Technical SEO: Beginner’s Guide

Technical SEO is the process of making sure your website is set up in a way that search engines can easily crawl and index its content. 

Technical SEO includes actions like optimizing website speed, fixing broken links, improving website structure, and using proper HTML tags. The goal is to help the website rank higher in search engine results, making it more likely for people to find it when they search online.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization), a subcategory of digital marketing, can be divided into 4 primary pillars: Technical SEO, On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, and Local SEO.

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Why Is Technical SEO Important For Your Business

Technical SEO matters for Ghanaian businesses because it helps websites perform better on search engines like Google. When websites are technically sound, they load quickly, work well on mobile devices, and have easy-to-understand URLs. 

This improves the chances of appearing higher in search results, attracting more visitors, and ultimately, more customers. Good technical SEO ensures that your potential customers in Ghana and beyond can find and use your website effectively, which is vital for online success in today’s digital world.

The Main Elements of Technical SEO

Technical SEO elements can be categorized into three broad categories: Crawlability, Indexation, and Performance.

1. Crawlability: This category includes elements that ensure search engine bots can effectively crawl or navigate through your website. It focuses on making your website accessible and understandable for search engines.

2. Indexation: Indexation-related elements focus on how search engines store and categorize your web pages in their databases. This category involves optimizing your website’s structure, URLs, and content to improve indexing.

3. Performance: Performance-related elements deal with factors that affect the speed, usability, and overall performance of your website. This category aims to enhance the user experience and satisfy search engine algorithms, which often prioritize fast and user-friendly websites.

These categories help provide a clear framework for understanding and addressing the various technical aspects of SEO.

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Website crawling is when a search engine robot or “spider” visits a website to read and collect information from it. Crawling is the way search engines discover and learn about websites so they can show them in search results when people search for specific topics or information.

Let’s say you have a fashion business. It is when Google crawls your website that they will know your website is about fashion. This aspect of technical SEO is about making it easy for Google to crawl your website.

Site Structure

Site Structure (Site Architecture) refers to how the pages on your website are logically organized and connected to each other. It’s like a map that helps both users and search engines understand where to find information on your website.

Having a good site structure involves creating a logical hierarchy on your website.

To create a logical hierarchy for your website, follow these steps:

  1. Start with a Clear Main Topic: Identify the main theme or subject of your website (e.g., health, real estate, travel, and so on). 
  2. Organize Content Categories: Group related topics or content into categories. These categories will become the main sections of your site. For example, a travel business can have 
  3. Use Subcategories if Needed: If your categories are broad, you can create subcategories to further organize content. Think of subcategories as smaller sections within the main sections.
  4. Arrange Pages within Categories: Place individual pages or articles within the appropriate categories or subcategories. Ensure that each page fits logically where you put it.
  5. Create a Menu: Design a user-friendly navigation menu that reflects your site’s hierarchy. Your menu should display the main categories, subcategories, and important pages, making it easy for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
  6. Internal Linking: Link related pages together using clear and descriptive anchor text. This helps both users and search engines navigate your site more easily.
  7. Test User Experience: Put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. Make sure the navigation is intuitive, and they can easily find information.

Remember, a logical hierarchy helps users quickly access the content they want and also makes it easier for search engines to understand your website’s structure and rank it appropriately in search results.

Using a travel company as an example, you can have the following navigation menu as its website structure:

  • Home
  • Destinations
    • Explore Africa
    • Discover Europe
    • Adventures in Asia
  • Services
    • Tour Packages
    • Accommodation Options
    • Transportation Choices
    • Special Offers
  • About Us
    • Our Story
    • Our Team
    • Mission and Values
  • Blog (if applicable)
  • Contact Us


Submitting your sitemap to Google means giving Google a map of all the pages on your website. This helps Google find and understand your website’s content so it can show your pages in search results. 

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Create a Sitemap: Use a sitemap generator or a website plugin to create a sitemap file for your website. It’s usually in XML format. To find your sitemap URL, it’s often located at Replace “” with your actual website address. 
  2. Sign in to Google Search Console: If you don’t have a Google Search Console account, create one for free. This tool helps you manage your website in Google’s search engine.
  3. Add Your Website: In Google Search Console, add your website by clicking the “Add Property” button and following the instructions.
  4. Verify Ownership: Prove that you own the website by following the verification process provided by Google. This may involve adding a code snippet to your website or verifying through your domain provider.
  5. Access the Sitemap Section: Once your website is verified, go to the “Sitemaps” section in Google Search Console.
  6. Submit Your Sitemap: In the “Sitemaps” section, you’ll find a place to submit your sitemap URL (e.g., “sitemap.xml”). Enter the URL there and click “Submit.”
  7. Check for Errors: Google will now crawl your sitemap and your website. Keep an eye on Google Search Console for any errors or issues it may report.

That’s it! You’ve submitted your sitemap to Google, and it will help Google index your website properly. This can improve your website’s visibility in Google search results.

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Website indexing is like a library catalogue for the internet. It’s when search engines like Google collect and store information about web pages. They visit websites, read the content, and then add those pages to their huge databases. When you search for something online, the search engine can quickly look in its index to find relevant web pages and show them in the search results. In simple terms, it’s how search engines keep track of all the web pages on the internet so they can show them to people when they search.

Robots.txt and NonIdex Tag

If for some reason, there are pages you do not want search engines to crawl on your website, you use the robots.txt file or the noindex tag.


Robots.txt is a text file on your website that tells search engines which parts of your site they can or cannot crawl and index. It helps you control what search engines see on your website. You create a robots.txt file and place it in your website’s main directory. It’s like a signpost for search engines, guiding them on what content to access or avoid.

Noindex Tag

The “noindex” tag is a piece of code you add to specific web pages. It tells search engines not to include those pages in their search results. This is useful when you want to keep certain pages, like private or duplicate content, hidden from search engine results. 

To use the noindex tag, you typically add it to the HTML code of the page within the `<head>` section. This tag is valuable for keeping certain pages out of search engine indexes while allowing others to be indexed and visible in search results.


Canonicalization is a process in SEO where you ensure that different web addresses that lead to the same content on your website are recognized as a single, preferred version by search engines. 

This helps prevent duplicate content issues and makes it clear to search engines which URL they should display in search results. It’s like telling search engines, “This is the main URL for this content, so treat all others as duplicates or copies.”

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Mobile-Friendly Website

A mobile-friendly website is a website that works well and looks good on smartphones and tablets. It’s important because many people use their mobile devices to browse the internet. To make your website mobile-friendly:

  1. Responsive Design: Use a responsive website design that automatically adjusts and resizes content to fit different screen sizes.
  2. Mobile-Friendly Themes: If you’re using a website builder or content management system (CMS) like WordPress, choose a mobile-friendly theme or template.
  3. Optimize Images: Make sure images are not too large and load quickly on mobile devices.
  4. Readable Text: Use legible fonts and font sizes that are easy to read on smaller screens.
  5. Finger-Friendly Buttons: Ensure buttons and links are big enough to tap with a finger, and not too close together to prevent accidental clicks.
  6. Avoid Flash: Avoid using Adobe Flash, as it doesn’t work on many mobile devices.
  7. Testing: Test your website on various mobile devices to ensure it works smoothly and looks good.

Mobile SEO: Optimize your website’s mobile SEO by using mobile-friendly meta tags and ensuring that Google can crawl and index your mobile pages.

Page Speed

Page speed refers to how fast a web page loads and becomes visible to a user when they click on a link or enter a website’s URL in their web browser. It’s a crucial factor for user experience and SEO because faster-loading pages tend to keep visitors engaged and rank better in search engines.

To improve page speed, follow these simple steps:

  1. Optimize Images: Compress and resize images to reduce their file size without compromising quality. Use image formats like JPEG or WebP.
  2. Minimize HTTP Requests: Reduce the number of elements (images, scripts, stylesheets) a page needs to load. Combine CSS and JavaScript files when possible.
  3. Enable Browser Caching: Set up caching to store parts of your website on a user’s device so they don’t need to re-download everything on each visit.
  4. Use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs): CDNs store your website’s content on multiple servers worldwide, ensuring faster access for users wherever they are.
  5. Reduce Server Response Time: Optimize your web hosting, server settings, and website code to decrease the time it takes for the server to respond to requests.
  6. Minimize Redirects: Avoid unnecessary redirects as they add extra load time.
  7. Enable Compression: Use gzip or Brotli compression to reduce the size of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files.
  8. Eliminate Render-Blocking JavaScript and CSS: Prioritize and load essential scripts and styles first to speed up the initial page rendering.
  9. Optimize Code: Minify your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code by removing unnecessary spaces, comments, and line breaks.
  10. Leverage Browser Caching: Set expiration dates for static resources, so browsers can cache them and reduce load times on subsequent visits.
  11. Prioritize Above-the-Fold Content: Load the most important content at the top of the page first to give users a quick initial view.
  12. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Implement AMP for mobile versions of your site to ensure fast loading on smartphones.
  13. Regularly Monitor and Test: Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to regularly check your page speed and make improvements as needed.

Broken Pages (404 Errors)

When you use a link and it says, “404 error, the page doesn’t exist”, it is a broken page. These broken pages can have issues like missing links, images that don’t load, or pages that don’t display properly. Fixing them is important for a better user experience and improved SEO.

To do it:

  1. Use a Website Crawler: You can use tools like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console to crawl your website. These tools will help you find broken links, missing images, and other issues.
  2. Compile a List: Once the crawl is complete, you’ll get a list of broken pages and the issues they have. Review this list to understand what needs fixing.
  3. Fix Broken Links: Replace or update any broken links on your pages. Ensure that they point to the correct URLs.
  4. Fix Missing Images: If there are missing images, re-upload or replace them so they display correctly.
  5. Check Page Display: Test the pages to ensure they load properly on different devices and browsers. If they don’t, fix any coding or design issues.
  6. Test and Repeat: After fixing, re-crawl your website to confirm that the issues are resolved. Repeat this process periodically to catch and fix new broken pages.


HTTPS, which stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure, is a secure version of the standard HTTP protocol used for transmitting data between a web browser (like Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) and a website. 

HTTPS is important because it encrypts the data exchanged between your browser and the website, making it difficult for hackers to intercept or steal sensitive information, such as login credentials or personal details.

Here’s how you can set up HTTPS for your website:

  1. Get an SSL Certificate: To enable HTTPS, you need an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. You can obtain one from a trusted certificate authority (CA) or sometimes through your web hosting provider.
  2. Install the SSL Certificate: Once you have the SSL certificate, you’ll need to install it on your web server. Your hosting provider can usually help you with this step.
  3. Update Website Links: After installing the SSL certificate, update the links on your website from “http://” to “https://”. This ensures that all pages on your site use the secure protocol.
  4. Check for Mixed Content: Make sure all the resources (like images, stylesheets, and scripts) on your website are also loaded using HTTPS. Mixed content (a mix of secure and non-secure resources) can cause security warnings in browsers.
  5. Update Search Engines: Notify search engines about the change to HTTPS by updating your sitemap and submitting it through Google Search Console or other search engine webmaster tools.
  6. Update Your CDN and Caching: If you use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or caching, make sure they are configured to work with HTTPS.
  7. Test Your Website: Use online tools or browser extensions to check for SSL certificate installation and any mixed content issues. Fix any problems that arise.
  8. Monitor Regularly: Keep an eye on your website to ensure the SSL certificate remains valid and renew it when necessary.

Duplicate Content Issues

Duplicate content can harm your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) because search engines may have difficulty determining which version of the content to rank, potentially leading to lower search rankings.

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Website Audit: Start by conducting a thorough audit of your website’s content. Look for pages or sections that contain the same or nearly identical information.
  2. Use SEO Tools: Utilize SEO tools like Screaming Frog, Moz, or SEMrush to help identify duplicate content. These tools can crawl your website and flag duplicate pages or content.
  3. Check Internal Links: Review the internal links on your website. Make sure that you’re linking to the preferred version of a page (usually the original or canonical version) and not to duplicate copies.
  4. Canonical Tags: Implement canonical tags on your web pages. These tags tell search engines which version of a page is the preferred one when duplicate content exists.
  5. 301 Redirects: If you have duplicate pages that need to be consolidated into one, set up 301 redirects. This tells search engines and users that the old URL should now be replaced with the new one.
  6. Content Consolidation: If you have similar pages that are necessary but causing duplication issues, consider merging them into a single, comprehensive page.
  7. Pagination Handling: If you have paginated content (e.g., multiple pages for the same category), implement rel=”next” and rel=”prev” tags to indicate the order of pages to search engines.
  8. XML Sitemaps: Ensure that your XML sitemap accurately reflects the canonical URLs of your pages to help search engines understand which pages to prioritize.
  9. Regular Monitoring: Continuously monitor your website for duplicate content, especially when you add new content or make changes. SEO tools can help automate this process.

Structured Data

Structured data, also known as schema markup, is a way to provide search engines with specific information about the content on your website. It helps search engines understand the context and meaning of your content, which can lead to better search results, including rich snippets and enhanced search listings.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to implement structured data:

  1. Identify Content for Markup: Determine which parts of your website’s content you want to mark up with structured data. This can include products, articles, events, reviews, recipes, and more.
  2. Choose a Schema Markup Type: Visit the website, which provides a list of markup types (schemas) you can use. Select the schema that matches the type of content you’re marking up. For example, if you have recipes on your website, choose the “Recipe” schema.
  3. Generate Structured Data Code: You can create structured data code manually using JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data), Microdata, or RDFa formats. Alternatively, you can use online schema generators or SEO plugins for content management systems like WordPress to simplify the process.
  4. Insert the Code: Add the generated structured data code to the HTML of the relevant webpage. Place it within the <script> tags in the <head> section or just before the closing </body> tag. Make sure the code is accurate and matches the content on the page.
  5. Test Your Markup: Use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool or the Rich Results Test to ensure your structured data is correctly implemented and free of errors. This step helps you identify and fix any issues.
  6. Submit to Search Engines: After confirming that your structured data is error-free, submit your updated webpage to Google Search Console. This action informs search engines about the markup changes and encourages them to index your content with rich results.
  7. Monitor and Update: Regularly monitor your structured data and make updates as needed. Whenever you add new content or make changes to existing content, ensure the structured data remains accurate and up-to-date.

Core Web Vitals

Core Web Vitals are a set of important website performance metrics that Google uses to measure user experience. They focus on three key aspects:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This measures how quickly the largest content element (like an image or text block) on your page loads. Aim for an LCP of 2.5 seconds or less.
  2. First Input Delay (FID): This measures how responsive your page is when users interact with it, like clicking a button. Aim for an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): This measures how stable your page layout is. Avoid elements shifting around unexpectedly. Aim for a CLS score of 0.1 or less.

To optimize for Core Web Vitals:

  1. Image and Video Optimization: Compress and properly size images and videos to reduce LCP.
  2. Minimize JavaScript: Reduce unnecessary JavaScript and make it load efficiently for better FID.
  3. Prioritize Critical Content: Load essential content first to improve LCP.
  4. Use Browser Caching: Enable caching to speed up page loading for returning visitors.
  5. Optimize CSS Delivery: Minimize render-blocking CSS to prevent layout shifts (CLS).
  6. Implement Lazy Loading: Load images and videos only when they’re visible on the screen to improve LCP.
  7. Responsive Design: Ensure your website is mobile-friendly for better overall performance.
  8. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): Distribute your website’s content across multiple servers for faster loading times.
  9. Regular Testing: Continuously monitor your website’s performance using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights and Lighthouse.


Hreflang is a code used in websites to tell search engines which language and region (or country) a specific webpage is meant for. It helps search engines display the right version of your page to users from different countries who speak different languages.

Here’s how to use Hreflang:

  1. Understand Your Audience: First, know where your target audience is located and what languages they speak. This will help you determine which versions of your website you need.
  2. Create Different Versions: Make different versions of your website content for each language or region you’re targeting. These versions should be as similar as possible but in different languages or tailored for different regions.
  3. Add Hreflang Tags: In the HTML code of each webpage, add Hreflang tags in the <head> section.
  4. Implement Hreflang Properly: Ensure that you correctly implement Hreflang tags on all relevant pages of your website. Be consistent with the codes and URLs.
  5. Test Your Implementation: Use tools like Google Search Console to check for Hreflang errors and make sure search engines understand your tags.

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