Chapter 5 – Technical SEO

Now that you know how to get found by the search engines and how to write content that they just love to index and rank high it is time to look at the technical side of SEO.

You do not need a huge understanding of code or anything like that to get by, just the basics will bring you a long way. Knowing what your website developing is going on about helps, it will also help you to pass up on their service and do some of this yourself, it really is not that complex when you get into it.

Why is technical SEO important? You know how to show your pages to humans, but it is also important to make things clear to the bots. Having a good knowledge on technical aspect will help you improve site load speed and give you an idea of what code to use and stay away from.

In this section of our SEO guide we are going to cover:

  1. How a website is runs in a browser
  2. How the search bots and engines view a site
  3. How the users see and use a site

The main technical aspects of a website effect how it runs, how fast it loads up in certain browsers and how it shows on different devices and screen sizes. A website developer should have some knowledge of SEO to help build a good website not only for the user, but for the search bots too.

How a website operates

So, if a website developer needs to know some basic SEO, it works the other way, that an SEO professional should know some code and how a website operates.

We are going to take a look at domain names, hosting, content management platforms, and the code of a website. Everything here has an impact on your websites performance and its rankings.

It is very important to know this information because:

  • Speed is a good ranking factor and everything here affects load times. Fast sites rank higher and users love them too.
  • Certain aspects of your website code can be over looked by the search bots, Javascript is passed over by the bot and can sometimes not be crawled, or will be passed over again days or even weeks after the initial crawl of the bot.

If you read through the information below you will understand how your website works and will know if changes need to be made for faster loading times and better crawl rates.

Setting up your website name

Before your website can be viewed online you need to get yourself a few things first:

  1. Purchase a domain name: You can purchase a domain name from suppliers like Namecheap and GoDaddy. Here at Rankers Paradise we recommend Namecheap as they offer free Whois options. Where you buy a domain name will not affect the sites rankings.
  2. Purchase some hosting: The next step is a home for all your information, this will be the server where all the details are kept and is available 24/7 for people to access. For low cost hosting we recommend BlueHost or DreamHost. When you have that sorted you will need to change your Domain Name Servers (DNS) over at the place you purchased the domain name from.

How people discover your website in a browser

  1. User requests the domain: Now that you have an IP address that is supplied by your hosting, people can request your website by typing the domain name into any given browser. Be aware that different browser render website in a different way, this is because they read the code differently, some may not even read parts of your code.
  2. Browser requests the domain: After you type in the domain name the browser will connect to the server your website is located on. The browser will then access the code of the site and render the information in the browser.
  3. Browser displays the web page: The browser has now accessed the code and will then put it together as stated to be displayed. The pages resources is known as the DOM (document object model). The browser downloads the code and will then show the details on your screen in the browser. Sites with heavy code will load a lot slower, of course this is different from browser to browser.

To make a page load faster you can use what is known as async, this shortens the critical rendering path by setting scripts. This tells the DOM the page can be assembled while other scripts are fetched.

Now let’s take a look at the code and the languages used to render these pages:

  • HTML – basic mark up for most sites
  • CSS – renders fonts and images
  • Javascript – used for actions on a page like form submissions etc
  • PHP – server side scripting language


This stands for hypertext markup language and is the very basic code for any website. Elements like your heading and main content is help with the body tags.

If you work in SEO you should know the very basics of HTML code, this way you can understand what a link looks like and easily check if it is nofollow or follow. A knowledge of HTML will also help you check a sites Meta Data by viewing it’s source code.


This is small snippets of code that can be accessed from within the main website code or from an external style sheet. It is a fast and easy to code the way a website is styled in one go, from the colours of the fonts down to the background colours and font sizes.

The parts of CSS that you really should be aware of as an SEO professional would be:

  • As the CSS code can be located in another file outside of the main code it can help the page load a quicker.
  • These external CSS files can be compressed, in turn improves load times, which as we know, is a ranking signal.
  • With a higher content to code ratio the site is more likely to have more content indexed for more keyword rankings.
  • Be aware that hiding content and links in your CSS code goes against the Google Webmaster Guidelines and will get your site penalized if discovered.


Javascript enables your site to become interactive, it adds elements to your page that will allow your visitors to submit forms and even play games. Javascript will almost become a big headache for you as you get further and further into SEO, it really does slow down load times. Use it only where it us absolutely necessary, plain HTML pages load fast without any Javascript on them.

Why does Javascript slow down website load times? Most Javascript is rendered in the users browser, if server side rendering takes place the files are executed at the server and sent over to the browser, taking more time. If your text in forms and links are loaded through Javascript it will not been viewed until rendered, this also means the search engines do not view it until it is fully rendered. Google can access and read Javascript the same as your browser, however some elements can be missed.

Remember that Javascript changes and can become outdated, this means it will not be accessed by the bots and certain browsers. This will also slow down your website load times. With all this in mind, Javascript can be a real pain when you are working as an SEO, avoid using it as much as you can.

There is a way to check how Google bot views your pages, go to your Google Webmaster Account and drop your URL into the URL inspection tool.

After you have done that you can click the “Test Live URL” button. Google bot will go ahead and crawl that page.

To see your code just click on the “View Tested Page” button. You will then have access to the HTML code, a screen shot, and some more technical details.

The HTML sections shows you how the bots view your page, the screen shot section shows you how the user views your page.

How the search bots view a website

There is a way to help the search bots view your website clearer, this is through the use of schema markup. It gives you a way to organize and label your content in a fashion that makes it fast for the bots to digest and regurgitate in the SERPs. You will also hear scheme referred to as structured data or just simply markup.

To view a full list of all schema markup take a look at the website, believe me, there is a lot of options out there. They list specific schema for different types of websites, be it a website selling fish, or site selling SEO services. After you have implemented your schema it is a good idea to test it in your Google Webmaster Account, go ahead and access the Structured Data Testing Tool.

Google will also render your schema by showing some of the elements in the SERPs, giving your website an advantage making it stand out more from the others. This is called rich snippets and may be shown as a product price or even a review rating.

To ensure schema markup success take this onboard:

  • Use many different types of schema on the same page: So you can markup more than one element on the same page, this is useful if you have many different products shown on one page.
  • Keep markup visible for users and bots: Ensure nothing is hidden, if you markup your address in the code, ensure it is visible on the page too. The markup should be accurate to what is shown in the body content.
  • Markup reviews: All your reviews should be real reviews and should not be done by the website owners.

Notify the bots of your main pages using canonical tags

If a bot crawls two web pages on the same site that has the exact same content, how does it know which one to index? You can use the rel=”canonical” tag to help the search bots know that it is the page you want to give priority to for indexing purposes.

This allows you to tell the bots that a piece of content is the original, anything else that becomes published that uses the same content will be overlooked. This stops the problem of duplicate content on the same domain, this is particularly useful for ecommerce sites showing the same products over and over again on different pages.

Google recommends having a self-referencing canonical tag on every page on your site. If you do not do this you run the risk of getting a duplicate content penalty, which could have an impact on the whole site and its rankings.

A search engine would be less respected if it displayed the some content over and over again. This is why it is best practice when working in SEO to create new, fresh, and unique content.

Google is sophisticated and knows that sites will show the same data on different pages because of search facilities on a website. This will not cause your website to get penalized.

How the users see and use a site

SEO is without doubt directed towards the website user as much as it is about getting things right for the search bots. If your website is geared towards the users experience it will be rewarded with higher rankings, like we said, fast loading sites get better rankings, and give a better user experience.

Mobile users

These days more than half of traffic on the web comes from tablet and mobile phone devices, if you website does not look good on them it can harm your rankings. Google has updated their algorithm to give precedence to mobile optimized sites. A responsive website is a must, Google has a tool that you can use to check that your website renders correctly on a mobile device.

A responsive website will look great on a small mobile phone screen, just as it will also look great on a larger desktop screen. There is an easy to way ensure your site is responsive through the use of CSS code. You can also use AMP that is Accelerated Mobile Pages to deliver content quicker on mobile devices. This is done by caching content, where it is saved for faster rendering when needed again.

Google bot sends out a different bot for mobile indexing, so be sure that your sites links render the same as they do on your desk top site, or your mobile Google rankings will differ in some way to the desktop rankings.

Improving page load times

A slow loading website is very annoying, if your website takes a long time to load a visitor will leave and never return. With that in mind, Google ranks sites high that load quickly, it wants their users to get the best experience possible. For high rankings you must choose good hosting, use the right code, use less media for blazing fast load times.

To test your sites load time you can use the GTMetrix tool or the Google PageSpeed Insights tool, both are online tools and are free. Simply drop your URL into the tool and it will return list of instructions to help you speed up your load times.

In most cases, the reason your website is loading slowly is because it has a lot of media on it, large images files, and Javascript to render. You can use SRCSET attribute to have many versions of an image and then pic which version should be used in different situations. The code can be added to the image tag and helps give your website a responsive design.

You can use image lay loading to speed up load times, if you use WordPress as your content management platform there are many plugins available to get this done. This allows the browser to load the page words first and the images second. Users can then skim through the content as the images load in the background.

As you run through the details of how to speed up the load time of your website you will probably notice that Javascript has raised its ugly head again. You can drop Javascript files into other files away from the main code, which can be rendered later after the main body content has been loaded in the browser, giving the user a much better experience.

Improving your website for worldwide users

If you really want to go big then it is a good idea to optimize your website for all visitors around the world.

To ensure people around the world can access and use your site you can:

  • Use Translators: If you really want visitors from around the world to access your website it is a good idea to have a language translator on there. This would allow Google and other major search engines that are used more than Google in other countries like China can have access to index your website in another language.
  • Domain Extension Selection: A domain extension using will be targeting the UK searchers. If you want to go worldwide then the most common option would be a .com extension.

Now you know how to find amazing keyword, write content, the technical side of SEO, and on-site SEO, now it is time to promote what you have done and earn some amazing backlinks to achieve top keyword rankings.


  1. What is SEO
  2. The Dynamics of a Search Engine
  3. Keyword Research
  4. On-Site SEO
  5. Technical SEO
  6. Off-Site SEO – Backlinks and Promotion
  7. Measuring SEO Results – Track Keyword Rankings
  8. SEO Glossary