Elevate your startup with Technical SEO! Explore vital strategies and a step-by-step checklist to optimize your site effectively!

Technical SEO is pivotal for startups aiming for a robust online presence.

Websites often face hurdles like sluggish load times and poor mobile optimization. Don’t let these underlying issues affect your site’s visibility and user satisfaction.

A staggering 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine (BrightEdge). That’s why an effective SEO strategy is crucial; it’s the linchpin turning those searches into golden opportunities for business triumph!

Dive into our comprehensive guide on Technical SEO for Startups. I’ll unravel the complexities, offering actionable, proven strategies to elevate your online presence.

Also, read to the end and discover real-life results that skyrocketed traffic.

Ready to drive organic traffic, improve user experience, and catapult your startup to digital success? Let’s turn those opportunities into wins!

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO is optimizing a website’s infrastructure for search engine crawling and indexing. It focuses on loading speed, mobile-friendliness, site structure, and structured data. The goal is to improve user experience and organic rankings.

Why is Technical SEO Important for Startups?

Technical SEO is important for startups because it helps search engines effectively understand and index web pages. This leads to better visibility in search results and more organic traffic. A well-optimized site also ensures faster load times, mobile optimization, and a seamless user experience.

For startups, this means better online presence, increased organic traffic, higher user retention, and a competitive edge.

If your web pages are not accessible to search engines, they will not rank in search results. This can cause lost revenue and missed opportunities for your business.

In other words, technical SEO optimization keeps your boat floating. Would you add fresh paint to your boat if there are holes in the haul?

A savvy caption would patch those holes. And that’s what you’ll learn in this technical SEO guide.

The Benefits of Technical SEO (And Why)

In the digital age, a startup’s online presence is paramount. Technical SEO offers several benefits that enhance online visibility, user experience, and site performance.

Let’s delve into these advantages:

  • Increases Organic Traffic: By optimizing the technical aspects, startups can attract more organic visitors, reducing dependency on paid ads.
  • Higher Search Result Rankings: Search engines favor technically sound websites, leading to better positions on search result pages.
  • Drives More Conversions: With a well-optimized site, visitors are likelier to take desired actions, from signing up to purchasing.
  • Improves Site Loading Speed: Technical SEO addresses site speed and ensures pages load swiftly. This helps retain users and reduce bounce rates.
  • Better User Experience: By focusing on elements like mobile optimization and site structure, users enjoy a seamless and intuitive browsing experience.
  • Improves Crawlability: Ensuring search engines can easily crawl and index your site means more pages get noticed and ranked.
  • Enhances Your Site Security: A part of technical SEO ensures secure protocols like SSL. This safeguards your site and user data from potential online threats. It also establishes trust.
  • Increases SERP Features: Structured data and other technical elements help startups achieve rich snippets. These SERP features increase search visibility and click-through rates.
  • Avoids Google Penalties: By adhering to SEO best practices, your startup can avoid penalties that hinder search visibility.

With a robust online foundation, your startup is ready for sustained growth and success.

How to Do Technical SEO (The RIGHT Way)

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is daunting, especially for startups. But, with a systematic approach, it’s entirely manageable.

Here’s a three-step guide to ensure your SEO effort is on the right track:

1. Conduct a Technical SEO Site Audit

A technical SEO audit is the first crucial step in optimizing your website for search engines. It’s a health check for your site, identifying strengths and areas for improvement.

Use reliable tools like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or Screaming Frog to run your audit. These platforms provide comprehensive insights into various technical aspects of your site.

A technical site audit will highlight areas of improvement, including:

  • Crawl Errors
  • XML Sitemaps
  • Robots.txt
  • Mobile Optimization
  • Site Speed and Core Web Vitals
  • Website Structure
  • URL Structure
  • Duplicate Content
  • Orphan Pages
  • Canonicalization
  • Website Security

Conducting a thorough technical audit provides a roadmap for subsequent optimization efforts. This first step primes your site for peak performance.

Ready to elevate your online presence? Contact Gravitate today for a free Technical SEO audit. Let’s craft your roadmap to digital dominance!

2. Find and Fix Technical SEO Issues

Once you’ve identified the issues, prioritize them. Promptly addressing technical issues is pivotal for maintaining a site’s health and search visibility.

I recommend the following SEO tips to help prioritize issues and ensure speedy results:

  1. Create a Spreadsheet: List all identified issues in a spreadsheet. Rank them based on impact, ease of fix, and traffic influence. This visual aid helps you systematically address problems and track progress.
  2. Severity Impact: Address issues that directly affect user experience or site accessibility first. For example, 404 errors, server issues, or mobile-unfriendliness.
  3. Traffic Influence: Focus on pages of your site that receive the most traffic. If they have technical issues, resolving them can yield immediate positive results.
  4. Resource Allocation: Consider the time and resources required for each fix. If you can quickly resolve specific issues, tackle them for immediate improvements.
  5. Stay Updated: As search engine algorithms evolve, some issues may become more critical than others. Regularly review and rectify emerging problems to ensure optimal site performance.

3. Monitor Your Site for Technical SEO Issues

Technical optimization isn’t a one-time task. Continuously monitor your site and set up alerts for anomalies.

I recommend these three simple tips:

  1. Leverage Tools: Use platforms like Google Search Console, Ahrefs, or SEMrush regularly. These tools offer alerts and insights into crawl errors, indexation issues, and other technical concerns.
  2. Set Up Automated Alerts: Configure your tool to send notifications for anomalies or issues. Immediate alerts allow for swift action before problems escalate.
  3. Conduct Periodic Audits: Don’t rely solely on automation. Schedule routine technical SEO audits, at least quarterly. Also, manually review and catch overlooked or emerging issues.

Regular checks help you promptly identify and rectify problems, keeping your site’s performance at its peak.

20-Point Technical SEO Checklist (That Gets Results)

Technical SEO Checklist Illustration

Technical SEO forms the backbone of a website’s online visibility.

This checklist ensures your site’s foundation is solid, enhancing user experience and search engine performance.

Let’s dive into these essential checkpoints and technical SEO tips:

1. Set Up Google Search Console (GSC)

Google Search Console Setup

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google. It has various tools and reports, providing insights into your site’s performance and potential issues.

Access GSC by registering your site, verifying ownership, and monitoring performance metrics regularly.

Steps to set up Google Search Console:

  1. Visit the Google Search Console website.
  2. Click “Start Now” and sign in.
  3. Enter your website URL.
  4. Verify ownership. Methods include uploading a file, adding a meta tag, or using Google Analytics.
  5. Once verified, select “Property Settings.”
  6. Start exploring reports and data.

GSC provides valuable data, guiding informed SEO strategies.

2. Create SEO-Friendly Site Architecture

SEO Friendly Site Architecture

Ensure your website has a logical layout, making navigating easier for search engines and users.

For example, use a flat hierarchy with main categories and subcategories. Also, ensure pages are no more than three clicks away from the homepage.

Here’s why an SEO-friendly site structure is important:

  • User Experience (UX): Quickly finding information or completing tasks enhances user satisfaction. Excessive clicks can frustrate users, causing them to exit.
  • Site Crawlability: Search engines index pages closer to the homepage more efficiently. Deep pages may not get crawled.
  • Page Authority Distribution: The homepage usually has the highest authority due to more backlinks. Keeping pages within three clicks distributes this authority more effectively.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization: Conversion rates increase when users can easily access critical pages, like products or services. More clicks means less revenue.

The “three-click rule” is a guideline, not a hard rule. However, this best practice is proven to boost user experience and conversion rates.

3. Create an SEO-Friendly URL Structure

SEO-Friendly URL Structure

Clear, concise URLs with relevant keywords win the day.

In fact, Backlnko’s study shows short URLs rank better than long URLs.

Steps to optimize your permalink structure:

  1. Descriptive and Relevant: Use a relevant keyword that describes the page’s content. For example, use “gravitatedesign.com/seo-guide” instead of “gravitatedesign.com/page123“.
  2. Keep It Short and Simple: Avoid lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters or filler words. Short URLs are also easier to remember, read, share, and use for advertising.
  3. Use Hyphens for Separation: Separate words in URLs with hyphens (e.g., “seo-tips“) rather than underscores or spaces. Search engines read hyphens as word separators.
  4. Avoid Numbers and Dates: Keep your URLs evergreen and make them future-proof for later edits or updates.
  5. Use Lowercase Letters: Mixing uppercase and lowercase letters can cause case-sensitive and duplicate content issues.

4. Create and Optimize a Robots.txt File

Gravitate Robots.txt File

A robots.txt file tells search engines which pages to crawl or avoid.

It can prevent crawlers from overloading servers and stop indexing certain pages. This ensures only relevant content shows in search results.

However, it’s a guideline rather than an enforceable rule and relies on the crawler’s compliance.

Steps to create and optimize your robots.txt file:

  1. Place the file in your site’s root directory (e.g., gravitatedesign.com/robots.txt).
  2. Use “User-agent” to specify search engines (e.g., User-agent: Googlebot).
  3. Use “Disallow” to block crawlers from specific paths (e.g., Disallow: /private/).
  4. Test the file in Google Search Console’s Robots.txt Tester to ensure all crucial pages are accessible.
  5. Regularly review and update the file as your site structure evolves.

5. Create and Submit an XML Sitemap

Rank Math XML Sitemap

An XML sitemap is a file listing a website’s URLs. It helps search engines understand your site structure and discover pages to crawl.

Steps to create a sitemap:

  1. Use plugins like Rank Math or online generators like XML-Sitemaps.com.
  2. Ensure it lists essential pages and make updates as your site evolves.

Steps to submit to Google Search Console:

  1. Log into GSC and select your website.
  2. Go to Sitemaps on the left menu.
  3. Enter the sitemap URL (e.g., gravitatedesign.com/sitemap_index.xml) and click Submit.
  4. Monitor for errors and ensure pages get indexed.

6. Identify Crawl Errors and Experience Issues in Search Console

GSC Page Experience Report

Address issues preventing search engines from accessing your site or affecting performance.

For example, regularly check reports in GSC and fix reported errors.

Top reports to review:

  • Pages
  • Page Experience
  • Core Web Vitals
  • Mobile Usability
  • Manual Actions
  • Security Issues

Fixing errors ensures optimal site indexing, leading to better search engine ranking.

7. Secure Your Website with HTTPS

Secure Website with HTTPS and SSL

HTTPS encrypts data transfer, safeguarding user information. A secure site also builds trust, which means more conversions.

SiteLock reports that 4.1 million websites have malware at any given time. That’s a compelling reason to secure your site!

Steps to secure your website:

  1. Purchase an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) certificate from a trusted provider.
  2. Install and activate the certificate on your hosting server.
  3. Update your site’s settings to redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.
  4. Ensure all URLs and website resources (like images) redirect to their HTTPS versions.

8. Ensure Only One Website Version Is Accessible

www vs non-www domain

Redirecting a website to the www or non-www version is crucial for SEO and user experience.

This consistency avoids duplicate content issues because search engines see www and non-www as separate pages. Having two accessible versions will divide traffic and rankings between them.

Having one version also ensures a consistent browsing experience for users. They will always land on the same site version regardless of how they typed the URL.

Steps to ensure your site redirects to the correct version:

  1. Decide on a preferred version. Choose either the “www” or “non-www” version.
  2. Implement 301 redirects to guide traffic from non-preferred versions to the chosen one.
  3. Update your website’s internal links to reflect the preferred version.
  4. Set your preferred domain in Google Search Console.
  5. Ensure canonical tags on pages reflect the chosen version.
  6. Update sitemaps and robot.txt files accordingly.

9. Fix Broken Links and 404 Pages

Donut 404 Error Page

Ensure users and search engines don’t encounter dead ends!

Broken links and 404 pages will negatively affect your website. For example:

  • Broken Links: These links don’t lead to the intended page or resource. They disrupt user experience, leading to frustration and leaving your site.
  • 404 Pages: 404 is a response code indicating the server couldn’t find the requested page. Users who access a non-existent page typically see a 404 error page.

Use tools like Broken Link Checker to identify and replace broken links. Also, ensure the new links lead to a helpful and relevant page.

10. Fix 301 Redirect Chains and Errors

301 Redirect Chain

301 redirect chains are sequences of multiple redirects from one URL to another.

Redirect chains slow down site loading times, affect user experience, and dilute link equity. This hurdle can potentially harm your search rankings.

Minimize multi-step redirects by replacing all 301 redirect links with direct links. For example, instead of redirecting A -> B -> C, redirect A -> C.

11. Ensure All Pages Have a Canonical Tag

Canonical Page Illustration

A canonical tag is a URL that signals search engines which version of a duplicated page to index. It prevents duplicate content issues and consolidates link equity to the preferred page.

For example, if multiple URLs display similar content, use the canonical tag to specify the preferred URL.

Most modern website platforms like WordPress automatically add canonical tags.

You can also manually add canonicals with these steps:

  1. Audit Your Site: Use tools like Screaming Frog to identify pages without canonical tags.
  2. Choose Preferred URLs: Decide the primary version of each set of duplicated content.
  3. Implement Tags: Add (<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/preferred-url/” />) to the <head> section of non-preferred pages.
  4. Avoid Mixed Signals: Ensure other tags, like “noindex,” don’t conflict with canonical directives.
  5. Monitor & Update: Regularly review and adjust canonical tags as site content evolves.

12. Improve Internal Linking

Internal Linking Diagram

Strengthen page connections by guiding readers to more of your content.

Internal links connect one web page to another on the same domain. They improve your SEO strategy by aiding:

  • Site crawlability
  • Distributing page authority
  • Enhancing user navigation
  • Emphasizing content hierarchy and relevance
  • Boosting individual page rankings and overall site structure

Steps to improve internal linking:

  1. Identify key content and landing pages.
  2. Use descriptive anchor text for links.
  3. Link relevant pages together contextually.
  4. Avoid excessive links on one page.
  5. Update older content with links to newer posts.
  6. Use breadcrumb navigation for user guidance.
  7. Regularly audit and adjust your link strategy.

13. Fix Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate Content Illustration

Duplicate content is identical or similar content in multiple places across your website.

Duplicate content is bad for SEO because it confuses search engines, making it unclear which version to index or rank. This can negatively affect page authority, organic traffic, and search rankings.

Steps to fix duplicate content:

  1. Identify Duplicates: Use tools like Copyscape or Siteliner.
  2. Set Canonical Tags: Point search engines to the preferred version of the content.
  3. Use 301 Redirects: Redirect duplicate pages to the original content.
  4. Update Internal Links: Ensure they point to the correct, canonical version.
  5. Regularly Monitor: Continuously check for and resolve emerging duplicates.

14. Identify and Fix Orphan Pages

Ahrefs Orphan Pages Report

Orphan Pages are web pages that are not linked internally on your site.

Orphan pages are bad for startup SEO because search engines can’t discover and index them. These pages will never rank if users and crawlers can’t find them.

Steps to fix orphan pages:

  1. Identify Orphan Pages: Use SEO tools like Screaming Frog to find them.
  2. Evaluate Relevance: Decide if the page is necessary. If not, remove it.
  3. Create Internal Links: Link orphan pages from other site sections if relevant.
  4. Update Sitemaps: Ensure your sitemap includes all necessary pages, aiding search engines in indexing.

15. Add Image Alt Tags

Image Alt Text

An image alt tag is a text description for images on websites. It provides context to search engines, improving image search ranking, and aiding visually impaired users.

For example, an image of a golden retriever would use alt= “Golden retriever playing in the park.”

Steps to add alt tags:

  1. Identify Images: Locate images on your site lacking alt tags.
  2. Create Descriptive Tags: Write concise, descriptive alt text for each image.
  3. Implement Tags: Add the alt attribute within the image tag: `<img src=” image.jpg” alt=” descriptive text”>`
  4. Regularly Update: Continually review and update alt tags as site content evolves.

16. Ensure Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly

Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

Being mobile-friendly means optimizing your website for seamless use on smartphones and tablets.

It’s crucial for an SEO strategy because Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites in search rankings due to the prevalence of mobile searches.

In fact, 45.4% of marketers say optimizing for mobile is one of the most effective strategies for ranking highly on the SERPs. (HubSpot)

Tips for mobile-friendliness:

  1. Test Responsiveness: Use a Mobile-Friendly Test tool to check your site’s responsive design.
  2. Responsive Design: A responsive design ensures your site’s design adapts to various screen sizes.
  3. Fast Loading Speed: Optimize images and utilize performance-enhancing techniques like lazy loading.
  4. Easy Navigation: Simplify menus and keep clickable elements fingertip-friendly.
  5. Legible Text: Use readable fonts and ensure text is resizable without zooming.

17. Improve Page Loading Speed

Pingdom Page Speed Monitoring

Pingdom Page Speed Monitoring

Page loading speed is the time a web page takes to display content fully.

It’s pivotal for startup SEO because slow-loading pages have higher bounce rates and crawlability issues. These affect user experience and conversions.

For example, bounce rates skyrocket when a user waits longer than 3 seconds. In fact, each additional second of load time decreases conversion rates by an average of 4.42%. (HubSpot)

Tips to improve site speed:

  • Optimize Images: Compress images and use appropriate file formats.
  • Enable Compression: Use software for file compression to reduce the sizes of your CSS, HTML, and JavaScript files.
  • Leverage Browser Caching: Set expiry dates for your resources.
  • Minimize HTTP Requests: Reduce the number of elements loaded per page.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): Distribute the load, saving bandwidth and improving the user experience.

18. Optimize for Core Web Vitals

Gravitate Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are Google’s metrics for evaluating user experience. They focus on loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability.

Good scores enhance SEO by meeting Google’s preference for high-quality, user-friendly sites.

Tips to improve Core Web Vitals:

  • Identify Issues: Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to find areas of improvement.
  • Optimize Images: Use proper dimensions and formats. Also, consider lazy loading.
  • Minimize JavaScript Execution: Break up long tasks and defer non-critical JavaScript.
  • Use Web Fonts Efficiently: Optimize loading and rendering.
  • Ensure Content Stability: Avoid layout shifts by reserving space for images and embeds.
  • Optimize Server Response Times: Improve server performance and utilize a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

19. Add Structured Data (Schema Markup)

Google Rich Results Test Tool

Schema markup is a code added to websites to help search engines provide more informative results for users.

It boosts SEO by enhancing the rich snippets displayed beneath page titles in search results. These SERP features potentially improve click-through rates.

For example, a recipe page would use Recipe schema to highlight details like ingredients and cooking time.

Tips to add schema markup:

  • Identify Content Types: Determine which content can benefit from schema. For example, articles, product, and service pages.
  • Use Structured Data Markup Helper: Google’s free Markup Helper tool can generate the necessary code.
  • Add the Code to Your Site: Place the generated schema code in your page’s HTML. Or, use a dedicated schema plugin.
  • Test the Code: Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure there are no errors.

20. Use Hreflang for Content in Multiple Languages

Hreflang Illustration

Hreflang is an HTML tag that tells search engines a page’s language and geographical targeting. It also serves the correct language or regional URL in search results.

Hreflang benefits SEO by preventing duplicate content issues in multilingual sites and improving user experience.

Tips to implement hreflang:

  • Identify Pages and Versions: Determine which pages have alternate versions for different languages or regions.
  • Use Correct Language and Region Codes: Follow ISO standards when specifying languages and countries.
  • Implement Tags Properly: Place hreflang tags in the HTTP header, sitemap, or page head.
  • Validate Implementation: Use tools like Google’s Search Console to check for errors.

Does Technical SEO Work? Heck YES!

Ahref Technical Audit Example

I’ve run over 200 tech SEO audits, all of which have shown positive results. It’s a top priority when launching an SEO campaign.

But don’t take my word for it; let the data tell the story.

See the transformative results from one of our tech company clients. Here are the highlights:

  • Their website health score soared from 56 to a perfect 100 after completing a meticulous SEO audit!
  • Organic traffic skyrocketed by 205.882% within just three days!

Discover the effective SEO strategies that fueled this rapid ascent and learn how to replicate this success!

Elevate Your Startup with Expert Technical SEO Solutions

Navigating the intricacies of technical SEO is crucial for any startup aiming for digital prominence. It’s about creating seamless user experiences and making your site a favorite of search engines.

At Gravitate, we’re not just experts but partners in sculpting your optimal online presence. Let’s collaborate to refine your website’s technical foundation, boost your visibility, and accelerate your SEO success.

Ready to propel your startup business forward?

Schedule Your Free Consultation


Keep Learning

Want to learn more SEO tips for startups? Gain incredible insight into effective marketing strategies that get results.

This comprehensive SEO for startups guide includes ten chapters of invaluable information:


Technical SEO for Startups FAQ

Answers to common questions about tech SEO.

What Is a Technical SEO Audit?

A technical SEO audit examines your website’s underlying structure and settings. It identifies issues impacting search engine visibility, site performance, and user experience. This audit also provides insights to resolve identified issues.

Which Technical SEO Issues Are Most Important?

The most crucial technical SEO issues include slow page load speed, mobile unfriendliness, duplicate content, broken links, and indexing issues.

Addressing these technical SEO basics ensures a solid website foundation. It also improves site visibility, search engine rankings, organic traffic, user experience, and conversions.

Technical SEO vs On-Page SEO: What’s the Difference?

Technical SEO focuses on optimizing site structure and underlying code for search engines. It addresses a website’s crawlability, indexation, and performance.

On-page SEO optimizes individual page content to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. For example, keyword optimization, meta tags, and quality content.

Note: An effective SEO strategy must focus on both. Consider hiring an SEO expert to ensure your site drives traffic, engages visitors, and converts clicks into loyal customers!

Does Technical SEO Require Coding?

Some technical SEO aspects need coding knowledge, like adding structured data and optimizing website architecture. However, optimizing page speed and fixing broken links use SEO tools and plugins. There are no extensive coding skills required.

How to Choose the Right Technical SEO Agency?

Selecting the right technical SEO agency involves evaluating their experience, expertise, and results. Look for an SEO company with a proven track record in resolving technical issues and improving SEO performance.

Consider Gravitate for a digital marketing partner. We’ll align our strategies to your goals, offer tailored solutions, and drive tangible results in your startup SEO endeavors.

Also Read: How to Choose a Digital Marketing Agency (That Gets Results)