White Hat and Black Hat SEO Strategies

When you hear the term “SEO” chances are the first word that comes to mind is “keywords”. And that’s perfectly alright because the smart use of keywords is an important part of the strategy of getting your website optimized for search engines. People regularly search for content and without high-ranking keywords, your content won’t be found – no matter how well-written it is.

But is the strategic use of keywords the only crucial component of optimizing a website for search? SEO is a process that involves a variety of techniques to make your website more visible on the Internet. These techniques are all related to optimizing content. 

A lesser-known component of optimization is the aspect that deals with non-content related issues. This component is called Technical SEO. By focusing on both SEO and Technical SEO components, you will have a holistic strategy that will cover all the bases of website optimization. 

7 Important Tips To Improve Your Website’s Technical SEO Strategy In 2020

Technical SEO addresses the technical issues of your website that run contrary to the ranking factors included in Google’s search algorithm. Generally, Technical SEO focuses on 3 main considerations of your website:

  • Security
  • Site Speed
  • Crawlability

At Mountaintop, we perform a Technical SEO audit on our clients’ websites to find out if these 3 areas of concern are on point. 

A Technical SEO report will identify the possible factors that could affect the expected outcomes of your content optimization strategy. 

Here are 7 important tips that you can implement to improve your Technical SEO strategy in 2020.

1. Improve Page Loading Time

From personal experience, how long do you wait for a web page to load before abandoning the search? 

According to a study by Kissmetrics, Internet users expect a web page to load in under 2 seconds when using a PC and faster than 3 seconds with a mobile device. 40% of Internet users surveyed reported that they would abandon the search if the web page takes too long to load.

A slow-loading web page can become a double-whammy for your web page. First, site speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm. Second, if more people are abandoning the search, your website’s bounce rate will increase – which will get you flagged again by Google.

To know for sure if your webpage is loading fast enough for your visitors, go to a site speed test site such as WebPageTest.org and have it tested. 

2. Address Issues On Mixed Content

Hyperlinking data, figures, and other forms of information to their references is a great way to build credibility for your content and drive traffic to your site.  However, some of these references could be websites that aren’t secured by SSL certificates.

If your website has SSL certificates, having links to content from websites that aren’t secured with SSL certificates will cause search ranking problems due to having mixed content. 

A site visitor will see a mixed content warning appear on his browser. Here’s an example of a mixed content warning:

“Your connection to this site is not fully secure.”

Even if a visitor sees the padlock symbol preceding your URL, chances are he will click out of your website rather than risk exploring a page that isn’t safe and secure. 

A quick Technical SEO audit can reveal these pages with links to websites without SSL certificates. Removing these links will help fix the problem and have your website visitors feeling safe when they land on your page.

3. Remove Toxic Backlinks

From unsecured links to toxic backlinks!

Backlinking or having other websites link to your web page is a great SEO strategy for driving traffic to your website. 

But if the backlinking website is spammy, irrelevant to your content, or outright violates Google’s quality guidelines on linking practices, the site is considered toxic and you should immediately remove or disavow it from your website.

Getting rid of these spurious links is easier said than done. The usual approach is to simply reach out to these websites and ask them to remove the links to your website. 

For the most part, these websites will not comply with your request. The next recourse would be to report the situation to Google by submitting a reconsidering request via the Search Console. 

From here, prepare the list of backlinks that you want to remove and submit them to the Google Disavowal Tool. 

4. Secure Your Site With SSL Certificates

We mentioned SSL Certificates earlier and we’ve written extensively about the subject. 

Given the ever-present threat of cyber-theft, seeing the padlock symbol before your URL will be a welcome sign for your website visitors. Trust us when we say the first thing a visitor looks for when he lands on a website is THAT padlock symbol.

Without SSL Certificates, Google and the other search engines will mark your website as “Not Secure” and you will lose visitors.

Since 2014, Google has included SSL Certificates as a ranking factor in its search algorithm. Thus, SSL Certificates are not just a requirement for e-commerce websites.

5. Remove 404s, Broken Links, and Pages

Have you clicked on a link and this text comes out on the screen:

“404 Error”

This means the page no longer exists or is broken. If your web page has links to broken links, Google’s search bots won’t be able to crawl it and this will affect your search rankings.

The situation becomes worse if you linked to the broken page from another website or if other websites link to your page. The net effect of these linking arrangements would lower your domain authority score. 

A higher domain authority score means a higher probability of ranking higher in the search results. 

6. Remove Duplicate Content

If 2 or more pages on your website have duplicate or similar content, Google will have a hard time knowing which page to rank higher. A keyword tool such as SEMRush has features that can identify the web pages with duplicate content.

The solution is quite simple. Once these duplicate pages have been identified,  review them carefully, and perform the necessary edits or changes until each page is unique. 

7. Include an XML Sitemap

After we’ve done all the improvements to address the issues that were uncovered by our Technical SEO audit, the final step is to inform Google about these changes by creating an XML Sitemap.

The XML Sitemap informs Google of all the changes implemented on the website and where the search engine giant can find them.

Of course, nothing escapes the eye of Google and it would surely find the improvements on the website. However, giving Google a formal heads-up will make its job easier. 

Your show of courtesy may be rewarded with a boost up the search rankings. 

Conclusion

Google has always pushed for content creators to put more emphasis on the quality of their content. The search engine’s guidelines highlight the need for content to be unique, relevant, informative, useful, and engaging. 

How the content is presented – its format, structure, and readability – are also key considerations that content creators need to keep in mind. Integrating the right keywords into your content will make it more searchable to Internet users. 

Once your content has been optimized – how about your website? Is your website ready to receive visitors?

Combining content optimization strategies with Technical SEO techniques to improve your website will surely improve the site visitor’s overall user experience. And that will make Google very happy.