9 Steps to Master Technical SEO and How AI is Changing It

If technical SEO was a person, it would be an accountant at Apple. In a fast-moving and exciting environment, it is boring but necessary. Yet, a great technical SEO strategy can make a difference in how highly your content ranks on search engines like Google.

Hence, there is a new phenomenon that’s taking hold. How do we leverage AI to transform our technical SEO? It’s got many people excited that with the push of a button, everything will be optimised. From JavaScript optimisation to meta tags, this nirvana state will see companies being able to focus on just doing the things they enjoy the most. Creating content and making money.

However, as with everything AI and SEO, it’s not that straightforward. In this article we break down the key components of technical SEO, how you can optimise for them and where AI might be able to assist.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is focused on ensuring search engines like Google can better understand your website and offer a good user experience. Remember, your customers are Google’s customers. Therefore, they want to make sure that the websites they recommend provide their customers with a great experience.

 So, technical SEO is the optimisation of your website so it can be crawled and indexed properly by search engines. It ensures that a website meets the technical requirements of modern search engines with the goal of improving organic rankings.

As AI transforms search engines, its use in technical SEO will inevitably grow as well. However, we are not there yet. The biggest advantage AI provides today is its capacity to manage vast volumes of data and swiftly analyse it. Therefore, the biggest use case for technical SEO today is aggregating information from multiple platforms to reduce administrative tasks. For instance, AI can help your technical SEO endeavours through:

  • Efficiency: Automating repetitive tasks like site audits, error detection, and performance monitoring
  • Scalability: Managing large, complex sites more efficiently by handling a high volume of data and tasks
  • Insights: Providing data-driven insights and recommendations for optimisation
  • Predictive Analytics: Anticipating changes in user behaviour

Whilst AI tools are emerging, there are very few that can manage all of the tasks you need to complete for technical SEO. Therefore, if you want to fully leverage AI you will likely need technical expertise to build your own AI system that can track, analyse and recommend technical SEO actions. Below we outline potential ways to leverage AI.

AI can help with Technical SEO

You can’t fool Google’s AI algorithms using hacks even if your technical SEO tools say so

Given the technical complexities of technical SEO, it’s understandable that many people seek quick and easy solutions. For instance, many WordPress plugins promise dramatic website speed improvements, and for those without technical expertise, these plugins can be very appealing. A great plugin can certainly help if you don’t have the technical expertise. These are certainly worth investigating and can help with each of the steps below.

However, the plugin market can be complicated. Some plugins promise game-changing results. Yet, these plugins use temporary fixes or techniques that mask underlying performance issues instead of truly addressing them. Many of these plugins cheat website page speed platforms like Google PageSpeed so it appears your website is lightning fast when it isn’t.

Similarly, the emergence of AI website builders, promises instant SEO optimisation. However, they often lack the customisation and flexibility needed for long-term success. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work with just the click of a few buttons.

Therefore, long-term SEO success requires a more strategic and sustainable approach. If you want to rank highly on search engines, you need to put in the work and ensure your technical SEO is optimised. 

9 steps to optimise for technical SEO

There are several components to optimising your technical SEO. Therefore, it’s important to spend time going through each in detail. Below, we provide a simplified view of what you should do and how. Moreover, we also explain how AI can be used.

1. Enhance your site architecture and organisation

Site architecture refers to the arrangement and interconnectedness of your website’s pages. A well-organised structure facilitates search engine indexing. Think of it like a map. How you structure your website and link all the web pages together gives Google a better understanding of what your website is about and what to crawl next. This is why it’s important to get it right from a technical SEO perspective.

How can you optimise site architecture for technical SEO?

  • Establish a clear hierarchy: Ensure your website maintains a logical and coherent hierarchy, utilising categories and subcategories for content organisation. For instance, if you are a sports clinic, your main sections may include “Services,” “About,” and “Blog.” Under each of these sections, you will have several subcategories. For example, “Physical Therapy” and “Performance Training” may appear under “Services.”
  • Utilise internal links: Incorporate internal linking to aid both users and search engines in navigating your website. For instance, within a blog post about knee injury prevention, you can include links to the “Sports Medicine” service page and an article about knee injury exercises.
  • Implement breadcrumbs: Consider integrating breadcrumb navigation to enrich the user experience and help search engines comprehend your website’s layout for technical SEO. For example, a user on a specific treatment page might see breadcrumbs like “Home > Services > Sports Performance> Vo2 Max Testing.”

How can AI help me to optimise my website structure and improve technical SEO?

  • Automated site assessments: AI tools can be used to enhance your technical SEO by assessing your website’s architecture. Moreover, it can propose enhancements for crawlability and user experience.
  • Predictive linking: AI can anticipate which internal links would be beneficial for users and enhance technical SEO performance by suggesting optimal pages for inclusion within your content. For instance, the sports clinic may write an article about trail running. Yet, they forget they previously wrote something related to zone 2 running. This would be great information for trail runners. The AI can detect this and make a recommendation to link the articles.

There are some tools on the market that claim they can do predictive, automated linking today. However, it’s not clear how effective they are. This is definitely one to watch for the future.

2. Make sure you are technically optimised for crawling and indexing

Not all web pages are visible in search engines. Therefore, making sure you understand this step is critical for your technical SEO strategy. This is because search engines undertake a process called crawling and indexing. For example, Google has bots visiting webpages every second of every day. Once they crawl your webpage they determine if your content should be indexed. If the bot determines that it’s valuable it will index it so it can be seen in search results.

How can you optimise crawling and indexing for technical SEO?

  • Robots.txt management: Utilise the robots.txt file to dictate what search engines should and shouldn’t crawl. For instance, imagine you sell at-home gut health tests. You are likely to have a variety of pages including product pages and blogs. To ensure search engines focus on valuable content, you can use the robots.txt file to block less important pages like customer sign-in pages or your security policy. This can further enhance your technical SEO by speeding up your website as it’s not clogged by search bots. Also, make sure none of your valuable pages have been blocked.
  • XML sitemap creation: Generate and submit an XML sitemap to aid search engines in locating and indexing your pages. This is a map that updates every time you add new content. There are plugins like Yoast that do this automatically. Alternatively, you can submit your sitemap manually via Google Search Console.
  • Resolve crawl errors: Utilise tools such as Google Search Console to pinpoint and rectify crawl errors such as 404 pages, server errors, and redirect issues. These are bad from a technical SEO perspective. However, many of these issues are caused by human error like changing the URL of a blog. For instance, if the page “https://www.guthealthtesting.com/gut-health-tips” returns a 404 error, you can set up a 301 redirect to a relevant blog post like “https://www.guthealthtesting.com/top-gut-health-tips”.

How can AI help me to optimise the crawling and indexing of my website?

  • Intelligent crawling: AI can improve your crawling efficiency by predicting pages that are prone to change and require frequent crawling.
  • Automated error detection: AI tools can automatically identify and highlight crawl errors, broken links, and other indexing issues.
  • Broken links: AI tools for broken link verification can scan all links on a webpage (both internal and external) and validate their functionality. Functional links return a 200 OK code, while broken links yield different codes such as 404 Not Found.

Most of these technical SEO issues today can be found using tools like Moz. This means they are more manual. If you want to use AI to give you better insights, it’s likely you will need to develop your own solution.

3. Page speed and performance is critical to technical SEO

Page speed significantly impacts both user experience and SEO, with faster pages generally ranking higher and retaining user engagement. This is a key element of technical SEO and you should spend time deep-diving into how to fix it. Tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights offer a great opportunity to test your website and learn about the specific issues that you have.

How can you optimise technical SEO for page speed and performance?

  • Image optimisation: Identify and utilise the best image formats and compression tools to decrease file sizes as part of your technical SEO strategy. For instance, imagine you sell hormone testing kits and have hundreds of photos of test kits and diagrams explaining hormone levels. Compressing your images and using leading file formats like WebP can significantly reduce load times. If the original image of a hormone test kit is 2MB, compression might reduce it to 300KB without a noticeable loss in quality.
  • JavaScript and CSS optimisation: Minimise and consolidate JavaScript and CSS files to reduce loading times. For instance, your hormone testing website may have different JavaScript features like interactive forms. Instead of loading multiple JavaScript files for various features, you can consolidate these into a single, minified file using tools such as UglifyJS or CSSNano. For non-technical people, there are WordPress plugins that can do this for you.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN) usage: Employ a CDN to globally distribute content and accelerate loading times. For example, you can use a CDN service like Cloudflare or Akamai to distribute website content across multiple servers worldwide. This ensures faster delivery of content to users regardless of their geographic location. For instance, when a user from Europe wants to buy a hormone test, the content is served from the nearest server in Europe rather than a distant server in the United States, thus speeding up load times.

How can AI help make my website quicker?

  • Performance enhancement: AI tools can evaluate your site’s speed and propose specific adjustments to enhance performance and your technical SEO objectives. This can be achieved by identifying issues like sluggish-loading elements. If you have Python capabilities and want to build your own AI system you can leverage existing Python libraries like Lighthouse to extract Google page speed insights. This data can be analysed with libraries like NumPy for further insights.
  • Predictive caching: AI can anticipate user actions and preload content, enhancing perceived performance and user satisfaction.

Today, there are tools available that offer invaluable insights into page speed and performance. Moreover, they can give you real-time insights. However, they are still largely basic, offering only high-level insights rather than pinpointing the exact issues or fixing them for you. Therefore, this part of technical SEO is still evolving.

4. Mobile-friendliness should be central to your technical SEO strategy

96.3% of global internet users access the web via a mobile phone. In comparison, 62.2% use a desktop. This has led Google to prioritise mobile websites meaning it’s critical your website is mobile-friendly from a technical SEO perspective.

How do I optimise for a mobile-first technical SEO strategy?

  • Responsive design: Make sure your website employs responsive design techniques to adapt seamlessly to various screen sizes. For instance, a company selling various NMN supplements will have different product pages. These should be easily readable and navigable on any device otherwise they will lose customers. If you are using a page builder on a CMS like WordPress, look for themes that already have responsive design built in. If not, a responsive design framework like Bootstrap can be used.
  • Mobile usability testing: Conduct tests on multiple devices to ensure your website offers a user-friendly experience across all screens. For instance, the NMN company could discover that the checkout process is difficult to complete on a smartphone due to small button sizes or input fields. Tools like BrowserStack can help.
  • Implementation of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Consider integrating AMP to enhance the speed of your mobile pages. However, this is no longer as important as it once was for technical SEO. AMP makes it harder for non-Google Ad tech which has led to a high-profile court case against Google for illegal monopolistic practices. As such, its benefits are unclear as it’s started to be shunned by the tech community.

How can AI make my website mobile-friendly?

  • Insights into mobile optimisation: AI tools can assess mobile performance and offer precise recommendations for enhancements. However, these tools are still very high-level and will require a good understanding of the next steps to take which will largely be manual. In the future, it’s likely we will get AI tools that not only detect issues but also fix them further streamlining your technical SEO tasks.

5. Security (HTTPS) is important if you want to be taken seriously

HTTPS is a secure communication method that enables people to access information online safely. It is imperative to safeguard data transmitted between the user’s browser and your website. For example, imagine you run a health optimisation clinic. On your website, your customers can access their personal information and buy products. By using HTTPS, you can encrypt data, preventing interception and tampering by malicious parties, which is particularly important for sensitive information. Additionally, security serves as a ranking indicator for search engines making it a key part of your technical SEO strategy.

How do I make sure I am optimising my technical SEO for website security?

  • SSL certificate: Verify that your website possesses an SSL certificate and is accessible through HTTPS.
  • Security auditing: Conduct routine security audits to detect and address vulnerabilities.

How can AI make my website more secure?

  • Threat detection: AI can actively monitor your website for security threats and issue timely alerts.

6. Simple, clear and well-formatted URLs are important for search engines

A concise and informative URL structure aids both users and search engines in comprehending the content of a page. The URL is the address of a specific webpage that you use to navigate to it. By making sure you have a clear strategy for URL’s you can save time and enhance your technical SEO activities.

How do I make sure I am optimising my URLs for technical SEO?

  • Incorporate keywords: Embed primary keywords into your URLs. For example, a health clinic that offers cryotherapy may have a page with the URL “www.cryotherapyclinic.com/whole-body-cryotherapy”
  • Simplicity matters: Refrain from lengthy and intricate URLs; instead, utilise hyphens to delineate words. For instance, the clinic offering cryotherapy could have a URL that says

    • “www.cryotherapyclinic.com/services/?type=wholebody&session=single.”

How can AI enhance technical SEO by optimising my URLs?

  • URL enhancement: AI tools can propose SEO-friendly URLs enriched with relevant keywords, drawing insights from the page’s content. Tools like Yoast already have similar features. Alternatively, you can use tools like ChatGPT to help.
  • Automated URL refinement: AI could be used to autonomously rewrite URLs to enhance user experience and SEO effectiveness. However, this would need to be done carefully as it will require redirecting your web pages. Otherwise, you may lose the authority of your webpage. Currently, there are no technical SEO tools that can do this without human intervention.

Including structured data in your technical SEO strategy can help drive visibility

7. Include schema markup (structured data) in your technical SEO strategy to help drive visibility

Schema markup not only helps your technical SEO strategy but may directly influence your search rankings. It helps search engines and other applications understand the context of your content, potentially resulting in enhanced search results, known as rich results. It involves using code (structured data) to label the types of information on your web pages so they can be featured in more informative search results. The structured data is based on Schema.org, a collaborative effort by major search engines.

For example, a company selling at-home health tests will have a range of products like nutrition tests and sleep analysis tests. By labelling the products on their webpage, the associated consultation services they provide, and the reviews they have received, they can potentially feature more prominently in search engine results.

These enhanced results, known as rich results, can offer increased visibility and higher click-through rates making them a key point for many technical SEO experts.

How do I enhance my technical SEO through schema markup?

  • Choose the type of content: Identify what content on your webpage can be enhanced with rich snippets (e.g., products, reviews, services). For an at-home health testing company, potential content types include:
    • Products: nutrition tests, sleep analysis tests, hormone tests.
    • Reviews: customer reviews and ratings of these products.

    • Services: consultation services are offered alongside the tests.

  • Use schema markup: Add the appropriate schema markup to your HTML. You can use schema.org vocabulary to find the right markup for your content type.
  • Validate markup: Employ tools such as Google’s structured data testing tool to validate your markup.

How can AI help me with schema markup?

  • Automated markup recommendations: AI can propose suitable schema markup based on the content of your page. Currently, WordPress plugins like Yoast offer this capability. They will automatically create schema for you. However, if you prefer you can also use AI assistants like Gemini to assist in enhancing your technical SEO strategy.
  • Rich snippet enhancement: AI can analyse the most effective types of structured data for your site and assist in their implementation.

8. Find duplicate content as part of your technical SEO actions or risk receiving penalties

Duplicate content is important to manage from a technical SEO perspective because it can confuse search engines and reduce your ranking potential. This includes content that appears multiple times on your website as well as identical content found on both your website and other websites.

How do I maximise my technical SEO by ensuring I don’t have duplicate content?

  • Canonical tags: Designate the preferred version of a page to consolidate link equity and alleviate duplicate content issues. For instance, imagine you run a sporting apparel company. On your website, you sell running shoes in three different colours, black, red and green. You might have separate URLs for each colour variant. However, to avoid duplicate content issues, you can use canonical tags to point to a single, preferred URL. This could look like: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.sportingapparel.com/running-shoes”>. This tells search engines what the primary URL is and consolidates the link equity to this page.
  • 301 redirects: Employ 301 redirects to merge duplicate content effectively. For instance, previously you had two identical pages selling the same t-shirt in different colours. You can combine the pages and remove one. Yet, to ensure you maintain the authority of the page you remove, you can use a 301 redirect.

How can I use AI to detect duplicate content?

AI can be utilised as part of your technical SEO strategy to pinpoint duplicate content across your site and propose solutions. For example:

  • NLP (Natural Language Processing): This could be used to analyse semantic similarities between different types of text. Since Google has refined its search algorithms, it can now detect semantic meaning. Therefore, NLP could help to ensure you avoid penalties.
  • Content consolidation: AI tools can help technical SEO by identifying and merging similar content and automatically applying canonical tags.
  • Machine learning: This could be used for technical SEO to detect images that have been taken without permission. By doing this you may also obtain additional backlinks, helping to further increase the visibility of your website.
  • Duplicate code via pattern detection: AI could analyse code to identify where similar code has been used which may suggest duplicate content.
  • Data clustering: AI could be used to categorise similar content, simplifying the identification and management of duplicates.

Whilst there are AI tools today that can do some of these tasks, they can’t do them all. However, this is likely to change, especially as AI content becomes more problematic.

9. Optimising your metatags for technical SEO can help improve CTR

Metatags are important for technical SEO as they provide details about a webpage’s content to search engines and users. These tags are displayed in search results. Therefore, fine-tuning them can significantly impact your content visibility and click-through rates (CTR).

How can I optimise my metatags?

  • Title tags: These are the title of a webpage found in Google search results and are an important part of technical SEO. Therefore, formulate succinct, descriptive titles containing pertinent keywords. Doing this well can improve CTR. However, make sure to position your keywords at the beginning of your title tag. Moreover, keep titles under 60 characters.
  • Meta Descriptions: This is the description of a webpage found in search results. Therefore, focus on crafting compelling summaries featuring relevant keywords to entice users to click on your search result. Ensure meta descriptions are under 155 characters.

How can I use AI for metatags?

  • Optimised text suggestions: Tools like ChatGPT can be powerful when creating succinct text that helps provoke user interest. Ask them to suggest meta titles and descriptions that sound appealing, thereby enhancing your technical SEO and improving CTR.
  • CTR analysis and competitor rankings: As AI tools become more advanced it will become likely they will be able to help you improve your meta descriptions in real-time and implement them automatically. AI could analyse who is ahead of you in search rankings and who is getting better CTR. However, such solutions do not exist currently.

Which AI tools can I use for technical SEO

There are not many AI tools available that can execute all of these tasks. Instead, you’ll likely need to utilise multiple tools or possess the technical proficiency to construct a platform that consolidates all insights into a single interface.

For instance, Screaming Frog is a popular tool for auditing your technical SEO. However, they don’t directly integrate AI into their primary functionality. Instead, they offer an innovative approach to leverage AI through their Custom JavaScript feature, enabling users to connect to APIs like OpenAI’s ChatGPT during a crawl. By incorporating AI, users can analyse various elements of crawled pages, such as generating alt text for images or extracting specific data points like crawl errors, page speed insights, or internal linking.

Moreover, tools like Market Brew can prove highly beneficial. They utilise AI to replicate existing search engines such as Google. This enables you to assess how any modifications you implement might affect your search rankings.

The future of technical SEO

Despite being in the early phases of the AI revolution, we are already seeing it impact technical SEO. However, the current tools do not offer an all-powerful solution that can detect issues and fix them. Moreover, they struggle to pinpoint issues and offer precise instructions. Instead, technical SEO still requires significant research and technical understanding.

However, as we move forward this is going to change. In the future, we can anticipate AI that will efficiently identify technical issues and either suggest or automatically fix them to align with the requirements of search engines. At this point, SEO will become hyper-focused on how to optimise for specific AI search engines.

Yet, this future is still in the distance. Therefore, it’s critical to understand technical SEO by going through the steps outlined in this article. Technical SEO might be boring, but it’s a necessity you can’t afford to overlook.

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