What’s technical website positioning? 11 finest practices

Technically SEO is the process of optimizing your website so search engines like Google can find, understand, and index your pages.

Modern search engines like Google are relatively good at discovering and understanding content, but they are far from perfect. Technical issues can easily prevent web pages from being crawled, indexed, and displayed in search results.

Some technical aspects are covered in this article SEO Best practices that anyone can implement regardless of technical ability.

  1. Make sure that important content is crawlable and indexable.
  2. Use HTTPs
  3. Fix duplicate content issues
  4. Create a sitemap
  5. Use hreflang for multilingual content
  6. Redirect HTTP to HTTPS
  7. Use the schema markup to attract rich snippets.
  8. Correct orphan pages
  9. Make sure your pages load quickly
  10. Use the schema to improve the likelihood of Knowledge Graph ingestion
  11. Don't follow internal links

1. Make sure that important content is crawlable and indexable.

Search engines discover most of the new content while crawling. Here a spider visits new data and downloads it from known websites.

Let's say you add a new page to your website and link to it from your home page. The next time Google crawls your homepage, it will recognize the link to the new page. Then if the content on that page is determined to be of value to searchers, it will be indexed.

This process works fine as long as you don't prevent search engines from crawling or indexing a page.

Robots.txt is the file that tells search engines like Google which pages they can and cannot crawl. You can view it by navigating to yourwebsite.com/robots.txt.

In the example above, these two simple lines of code prevent search engines from crawling every page of the website. So you can see how spirited this file can be, and how easy it is to make costly mistakes.

You can check which pages (if any) are being blocked by robots.txt in the Google Search Console. Just go to the cover Report, toggle to show excluded urls, then look for the "Blocked by robots.txt" error.

2 blocked by robots txt

If there are URLs there that shouldn't be blocked, you'll need to remove or edit your robots.txt file to fix the problem.

However, crawlable pages are not always indexable. If a Meta-Robots-Tag or an X-Robots-Header is set to "noindex" on your website, search engines cannot index the page.

You can use the free on-page report on Ahrefs to check if this is the case for a website. SEO Toolbar.

3 noindex ahrefs toolbar

Do a crawl with Site Audit in the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and check the option to check for unwanted noindex tags on all pages Indexability Report for "noindex page" warnings.

4 noindex page site audit

Resolve these issues by removing the noindex meta tag or x-robots tag from any pages that you want to be indexed.

HTTPS encrypts the data sent between a website and its visitors. It protects sensitive information such as credit card details from being compromised.

Given the advantages of HTTPS For web users, it's probably no surprise that it's been a ranking factor since 2014.

How do you know if your website is using HTTPS?

Go to https://www.yourwebsite.com and look for a lock icon on the loading bar.

Charging rail with 5 lock symbols

If you see a red "Not Sure" warning, don't use it HTTPSand you need to install one TLS/.SSL Certification. You can get these for free from LetsEncrypt.

6 not sure

If you see a gray "Not Sure" warning …

7 not safely mixed "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/7-not-secure-mixed.png 832w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp -content / uploads / 2020/10 / 7-not-Secure-Mixed-680x56.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/7-not-secure-mixed- 768x63.png 768w "data sizes =" (maximum width: 832px) 100vw, 832px

… Then you have a mixed content problem. That is, the page itself is loaded HTTPS, but resource files (images, CSSetc.) over HTTP.

There are four ways to fix this problem:

  • Choose a secure host for the resource (if available).
  • Host the resource locally (if permitted by law).
  • Exclude the resource from your site.
  • Use the HTTP Content Security Policy (CSP)

However, if you have problems with mixed content on one page, other pages are likely to be affected as well. To see if this is the case, crawl your website using the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools. A search is made for more than 100 predefined ones SEO Problems including HTTP/.HTTPS mixed content.

Recommended literature: What is HTTPS? Everything you need to know

3. Fix duplicate content issues

If there is duplicate content, the same or similar content is displayed in more than one place on the web. This can be done on one website or on multiple websites.

For example, this post from Buffer appears in two places:


Despite what many people think, Google doesn't penalize websites for duplicate content. You have confirmed this several times.

However, duplicate content can cause other problems, such as:

  • Unwanted or unfriendly URLs in search results;
  • Backlink dilution;
  • Wasted crawling budget;
  • Scrapped or syndicated content that is superior to you.

Google Search Console shows pages with duplicate issues. Just go to the cover Report, toggle to view excluded URLs, then look for duplicate-related issues.

9 Search console for duplicate content "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate-content-search-console.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/ blog / wp-content / uploads / 2020/10/9-duplicate-content-search-console-680x176.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate -content-search-console-768x198.png 768w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate-content-search-console-1536x396.png 1536w "data sizes =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

Google explains what these issues mean and how to fix them here.

However, the search console only notifies you of URLs that Google has detected as duplicates. There could well be other duplicate content issues that Google didn't notice. To find these, do a free crawl using the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools and review the Duplicate content Report.

9 duplicate content "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate-content.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/ Uploads / 2020/10/9-duplicate-content-680x257.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate-content-768x290.png 768w, https: //ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/9-duplicate-content-1536x581.png 1536w "data sizes =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

Fix the problems by choosing one Url be the "canonical" (main) version within each group of duplicates.

10 canonicalization "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/10-canonicalization.png 900w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020 /10/10-canonicalization-568x425.png 568w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/10-canonicalization-768x575.png 768w "data-size =" (max-width : 900px) 100vw, 900px

All important content on your website is listed in sitemaps. They come in different formats, however XML Files are the most common.

This is what our blog's sitemap looks like:

11 xml sitemap "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/11-xml-sitemap.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/ Uploads / 2020/10/11-xml-sitemap-680x347.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/11-xml-sitemap-768x392.png 768w, https: //ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/11-xml-sitemap-1536x783.png 1536w "data-size =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

Lots of people these days question the importance of sitemaps as Google will usually find most of your content without one. However, a Google representative confirmed that sitemaps matter in 2019 and stated that they are the second most important source of URLs for Google:

Sitemaps are the second discovery option that is most relevant to Googlebot @method #.SOB2019– Enrique Hidalgo (@EnriqueStinson) June 15, 2019

But why is it like that?

One reason for this is that sitemaps usually contain orphaned pages. These are pages that Google can't find while crawling because they don't have internal links from crawlable pages on your website.

Most modern CMSWix, Squarespace, and Shopify automatically create a sitemap for you. If you're using WordPress, you'll need to create one with a popular one SEO Plugin like Yoast or RankMath.

12-year sitemap "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/12-yoast-sitemap.png 1256w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content / Uploads / 2020/10/12-yoast-sitemap-461x425.png 461w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/12-yoast-sitemap-768x708.png 768w "data - sizes = "(maximum width: 1256px) 100vw, 1256px

You can then send this to Google using the search console.

13 Sitemap search console "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-sitemap-search-console.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp -content / uploads / 2020/10/13-sitemap-search-console-680x185.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-sitemap-search-console- 768x209.png 768w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-sitemap-search-console-1536x418.png 1536w "data-size =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw , 1600px

It's worth noting that Google also considers the URLs in sitemaps to be suggested canonicals. This can help combat problems with duplicate content (see previous point). However, it is still recommended that you use canonical tags whenever possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLCwGo43fAY&feature = youtu.be&t = 3m16s

Recommended literature: How to create a XML Sitemap (and send to Google)

5. Use hreflang for multilingual content

Hreflang is a HTML Attribute for specifying the language and the geographic orientation of a website. It is used on websites with variations of pages in other languages ​​or alternative geographic destinations.

For example, we have versions of our homepage in several languages:

13 ahrefs english "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-ahrefs-english.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/ Uploads / 2020/10/13-ahrefs-english-680x411.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-ahrefs-english-768x464.png 768w, https: //ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/13-ahrefs-english-1536x928.png 1536w "data-size =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px14 ahrefs polish "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/14-ahrefs-polish.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/ Uploads / 2020/10/14-ahrefs-polish-624x425.png 624w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/14-ahrefs-polish-768x523.png 768w, https: //ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/14-ahrefs-polish-1536x1045.png 1536w "data-size =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

Each of these variants uses hreflang to inform search engines of their language and geographic targeting.

There are two main reasons hreflang is important for SEO::

  1. It helps fight duplicate content. Suppose you have two similar pages. Without hreflang, Google will likely consider these pages as duplicates and only index one of them.
  2. It can help rankings. In this video, Google's Gary Ilyes explains that pages in a hreflang cluster share ranking signals. That said, if you have an English page with a lot of links, the Spanish version of that page is effectively sharing those signals. This can help Google rank up in other countries.

Implementing hreflang is easy. Just add the appropriate hreflang tags to all versions of the page.

For example, if you had versions of your homepage in English, Spanish, and German, you would add these hreflang tags to all of these pages:

Learn more about the implementation of hreflang and multilingual SEO in the resources below.

6. Forward HTTP to HTTPS

Even if you use HTTPs, your website may still be accessible to website visitors HTTP Execution. This is not ideal as there is no point in doing it HTTPS when visitors can visit the unsecured version of your website.

To check if this is the case, navigate to HTTP Version of your website. If the browser redirects you automatically, there is probably no problem.

Lock symbol https

If you can access that HTTP Version you have to redirect HTTP to HTTPs.

You can do this by adding the following code to your .htaccess file:

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond% {HTTPS} off
RewriteRule ^ (. *) $ Https: //% {HTTP_HOST}% {REQUEST_URI} (L, R = 301)

If you're using WordPress, just change your WordPress address and site address to HTTPS Version under settings.

http to https WordPress

This is also possible at the server level, as explained here. Just make sure you're using a permanent (301) redirect, not a temporary (302) redirect.

For more information on 301 and 302 redirects, see the following resources:

7. Use the schema markup to generate "rich snippets".

Rich snippets are search results with additional information shown under Title, Description and Url.

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The benefit of rich snippets is more space in search results and sometimes an improved click-through rate.

However, Google only shows large snippets for certain types of content and only if you provide them with information using schema markup. If you've never heard of schema markup, this is additional code that search engines can use to better understand your content and display it in search results.

For example, if you had a recipe for Kung Pao Chicken on your website, you can add this markup to give Google info on cooking time, calories, and more:

Not only does this give Google more information about your page, but it is also suitable for large snippets like these:

16 kung pao Rich Snippets "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/16-kung-pao-rich-snippets.png 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/ blog / wp-content / uploads / 2020/10/16-kung-pao-rich-snippets-680x184.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/16-kung -pao-rich-snippets-768x207.png 768w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/16-kung-pao-rich-snippets-1536x415.png 1536w "data sizes =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

For more information on implementing a rich snippet scheme, see the following guides.

Orphan pages do not have internal links from crawlable pages on your website. As a result, search engines cannot find or index them (unless they have backlinks from other websites).

Finding orphaned pages with most auditing tools is often difficult because they crawl your website much like search engines do. However, if you a CMS When you create a sitemap you can use it as a source for URLs in Ahrefs' Site Audit. Simply activate the option to crawl automatically recognized sitemaps and backlinks in the crawling settings.

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Side note.

If the location of your sitemap is not in your robots.txt file and is not available at yourwebsite.com/sitemap.xml, you should activate the option "Specific sitemaps" in the crawling settings and add it to your sitemap Url(s).

When the crawl is complete, go to Left Report "Orphaned Page (has no inbound internal links)" problem and look for it.

Site audit for 18 orphaned pages "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/18-orphan-pages-site-audit.png 1600w, https: // ahrefs. com / blog / wp-content / uploads / 2020/10/18-orphan-pages-site-audit-680x311.png 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/18 -orphan -pages-site-audit-768x351.png 768w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/18-orphan-pages-site-audit-1536x703.png 1536w "data sizes = "(maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

If any of the URLs are important, consider adding them to your site structure. This can mean adding internal links from your navigation bar or other relevant crawlable pages. If they are not important, you can delete, redirect, or ignore them. It depends on you.

Recommended literature: Internal links for SEO: A workable guide

9. Make sure your pages load quickly

Pages that load slowly are annoying for visitors. This is one of the reasons Google made page speed a ranking factor in 2010 on desktop and 2018 on mobile.

Unfortunately, page speed is a complex issue. There are many tools and metrics you can use to measure speed. However, Google's Pagespeed Insights are a reasonable place to start. You'll get a performance score of 0 to 100 on desktop and mobile, and learn what areas need improvement.

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Instead of focusing on individual areas, we'd like to cover a few things that are likely to have the most positive effect on your page speed with the least amount of effort.

  • Switch to a faster one DNS providers. Cloudflare is a good (and free) option. Simply open a free account and swap your nameservers with your domain registrar.
  • Install a caching plugin. CCaching temporarily stores files so that they can be delivered to visitors more quickly and efficiently. If you use WordPress, WP Missile and WP Super cache are two great options.
  • Minimize HTML, CSSand JavaScript files. Minimizing removes spaces and comments from your code to reduce file size. You can do this with WP Rocket or auto-optimize.
  • Use one CDN. A content distribution network (CDN) stores copies of your web pages on servers around the world. Visitors are then connected to the nearest server so that the requested files are less far away. There are many CDN Providers out there, but Cloudflare is a good option.
  • Compress your pictures. Images are usually the largest files on a web page. Compressing them will make them smaller and will take as little time as possible to load. There are plenty of image compression plugins out there, but we like short pixels.

For more information on improving page speed, see the video and the linked resources listed below.

Recommended literature: How to Improve Page Speed ​​from Start to Finish (Advanced Guide)

10. Use the schema to improve the likelihood of Knowledge Graph ingestion

Google's Knowledge Graph is a knowledge base about entities and their relationships. His data is often displayed in SERP Features like this Knowledge Panel for Ahrefs:

20 Knowledge Panel "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/20-knowledge-panel.jpg 1600w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/ Uploads / 2020/10/20-Knowledge-Panel-680x411.jpg 680w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/20-knowledge-panel-768x464.jpg 768w, https: //ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/20-knowledge-panel-1536x927.jpg 1536w "data-size =" (maximum width: 1600px) 100vw, 1600px

While there is no final process for accessing the Knowledge Chart, using organizational markup can help.

You can add this using popular WordPress plugins like Yoast and RankMath, or you can create and add this manually using a schema markup generator.

Just make sure that:

  • Use at least the name, logo, url, and sameAs properties
  • Include all social profiles for reference (and Wikidata and Wikipedia pages where possible)
  • Check the markup with Google's structured data test.

Here is the organization markup we'll be using:

It doesn't matter which page you add the markup to, but the Home, Contact, or About page are usually your best choices. It doesn't have to be inserted on every page, as Google's John Mueller confirmed in a Webmaster Central hangout for 2019.

Recommended literature: Google Knowledge Graph Explains: How It Affects SEO

11. Don't follow internal links

A common use of nofollow links is to identify outbound links to pages that you don't want to endorse. They instruct Google not to pass the ranking credit to the linked page (although Google may ignore this suggestion).

For this reason they should not be used for internal links. According to our study of the 110,000 best websites, 3.6% of internal links are ignored.

21 internal links nofollow "srcset =" https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/21-internal-links-nofollow.png 900w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp -content / uploads / 2020/10/21-internal-links-nofollow-484x425.png 484w, https://ahrefs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/21-internal-links-nofollow- 768x674.png 768w "data sizes =" (maximum width: 900px) 100vw, 900px

Many website owners try this way to block pages from being indexed, but nofollow doesn't work that way. Using nofollow on internal links can only hurt, as it can break crawling and create orphaned content.

This is a common problem with pagination.

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To check your site for unfollowed internal links, do a crawl in the Ahrefs Webmaster Tools, and then go to Left report and check for related issues.

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Fixing this problem is simple. Simply remove the nofollow attribute from the affected links.

Final thoughts

Technically SEO is a complex business, and there are many more best practices that we didn't have time for in this post. However, the advice above should be enough to nip the most common technical glitches in the bud and easily get your website performance under the top 10% of the rest of the web.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Ping me on Twitter.

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