Technical SEO 101: Easy Guide For Beginners

Technical SEO 101: Easy Guide For Beginners

Technical SEO 101: Easy Guide For Beginners

You’re not alone if you’ve always felt technical SEO is too daunting to step into. Many feel the same way.

But technical SEO doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. Take it step-by-step, with a good starting point being learning the basics.

In this article, we’ll go over the essential things you should know about technical SEO to get you off to a good start.

This is what you will learn:

  1. What is Technical SEO?
  2. Why is Technical SEO Important?
  3. Important Technical SEO Elements
  4. Common Technical SEO Issues

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is optimizing the technical aspects of your website so that search engine bots can crawl your site easily.

Some examples of technical SEO are improving the speed of your website, making sure it’s mobile-friendly, and providing sitemaps (more on this later).

Technical SEO will improve your website search engine visibility and help it climb the rankings.

Why is Technical SEO Important?

To understand the importance of technical SEO, you would need to know how Google Search works – how does Google discover your page and places it on the SERP for search users to find?

There are three main steps to how Google Search works:

  1. Crawl

When you create a website or page, Google doesn’t know it exists until it has discovered it. This process is called URL discovery.

Some ways Google discovers pages are:

  1. Google has visited the page before 
  2. Google follows a link from a known page leading to a new page
  3. Google uses your submitted sitemap to crawl pages

After Google has discovered a page, it sends computer programs called Googlebots (also called crawlers, bots, spiders) to visit and and check out the page. This process is called crawling. When crawling pages, Googlebots makes sure not to crawl too fast to avoid overloading a website.

Google might not crawl a page although it’s been discovered. This could be due to it not being able to access a site. Some reasons pages can’t be accessed are:

  • Site owners disallow a page to be crawled using the robots.txt file
  • Page requires a log in
  • Server issues
  • Network issues
  1. Index

Once Google’s bots have discovered and crawled a page, it now tries to understand what the page is about to store it in their library effectively. This process is called indexing. These are information Google looks at while indexing:

  • The content
  • Tags and attributes
  • Canonical pages (the most representative page from a group of duplicate pages)
  • Language and country of the content
  • Usability

Google collects these information and then stores them in their massive database called the Google index. However, Google does not index every page it crawls. Here are some reasons why a page might not be indexed:

  • Low quality content
  • Presence of noindex meta tags to disallow indexing
  • Poor website design 
  1. Serve

Now that Google has stored a page in their library, it’s ready to start showing the page to relevant search queries. This process is called serving. When a user looks up a query on the search engine, Google searches its index for the most relevant page that can answer that query and ranks it accordingly.

This ranking depends on hundreds of ranking factors, a criteria Google uses to determine whether the content is helpful, relevant, and of good quality.

So, how does technical SEO play a part in this?

Technical SEO helps Google’s bots to easily discover, crawl, index and serve your page. This sends a good signal to Google to rank your website higher on the SERP.

Important Technical SEO Elements

There are a lot of aspects to technical SEO. To put it simply, anything behind-the-scenes related to your website is technical SEO. You want to make sure that your website is:

  1. Fast
  2. Easy to crawl
  3. Enables good user experience
  4. Understandable

To achieve the above, below is a list of important technical SEO elements:

1. Page Speed


A page’s loading speed affects both user experience and search engine rankings. The longer a page takes to load, the higher the bounce rate. A study found that 1 in 4 visitors abandon a website that takes longer than 4 seconds to load. Although not officially a ranking factor, having a high bounce rate does not send a good signal to search engines.

Because it impacts user experience, page speed is a confirmed Google ranking factor. This means your page’s loading speed influences its ranking. A page that loads faster has a better chance at ranking than a page that loads slower.

Here are some ways you can improve your website’s speed:

  1. Check your website speed

You can use website speed checker tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to help test and improve your website speed. 

  1. Compress large images and file sizes

Large file sizes can slow down a page’s load speed. You can optimize this by compressing images and files to reduce their sizes.

  1. Minimize plugins usage

Using too many plugins can slow down your website. Essential plugins can be optimized to load better, while unused and unnecessary plugins should be removed. 

  1. Optimize website code

Using a clean and optimized code helps to reduce a webpage’s size and improve its loading speed. This can include using efficient CSS and JavaScript.

  1. Using a fast and reliable hosting provider

Choose a fast and reliable hosting provider so that your website loads quickly and consistently for all users. A slow hosting provider negatively affects your page load speed. 

  1. Using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)

A CDN can help distribute website content to users more efficiently, reducing loading times and improving overall performance.

2. Mobile optimization

In 2015, Google announced that the mobile-friendliness of a website is a ranking factor. This comes as no surprise, as 60% of searches are from mobile devices. In fact, the prevalence of mobile searches was even more amplified when Google announced in 2020 that all websites will undergo mobile-first indexing. This meant that all websites would be indexed by their mobile version by a smartphone Googlebot agent.

With this in mind, you want to make sure that your website is well optimized for mobile devices. A mobile-friendly website will perform better on the SERP compared to a non-mobile-friendly website. Below are some mobile optimization best practices:

  1. Create a mobile-friendly website

There are 3 configurations you can choose from for creating a mobile-friendly website: Responsive Web Design, Dynamic Serving, and Separate URLs. Responsive Web Design is recommended by Google as it is the easiest to implement and maintain. Responsive Web Design serves the samel HTML code for different devices but displays content differently based on the screen size.

  1. Ensure Google can access and render content

Use tools like Google Search Console to check if Googlebots can access your mobile pages. Address any crawl errors that prevent them from being indexed.

  1. Make sure that content is the same on desktop and mobile

Avoid hiding important content on the mobile version of your website. Ensure users have access to all the same information they would see on desktop. 

  1. Make sure that ads placement is not obstructive

Review how ads are displayed on your mobile website. Avoid intrusive ad placements that block content or make navigation difficult for users.

  1. Optimize images and videos for mobile devices

Resize images and compress file sizes to ensure faster loading times on mobile devices. Consider using different image formats specifically optimized for mobile (e.g., WebP). For videos, explore options for responsive players that adjust to screen size.

3. Robots.txt

As covered previously, Google sends spiders called Googlebots to crawl your website and index them. Although this is done automatically, you can guide these bots on where to go by using a robots.txt file. Robots.txt is a text file that specifies which pages or sections should not be crawled or indexed by search engines.

This helps prevent search engines from indexing irrelevant or duplicate pages, ensuring that only relevant and desired pages are visible to search engines and search users. This also reduces the crawl load on a website’s server, improving its performance. 

However, it is also useful to note that even without a robots.txt file, Google’s bots can still crawl and index your page as usual. Additionally, there is no guarantee that Googlebots will comply with the instructions given.

4. SSL Certificate

In recent years, Google has placed a lot of importance on a website’s security when ranking it on the SERP. This is why having an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate is important. Having an SSL certificate keeps your website secure by encrypting any sensitive information between your website and the user. This prevents hackers from intercepting and stealing personal data.

When a website is secured by SSL, it has the HTTPS in front of the URL, along with a padlock next to it. 


In fact, Google announced that HTTPS would become a ranking signal in 2014, giving a ranking boost to those with an SSL certificate and demoting those without.

5. Structured data

Search engines don’t speak the same language as us, which is where structured data comes in. Structured data is a way to make search engines understand information on your page and provide richer results. Structured data uses HTML tags and schema markup to provide information about the content on a page, such as its type, name, relationship with other elements, and more.

Using structured data helps in several ways:

  1. It makes it easy for bots to understand the content and thus index it correctly.
  2. It can enhance the display of a website’s search results, like adding rich snippets or knowledge graph cards. These enhanced displays are called rich results, features on the search results that go beyond the traditional blue links. Rich results are known to attract more clicks and hence drive more traffic to your site. You can also run a test on your URL or code to see whether it supports rich results and how it would look like using Google’s Rich Results Test.
  3. It helps with entity recognition, which allows search engines to identify key entities mentioned on a page. This information can be used in making informed decisions about how to rank and present a page on the SERP.

The most popular structured data vocabulary is, a documentation collaborated by Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex. Google Search recommends using the JSON-LD format, although it also supports Microdata and RDFa.

6. URL structure

A URL should be simple, logical, and easily understood by humans. This also makes it easy for search engine bots to crawl and index your page. Here are some dos and don'ts for a good URL structure:


  • Use simple and descriptive keywords
  • Use localized words
  • Use UTF-8 encoding for non-ASCII characters
  • Use country-specific domain
  • Use country-specific subdirectory
  • Use hyphens (-) to separate words
  • Use a robots.txt file to block access to problematic URLs
  • Use cookies instead of session IDs
  • Keep it short


  • Use non-ASCII characters
  • Use unreadable and long ID numbers
  • Use underscores to separate words
  • Complicate a URL with dynamic parameters

7. Canonical URLs

Canonical URLs are HTML tags that help bots understand the representative page from a group of duplicated pages. Without canonical tags, search engine bots will choose one page they deem most representative. 

Alternatively, you can use canonical tags to specify a canonical URL so that search engines will treat the specified URL as the authoritative version, indexing it and directing search engine traffic to it. This improves the search engine visibility and ranking of the original URL, while avoiding penalties for duplicated content.

8. Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are website links that show you where you are on the website. They are usually located at the top of a page. This is what it looks like:


Breadcrumbs are helpful for visitors to keep track of where they are, and allows them to easily navigate to other sections. It also shows the path of a user’s progress through a website and provides a clear hierarchy.

Although breadcrumbs are great for UX (user experience), they’re also helpful for search engines. Breadcrumbs helps search engines understand the structure of a website and the relationship between its pages. This allows for an easier crawling process.

9. XML Sitemap

An XML (Extensible Markup Language) sitemap is a text file that lists all of the pages on a website and provides information about each page. Some information included are the page’s URL, the date it was last updated, alternate language versions, and its priority relative to other pages.

Submitting a sitemap helps search engines crawl, index, and understand the structure of a website more efficiently. A sitemap also allows search engines understand the relationship between pages on a site and how frequently they are updated. This increases the chances of the page ranking well.

However, it’s important to note that an XML sitemap does not guarantee a place in the search results, and it won’t necessarily improve a website’s ranking. Nevertheless, it is still useful in ensuring that all pages get discovered, crawled, and indexed by search engine bots.

10. Hreflang

Hreflang tags are an HTML attribute that you can use to serve content for users in different countries and languages.

For example, you can use an hreflang tag to target French speakers in France, so that Google knows to serve your page to them. Alternatively, you can add an hreflang tag specifically for English speakers in France.

11. Internal Links

Internal links are links that connect a page to a different page on the same website. These links make it easy for users to navigate the site if they need additional information on a related topic. Additionally, having a good interlinking strategy helps search engines easily craw and understand the structure of a website.

Internal links also allow search engine bots to discover new pages and understand how the pages relate to each other when they crawl a website. This is where using descriptive anchor texts is important to help the bots understand the topic and relevance of a page.

Although there are many ways to plan your internal links, using a tool like SurgeGraph's Keyword Mapper is an easy way to visualize your interlinking strategy.

 internal linking.png

The Keyword Mapper works like a mind-mapper, where you can create cards using target keywords or topics and use arrows to interlink and show their relationship with each other. This also helps you identify any missed opportunities for interlinking.

Common Technical SEO Issues You Should Fix

While you focus on optimizing the technical aspects of your website, here are some of the most common technical SEO issues to watch out for and fix:

1. Broken Links

Broken links, also known as dead links, are hyperlinks on a webpage that point to a resource (usually another webpage) that no longer exists or cannot be accessed.

Broken links frustrate users and can signal poorly maintained websites to search engines, which is bad for SEO. 

Hence, make sure to regularly check your website for broken links using SEO tools or website crawlers. Then, replace broken links with working ones or remove them entirely.

 2. Crawl Errors

Crawl errors occur when search engine bots encounter problems accessing or indexing your pages.

These can be due to server errors, robots.txt blocking, or incorrect URLs. Use webmaster tools like Google Search Console to identify crawl errors and fix them accordingly.

3. Duplicate Content

Search engines penalize websites with a significant amount of duplicate content.

This can arise from thin content or even poorly managed parameters in URLs. Identify duplicate content and either consolidate it, implement canonical tags, or block it using robots.txt.

 4. Slow Mobile Load Speed

As covered previously, mobile-first indexing is a big aspect of technical SEO because most people now search for content using their phones.

Hence, prioritize optimizing your website's mobile load speed. Tools like Google PageSpeed Insights can help you identify areas for improvement.

5. Missing or Incorrect Robots.txt

A robots.txt file instructs search engines on which pages to crawl and index. Ensure your robots.txt file is present and accurate to avoid accidentally blocking important pages.

6. Improper Use of Meta Tags

Meta tags like title tags and meta descriptions are crucial for SEO. It also determines whether a user wants to click into your content.

Ensure your title tags are clear, concise, and relevant to the content, and include meta descriptions that accurately represent the page.

 7. Missing HTTPS

Websites without SSL certificates lack encryption and are considered insecure.

Google prioritizes secure websites (HTTPS) in search rankings, so make sure your website has a valid SSL certificate.

8. Insufficient Internal Linking

A well-planned internal linking structure helps search engines understand your website's content and hierarchy.

Make sure to link to relevant and high-quality pages on your website using descriptive anchor text. Also, ensure that there are no orphan pages (pages without any internal links pointing to them).


Technical SEO is a crucial foundation for a website's search engine visibility. By optimizing the technical aspects of your website, you make it easier for search engine crawlers to find, understand, and index your content. This paves the way for your website to rank higher in search engine results pages and attract more organic traffic.

Remember, technical SEO is an ongoing process, so make sure to regularly monitor your website for technical issues.The world of SEO is constantly evolving, so make it a habit to stay updates on the latest news and best practices. You can join SurgeGraph’s Facebook Group to get a weekly summary of SEO and AI news.

Technical SEO is just one part of the big umbrella of SEO. For on-page SEO optimization and content writing, make sure to utilize SurgeGraph’s Longform AI writing tool to publish SEO-optimized content that can rank and drive traffic to your site.