The Technical Stuff Every Webmaster Needs to Think About

If you own and run a website in the modern-day, you might not have half the technical knowledge of a webmaster from the early 2000s. You don’t even need to know HTML coding to run a successful website in 2021, but if you want to be the webmaster of a truly successful website, you need to have some technical ability. Start in these areas:

 

Robots.txt

Your robots.txt tells the robots that search engines send to crawl your webpage some essential information. You need to optimize this. It’s a text file that’s in the root directory of your site, and you need to have a think about what you want to be crawled and what you don’t. You can then tell the crawlers not to crawl certain files, directories, images, types of files – there’s an incredible amount of flexibility. Make sure you know which pages you want search engines to feature and disallow those that you don’t.

structured data

Structured Data Markup

Structured data is code specifically for crawlers. It informs them about the data that you feature on your site. You don’t need to know much code to do structured data markup – you just need to add a structured data definition once; you can move on afterward. Make sure you optimize your page for featured snippets by using structured data markup in order to really shine on the search engine results page. There’s even a handy helper from Google.

hosting server

Know Your Servers

Your server can impact your website and how it’s placed on the results page. You want to get the maximum performance and speed from your servers and network configuration in general, so you need to have a good awareness of how you can find server problems and conflicts that can cause downtime, as well as any server-specific settings that can impact page loading speeds or how safe your site is perceived to be. These issues can all impact your position on the results page. If you share your server with some dodgy websites, they can impact how your site is judged by search engines, as well as slow you down and even pass viruses on to you. A good way to know your servers better is to do an entire IT system audit, which can cost up to $1000, though sometimes companies offer discounts or deals as part of their marketing efforts (at the time of writing, 24×7 IT Solutions are offering a 57-point assessment for free).

 

Canonical URLs

A canonical URL is how search engines are told which version of a page they need to look at when they’re crawling. It’s used with a tag <link rel=”canonical”>in your pages <head>. You should be comfortable with canonical URLs and get into the habit of using them for every page because it can fix any issues when you have duplicate content. You can use plugins to do this automatically, but it’s easy to master and doesn’t take any time at all to do manually (it’s just a few words). Once you set the canonical URL, you won’t have to maintain it or do anything else.

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