern:

  • Do not place links on the website that already contain a redirect. The visitor then goes through a detour to the detour. This creates chaos and is not positive for the user experience.
  • Be careful with plugins. Some plugins provide an additional redirect. Stay critical about which plugins actually add value to your website.
  • Regularly scan the website for old or expired redirects. This is especially important after switching hosting providers or after major changes to website content.

Cache storage

Caching involves a browser storing copies of a Web site in what is known as cache memory. The website loads faster because the visitor sees one of these copies. WordPress offers several plugins that enable cache storage. Browsers periodically clear the cache to show the most recent version of a Web site.

Therefore, to make the website faster, it is important to make use of cache memory.

technical seo

Structure of the website

The second important part of technical SEO, is the structure of a website. Website structure includes the way the content on a website is organized. Good structure on a website is important not only for the search engine, but also for your visitor.

In fact, good site structure ensures that Google can easily crawl the website. In addition, it realizes an optimized user experience for the visitor. All information on the website is easy to find due to structure.

Technical SEO | Website structure

The more content you add to a Web site, the better you need to organize the content. Content must be organized at all times. Google notices this and it shows in a website’s ranking. There are several aspects you improve while optimizing site structure. Among other things, internal link structure, navigation and breadcrumbs. I briefly discuss how to optimize these aspects.

Internal link structure

Make sure the most quality content is linked on a web page. This is how Google and, more importantly or not, the visitor gets to the best content. Internal links are links that point to content within a Web site. Thus, clicking on an internal link does not make the visitor leave the website. In addition comes: if a page contains no links, Google cannot find it.

How do you optimize the internal link structure? Determine in advance the way a visitor navigates through the website. This is how you determine the hierarchy of content. You designate the most important content with “cornerstone content. Experts have established the guideline of “3 clicks. This means that a visitor arrives at the page where the desired content is located within a maximum of 3 clicks.

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs, or breadcrumbs, are Web site links that show visitors the route by which they arrived at a page. It shows how far the visitor is from the home page. The breadcrumb trail can be found under the navigation bar.

Breadcrumbs make it easy for visitors to quickly jump to a previous page. Therefore, using a breadcrumb trail enhances the user experience.

In addition, it keeps visitors on the site longer. After all, it is easier to jump back for a moment. This is reflected in the website’s position within the organic search results. Through WordPress, “breadcrumbs” are easy to set up.

XML and HTML sitemap

An XML sitemap and an HTML sitemap form the floor plan of a Web site. The difference between the two is that the XML sitemap is meant for Google, and the HTML sitemap is meant for the visitor.

Technical SEO | Coverage of sitemaps

This map includes all the links found on the website. An XML sitemap makes it easy for Google to crawl. An HTML sitemap makes it easy for visitors to navigate through the content on a Web site. Consider whether an HTML sitemap is necessary on your Web site.

Not many visitors use it. In all cases, an XML sitemap is a valuable addition to a Web site. Google uses this sitemap to crawl a Web site as accurately as possible. Therefore, it is very important to at least create an XML sitemap! You can arrange this in no time through WordPress.

Clarity and readability of the website

Don’t use too much unnecessary text, but only use good text that gives your visitor clarity about what can be found on the website.

In addition, avoid duplicate information on the website (multiple pages with the same content).

SSL certificate

Also important: a secure website. So you can implement HTTPS, but an SSL certificate also ensures reliability and security on the website. A reliable website is almost a requirement these days for the search engines and the visitor. Therefore, do not take the risk of not downloading the SSL certificate.

You recognize a secure website by the https:// instead of http:// (without the s, that is).

technical seo 2

Readable URLs

Do you know where the page www. ralfvanveen. com/78Huyd about? No, neither did I. A clear and readable URL is important for the visitor and the search engine.

When the visitor sees the URL “www. ralfvanveen .com/technical-seo,” they know that this page is on the topic of technical seo. With a non-readable URL, he/she does not know this and no triggering for this occurs. Therefore, the chances of the visitor not clicking are higher.

A readable URL is also important for the search engines. It also helps the search engines better understand what the page is about and gives you plus points if this is also clear to the visitor.

More explanation of technical SEO terms

With technical SEO, you not only ensure that your website is attractive and clear to the search engine, but also to visitors. It is therefore important to pay attention to the technical side of SEO. It makes you more findable and also makes your website a lot faster, more readable and a lot more structured.

Technical SEO | Robots

Want to learn more about technical SEO? Then check out our knowledge base and terms. Here I explain in detail different parts of technical SEO. For each component, cover what it is and how it can be applied.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is technical SEO?

One part of online marketing is technical SEO. Here the focus is on improving technical aspects of a site. Technical SEO is all about:

  • Structure of a website, how is the website structured? Is it possible for visitors to navigate your website properly and, most importantly, is it structured in a logical way?
  • Speed of a website, a page must load quickly, if it takes too long it will cost you visitors.
  • Clarity and readability of a site, the texts should be unique but also easy to read. Don’t use pieces of text but use bulleted lists, images, etc. But a website must also be technically readable without error messages.
  • Secure website through SSL certificate.
  • Readable URLs, again paying attention to applying the right words etc.

So there is quite a bit involved in technical SEO. But these are all important aspects that need to be looked at carefully. For Google, all points must be in order for better findability. But everything must also work optimally for your visitors. After all, you want to keep your customers on your site and keep them coming back.

Do I need a specialist to improve the technical SEO on my website?

You don’t always need a specialist to improve the technical SEO of your site, but you need to know what to do. My advice is to have a specialist look at it anyway, if only to connect the dots. After all, I am involved in (technical) SEO every day, I know all the ins and outs and therefore I can see more quickly what can be improved.

It is important to you that the website is fast, every page should load quickly, links should work (both internal and external), but you also want your website to be secure. These are all aspects that that I can look at and then you can focus on your own business. Sometimes it is nice to be able to hand things over to a specialist.

If you don’t have time or experience with technical SEO yourself, it’s wise anyway to hand it over completely so that the necessary improvements can be made.

What is the impact of technical SEO on SEO?

Applying technical SEO makes the website more attractive. Your website will also be clear to the search engines and it is also better for your visitors. Therefore, you should pay enough attention to the technical SEO. It makes you more findable and also your website is then faster, even more readable and is more structured.

So you could say that technical SEO has a positive impact on SEO if it is all in order. Therefore, my advice is to have everything checked by a specialist in time (unless you know all about it yourself and have enough time to do so). In order to attract and retain visitors, it is important that you continue to invest in the website, and that applies to regular SEO as well as technical SEO.

In fact, it really works together, the information needs to be good in the basics, but your website also needs to load quickly and link through, for example. Visitors like speed and want an answer to their question as quickly as possible, which is why SEO and technical SEO are both important for your website.

Do I need to have knowledge of IT to do technical SEO?

It’s nice to know a little more about IT etc. before applying technical SEO yourself. You will need to know where that is where the areas of improvement are for your website and be able to capitalize on that. It’s not so much that it has to be real IT knowledge, but about making a website or particular page faster, putting structure on a website, making sure all the links work and are readable.

Even people who do not have an IT background can make this information their own and then improve the technical SEO aspects of the website. You could take a course or teach yourself online. Another option is to hire an SEO specialist to do the work for you. This is often chosen when you have a time to delve into it yourself.

I recommend that you at least make sure the technical SEO of the site is in order. This is vital for your SEO, search engine findability and for your visitors.

What tools can I use to improve my technical SEO?

If you want to improve the technical SEO of your website, there are several tools you can use to do so. I recommend you look into SEMRush, MOZ and Ahrefs. SEMRush is a tool you can use for free. It stands for Search Engine Marketing. It is a very clear tool and with it you can analyze your own website very well. There is a free version available, but then you only have limited access.

As an SEO specialist, I obviously use the paid version so I have access to all aspects and therefore I can support you well in this (if you don’t have time yourself for example). With the basic SEMrush feature, you get keyword and domain analysis, site optimization, ad research and access to a database of information.

Another tool you could use is Ahrefs. Among other things, this allows you to see the volume per keyword. To begin with, you enter a keyword of your choice, then you choose a country and then you see how many people have searched for that term within a certain period of time. So you will quickly know which keyword is or is not interesting to use.

Which aspect of technical SEO has the biggest impact?

There are a number of aspects of technical SEO that are important. For starters, that’s the speed of your website. If the website does not load within three seconds then half of your visitors will already leave. So if you are going to speed up your website, at least you can already gain a lot from that (i.e. with the load time). However, Google also measures the speed of your site.

This is because it improves visitor usability. In this regard, the faster the site is, the higher your ranking is in the search engines. Another aspect that is important is the website structure. The point is that the content on the site is well organized, well structured. This is important for the search engines but also for your visitors.

If you have enough knowledge in the field of technical SEO yourself, I recommend using SEO tools to do a comprehensive analysis of your website. You can then see the areas for improvement and work on them. If you don’t have time or experience then you can also outsource it to me, as an SEO specialist.

Does improving technical SEO directly impact the findability of my website?

I can tell you from experience that technical SEO has a direct impact on the findability of your website. After all, you contribute to the speed, more structure, better readability, and that is all pleasant for visitors. But it also allows search engines like Google to find you better.

Imagine your website is very slow, visitors want to look something up and what is the result? They have to wait a long time, that’s going to frustrate them, they often try again, it doesn’t work, takes too long and then they go to the competitor. So it will really cost you customers if your website is not fast. But everything must also be easily findable on your site.

If you have a good structure, visitors will also stay longer on your website. They can navigate from one page to another and get a quick answer to their question. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the better it is for Google. This is also factored back into your assessment of your site and thus your ranking.

Does technical SEO improve my visitors’ user experience?

In my experience, technical SEO is definitely going to improve the user experience of visitors. Your website is much more structured, more readable, as well as much faster. Your visitors love it when a website will load quickly and be easy to find. If you yourself had the choice of accessing a website that keeps loading quickly within 2/3 seconds per page, or you have to wait 20 seconds, I also know which you prefer.

So that’s how you have to think from your visitors’ point of view. They want answers to questions, a quick look-up and then a quick move on. If you can give them that information, they are more likely to stay on your site and return. This, in turn, all contributes to a better position in Google. The longer people stay on your site the better it is. Therefore, it is also good to make sure the site has a good structure so that people know what they can find where.

If you know what your visitors want, you can respond to that and they will certainly appreciate it. Google appreciates that, too, and it will show in the search results.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 76 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 18 October 2023. The last update of this article was on 22 November 2023. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.