What is technical optimization for your website?
Technical SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website in order to help search engine bots (also known as crawlers or spiders) successfully:
- access all the pages you want indexed
- crawl the pages of your website
- understand the content of your site
- index the webpages of your site
- render the pages of your website in web browsers
Technical SEO isn’t exciting (at least not to normal people anyway), but it is an important part of any attorney SEO campaign. Getting the technicals aspects of your website correct becomes even more critical when you’re operating in an online vertical that’s as competitive as legal services.
Website Architecture/URL Structure
Creating user-friendly URL’s that are also SEO-friendly for the pages on your site is a top priority at the start of any website optimization campaign.
Here’s a basic example of how to create a user-friendly URL:
Let’s say you’re a DUI attorney…
Now let’s take this one step further, and create a URL that’s also URL friendly…
Finally, let’s assume you also offer representation in other types of criminal defense cases in addition to driving under the influence…
Now we’ve provided the type of URL structure that will help the search engine crawlers better understand your website.
Adding an SSL Certificate To Make Your Website HTTPS
Installing an SSL certificate on your site means that any user-input information such as:
- personal information
… is encrypted when it is transferred between your site, and the server.
Adding an SSL certificate creates an HTTPS version of your website, which creates a situation that must be addressed at the same time.
‘Merge’ the Versions of Your Site Into One Preferred Domain
Believe it or not, you actually have 4 different versions of your website:
You didn’t do anything to create these different versions of your site, but the search engines recognize all four of these URL formats.
The problem with that is… the search engines don’t consider these different versions of your website to be the same. They actually consider each version to be a different (separate) site.
We don’t want that. Very bad for rankings.
So we need to consolidate all four versions of your site, so that there is one – and only one site recognized by the search engines.
The 301 Redirect
Most SEO professionals simply create a 301 redirect that points three of the versions to the fourth version (URL) for your website.
For example, if you decided to use:
… as the one version of your site you wanted the search engines to recognize.
You would simply setup a 301 redirect for the other versions that all point to https://www.YourSite.com.
A 301 redirect tells the search engines that a particular URL has been permanently moved to another destination URL.
You can think of it like the change of address form you would fill out at the Post Office when you move to a new house.
You can use the canonical tag when you have more than one page on your site that is essentially the same. More precisely, when you have more than one page dedicated to the same topic, including a lot of the same content.
The canonical tag lets the search engines know which webpage is your preferred page for that topic.
Canonicals give the search engines one webpage (URL) that should be displayed in the SERP’s, and funnels the SEO value of the other pages on that same topic to the preferred webpage you setup as the canonical.