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Three Technical SEO Basics You Should Keep in Mind

July 24th, 2015

A good Google ranking is essential for the success of a website. In the past years, we’ve witnessed continuous updates in the Google algorithm that brought several SEO changes. Three technical requirements for websites have emerged since the “Hummingbird” update you should take into consideration. These technical SEO basics are easy to realize and can boost your ranking.


1. Avoid Duplicate Content

Here’s the good news: Google doesn’t penalize duplicate content anymore as long as it wasn’t created on purpose. However, deliberately created duplicate content is still penalized. According to the Google Webmaster Guidelines,

Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don’t follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results. – Google Webmaster Guidelines

You don’t have to worry about unintentional duplicate content; it won’t carry a penalty. It can, however, affect your website in the Google’s search results. Therefore, try to avoid duplicate content.

Internal and External Duplicate Content

Internal duplicate content can arise from content with different URLs.

External duplicate content is, for example, a website that provides multilingual versions on the same market. This would be, for instance, an English version in the German search results. You can easily solve the problem by telling the search engine which website language version should be used for which “language area”. Add the following link to the website’s <head> area:

<link rel="alternate" hreflang="es-ES" href="" />

Google video: Expanding your site to more languages

Duplicate content is also a website that can be accessed via www. and not www, if there’s no 301 redirect from one version to the other. You can avoid the problem by adding the following code to the .htaccess file:

#Force non-www:
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.example\.com [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [L,R=301]

Video: How does Google handle duplicate content?

Video 2: How to Destroy ALL Your Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is a complex topic that deserves its own article. For now we’ll leave it at that.

2. Mobile-friendly Ranking Factor Update

On April 21, 2015, Google rolled out a new update making the website’s mobile-friendliness a ranking signal. The new algorithm only affects mobile search queries in all languages worldwide. It’s time to make your website responsive and optimize it for mobile use if you haven’t done it already. Mobile search queries will increase in the future. According to comScore, mobile search queries account for 29% of total search volume.

Websites that are not mobile-friendly may be ranked lower when searched on smartphones or tablets. Google also added the mobile-friendly label to help searchers know which sites are optimized.


Googles wants to provide the best results to each user. If someone conducts a mobile search, he’ll get adequate results that fit mobile devices.

3. Optimize Your Site Structure

No question about it, a good website structure ensures high usability which then again often improves your ranking. There’s a simple reason for that. If you block the stylesheet of your website for a second, you’ll only see the raw text. How well do you get your bearings? Not well? Then you should think about restructuring your website because this is basically what the Google Crawler gets to see.

Good internal linking is really important because this makes it easier for the Google Crawler to record the entire website. This can be achieved by using, for example, a second navigation in the footer. Here you can link less frequented pages like “Contact” or “About us”.

The so-called breadcrumb navigation is important for an optimal internal linking. You have probably come across such a breadcrumb navigation already. Here’s an example:

Start » E-Business » Heatmaps and more: Hotjar helps to understand your visitors better

Using the WordPress widgets “Categories” and “Tagcloud” is also very helpful if WordPress is the content management system of your choice. According to Sistrix, Wikipedia is the internal linking champion and can be used as an example.


More Structural Elements

Check the content area of your website. The area with the important content, which is the actual post, should come before less important content like the sidebar. Another important element is the heading. Use headings to structure your post. The main heading should be <h1> and subheadings <h2>, <h3>, and <h4>. Subheadings should be used according to the “importance” of the single text blocks or to divide the main text from the subtext.


On-page SEO is a steady process that needs time. Optimizing your website as discussed in this article can improve your Google ranking. Optimizing the site structure is quickly done and so is the avoidance of duplicate content. Creating a mobile-friendly site may take some more time and thorough tests. But that’s a good investment into the future and it will satisfy users visiting your site with their smartphones.

Related Links


Duplicate content


Site structure


Andreas Hecht is a journalist and specialist for WordPress and WordPress Security. He roams the web since its inception. He has published an ebook on WordPress Security, which you might want to take a look at.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
James McInally
1 year 3 months ago

Hi Andreas, nice comprehensive list here. Dupe content, a good structure and, ultimately, mobile-friendly design make your site very crawlable and agreeable to Google. If I may, two more basic elements – that I often see left out, ignored or set-up incorrectly – are robots.txt and an XML sitemap. These are easy to set up with plugins in WordPress and other CMS’and should be included in all sites to make your website more crawlable to Google.

Tony Zeoli
1 year 2 months ago


You’re definitely right about XML Sitemaps.

I use All in One SEO Pro to generate sitemaps for all my personal sites. Full disclosure; I’m Director of Marketing for AIOSEO, but for 6-years prior, I’ve used AIOSEO Pack and had such great results, I joined the team!

1 year 2 months ago

I like your tips, they’re really helpful. I can use this for our campaigns too.

Alex Walker
1 year 1 month ago

Learned a lot more about canonical issues, thanks for writing!

Alex Walker
1 year 1 month ago

Very helpful article. Content duplication is a vital factor in content marketing as well–I think Google has the right policies.

Brian Lonsdale
1 year 22 days ago

Hello Andreas,

I particularly agree with the site structure point. Having a easily crawl-able site structure / easy to navigate for customers means you will reap the benefits.

I want to also mention structured data as I think that this is one of the best ways for displaying your products in the best way on SERPs.