2023 will be an interesting year for SEO. The latest Google algorithm updates and the mass adoption of AI copywriting are just two out of numerous changes that will impact how brands do SEO. Organic positioning will become extremely competitive in the upcoming year.
Regardless of the strategy you adopt, you shouldn’t overlook technical SEO. A good technical SEO strategy will guarantee you have a solid foundation to level up your positioning efforts.
In this post, we’ll share everything you need to know to review your technical SEO efforts and prepare for 2023.
- 9 key areas to optimize your website
- 4 technical SEO predictions for 2023
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Tech SEO Checklist for 2023: 9 Key Areas to Optimize
In this section, we’ll share 9 key areas that your technical SEO checklist for 2023 should cover.
- SEO & UX
- Site crawling errors
- Site architecture
- Robots.txt files
- URL structure
- Schema markup
- Featured snippets
- Semantically related keywords
Ready? Let’s get started!
Get User Experience on Point
Page experience encompasses a lot of key technical SEO factors. So, we’ll begin this 2023 tech SEO checklist by covering user experience.
But first, what do we mean by “page experience”?
What Exactly Is Page Experience?
Page experience refers to a set of signals that measure users’ perception of a web page. This set of signals was developed by Google.
These signals include:
- Web Core Vitals
- The presence of interstitial elements
Let’s take a closer look.
Web Core Vitals
Google encourages webmasters to track three key web vitals (which are ranking factors for mobile search as of June 2021).
These factors are:
- First Input Delay (FID), which tracks the time it takes for a person to interact with the page.
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures the loading speed of the largest piece of content on the page.
- Cumulative Layout Shift, which is a measure of the page’s visual stability.
It’s key to avoid hurting your website’s UX with slow pages, sluggish images or videos, disrupting pop-up ads, or poorly dimensioned images.
There’s no doubt that you should include a responsivity check in your SEO checklist for 2023.
63% of all US organic searches are performed on mobile devices. And this figure is only expected to continue growing.
Moreover, since the 2018 algorithm update, content load time on a mobile device officially became a ranking factor for Google.
One of the most effective ways to optimize sites for mobile is by using Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). However, AMPs do have their downsides. Their limited functionality and design versatility make them a good option for content-focused pages and product listings. But not so much for landing pages.
If AMP is not for you, you can still optimize your website’s mobile experience. We recommend these simple steps:
- Take Google’s mobile-friendliness test
- Test your website’s responsivity across devices
- Make sure your JS and CSS are loading efficiently
- Reduce animations on the mobile version of your website
- Conduct a usability test for your mobile navigation
Security & HTTPS
Security plays a big part in defining how users experience your site.
In fact, Google considers HTTPS as one of the signals for measuring page experience. And Google has been known to disfavor non-HTTPs websites on the SERPs.
So, make sure that:
- Your website has a functional SSL certificate that isn’t self-signed
- Your website’s non-HTTPS website permanently redirects to your HTTPS site
Intrusive Interstitial Elements
In the early days of mobile-first SEO, unscrupulous webmasters and advertisers used full-screen pop-ups to take advantage of the limited screen space of mobile devices. The elements that cover a significant portion of a page’s content so you can’t see it are called “intrusive interstitials”.
User experience is at the core of this tech SEO checklist. So we can’t recommend you include these types of elements.
Intruding interstitials are an anachronic and a lousy way to achieve promotional purposes: interstitials hurt the user experience, so Google hates them.
Replace your full-page interstitials with banners that only take up a fraction of the screen.
Check Site Crawling Errors
As we know, search engines “crawl” our sites to find out what they’re all about. And crawling means nothing more than following links from one page to another.
That is why a technical SEO expert should design an internal linking strategy: it helps search engines understand a site’s purpose and page hierarchy.
Anyhow, making sure there are no crawl errors on your website should be one of your technical SEO priorities for 2023.
Common factors that lead to crawling errors include:
- Broken links
- Redirect chains
Let’s dive deeper.
A website is always a work in progress: broken links can happen. Monitor your site or use a tool that does it for you. Additionally, create redirects. And make sure your fallback pages are optimized for quality UX.
Poorly done redirects can do more harm than good. Chain redirects (where one redirect leads to another, and another, and another, infinitely) can cause serious crawl errors. So, make it a priority to fix them.
The easier it is for search engines to crawl your site, the better your chances of ranking high.
Create a User-Friendly Site Architecture
It sounds complex, and it is in a sense. Site architecture is the name given to the organization, grouping, and linking of the pages of your website.
A proper site architecture aims to help users and search engines easily find what they’re looking for.
Good site architecture increases the time your users spend on your site. For a while, this has signaled to Google that your content is valuable and user-friendly. However, whether this is true at the moment requires a pretty nuanced response. Check out our guide to the latest Google polls to learn more.
Your site architecture is defined by several technical SEO factors, including:
- Navigation menus
- Internal links
- URL structures
You shouldn’t lose sight (no matter how many times we say so) that UX should be at the heart of your tech SEO checklist for 2023. And site architecture is crucial for a positive user experience.
Optimize Your robots.txt File
Some things just never change. Robots.txt files will still be a very important technical SEO tool in 2023.
Make sure your robots.txt file prevents search engines from crawling:
- Administrative pages
- Cart and checkout pages
- Login pages
- PDFs or other resources
By optimizing your robots.txt file, you can manage your crawl budget efficiently. This is especially key for large websites.
XML Sitemaps: A Technical SEO Essential
A technical SEO checklist would be incomplete without a mention of XML sitemaps, even though they are often overlooked in technical SEO strategies.
Yes, XML sitemaps can be powerful if done right.
But what exactly are they? They’re just a blueprint of your website that makes it easier for search engines to find, crawl and index all your content. In turn, a sitemap can speed up your website’s indexing.
But in addition, a sitemap provides valuable information such as:
- How important pages on your site connect
- The update frequency of each page of your website
- Temporary data on your latest updates
Your URLs Should Be Friendly for Humans and Search Engines
We couldn’t forget about URLs. Don’t overlook your URL structure in your next technical SEO check.
According to Google, the structure of your URLs should be really simple, search engine friendly, and easy to read.
Your content for 2023 should be organized in such a way that the structure of your URLs is:
- Clearly written and easy to read
A good URL:
- Demonstrates that the page is tailored to users’ search intent.
- Helps search engines find your pages
To create a good URL structure:
- Use readable words
- Omit articles as much as possible
- Remove any number strings from your URLs, including “/dd/mm/yy” sequences
Implement Schema Markup
People and search engine robots don’t speak the same language: everyone knows that. But, simultaneously, it’s crucial to structure sites so that robots can understand them.
This is where schema markup comes into play.
Schema markup, also called structured data, is the language of search engines. To be concise, markup is a standard collection of tags that are placed on web pages.
With Schema markup you not only help search engines understand your site but also improve UX. Thanks to schema markup, search engines display what is called “rich results” in the SERPs: that’s why we talk about UX. Rich results are interactive and have a preferential spot in the SERPs. This results in high click-through rates.
But that’s not all: another advantage of adding schema markup is to boost your entity’s SEO. Since entities are somewhat unique and distinguishable enough to be searched by name (“Technical SEO tool”, “AI Writer”, etc.), it’s important to be able to link your brand to them.
This takes SEO to a more contextual level than simple keywords.
In essence, Schema markup allows search engines to associate your site or brand with entities in your sector. So, if a search on any entity that relates to your brand is performed, you are likely to appear to users as a relevant choice.
Featured Snippets Are Here to Stay
This next tip may not seem extremely technical, but it really should be part of your tech SEO checklist for 2023.
We just talked about rich results. Featured snippets are one of many types of reach results out there.
These informational sections that include bulleted lists, instructions, tables, or just useful definitions, have changed the SEO game.
Google has always paid a lot of attention to rich results, using them to provide extra value to users and lead them to the most relevant answers to their questions. And in 2023, competing for rich results will still be a winning strategy.
When it comes to appearing on rich results, Google considers:
- The presence of images in your content
- If your <h2> tag is relevant
- The length of your answer to the user’s query
- Whether or not you’re using anchor text
Featured snippets are a way to attract more traffic by increasing your organic click-through rate. Way back in 2017, research by Search Engine Journal showed featured snippets concentrated 8.6% of clicks.
However, one of the reasons why featured snippets changed the SEO games is that they’ve historically increased no-click searches.
What do we mean? No-click searches happen when the viewer does not click on any search results. This often happens when featured snippets are available because they provide the information the user’s looking for, directly on the SERP. No need to leave Google.
Semantically Related Keywords
Yes, we all know how to perform keyword research. But in recent years, those new teeny-tiny SEO things known as semantically related keywords have been helping Google return better and better results for search queries. And then things changed.
Originally designed to help Google to understand search intent, semantically related keywords are a core criterion in determining the appropriate ranking for search results.
To achieve good SEO performance in 2023, it will be more than ever necessary for you to have an apt set of semantically related words.
Using relevant semantically related keywords helps sites to:
- Provide extra value to readers
- Expand on the reader’s need/topic of interest
- Centralize useful information
- Give more context to a topic
But, what’s the best way to target relevant, related keywords? Well, your main focus should be on your user’s intent.
Semantically related keywords lead to the concept of “topic clusters”. Combine semantically related keywords, user insights & site architecture to build powerful content hubs.
4 Technical SEO Predictions for 2023
We’ve already covered 9 essentials you should include in your technical SEO checklist. But, as we mentioned earlier, there will be a lot going on in the SEO space in 2023.
In this section, we’ll take a brief look at 3 important factors you should have in mind:
- AI’s new role in content marketing
- Voice search
- E-commerce’s growing momentum
AI SEO & Content Marketing
If there is one thing there’s no doubt about, it’s that the future of technical SEO involves automating recurring tasks. And Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the best way to do it. 80% of niche experts are already using some form of AI in their digital marketing strategies. For instance, content marketers are using AI-powered tools to create content at scale.
Will SEO find other uses for AI?
We can only expect more integration of these technologies in the future. By 2028, the worldwide market value of AI marketing technology is projected to surpass $107.5 billion.
So far, you can harness the potential of AI for SEO in 2023 by:
- Using AI content automation tools
- Using AI to monitor your website’s performance
- Automating tests
- Implementing AI-powered content recommendation features
The Future of Voice Search
Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant were the first mainstream voice assistants. And years after their first release, they’ve never been so popular. According to stats compiled by BloggingWizard, 41% of adults and 55% of teenagers in the U.S. use voice search daily. These figures show the progression of a long-standing trend that is only accelerating.
With AI and machine learning advancing constantly, marketing and search will never be the same. These systems, such as Google LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) are capable of many amazing tasks.
- Making predictions
- Recognizing keywords and phrases
- Interpreting message intent
- Interpreting the context of a search
- Engaging in casual dialogue with your users on all topics
- Responding to queries
The future of technical SEO calls for us to place more importance on optimizing content for voice searches.
To keep up, we recommend:
- Targeting conversational keywords
- Adding FAQs sections to your best pages & posts
- Setting up a Google My Business profile
- Optimizing for mobile searches (27% of users perform voice searches on mobile).
Images Will Become Increasingly Significant for SEO
Another unstoppable trend is the growing importance of visual content. In terms of reading experience, images and graphics separate content and capture viewers’ attention.
Additionally, great visual content:
- Helps you rank on Google images
- Provides extra value
- Make your content more linkable
It’s great to use high-resolution images in your content, but that’s when you might run into problems: file sizes may be too large, slowing down your website. And that’s bad news. Especially considering that, according to Unbounce, 70% of consumers say page speed affects their willingness to shop.
That’s why image optimization is more pertinent now than ever. According to OpenPR, the international visual search market is expected to reach $14+ billion by 2023.
Optimizing your images is key. And it goes beyond just compressing your images. Here are some tips to hit the ground running:
- Use lazy-loading images
- Include size and dimension attributes on your images and videos
- Use next-gen image formats
- Use the right image dimensions
- Serve your images through a CDN
- Set responsive images
- Only use GIFs for animated images
- Make sure all your images have alt tags
- Name images in a readable and descriptive way
- Add structured data to your images
Learn everything you need to know to optimize your images find our 2023 image optimization guide.
The E-Commerce Sector Will Continue to Grow
There’s no denying that technical SEO has changed tremendously due to 2020’s mass e-commerce adoption. E-commerce is so powerful that 2021 alone saw 2.14 billion online shoppers. And this year, we’ll surpass the all-time record of $1 trillion in U.S. e-commerce sales. Before the pandemic, it was estimated that we’d reach that figure in 2024.
But why should you take this into account for your 2023 technical SEO efforts? Well, because Google has numerous tools to facilitate the online shopping experience. And you should optimize your website to take advantage of them.
Currently, Google’s AI models analyze videos, reviews, prices, and benefits to get information about a product. And Google Lens (which lets you upload an image of something you’re looking for directly into the search engine) brought a new layer of possibilities.
Here are some key ways to make sure you’re up with the times:
- Optimize your product listings (beyond just keywords)
- Use alternative text so you’ll show up on image searches
- Reduce your loading time
- Use schema markup to deliver structured data about your products
- Keep track of your site architecture
- Set uniform conventions for writing category and product slugs
- Keep track of how your categories are nested and prevent content duplication
Preserve Your Rankings, Stay on Top of Your Code in 2023
In this post, we shared our technical SEO checklist for 2023. Plus, some trends you should stay on top of.
Technical SEO isn’t a one-off task. Having a high-performing website requires that you keep an eye on your website’s technical SEO consistently. But monitoring your website’s codebase can be time-consuming and tedious.
Here’s where SEORadar can help.
SEORadar is a technical SEO monitoring tool that tracks your code and helps you prevent SEO emergencies. SEORadar will keep an eye on your website and notify you of any changes that may affect your rankings.
SEORadar audits over 100+ HTML elements. And you can customize your notifications to fit your workflow.
Take the guessing out of technical SEO & protect your rankings. Request a demo or start a free trial today.