Where to Start With Technical SEO on a Brand New Website

Jun 17, 2021 | Online Strategy, Web Design

seo marketing image

When you create a new website, it can be overwhelming if you have no clue about SEO and where to start with getting it to start ranking (showing up) in search engines like Google.

There are many aspects to SEO, but the main two main areas are Technical SEO and On-page SEO.

You need to understand both of these aspects and know what to implement in order for everything to work together. But today we will cover technical SEO.

I will give you an overview of what you need to implement and start doing in order to get your new website going with Technical SEO so that it can rank better in Google.

Why Do Technical SEO

So you have a beautiful website which you invested a lot of money in, but if you want it to perform well online it needs to have the ability to do well in the search engines. Technical SEO is a separate process that needs to be done on your website to give it the best chance of showing up in Google.

If you don’t make the right changes and adapt to Google’s requirements from a code perspective, you won’t rank well. Although SEO principles apply to any website, we will be focusing mainly on things from a WordPress Website perspective.

So what changes or implementations do you need?

Let’s run through some of the main ones:

Choose an SEO-Friendly Website Platform

First of all, not all websites are created equally. The platform that they are built on sometimes prevents you from completely accessing and controlling what you need in order to perform technical SEO. 

These restrictions tend to happen on website builders and that are built mainly for ease of use. You are normally limited with what you can do on the back end.

Using a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress gives you maximum flexibility to make the necessary changes in order to carry out technical SEO.  

Make Sure Search Engines Can Index Your Site

Search engines are always looking around for new web pages to index so that they can be used in search results. If your site discourages search engines from crawling your website pages, they won’t be indexed. 

There is a file called robot.txt which needs to be in place to help search engines with indexation. Ensure that this is created for your website and is visible to search engines.

Also, if you are on WordPress, ensure that you enable search engine indexation in your wordpress Reading settings.

Use a High-Quality Theme and Plugins

Going with a reputable theme and plugins on your website will ensure that best practices are being followed with the use of code. 

Badly coded software can affect your website performance and cause search engines to lower your ranking because of slow loading times and poor user experience.

Also, better quality themes and plugins tend to be more reliable and therefore decreases the occurrence of your site breaking and becoming unresponsive.

Create a Sitemap

A sitemap is a key part of technical SEO as it helps search engines to navigate through your website pages more easily.  Even though search engines can index your pages without a sitemap, having one makes it a lot more efficient for them  to find the content you want to be indexed as the sitemap outlines the hierarchy of the content structure of your website.

Since WordPress 5.5, sitemaps have been included by default in the WordPress core. However you can also create and configure a sitemap using an SEO plugin such as Yoast or RankMath. Once installed you will be able to configure a bunch of different things for Technical SEO that you don’t get as standard with WordPress.

Once your sitemap is created and configured you can submit it to Google search console so that they know exactly where it is.

Optimise Your Page Loading Speed

With all else being equal, a page that loads slightly faster than the other will be ranked by Google. It is therefore very important to optimise your pages so that they load as fast as possible. Generally, a page speed of under 2 or 3 seconds is a good speed to have but the faster the better.

There are several things that can affect load speeds but the main things are typically your hosting performance and your image sizes. Poor quality hosting normally doesn’t have good loading speeds because of inadequate server resources and if your image files are too large then they will take longer to download on a page. 

Optimise Page Metadata 

Metadata refers to information about your pages that search engines can use to classify and show the content. You want to make sure that the information is completed correctly so that your pages can be indexed correctly.

The Metadata includes the following:

  1. Title Tags – this shows the title of your page or post and shows up to users in search engine results as a link. It will help both search andine and users determine what a page is about.
  2. Page Description (or Meta Descriptions) – the page description or Meta description is a brief summary of what the page content is about. It normally shows up below the page title in search results. If you don’t specify the description text it will show the first few lines of your page content.
  3. Alt Tags(or Alternative Tags) – in addition to text content, images also get indexed by search engines. Alt tags help search engines to know what the image is about as they cannot read what’s in the image (at least not yet).
    Alt tags also help with accessibility as page reading software will be able to read the text in the alt tag to help the visually impaired.

Optimise For Mobile Use

Google has been doing what’s called “Mobile-first indexing” for a while now. This means that they will be looking at your site mainly from a mobile perspective as this is how most people will be browsing your pages.

You’ll need to make sure that your website works well on mobile phones and tables and provides a good user experience.

Conclusion

Technical Search Engine Optimisation is an important first step for your new website as it sets the foundation for the other aspects of SEO that you’ll need to do.

If you get the basics right first, you then stand a better chance of being successful with your SEO strategy going forward. There are lots involved in the process therefore you should consult with an expert and get an SEO audit on your site in order to know what needs to be done. You can then implement these things with the confidence that you are doing it right. 

Need extra help?

Check out the resources I have on futurestepscreative.com including online training and ongoing support, to help you build and grow your website and audience with content marketing.