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Technical SEO: The Definitive Guide

This is a complete guide to technical SEO.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn all about:

  • Crawling and indexing
  • XML sitemaps
  • Duplicate content
  • Structured data
  • Hreflang
  • Lots more

So if you want to make sure that your technical SEO is up to speed, you should get a lot of value from today’s guide.

Technical SEO: The Definitive Guide

Chapter 1:Technical SEO Fundamentals

Technical SEO Fundamentals

Let’s kick things off with a chapter on the basics.

Specifically, in this chapter I’m going to cover why technical SEO is still SUPER important in 2020.

I’ll also show you what is (and isn’t) considered “technical SEO”.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is the process of ensuring that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improved organic rankings. Important elements of Technical SEO include crawling, indexing, rendering, and website architecture.

Why Is Technical SEO Important?

You can have the best site with the best content.

But if your technical SEO is messed up?

Then you’re not going to rank.

At the most basic level, Google and other search engines need to be able to find, crawl, render and index the pages on your website.

Search engines need to be able to find, crawl, render & index the pages on your website

But that’s just scratching the surface. Even if Google DOES index all of your site’s content, that doesn’t mean your job is done.

That’s because, for your site to be fully optimized for technical SEO, your site’s pages need to be secure, mobile optimized, free of duplicate content, fast-loading… and a thousand other things that go into technical optimization.

That’s not to say that your technical SEO has to be perfect to rank. It doesn’t.

But the easier you make it for Google to access your content, the better chance you have to rank.

How Can You Improve Your Technical SEO?

Like I said, “Technical SEO” isn’t just crawling and indexing.

To improve your site’s technical optimization, you need to take into account:

And I’m probably forgetting a few 🙂

Fortunately, I’m going to cover all of those things (and more) in the rest of this guide.

Chapter 2:Site Structure and Navigation

Site Structure and Navigation

In my opinion, your site’s structure is “step #1” of any technical SEO campaign.

(Yes, even coming before crawling and indexing)

Why?

First off, many crawling and indexing issues happen because of poorly-designed site structure. So if you get this step right you don’t need to worry as much about Google indexing all of your site’s pages.

Second, your site structure influences everything else you do to optimize your site… from URLs to your sitemap to using robots.txt to block search engines from certain pages.

The bottom line here is this: a strong structure makes every other technical SEO task MUCH easier.

With that, let’s get into the steps.

Use a Flat, Organized Site Structure

Your site structure is how all of the pages on your website are organized.

In general, you want a structure that’s “flat”. In other words: your site’s pages should all be only a few links away from one another.

Flat site structure

Why is this important?

A flat structure makes it easy for Google and other search engines to crawl 100% of your site’s pages.

A flat structure makes it easy for Google and other search engines to crawl

This isn’t a big deal for a blog or local pizza shop website. But for an ecommerce site with 250k product pages? A flat architecture is a BIG deal.

You also want your structure to be super organized.

In other words, you don’t want a site architecture like this:

Bad site structure

This messy structure usually creates “orphan pages” (pages without any internal links pointing to them).

Orphan pages

It also makes it hard to ID and fix indexing issues.

You can use the Ahrefs “Site Audit” feature to get a bird’s eye view of your site structure.

Ahrefs site audit birds eye view

This is helpful. But it’s not super visual.

To get a more visual look at how your pages are linked together, check out Visual Site Mapper.

It’s a free tool that gives you an interactive look at your site’s architecture.

 

Consistent URL Structure

There’s no need to overthink your URL structure. Especially if you run a small site (like a blog).

That said: you do want your URLs to follow a consistent, logical structure. This actually helps users understand “where” they are on your site.

Consistent URL structure

And putting your pages under different categories gives Google extra context about each page in that category.

Give Google context about each page

For example, the pages on our SEO Marketing Hub all include the “/hub/seo” subfolder to help Google know that all of these pages are under the “SEO Marketing Hub” category.

SEO Marketing Hub – Structure

Which seems to work. If you Google “SEO Marketing Hub”, you’ll notice that Google adds sitelinks to the results.

SEO Marketing Hub – Sitelinks

As you might expect, all of the pages linked to from these sitelinks are inside of the hub.

Breadcrumbs Navigation

It’s no secret that breadcrumbs navigation is super SEO-friendly.

That’s because breadcrumbs automatically add internal links to category and subpages on your site.

Breadcrumbs automatically add internal links to your site

Which helps solidify your site architecture.

Not to mention the fact that Google has turned URLs into breadcrumb-style navigation in the SERPs.

Google search results – Breadcrumb-style URLs

So when it makes sense, I recommend using breadcrumbs navigation.

Chapter 3:Crawling, Rendering and Indexing

Crawling, rendering and indexing

This chapter is all about making it SUPER easy for search engines to find and index your entire site.

In this chapter I’ll show you how to find and fix crawl errors… and how to send search engine spiders to deep pages on your website.

Spot Indexing Issues

Your first step is to find any pages on your site that search engine spiders have trouble crawling.

Here are 3 ways to do that.


Coverage Report

Your first stop should be the “Coverage Report” in the Google Search Console.

This report lets you know if Google is unable to fully index or render pages that you want indexed.

Google Search Console – Coverage report

Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is the world’s most famous crawler for a reason: it’s really, really good.

So once you’ve fixed any issues in the Coverage Report, I recommend running a full crawl with Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog – Crawl

Ahrefs Site Audit

Ahrefs has a sneaky good SEO site audit tool.

Ahrefs site audit tool

What I like most about this feature is that you get info on your site’s overall technical SEO health.

Ahrefs site audit health score

Page loading speed across your entire site.

Ahrefs – Performance

And issues with your site’s HTML tags.

Ahrefs – HTML tags

Each of these 3 tools have their pros and cons. So if you run a large site with 10k+ pages, I recommend using all three of these approaches. That way, nothing falls through the cracks.

Internal Link to “Deep” Pages

Most people don’t have any issues getting their homepage indexed.

It’s those deep pages (pages that are several links from the homepage) that tend to cause problems.

Deep pages: Several links from the homepage

A flat architecture usually prevents this issue from happening in the first place. After all, your “deepest” page will only be 3-4 clicks from your homepage.

Either way, if there’s a specific deep page or set of pages that you want indexed, nothing beats a good old-fashioned internal link to that page.

Internal link to important pages from authority sites

Especially if the page you’re linking from has a lot of authority and gets crawled all the time.

Use an XML Sitemap

In this age of mobile-first indexing and AMP does Google still need an XML sitemap to find your site’s URLs?

Yup.

In fact, a Google rep recently stated that XML sitemaps are the “second most important source” for finding URLs.

Google: XML Sitemaps are the second most important source

(The first? They didn’t say. But I’m assuming external and internal links).

If you want to double check that your sitemap is all good, head over to the “Sitemaps” feature in the Search Console.

Google Search Console – Sitemaps feature

This will show you the sitemap Google is seeing for your site.

Google Search Console – Sitemap page

GSC “Inspect”

Is a URL on your site not getting indexed?

Well, the GSC’s Inspect feature can help you get to the bottom of things.

Not only will it tell you why a page isn’t getting indexed…

Google Search Console – Reason for noindex

But for pages that ARE indexed, you can see how Google renders the page.

Google Search Console – Live page render

That way, you can double check that Google is able to crawl and index 100% of the content on that page.

Chapter 4:Thin and Duplicate Content

Thin and Duplicate Content

If you write unique, original content for every page on your site then you probably don’t need to worry about duplicate content.

That said:

Duplicate content can technically crop up on any site… especially if your CMS created multiple versions of the same page on different URLs.

And it’s the same story with thin content: it’s not an issue for most websites. But it can hurt your overall site’s rankings. So it’s worth finding and fixing.

And in this chapter I’m going to show you how to proactively fix duplicate and thin content issues on your site.

Use an SEO Audit Tool to Find Duplicate Content

There are two tools that do a GREAT job at finding duplicate and thin content.

The first is the Raven Tools Site Auditor.

It scans your site for duplicate content (or thin content). And lets you know which pages need to be updated.

Raven Tools – Duplicate Content

The Ahrefs site audit tool also has a “Content Quality” section that shows you if your site has the same content on several different pages.

Ahrefs – Duplicate Content

That said:

These tools focus on duplicate content on your own website.

“Duplicate content” also covers pages that copy content from other sites.

To double check that your site’s content is unique, I recommend Copyscape’s “Batch Search” feature.

Here’s where you upload a list of URLs and see where that content appears around the web.

Copyscape – Batch search

If you find a snippet of text that shows up on another site, search for that text in quotes.

If Google shows your page first in the results, they consider you the original author of that page.

Search for text snippet

And you’re good to go.

Note: If other people copy your content and put it on their website, that’s their duplicate content problem. Not yours. You only need to worry about content on your site that’s copied (or super similar) to content from other websites.

Noindex Pages That Don’t Have Unique Content

Most sites are going to have pages with some duplicate content.

And that’s OK.

This becomes a problem when those duplicate content pages are indexed.

The solution? Add the "noindex" tag to those pages.

The noindex tag tells Google and other search engines to not index the page.

The noindex tag

You can double check that your noindex tag is set up correctly using the “Inspect URL feature” in the GSC.

Pop in your URL and click “Test Live URL”.

Google Search Console – Test live URL

If Google is still indexing the page, you’ll see a “URL is available to Google” message. Which means that your noindex tag isn’t set up correctly.

Google Search Console – URL is available

But if you see an “Excluded by ‘noindex’ tag” message, then the noindex tag is doing its job.

Google Search Console – Excluded by noindex tag

(This is one of the few times you WANT to see a red error message in the GSC 🙂 )

Depending on your crawl budget, it can take a few days or weeks for Google to re-crawl the pages you don’t want indexed.

So I recommend checking the “Excluded” tab in the Coverage report to make sure your noindexed pages are getting removed from the index.

Google Search Console – Excluded pages

For example, certain posts at Backlinko have paginated comments.

Backlinko – Paginated comments

And every single comments page has the original blog post on it.

Backlinko – Comments pages have original post on them

If those pages got indexed by Google, we’d have duplicate content issues up the wazoo.

Which is why we add a noindex tag to every single one of those pages.

Noindex HTML

Note: You can also block search engine spiders from crawling the page altogether by blocking their individual crawlers in your robots.txt file.

Use Canonical URLs

Most pages that have duplicate content on them should get the ol’ no index tag added to them. Or have the duplicate content replaced with unique content.

But there’s a third option: canonical URLs.

Canonical URLs are perfect for pages that have very similar content on them… with minor differences between pages.

For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce site that sells hats.

And you have a product page set up just for cowboy hats.

Product page

Depending on how your site is set up, every size, color and variation can result in different URLs.

Different URL for every size, color and variation

Not good.

Fortunately, you can use the canonical tag to let Google know that the vanilla version of your product page is the “main” one. And all the others are variations.

Use the canonical tag

Chapter 5:PageSpeed

PageSpeed

Improving your pagespeed is one of the few technical SEO strategies that can directly impact your site’s rankings.

That’s not to say that a fast-loading site will rocket you to the top of Google’s first page.

(You need backlinks for that)

But improving your site’s loading speed can make a significant dent in your organic traffic.

And in this chapter I’ll show you 3 simple ways to boost up your site’s loading speed.

Reduce Web Page Size

CDNs. Cache. Lazy loading. Minifying CSS.

I’m sure you’ve read about these approaches a thousand times before.

But I don’t see nearly as many people talk about a page speed factor that’s just as important:

Web page size.

In fact, when we ran our large-scale pagespeed study, we found that a page’s total size correlated with load times more than any other factor.

Factors that impact fully loaded on desktop and mobile

The takeaway here is this:

When it comes to pagespeed, there’s no free lunch.

You can compress images and cache the heck out of your site.

But if your pages are huge, then they’re going to take a while to load.

This is something we struggle with here at Backlinko. Because we use lots of high-res images, our pages tend to be ginormous.

Google Page Speed – Avoid enormous payloads

I make the conscious decision to live with slower loading times. I rather have a slow, awesome-looking page vs. a fast page with grainy images.

Which does hurt our scores on Google PageSpeed Insights.

Google Page Speed Insights – Poor score

But if improving your site speed is a top priority, then you want to do whatever you can to slim down your page’s total size.

Test Load Times With and Without a CDN

One of the most surprising findings from our pagespeed study was that CDNs were associated with worse load times.

Use of CDN correlates with worse desktop page speed

This is likely because many CDNs aren’t set up correctly.

So if your site uses a CDN, I recommend testing your site’s speed on webpagetest.org with the CDN on or off.

Eliminate 3rd Party Scripts

Each 3rd party script that a page has adds an average of 34ms to its load time.

Third-party scripts negatively impact page load times

Some of these scripts (like Google Analytics), you probably need.

But it never hurts to look over your site’s scripts to see if there’s any that you can get rid of.

Chapter 6:Extra Technical SEO Tips

Extra Technical SEO Tips

Now it’s time for some quick technical SEO tips.

In this chapter we’ll cover redirects, structured data, Hreflang, and more.

Implement hreflang for International Websites

Does your site have different versions of your page for different countries and languages?

Versions for different countries and languages

If so, the hreflang tag can be a HUGE help.

The only issue with the hreflang tag?

It’s tough to set up. And Google’s documentation on how to use it isn’t super clear.

Hreflang – Documentation

Enter: Aleyda Solis’s Hreflang Generator Tool.

Aleyda Solis – Hreflang generator tool

This tool makes it (relatively) easy to create an hreflang tag for multiple countries, languages and regions.

Aleyda Solis – Hreflang generator instructions

Check Your Site for Dead Links

Having a bunch of dead links on your site won’t make or break your SEO.

In fact, Google even said that broken links are “not an SEO problem”.

But if you have broken internal links?

That’s another story.

Broken internal links can make it harder for Googlebot to find and crawl your site’s pages.

Broken links prevent Googlebot from crawling a site's pages

So I recommend doing a quarterly SEO audit that includes fixing broken links.

You can find your site’s broken links using pretty much any SEO audit tool, from SEMrush:

SEMrush – Broken links

Ahrefs:

Ahrefs – Broken links

Or Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog – Link status

As you can see, I don’t have any problems. What can I say? I’m good at SEO 😉

Set up Structured Data

Do I think that setting up Schema directly helps your site’s SEO?

No.

In fact, our search engine ranking factors study found no correlation between Schema and first page rankings.

Presence of Schema Markup

That said:

Using Schema CAN give some of your pages Rich Snippets.

And because Rich Snippets stand out in the SERPs, they can dramatically improve your organic click through rate.

Rich Snippets stand out in search results

Validate Your XML Sitemaps

If you run a huge site, it’s hard to keep track of all of the pages in your sitemap.

In fact, many sitemaps that I look at have pages with 404 and 301 status codes. Considering that the main goal of your sitemap is to show search engines all of your live pages, you want 100% of the links in your sitemap to point to live pages.

So I recommend running your sitemap through the Map Broker XML Sitemap Validator.

Just enter a sitemap from your site.

iPullRank – Sitemap validator

And see if any of your links are broken or redirecting.

iPullRank – Results showing error

Noindex Tag and Category Pages

If your site runs on WordPress, I highly recommend noindexing category and tag pages.

(Unless, of course, those pages bring in lots of traffic).

These pages don’t usually add much value to users. And they can cause duplicate content issues.

If you use Yoast, you can easily noindex these pages with a single click.

Yoast SEO – Single-click noindex

Check for Mobile Usability Issues

It’s 2020. So I don’t need to tell you that your site should be mobile optimized.

That said:

Even sites that are super mobile-friendly can run into issues.

And unless users start emailing you complaints, these issues can be hard to spot.

That is, unless you use the Google Search Console’s Mobile Usability report.
If Google finds that a page on your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, they’ll let you know.

Google will let you know if your site is not optimized

They even give you the specific things that are wrong with the page.

Google will give you specific things wrong with your page

That way, you know exactly what to fix.

Bonus Chapter:Technical SEO Case Studies

Technical SEO Case Studies

Let’s cap off this guide with a set of brand new technical SEO case studies.

Specifically, you’ll see how four Backlinko readers increased their Google rankings with:

  • Date Schema
  • Internal linking
  • FAQ Schema
  • Website migration best practices

So without further ado, let’s get right into the case studies.

Case Study #1
How Felix Used Internal Linking to Boost Organic Traffic By 250%


When Felix Norton audited one of his clients’ websites (an event hiring marketplace) for technical SEO issues, one thing stood out:

They weren’t using any internal links! And the internal links the site DID have didn’t use keyword-rich anchor text.

At this point, this client had been with Felix’s agency for 3 months. Felix and his team had been publishing A TON of high-quality content on their client’s blog. But traffic and rankings were stagnant.

Well, during that audit, Felix realized that none of this awesome content was linked together. Even worse: the content didn’t link to important product and services pages.

That’s when Felix decided to add internal links to their high-priority content pieces.

Felix – Internal links example

Product pages.

Felix – Product page example

And pieces of related content.

Felix – Related content example

Which resulted in a 250% traffic boost within a week of adding these strategic internal links.

Felix – Traffic boost chart

Case Study #2
How Salman Used Date Schema to Double His Page’s Google Traffic


Backlinko reader Salman Baig runs a tech review site called Voxel Reviews.

One of Salman’s most important keywords is “Best Gaming Laptops under 500”.

This might sound like a long tail keyword. Because it is.

But it’s a highly-specific keyword with high search intent. Which means that it was worth Salman’s time to find a way to increase the rankings for that term.

And when he looked at the SERPs for that keyword, he saw an opportunity. An opportunity that he could use technical SEO to tap into.

Specifically, he noticed that most of the pages on the first page had the current month and year in their title tag.

Salman Baig – "Best Gaming Laptops under 500" – SERP

However, many of these pages weren’t actually updating the page (or the “published” date in their HTML).

For example, this page adds the current month to its title tag like clockwork.

Ratingy – Current month in title tag

But if you search for that page’s URL with a date range…

Ratingy – Date range SERP

…you can see the actual date Google has saved for this article:

Ratingy – Date of post

That was the opportunity that Salman saw:

Adding the current month to his title tag may help his organic CTR. But Google clearly ignores it.

But if Google could see that Salman’s page was legit updated, he might get a rankings boost.

And to show Google that his page was actually up-to-date, he added the date to the top of his post.

Voxel reviews – Date at top of post

He also updated his Schema to update the “datePublished” and “dateModified” dates.

Voxel – Date published and modified

This change helped Salman’s site get picked up by a Featured Snippet.

Best gaming laptops – Featured Snippet

That Featured Snippet, plus a rankings boost for his target keyword, increased traffic to that page by more than 200%.

Best gaming laptops – Increased traffic

Case Study #3
How Neil Reversed a Disastrous Website Migration


Neil Sheth’s SEO agency, Only Way Online, took on a new client who’s rankings had completely tanked.

Only Way Online – Completely tanked

As it turned out, the site migrated their website to the latest version of Magento.

They also decided to combine this migration with a handful of changes to their website (like removing URLs that were getting search traffic) without considering the impact on organic search.

The site went from about 30,000 monthly visitors to as low as 3,000 visitors a month in a span of 2 months.

And when Neil did a full SEO site audit to figure out what went wrong, he found a host of technical SEO issues like:

  • Pages without internal links pointing to them (orphan pages)
  • Pages that were canonicalizing themselves to noindex pages
  • Pages redirecting to a page that is then redirected to another page (redirect chains)
  • Broken internal and external links
  • Sitemap including pages that should not be indexed
  • Poorly-optimized title and description tags

And you can start to see an uptick in organic traffic in the weeks following these technical SEO fixes.

Small uptick in organic traffic

In fact, from July 2019 to October the site has increased organic traffic by 228%.

Neil Sheth – Traffic increase

Case Study #4
How Bill Boosted His Clicks by 15.23% Using FAQ Schema


Bill Widmer runs a blog about RVs called The Wandering RV.

Bill Widmer – The Wandering RV

And one of Bill’s most important pages was this RV insurance guide:

The Wandering RV – Insurance guide

Unfortunately, keywords like “RV Insurance” are dominated by mega brands like Geico and Bankrate.com.

"RV Insurance" SERPs

So the chances of Bill’s one-man blog ranking above these sites was pretty slim.

That’s when Bill realized that he didn’t have to necessarily outrank his big brand competition. He could use FAQ Schema to get more organic clicks.

So Bill added FAQ Schema to the FAQ section of his page, which helped him get a rich snippet.

The Wandering RV – Featured Snippet

And that single change increased Google traffic to that page by 15.23%.

Google traffic increase by 15%

Now It’s Your Turn

Your Turn

That’s all for my guide to technical SEO.

Now I’d like to hear from you:

What tip from this guide do you want to try out first?

Are you going to focus on speeding up your website?

Or maybe you want to find and fix dead links?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment.

  1. I’m super grateful for this, Brian.

    I don’t know the process that you go through to pick out what your’re going to write about, but this, along with a few other recent posts have hit the nail on the head for me. And by this I mean that you’ve covered in-depth exactly some weak points of mind.

    Having all this practical info in one place and in an easy to follow guide is extremely valuable.

    Again, thanks so much!!

    1. No worries, Vlad. I choose topics based on a combination of keyword research, topic research, and topics that my readers have asked me to cover.

      For sure: having everything in one place is super valuable. That’s why I write so many of these definitive guides.

    2. I know your always have super crazy information. But was however disappointed that I couldn’t get a pdf download link

  2. Brian,

    I must confess I’ve only skimmed so far but I’ll definitely be having a thorough read this weekend.

    I had a bit of a Youtube-marathon session with your videos the other night and have made a great deal of changes, for the better, to my website as a result.

    Thank you for publishing such fantastic content; keep it coming!

    1. You’re welcome, Allan. I think you’ll find this guide useful. I don’t cover a lot of technical SEO stuff in my videos. And the content here should fill in those gaps.

  3. Hi Brian,
    Kudos on another epic post. From this I’ll be turning on my breadcrumbs- I never liked they way they looked but realize now how important they are for SEO. Will all this downtime during quarantine, looks like I have time to make many changes you recommend! Thanks Brian,
    Hope you’re doing great!
    Jen

    1. Hey Jen, happy to help. Breadcrumbs definitely makes sense for certain sites (or even sections of the same site). For example, the Backlinko blog doesn’t use breadcrumbs. But our “Hub” all do: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo. But yeah, definitely worth implementing when it makes sense. In my experience, it can make a small but significant difference in your rankings.

  4. This is perfect! Thank you so much. You have a talent of making difficult things understandable. This is just enough Technical SEO that most frelance writers need. With the other guides, this is some of the best SEO content online.

    1. Hi Peyton, you’re welcome. I have kind of an unfair advantage there because I’m not super technical. So I have to dumb things down out of necessity 😂

  5. This is great. I mostly wanted to read this to make sure I wasn’t missing anything major when I do the technical part for my clients. It doesn’t look like I’m missing anything.

    I might also send this article to my link building clients. I get a lot of people asking for guest posts but they haven’t done enough onsite yet.

    1. Hi Joshua, thank you. That’s good to hear. I mean: it never hurts to run a site through an SEO site audit tool. But even then, it helps to understand what the reports are telling you to do.

  6. Hi Brian,

    Again a massive guide. Also beautiful looking presentation.

    You and your team are really awesome.

    I recently applied the FAQ Schema to my SEO training (Kolkata) page and got the rich snippet as well.

    And, yes that helped me to get more clicks. Also, it looks attractive in SERP.

    I have a question:

    Do you provide any local SEO course?

    1. Thanks Rintu. Happy to hear that. We offer a premium business training course called SEO That Works. It’s not local SEO focused but we do cover some local SEO material in the program.

    1. Hey Gaurav, not necessarily. If you run a blog, I’d stick to the structure you have now. It’s usually not worth changing everything just to flatten things a little bit.

  7. Hey Brian, a great read as always!
    I personally recently switched from WordPress to Webflow and my website speed improved a lot. It’s too early to know if my rankings will improve because of it, but for now, I’m seeing a higher time spent on page (on some article pages)

    1. You’re welcome, Valentin. This guide was a long time coming! Technical SEO was one of the few big topics in SEO (like link building and on-page SEO) that I hadn’t covered on the blog yet.

    1. You’re welcome. Between the illustrations, screenshots and the writing itself, this guide was a ton of work. But I think it turned out to be one of our best ever.

  8. Hi Brian, excellent piece of content as usual. What would be the best method to update date schema? I just read the case study above. Would just updating the published date on WordPress help?

    1. Hey Surej, that’s right: if you update the published date on WordPress, that will change the “article:published_time” in your HTML. It’s actually a meta property and not schema, but it does the job.

  9. Your SEO technical guide gives us a new perspective on the latest updated information. This culled from your years of work on the subject and I am pleased to have it. It is sometimes difficult to know what matters most and good to have you as a strong resource. Thank you.

  10. Thanks for the Amazing Technical SEO Guide. I Asked for a Guide Regarding Hreflang for International SEO, You Replied that Its on the way…& Now Its in this Guide. Thank you

    1. You’re welcome. That’s probably going to an an entry in the SEO Marketing Hub. But I do hope to cover international SEO someday soon.

  11. Hey Brian, This looks very technical guide and thank you for explaining this in very basic ways. I’ll try to implement some of these changes on my company website and see the impact.

  12. Thanks a lot for putting this together!

    Technical SEO can be a struggle for people. I feel like I have a solid grasp on it but I can’t always implement the changes myself.

    Anyways, keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Arash, you’re welcome. For sure: technical SEO can be super confusing for non-techie people. But thanks to technical SEO tools (and guides like this), it will hopefully be a lot more accessible.

  13. Hey Brian,

    Definitely another in depth well structured guide, always appreciate you pumping these out.

    Curious as to whether you would recommend spending 1-3 months analyzing and implementing a deep technical audit post keyword research but before link building for a new client.

    Or like many of us with a stronger link building background, begin the link building outreach and get some links on the board right away for a new client in the first few months before taking a month (or more) off to conduct the technical audit and implementation.

    Obviously would be great (if client budget permits) to do both simultaneously and really clean things while sending some fresh link signals. But if you had to choose between one or the other how would you approach it in 2020?

    Keep crushing it as always!

    Paul

    1. Hey Paul, thanks man! I appreciate that. I think site audits are a great first step for any client. That said: it doesn’t need to be a 1-3 month deep dive. Usually you can find 5-10 technical SEO quick wins that can make a difference right away. And fix those things in a week or so. Then, move onto link building, outreach, content etc.

  14. Hey Brian

    Being a beginner I was focusing on on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

    Technical SEO is something that very few people talk about.

    I will be bookmarking this post for future reference.

    Thanks a lot for sharing

    Amit Garg

  15. Hi Brian,

    Amazing as always. Every time one of your emails hit my inbox I am all over it.

    One question, if I may tho.

    I’ve started a new blogs about guinea pigs and I wrote these articles like “Do guinea pigs eat Strawberries, Apples, Grapes, and so on.”
    Since they are very similar I use the same article structure at the top of the article where I let people know what the article will cover. About 50 words in the beginning where I only change, for example, Grapes with Apples.
    Does that count as duplicate content?
    Thank you,
    Sorin

    1. Hi Sorin, thank you. I’d have to see the content to be sure. But that does sound like it’s probably duplicate content.

      1. Can Guinea Pigs Eat Cherries, Cherry Pits, Cherry Tree Branches, Cherry Blossom, Dried Cherries, Canned Cherries, Frozen Cherries or Drink Cherry Juice?
        CHERRIES – Nutrition Facts [According to USDA National Nutrient Database]
        Feeding a Guinea Pig Cherries [Benefits & Possible Hazards]
        How OFTEN Can Guinea Pigs Eat CHERRIES?
        PREPARING Cherries For Your Guinea Pig [SIMPLE Process to Follow]
        Lots MORE…

        This is it 🙂

        1. I think it’s OK to have a template like that. As long as the content is different, unique and not boilerplate, you’re good.

  16. I used a google operator that is Site: MyWebisteURL & it gave me many pages that include WP Plugin Content etc. Though I have removed through the webmaster. How negatively it can impact on my SEO.

    How to avoid this in the future.
    Regards

    1. I’d have to look to be sure. But you want to add a noindex tag to the page to make sure the page gets de-indexed over the long term.

  17. Awesome Article Brian, I have just de-indexed a few of my category pages which I thought were bringing in traffic but after checking were not really!
    So waiting for any changes in rankings for the posts underneath them!

    1. Hey Roger, nice! Usually you have to delete a good % of your pages for that to have a big impact on SEO. Either way, it’s always good to delete dead weight pages when you can.

  18. Brian! Your content is so informative, subscribing to your emails is probably one of the best things I have done for my SEO. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge, it will take me a while to implement all of this but I know it’s going to help me out big time!

  19. Hello Brian Dean,
    I hope you doing well. I want to join your SEO Course In upcoming season. Please inform me, how can I enroll in your course?
    Thank you.

    Best Regard,
    Mohammad Mostafa Kibria

  20. Amazing fresh page layout and UX Brian. And then there’s the comprehensive content. How could Google NOT rank a page like this at number 1!

    1. Thanks Michael. I’ve got my fingers crossed. “Technical SEO” is a pretty competitive keyword. So I really had to bring it for this guide.

  21. I will be hosting an SEO webinar next week and I’m so happy I checked this out. I will be sharing this with my particpants. Saves me from having to try to explain this all myself!

    1. Hi Pawan, they’re super helpful. But most of the time you can get all you need from the site audit feature in Ahrefs, Moz and SEMrush.

  22. It’s interesting that one of my pages was copied (duplicated), but the copied one holds the higher position as they have more traffic than I do. What should I do?

    1. Hey Tomas, I’d ask them to take the post down or add a canonical tag to your page. Next time I’d use the Google Search Console to get your page indexed quickly.

  23. Hi Brian, worthy information I found here, reading the whole blog give me some boost to get knowledge of SEO and the site architecture block is very much interesting, I hope it will be implemented in e-commerce websites also. Thank you for the mail.

  24. Thanks Brian, There are so many guides out there but this one really nailed it. We’ll be using it to improve on the existing processes for our agency and make sure everyone implements some details we’re missing. Keep up the great SEO Science work and stay safe until all this craziness goes away. Cheers

    1. Hi Miguel, thank you. Yup, I’m always in the lab no matter what’s going on in the world. Actually, even more over the last few weeks because I’ve had so much times on my hands.

  25. Hey Brian,

    Great work putting together this guide. Was expecting nothing less than amazing at this point.

    How would you recommend solving any crawling errors within Search Console for branded URLs/links? These links are essentially covering up ‘naked’ affiliate links and are showing up as 404s because the URL path doesn’t actually exist.

    1. Thanks Alon. That’s a lot of pressure, LOL. But I do try to make everything we publish amazing. Are the links set up as 301 redirects? That might solve it.

  26. Hi Brian, amazing article as always. Do you have any advice on how to get add review schema to my review posts? Any particular plug-in you recommend? Just diving into the world of schema. Thanks!

  27. Excellent post.. Some confuse my site some post/page/categories I add a noindex tag because I don’t want to index these posts are Google so any problem with SEO

    1. Thanks Guy. Hand coded sites have the most potential to be technical SEO-friendly because they have zero bloat. But they’re a pain to build and manage. I personally think WordPress is the best compromise between that and having something that’s easy to code and change.

  28. Thank you so much Brian for such a wonderful guide sharing with us.

    I have question…

    If my CMS is not wordpress then where I need to put rich snipet code.

  29. Hello Brian
    Thanks a lot for this guide
    You know, schema FAQ doesn’t work for all languages. Ex: for Romanian language doesn’t work. But for English is very good. Anyway very useful article.
    Best regards. Stefan

  30. Hi Brian: WOW, a Great Technical SEO Guide! A lot of this is very complicated and since I’m not that technical, very over my head, so it will take me some time to learn.

    Question 1. How many of these tools for technical SEO cost one time, monthly, etc.?

    Question 2. Can you email me a breakdown on the tools that cost in this technical SEO Guide, both monthly and the one time, and those that are free, due to my very limited budget because of the Coronavirus?

    Question 3. For a beginner like me, what are the best tools to get in this Technical SEO Guide to get better rankings in Google, Bing, and MSN or Microsoft Search Engines?

    Question 4. What are the top 3 Search Engines to use for SEO Rankings?

    Question 5. On your course you’re offering this summer for the Waiting List, what is the cost and are you offering any kind of discount one time or payment plans due to the COVID-19 Pandemic?

    You can email me the answers to all these 5 Questions, but particularly Questions 1, 2, and 5; however, to give me not long answers in this Comment Section, preferably email me the answers to all 5 Questions.

  31. Hey Brain,

    Thanks for publishing post on my favourite topic. I love technical seo more than on page and off page SEO.

    And I am happy to the FAQ schema in the post. I had a client who was ranking o the first page but ont on the top but after implementing FAQ schema his site moved from 10th position to 5th position as well as click numbers too.

  32. Thanks for sharing your technical knowledge, Brian. I run a WordPress blog so the Categories and Tags section of your post was of interest. I had my doubts about the use of tags so I began creating cornerstone posts and linking related posts to them. Travel is my niche so, for example, I created a Spain Travel Tips post and placed links to my Barcelona, Real Madrid etc posts on it. I then deleted the ‘Spain’ tag. I’m not sure it’s helped my technical SEO but it makes my posts easier to find.
    I still put posts into Categories using themes such as Culture, Sport, Interviews etc. to help with the non-destination posts but am reconsidering that. Lots to think about!

    1. Hi Hazel, thank you. It actually sounds like you have a great situation there. You curate content in place of tags pages. And you still use categories because it helps users find your stuff. I’d consider that a good balance. Tags and category pages aren’t ideal for SEO. But they won’t make a huge negative impact on your SEO. So if you find that category pages make sense for your site, I’d keep them.

  33. Thanks for putting together such an excellent guide. I’m still new to technical SEO and I’m glad to have discovered your website. You surely know how to keep us busy during the lockdown. I got some web cleaning to do thanks to you.

  34. Hi Brian. Thanks for the tips. Here is some for you.
    Remove spaces between html tags, in other words compress html.
    Remove spaces in CSS and Javascript. Maybe have less variations of the images to save text in html. Remove html comments out of your comments extension. Exclude all the JS files you don’t need on the page. Use less fonts.

    There is a lot you can do to speed up your page, without any visible difference. It’s not a case of having a fast page or a beautiful page. You can have both.

    1. Hi Jan, thanks. Those things can help. The issue is more images. Even with compression, they add to a page’s filesize.

  35. Hi Brian,

    First and foremost, thanks for sharing. It’s quite a detailed post!

    Let me propose you (and your readers) to take a look at another case-study, a story about the technical side of SEO on a large e-commerce website like Skroutz.gr, with nearly 1 million sessions daily and how they dealt with some significant technical issues.

    Sneak peek, during a time of 1.5 year, they managed to:

    – Decrease index size by 18 million URLs while improving the Impressions, Clicks and Average Position.
    – Create a real-time crawl analyzer tool that can handle millions of URLs.
    – Implement a custom alert mechanism for important SEO index and crawl issues.
    – Automate the technical SEO process of merging or splitting e-commerce categories.

    Cheers.

  36. Thanks for the amazing content (as always)!

    I’ve been having some trouble and was hoping you could speak on it.

    Namely, how do you know which keyword research tool is the most reliable/ accurate? I’ve been using Tubebuddy, VidIQ, and Ubersuggest, but they have many times had conflicting results as it relates to monthly searches and overall score.

    This makes it hard for me to know which keywords to use for youtube tags.

    I’d love to get your take on this–SEO being such an important factor.

    Thanks again,
    Justin

    1. Hey Justin, good question. Each tool uses a different system for coming up with search volume. So that’s why they’re all so different: https://backlinko.com/keyword-research-tool-analysis

      Someday I want to do a detailed breakdown of how their search volume estimates correlate with actual volume (using data in the Google Search Console). That way, I could get an idea of which one is the most accurate of the bunch.

  37. Hi Brian,

    I always enjoy reading your content!

    You cover breadcrumbs in this guide, but not specifically for mobile. One of our projects is creating a design system and we’re currently working on the mobile UX/UI.

    Do we need to show the entire breadcrumb string on mobile? The majority of pages have long H1s due to the nature of the main keywords being lengthy.

    1. Hey Lindsey, thank you. I don’t think you necessarily need to show them on mobile. As you’re finding, it’s tough to fit them onto the screen. But if you can, I definitely would include them in the mobile version of your page. Google has switched over the mobile-first indexing, so the mobile version of your page will be the “main” one in terms of SEO.

  38. Hi Brian,

    Reading all the guides give me a clear pictures of what SEO like, and i like that you only provide quality contents with evidence through research and your own work!

    I am a rookie in digital marketing, i would like to know if by reading all the guides in here and those anchor links within the guides, will i be able to improve the whole digital marketing myself for my own website? or will i still need to take proper course else where?

    Cheers!

    1. Hi Jasmine, it really depends. A lot of people decide to take a course because it breaks everything down into a step-by-step blueprint. As opposed to having to read through 100+ posts and figure out an action plan from there.

  39. Hey Brian,

    Your content is awesome! Thank you 🙏

    STW, backlinko Facebook group and your posts are my go to for anything SEO related – great combo!!

    Touching on sitemaps, I didn’t upload one to google for my website.

    I was advised that because I have a small website <150 pages sitemap isn’t necessary.

    My website only has 31 pages.

    Should I still look at submitting a sitemap?

    1. Hi Ehtesham, you’re welcome. I still would submit a sitemap. It’s not super important (Google can usually easily find all 31 pages). But it can’t hurt.

  40. Thanks for the great article, informative as always. I like the case studies – always intriguing to see the technical activities in action. That FAQ schema is something I will look into as well.

    1. Hi Dave, you’re welcome. For sure: case studies are the best. Especially showing how you can “use” technical SEO to actually get better vs. just making sure Google can crawl and index your site.

  41. Awesome content as usual, Brian. I’m going to focus on 2 things (amongst others) over the next 30 days:

    1.) Internal linking (including breadcrumbs)
    2.) Adding relevant Schema

    Love the case studies at the end of the post!

      1. Hey Brian,

        With reference to your case study one and internal linking article. I want to know you take on interlinking in SILOS or similar architecture of a website. Would you do cross-linking across category or SILO? Any links supporting you answer would be great!

        1. Hey Navdeep, I don’t think silos may any real practical rankings difference. They may help a little but. But at the end of the day, it’s all about content and links.

          1. Hey Brian,

            Thanks, for taking the time to comment!

            Let me put it in other way, Lets say you have two categories of posts ie. Asian Food and Mexican Food category. Each category with 15 articles.

            Would you be okay cross-linking between two categories or strictly stick to within categories. Did you tried this as an experiment or something?

          2. I’d link between them if it makes sense for the user (for example, you say something like “rice also goes well with my burrito bowl dish here”). I don’t think that sort of thing has a major impact on SEO.

  42. Hello, great article! I used most of them before, with some updates and this year I already get traffic I got for whole 2019.
    Learned a lot from your website Brian, thank you!

  43. Amazing guide! I’ve been after a Technical SEO guide like this for a while now.
    Do you have any guides coming up on backlink building – and more on how professionals and agencies do it? As oppose to outreaching one at a time?

    1. Hey Damien, thanks. Pros and agencies still do a ton of outreach. But I’ve recently discovered a few scalable strategies that I’m using here at Backlinko (I actually just added new lessons to SEO That Works that cover these techniques).

  44. Hi Brian. My name is Filippo Jatta, I’m an italian SEO consultant (my blog is jfactor .it).

    I red your guide and I appreciate it, but I don’t agree with you when you suggest when you “highly recommend noindexing category and tag pages. (Unless, of course, those pages bring in lots of traffic).”

    The reason I don’t agree is that If you noindex them, you don’t save crawl budget.
    If something is useless for traffic and visitors, it’s much better to simply delete them (or dilsallow if you can’t delete them).
    Many times people create tags which are completely useless (hundreds of them), and it’s better to simply delete them.

    About the category, I think that it’s much better to create useful categories and index them.

    Even if they will not rank on Google, they contains useful articles which will rank.

    Noindexing them I don’t see any advantage (not even for crawl budget).

    My 2 cents.

    Have a nice day, Brian, and thanks for your guide :*

    1. Hi Filippo, you make a good point there. I wasn’t really talking so much about crawl budget there. The goal is more to avoid page bloat and duplicate content.

  45. Excellent Job Brian, the amount of effort you put in post is appreciated!
    I was having alot tech issues on my website but after reading your post, i can remove multiple tech errors.

  46. Hi Brian, I wanted to ask you something. Please help me. If we have a website is example.com and another is example.com.sg so can I put the same content on both sites or need to change that.

  47. There’s a lot of information on here and a lot of stuff I might have to go through on my personal author page. Thank for the great write-up on all this information. I can see myself coming back again and again to this guide.

    Just a question, I recently reworked my website structure, changing a lot of the URLs to be more SEO friendly and creating a more ‘breadcrumb-friendly’ structure. How long does it usually take Google to ‘react’ to those chances?

    Right now I find that almost all of these ‘new’ pages are discovered, but not indexed and the old ones are still indexed while being stated at not being submitted via the sitemap.

    Is it just a matter of time until Google figures all of this out? Or are their other steps I should do right now?

    1. Hi Rene, It can take some time. If you want to speed things up, you can index some of your pages in the Google Search Console. That way, Google will crawl that page and follow the links. But even then, it can take some time for the changes to fully kick in.

  48. Thanks Brian for this technical SEO guide. I am glad that I have subscribed to your blog because I have never seen anyone who provides this kind of depth knowledge to their reader. I definitely present this guide to my marketing team. So, they can implement all these techniques on our clients’ projects.

    1. Hey Sean, you’re welcome. And glad to hear that my material is helping your marketing team learn more about SEO.

  49. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the detailed post, as always!

    Looking at the site structure, how did you decide that this post should be added under the root domain and not under any other folder on your site?

    The reason I am asking is because I have noticed that you might have a keyword cannibalization issue in SERP because you already have another resource about Technical SEO. See screenshot https://prnt.sc/rzkvs3

    I would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Ayman

    1. Hi Ayman, no problem. That’s because this is a blog post. And I don’t think it makes sense to add categories to blog post URLs in most cases. And you’re right about the keyword cannibalization issue. I’m going to switch over the internal links to point to this guide as it has a better chance of ranking.

  50. Hi Brian, thanks for creating this brilliant guide! All were good ideas.

    I liked the cases studies, especially about using FAQ schema to increase traffic.

  51. Hi Brian,

    Awesome Post! I recently got your mail on Technical SEO and read this article. I always ignored the technical SEO part of my blog but now after reading this amazing post. I must say that this structure of SEO is really important.
    But I have one question “Does SILO structure also come in this type of SEO”…

    Cheers,
    Abhay

    1. Thanks Abhay. Yes, I think silo structure falls under the category of technical SEO. But I didn’t cover it here because I think it’s overrated.

  52. Hello Brain,

    I do not agree to set category pages to “no index”, i have found out on my website, Google uses this Category pages as a Corner stone page for the TOP keyword “Parijs” or “Berlijn” … this drives alot of traffic.

    kind regards
    Wouter

    1. Hi Wouter, that’s true: there are cases where keeping a category page makes sense. Especially if the pages are ranking. But most of the time I think noindexing them makes sense as they just add to page bloat.

  53. Thank you so much for sharing your work.
    I’’m going to read your guide, a little bit every day.
    Thanks again and have a good day!

    1. The main thing is to see if your site architecture is flat. Also, it’s a good way to see how and how often your pages are linked together (you generally want a lot of internal linking). And lots more. Visual site mappers are pretty helpful!

  54. Hey Brian, yet another super informative post. Loving the look and style and you are right, if beautiful looking pages help to engage with your audience more than a slightly faster site then that is preferable 🙂

    Great post for beginners. Felt that you could have covered screaming frog in a little more detail i.e. how it can be used to identify internal pages to link to too from the crawl analysis OR even covering SSL which seems to have missed out altogether (maybe that’s because the assumption is every sites now using HTTPS?) As this is a post for beginners maybe they need a little help in that area? if so we have this guide that could help them: https://www.valendigital.co.uk/blog/http-to-https-the-definitive-guide/ (if you don’t mind me posting that link?) and being fellow STW members you can see how much your style of writing has influenced us too!

    1. Hey Andy, thank you. Glad you hear that you liked it. Technical SEO is a HUGE topic. So I covered as much as I could. I didn’t cover SSL, because as you said, it’s pretty much standard now. But for those that haven’t made the switch, your guide seems helpful.

  55. This is super detailed and helpful!
    Thanks for the details on technical SEOs.

    Information like this usually only appears in SEO courses which costs hundreds dollars. Thank you Brian!

  56. Once again, another excellent content piece from Brian. Please take this in as I have been following Brian for the last couple of years and have implemented a lot of his SEO points.

  57. Hi Brian!
    I like your gide so much! Thank you for this full guide!
    I’m a newer in SEO, so maybe my question to you about duplicated sites is not very smart:
    Our site are bilingual and has the same articles both in russian and in ukrainian. This two languages are very similar. And the crawls have indentificated them like duplicated sites. But I need to post a information in both languages. What I need to do in this case?

  58. This is one of the best guides from the best person I followed since starting my first website. You always share the best content for people like us. Thank you for keep sharing your knowledge, Brian! God blessing you more.

  59. Brain, I just LOVE your articles, all of them!!
    This is another star in your collection.

    It is kind of an art and a gift: to make a clear, simple, short explanation of the subject, easily understandable even by non-specialist auditory.

    Many thanks for your hard work on your articles!

    1. Thanks Ilya, I appreciate that. A lot of work goes into each of these guides (including making the topic easy to understand). So that’s good to hear.

  60. Hi Brian!

    Thank you for have provided us with a practical compendium on Technical SEO during this “staycation” (stay healthy!)

    I have a question regarding the paragraph below:

    “If Google is still able to crawl the page, you’ll see a “URL is available to Google” message. Which means that your noindex tag isn’t set up correctly.”

    In my understanding, when a given web-page is correctly marked as noindex by means of the respective tag in the header, web-spiders are still able to actually crawl it, without adding it to the list of indexed pages.

    “If Google is still able to crawl the page” -> are you 100% sure about the verb “to crawl” here?

  61. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for this guide, very helpful. Learned some things my site does well, and some things we can improve on. I did have a question. At one point you mentioned Google adding sitelink extensions by using subfolders/subroutes. Does this work for organic results, or just ads? Because the link you gave to google’s reference to sitelinks just discusses ads. If this does work for organic results, are there any thorough guides I can find for implementing those? Thanks again!

    1. Hey Daniel, you’re welcome. Yes that does apply to organic as well. I need to change that link to one that’s 100% about organic SEO.

  62. I’m new to SEO, I’ve known the basics but never had much interest in it until lately. I heard about you from an interview with Andrew Warner and Sa El. I started looking at your stuff and can’t wait to dive in deeper and hopefully take your course when it opens up. Thank you.

  63. If you were doing a site for services and you were only interested in getting local traffic. Could you have your home page duplicated, except for a headline at the top designating the town you want to rank in?
    Example:
    Home Page: We handle all your roofing needs.
    Copied page: Handling all of Boston’s Roofing Needs.
    Copied Page: Handling all of Worcester’s Roofing Needs
    Would these pages be considered different, and would they have a chance to rank for the search terms? Roofers in Boston, Roofers in Worcester?

  64. Hi Brian, great article, as always.

    A quick question, you speak about duplicate content, and I noticed you had two versions of this content, one /technical-seo-guide and another as /hub/seo/technical. I know the words are not duplicate, but you have repurposed some of the info, just wondering what your thinking was behind this?

    Thanks Manj

    1. Thanks Manjit. /hub/seo/technical is more of a category page that links to pages on specific topics (like duplicate content). This is a guide that has a little bit of everything in one place.

      There’s definitely some overlap. But they ultimately serve different purposes.

  65. Hi Brian – excellent as always.

    Noticed you didn’t talk about subdomain vs subdirectory which is a never ending debate.

    The real, actionable question I have for you is:

    If a company can’t do subdirectory until after a TLD URL migration to a new CMS, is it even worth starting SEO efforts in a subdomain?

    example.com/seo-keyword-example -> Can do in 6 months on new CMS

    blog.example.com/seo-keyword-example -> Can do now

    It’s these kind of situational decisions that are interesting to me with technical SEO because of how foundational the impact is, yet with trade offs that are hard to research or contextualize.

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Kris, thank you. I probably should have addressed that. I’m personally a big fan of subfolders. But I think overall it’s not a massive deal.

      To answer your question, that’s a tough one for me to answer without knowing the business. In that case, I’d probably do it now. 6 months is a long time to wait. If it was 2-3 months, I’d say wait. But in this case I don’t think it makes sense to wait that long.

  66. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for you and your team for creating this simple to follow guide on Technical SEO. I have been doing SEO for a couple of years but not much on the technical level. Do you have a PDF format of this article.

    Jaime

    1. Hey Stephan, nice! Yup, this should prove to them that there’s a lot more to on-site SEO than “meta tags”.

  67. Always crushing beautiful and insightful content Brian! Awesome work! SEO was a rabbit hole for us but its getting easier as the days go forward and our clients are happy. Thanks for helping out the marketing industry!

  68. Thanks a lot for a SUPERB post, Brian 👍.

    There a lot of valuable things to learn here. Some of them I can implement immediately; some others may take some time to learn. I definitely will need to reread this post a couple of times, thoroughly.

    I appreciate your hard work a lot. Keep it up and stay well 🙏.

    1. Hi Chris, you’re welcome. This guide is definitely a mixed bag of highly tactical tips (like FAQ Schema) and things that can take weeks to implement (flattening site architecture).

  69. Hi Brain, Very informative guide again. Thanks for sharing.

    I’m using Yoast plugin and i deindex tags and author archive from settings but google still indexing and i think it’s Yoast issue.

    Recently in rankmath plugin also some vuln exploits. So can you suggest any good SEO plugin for wordpress?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Kathryn, not directly. But it may make the page load more slowly. Or hurt UX. Which can indirectly hurt your rankings.

  70. The detail you put into your articles is really next level Brian, congrats. While I know and practice a lot of these methods on a daily basis, I still enjoy reading your blog to see if there is ever anything I have forgotten. Keep up the great work.

  71. Hello Brain, Thanks for sharing an excellent post.

    It’s including everything about technical SEO. But I have some confusion about multilingual sites for international sites.

    Question 1
    Which is the best option to set up domain structure for international sites?

    TLD based – .com, .co.uk, .com.au
    Directory based – /us, /uk, /au
    Subdomain based – us.xyz.com, uk.xyz.com, au.xyz.com

    I am asking as main goal is get higher ranking in search engines.

    Question 2
    Can I use same content on all sites? As our targeted countries are US, UK, Australia and all are referring English language.

    Question 3
    Is it necessary to display price in local currency? Can I use USD price for UK domain?

    Question 4
    How to manage business analysis for international domains?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. There’s no “best” way. They all have their pros and cons. For example, Amazon uses different TLDs. And Apple uses subfolders. So it really depends on the site, business and 20+ more factors that are unique to each business.

      1. Actually Amazon and Apple are very big brand, they are no much concerned about rankings as mainly focused on brand. When I observed different industries, TLD gives best results than directories and subdomains.

        However, I am completely agreed that there are many factors to consider for international domains. TLD is one of the part for multilingual sites as well local languages and local pricing plays important role to attract more audiences.

  72. Great guide, excellent content as usual.
    How do you differentiate Technical SEO from your Site Audit guide which I’ve followed religiously on all my sites?

  73. Hey Brian,
    Should categories and tags be really ignored?

    Again, when you talk about pages being near the homepage do you mean that let’s say;

    I create a page for blogging tips and underneath that page I should have all post I write for blogging tips as a drop down menu in the blogging tips page?

    Hope to get an answer soon

    1. Hey Nana, It’s ultimately your decision on that. But I think that in most cases category and tag pages don’t help with SEO or UX.

    1. Hi Charlie, in my opinion they’re really not super helpful. Google can easily use an XML sitemap or just internal links to find all of the pages on a site. If they can’t, it’s usually more due to crawl budget issues than not being able to find the URL in the first place.

  74. I’ve always known that technical SEO is important but I’ve always been scared of it. I’m better with creative work – writing, editing, and publishing. When I started my website, I thought I will just focus on what I know best so I avoided technical SEO altogether till a friend (who has years of experience in blogging) pointed out the importance. This was the first guide that showed up and I read it in a single sitting. Even as a beginner, I found it easy to understand and I conducted most of the audits while reading. I have Ahrefs but I had no clue that I could use it to improve my website’s technical SEO. Thanks for putting together such a great guide.

    1. Hi Shreya, you’re welcome. I can absolutely relate: I’m not naturally wired for coding or anything highly technical. But I’m glad that I learned HTML back in the day. And that I’ve been hands-on with lots of technical SEO tasks over the years. Knowing a little bit goes a long way.

  75. Hey Brian,

    Thank for this wonderful and knowledgeable blog. I was in search of some deep analysis of hreflang Implementation for International Websites and I think I get all of my answers in this blog. It’s an awesome SEO guide which can help any digital marketer to understand the Technical SEO easily.

    Thank you so much.

  76. Hello Brian,
    i found your Blog and your content today and it’s amazing how much knowledge you have. Do you probably have a guide about SEO for local services? Would be really interesting.

    Thank you.

  77. I’ve just taken 5s to prune the number of posts on my home page.

    My main takeaway this time, Brian, is just how wide-ranging a programme GSC can be. I use it – but as you’ve made clear – not as much as I should. Thanks to your guide, that’s about to change!

  78. What an amazing article Brian! Thanks!

    I found that you missed a paragraph with HTML. In your opinion using the semantically correct HTML5 tags like , , , and etc. can make some sense for SEO or not?

    Thanks,

    Ed

  79. “Pages redirecting to a page that is then redirected to another page (redirect loops)” – I think these are redirect chains 😉

  80. Hey Brian, thanks a lot for such an in-depth article. Big big fan of you. Keep up the great job 🙂

    Just a query: What is your opinion about AMP pages? Should everyone use it or is it only for the publishers?

    1. You’re welcome. I don’t think most sites should use AMP. There’s a long rant tied to that but I’ll have to save it for a future post or video 🙂

  81. I found this site from your YouTube, and as a developer/startup co-founder- wow, what a resource. I just wanted to say “thank you” for doing the work, and producing such comprehensive and current content.

    From an implementation perspective, this is a lot of what I needed to know (as a finance person who ended up in tech, the marketing stuff is sometimes dark magic to me), in one place. Across the JavaScript community, there’s been a huge focus on moving React and other single-page apps to server-side rendering (e.g., Next.js) , or to pre-rendered static sites (e.g., Gatsby) for SEO reasons: smaller initial bundles of JavaScript = quicker loading, and less work done on the client-side (quicker rendering).

    As I work on a Next.js implementation for a site I’m building, I had a few technical questions that I was hoping you could opine on:

    1. Progressive images (e.g., webp) are great, but not supported in all browser (looking at you, Safari). Do you have a view on an optimal image loading strategy?
    2. For a site with dynamic but ephemeral content (e.g., a classified ads site), does it make sense to noindex the ephemeral stuff? If there are more persistent category pages, those probably make sense to keep indexed, right?
    3. In the web development world, people seem to place a huge emphasis on both accessibility and internationalization (so, translation) these days. I’ve read that accessibility is important for SEO (and there are a lot of tools to audit it), but does internationalization matter at this point if you’re focusing on a US audience?

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work.

    1. Hey Chris, no worries. Glad you found this guide valuable.

      1. I think using compressed PNGs is the simplest approach that works with all browsers. Lazy loading can also help. But webp is probably the future.
      2. It depends. If people are searching for it, I’d consider indexing those pages while they’re around.
      3. Internationalization really only matters if you’re targeting multiple countries or languages.

  82. Hi, it’s such a joy reading your articles or posts.

    Question: What do you use to capture your screen? My pictures are always grainy.

    Thanks so much for this site.

  83. Hi Brian, thanks again. Took a course on Technical SEO with CXL but the way you break things down is really nice, clear and very useful for me.

    1. Hey Max, no worries. One of the nice things about technical SEO is that there isn’t a lot of theory. It’s super duper tactical.

  84. Very well written article got some useful tips here thank you! I’ve worked in the industry for over 14 years and didn’t know a few of these so you never stop learning I guess:)

  85. Yet another brilliant piece of article Brian. Loved it. Oh and I recently discovered Exploding Topic. I’m sure it’ll be helpful in my content strategy.

  86. Hi Brian, once again thanks for this details technical SEO article. Actually I am facing Index Coverage issue in my blog. So while searching for that I stumbled upon your article.

    All the points shared are indeed worth looking. Luckily i am following all of it except detailed internal linking and I will work on that.

    Apart form this, as i said i am facing Indexing Coverage issue, i want to ask, have you ever faced or seen such scenario in which your LEGIT page (with actual content and internal links) went into Excluded Zone in the coverage report?

  87. What should be done if you rank high and attract traffic with irrelevant keyword?
    It’s out of curiosity that what should be done if a website is getting huge traffic from an irrelevant keyword ( irrelevant as in, you are not targeting it) as high as 10%. For instance, the site offering SEO, SMO etc is showing on top 5 position with keyword Folkd. Now my question:
    1. Let the traffic come from this keyword?
    2. Modify the keyword
    3. Change the page to include other services?
    4. What else can you suggest?

  88. about duplicated content… what is your opinion on this?

    I have a doubt. My website has 8 product pages. Each of this pages has a pricing table. The pricing table is very long and the same for every page. It also has tooltips, which are the same for every features.
    Each pricing table has 3 columns, with the same features and the same tooltips.
    So for example for the disk space I have: XXGB Disk Space {plus tooltip text} repeated 3 times in that same page and 24 times across the website.
    In some cases it’s just identical since it’s: “unlimited [feature]”

    The only difference is the number before the feature.

    Do you think I should go as far as making 24 texts that are different, one for every page? (time consuming, and hard to do since it’s a short sentence explaining the feature), ignore it or what else?

    What can be a good solution in this particular case? All pages need to be indexed as they ar eproduct pages. I’m struggling to jump from page 2-3 to page 1 with all of them (but one that has lower competition

  89. Hey Brian,

    Great work and awesome guide, but my question is if I have 30k links on my website some are blogs and some are service pages I have interlinked very pages of my site with each other then google webmaster shows some 404 links. then how can i found out which 404 links are connected in which pages. because old google webmaster shows that link in the dashboard but the new one is very difficult to find those links. can you update some information on this in your blog post?

    Thanks,

  90. This was VERY helpful Brian! It’s not that I was looking for each tip to help me but a few of them made much sense and prompt me to go back to my site and do some “Spring Cleaning” or getting rid of some dormant pages, etc….LOL. I had to share this and bookmark this for future reference as well. Thanks So Much For This!

  91. Hi Brian – Quick question regarding XML feed. Do you recommend running Google Responsive Ads in Dynamic Campaigns which pulls your site XML feed with the intent to increase traffic?

    1. Hey Daniel, it’s worth a try. I usually try to be a little more targeted with ad creatives. But that could work.

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