In this article we will talk about existing pillars of technical website optimization and how not to spend all your efforts in vain on the way to the TOP. In order for a website to meet all the requirements of search engines and have high chances of getting to the 1st position and consequently a big flow of target audience it’s necessary to carry out its technical optimization. Let’s talk about what you should pay attention to in more detail.
1. URL of a foreign-language website should be in English
When optimizing a website in Google and other foreign search engines an optimal URL is an address written in English.
2. All useful website pages should be indexed
The main goal of technical optimization is to provide the highest possible indexing of all website pages, i.e. search robots have to find a resource on the Internet, analyze it and decide how useful it is to visitors and whether it should be included into the base and begin showing it in search results.
3. The response code of pages must be 200
When requesting the website page the robot automatically receives its status code from the server, i.e. the message about what state it’s in. If you want a specified page to be on a search engines results page, it must respond with code 200. It means the page exists and works (therefore, it can be indexed by a search engine).
4. Nonexistent pages must respond with code 404
Error 404 indicates that the requested page is unavailable, i.e. it doesn't exist or isn't found. Search robots won't take it into account during indexing.
The error 404 appears when a user inserts a URL of a nonexistent page in the location bar of the browser or visits it using a broken link. It can be deleted pages (outdated articles, goods, offers) referred to by links from other sections, an error in typing the address by the user and so forth.
If nonexistent pages give the status code 200, they can end up in search engines results and that is not a good thing.
It’s ok if there are very few not found pages in search results. But if many pages that contained good content before are "not found", the website will start to lose its ranking and the traffic from search results, conversion and behavioral factors will deteriorate. That’s why it’s crucial to set up the processing of the error 404 correctly.
How to do that?
• The page should be visually and structurally complete and at the same time match the general conception of the website design.
• It is better to place links that can be useful to the visitor on the page, for example, on the website homepage, the catalogue, contacts, etc.
• It’s important to apologize to visitors that the page isn’t working.
• It’s advisable to place a search bar where the user will be able to find what he’s looking for.
• You can tell about discounts and promotions on the page and that will let you interest visitors, etc.
Here are some more examples of originally designed pages with the error 404:
5. Broken links should be removed
Broken links direct to website pages with a server’s response code 404, i.e. to nonexistent pages (images, documents) we mentioned earlier. Even if this page is beautifully designed, user’s expectations won't be satisfied anyway. That’s why it’s important to monitor the website and to avoid broken links. In this case the users’ and search engines’ trust to the website will grow and that will favor the optimization of the resource.
If you’ve detected a dead link it is necessary:
- to change the page URL for the current one if that’s where the error is;
- to recover information on that page where the link directs to (if the URL is correct but the page has become unavailable for some reason, for example, the material was removed from the publication);
- to delete the link if it’s outdated and doesn't have any value.
6. Mirror sites should be set up correctly
The mirror site is a copy of the website available under different URL addresses but containing identical content (for example, www.site.ru and site.ru).
When optimizing a website it’s crucial that there always be the same main mirror website in search results. Why is it necessary?
Search engine optimization becomes ineffective when there are several mirror sites without the main one as some pages can be indexed with one mirror site, and others – with another. In turn you can optimize a page of one of the mirror sites, put links to increase its weight, and the robot can go to this page on the other mirror site, i.e. all work will be pointless.
In order to avoid this glue the mirror sites, i.e. combine several domain names for traffic transfer, link mass figures and other significant characteristics for optimization on the main website. You can do it by setting a 301 redirect (redirection of visitors and search robots from one URL address to another) from secondary mirror sites to the main one. There’s more about it in the following paragraph.
7. 301 and 302 redirects should be set up correctly
The 301 redirect redirects visitors and robots of search engines from one URL address of the website to another. Its setting is necessary when changing pages’ URL and gluing the websites together. In this case the old page will drop out of the search engines index, and all weight earned by it will be transferred to the new page where the redirect is made.
The 302 redirect is used for temporary redirection, for example, when redesigning the website. When using the 302 redirect the old page remains in the search engines index and its weight isn't transferred.
Pay attention: it’s quite difficult to optimize a new page with the 302 redirect from the old page set up for it, as it has the copy in the web (the old page from where the 302 redirect comes) and the link weight is zero (the weight of the old page isn't transferred). Such pages should be detected on time and the 302 redirect should be changed for the 301.
You can learn the redirect type by checking HTTP pages status codes from which the redirection takes place.
8. Links that don't need indexing should be closed by the nofollow tag
Many webmasters close unnecessary links from indexation, namely external links (links directing to pages of the other resource). It will allow not to transfer the page weight to other websites and it will positively affect its optimization.
To close external links from being indexed, i.e. to forbid robots to visit the links, add a rel attribute = "nofollow" in the robots.txt file which is stored in the root folder of the website.
For example, that’s how you should add a rel attribute = "nofollow" to forbid indexation of the external link:
<a href= "site.com" rel="nofollow"> linktext</a>
In this article we studied only some things that should be paid attention to when carrying out technical optimization of the website. One way or another any missed mistake will prevent you from getting to the TOP of search results. Therefore before starting advertizing campaigns on the Internet, analyze the resource, find and eliminate all existing defects, follow the rules and then your website will become a reliable assistant in making profit.