In July 2021 Writer implemented technical SEO fixes to improve the search rankings for its free grammar checker. The impact was significant; within three months page traffic went from 209,000 monthly visitors to 1.7 million.

Technical SEO underpins the success of your SaaS SEO efforts. Fixing your technical SEO issues can have a major impact on search engine visibility. But with unresolved technical SEO issues, even the most robust SEO campaigns may fail to bear any fruits.

This guide provides an overview of the technical issues you need to review to get the most from your content marketing and link-building efforts. Strap in to discover technical SEO strategies you can apply to boost your search rankings.

What is Technical SEO?

Technical SEO refers to optimizing the technical aspects of a website to make it more search-engine friendly and boost organic rankings. Technical issues cover various aspects of a website, such as its code, content management system, URL optimization, loading time, core web vitals, and site architecture.

How to Perform Technical SEO for SaaS

Search engine optimization should be methodical. That’s why I recommend using a checklist when performing a technical SEO audit. This ensures you cover all the key issues that will impact your SaaS SEO efforts.

Here’s the technical SEO checklist we use internally:

1. Website Loading Speed

Page speed is an important ranking factor that impacts search visibility. You can use free tools like Google Page Speed Insights or GtMetrix to check page speed. Site crawlers like Screaming Frog and Website Auditor are good for checking page size.

Your goal should be to keep the page file size under 3MB and the load time within 2 seconds. A smaller page size ensures faster loading, reducing bounce rates and improving user experience. Meeting these benchmarks will improve search engine visibility.

Implement the technical optimizations listed below to ensure a fast-loading site.

A. Server Response Times

Server response times refer to the time it takes for a server to respond to a request made by a client (such as a user’s browser). It is important because it directly impacts user experience and satisfaction.

Faster response times ensure users can access the desired information or perform actions swiftly, leading to higher engagement, lower bounce rates, and increased customer satisfaction.

You need to evaluate the server’s hardware specifications, such as CPU power, RAM, and storage capacity, ensuring they meet the demands of your SaaS application and anticipated user traffic.

Prioritize servers with high-speed and reliable network connections to minimize latency. Consider choosing servers located geographically close to your target audience to reduce network latency further. Many SaaS companies use AWS or Google Cloud servers, which are cost-effective, fast, and scalable.

B. Optimize Image size

Optimizing image size is crucial to keep the page under 3MB. It reduces loading times, improves user experience, and makes the website more accessible on low bandwidth or mobile devices. Additionally, it helps conserve server resources and reduces hosting costs.

There are four common strategies for optimizing image size;

The optimal image file size for website usage is typically around 80-150 KB. This size strikes a balance between image quality and loading speed. By compressing images to this size, you can ensure fast loading times while still maintaining reasonable image clarity and detail. Ideally, for SaaS SEO, your image should be in a WebP format.

To optimize images for different devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and desktops, you can use responsive images. Responsive images improve page load times as you’re storing different image sizes optimized for different devices.

Lazy loading and hosting images off-site can significantly improve page speed. Lazy loading defers the loading of images until they are about to be viewed, reducing the initial page load time. This technique improves perceived performance and allows faster rendering of visible content.

Hosting images off-site, such as on a content delivery network (CDN), leverages distributed servers closer to the user, reducing the latency of image retrieval. This results in faster image loading, improved page speed, and a better overall user experience. 

You can use online image resizers or plugins to optimize image size and format. There are lots of plugins for lazy loading images, hosting images off-site, and setting up responsive images. 

C. Reduce Page Redirects

Redirects occur when you direct a user from a URL they are trying to access to a different URL. This might happen when you change your page URL and then add a 301 redirect, for example.

Redirects slow down website loading times. Redirect loops, which occur when there are multiple redirects for the same page, can cause errors and further delay content display.

Resolving redirects ensures a faster and smoother browsing experience for users. You can use a crawler like Website Auditor or Screaming Frog to identify redirects and redirect chains. You then simply update the URLs to the correct version for each version where they appear.

Before making the update, check if the old URL has powerful backlinks pointing to the page. If it does, you might want to keep the original redirect to the page. All internal links should point to the new URL, though.

2. Confirm Your Pages Are Indexed

Confirming that your pages are indexed is an essential first step in performing technical SEO for SaaS companies. If your pages are not indexed, they will not appear in search engine results pages (SERPs), making it difficult for potential customers to find your site.

I usually recommend confirming a page has been indexed immediately after publishing it. You can easily do this by navigating to the URL inspection section of your Google search console dashboard. 

Paste the link to the page there and press enter. Chances are you’ll find the page is not indexed. So click “Request Indexing.” The Google bots will do the rest. 

But what if you already have multiple published pages, and you want to know how many of them have been indexed? Use the site: Operator function in such a case. 

How To Use the Site Search Operator

Simply enter “site:” followed by your domain name. 

For example, if you search site:www.https://crunch-marketing.com/ in the Google search bar, these are the results you get.

The site: Operator lets you request the search results from the particular domain, URL, or URL prefix specified in the operator. The results will show all the pages from your website that Google has indexed.

If some of your pages are not appearing in the search results, then you have indexing issues, and there could be several reasons for this. 

First, it could be due to a technical issue with your site, such as a crawl error, broken links, or 404 errors that prevent search engines from accessing your site’s pages. It could also be because the pages are not optimized for search engines.

To ensure that all your pages are indexed, you will need to make technical changes to your site. This could include fixing broken links, optimizing your site’s structure, or ensuring your site’s content is easily accessible to search engines.

How To Use -inurl:https Search Query

The Site: operator function can also be enhanced to show you more indexed pages that are somewhat hidden. These pages are usually kinda not connected to the main domain. This is done through the -inurl:https search query.

You can use this search query to find a subdomain or some dev sites that are getting crawled by Google. 

For example, if you did a “site:hubspot.com -inurl:https,” you’ll find indexed pages that don’t have https in the URL. 

Here’s what that could look like:

From this example, you can see that HubSpot has a few pages that are indexed using HTTP protocol.

So, what do you do about these pages? First, you’ve got to figure out whether these pages are important to you. If they are, then you must ensure they’re redirected to the secure version of the page.

So, for example, if you click on the last result from the screenshot above, you’re redirected to the secured version of that page.

This is also a great place to talk about canonical issues or canonicalization

Identifying Canonical Issues in Indexing

In case you don’t know, canonical issues occur when your site has more than one unique URL leading to the same content piece. 

For example, you may have https:crunch-marketing.com/saas-marketing/ and https:crunch-marketing.com/saas-marketing. 

The lack of a forward flash with the second URL doesn’t seem like a big issue at face value. However, it can become problematic as search engines tend to treat the two URLs as completely different. But since they both lead to the same page, you’ll end up with duplicate content, which is going to hurt your SEO.

Now, although Google can pick one version of the URL, you don’t want to leave that decision to them. For that reason, you must use a link rel canonical annotation to tell the search engine which URL version you prefer. 

Use 301 redirects to redirect users and search engine crawlers to your preferred URL format.

In addition, make sure to use the correct URL format in your sitemap, internal links, and even when building backlinks.

How do you determine if your site has canonical issues, though? You can use that site: operator function to pull up all your indexed pages and see the different types of URLs used. Unfortunately, that would mean going through all your indexed pages, which can be exhausting, depending on the size of your website.

For that reason, I’d recommend using SEO site audit platforms like Ahrefs and Screaming Frog, which have dedicated functionality for identifying canonical issues.

3. Check Your Site’s Crawlability

Checking your site’s crawlability is the other key step when performing technical SEO for SaaS. Crawlability refers to the level of ease search engines have accessing, crawling, and indexing the pages on your site. 

If your site is not crawlable, search engines cannot access all of your pages. That results in poor search rankings and low visibility in search results.

Use Google Search Console to check your site’s crawlability. The tool provides crawl stats that can tell you how easy it is for search engines to crawl your website.

To access the stats, go to your Google search console and click on settings. In the next menu, you’ll see this section. Click “Open Report.”

You’ll see three major stats from the report: 

Let’s quickly break them down:

Total Crawl Requests

For the total crawl request, you want to make sure the graph is consistent. It’ll rarely be a straight line, but you definitely don’t want to see sudden spikes or drops.

So something like this is good:

If you notice massive spikes or drops, it means your site probably has issues. These could be broken code, stale content, or your Robot.txt file might be blocking too much or allowing too many bots to crawl your site. Sudden spikes may also appear if you just added lots of fresh content.

Total Download Size

The second crawl stat, Total Download Size, shows how much of your website files and resources the Google bots downloaded while crawling your site. As you can guess, a bigger website will record a higher Total Download Size compared to a smaller one. 

To draw real meaning from this stat, you’ll need to look at it alongside the third crawl stat, Average Response Time. 

Average Response Time

This stat shows how quickly your website responds when the Google bots make a crawl request. 

Of course, you want to ensure the response time is as low as possible. And you can achieve that by blocking the Google bots from crawling unnecessary pages on your website. Modify your robots.txt files to exempt the pages you don’t want to be crawled.

To summarize, you can enhance your crawlability rate by reviewing your website’s code, structure, and content to ensure they’re well-optimized for search engines. 

Additionally, enhance your internal linking, submit a site map to Google, and update your robots.txt files.

4. Analyze Your Website Structure

Your website structure refers to how your pages are organized and linked together. This has a significant impact on your search rankings and visibility.

To analyze your website structure, start by reviewing your site’s structure and ensuring your site’s pages are easily accessible and that your URLs are clear and concise. You can use a tool like Screaming Frog for this purpose. 

This will help search engines understand and access your content. And they’ll reward you with better rankings in the search results.

In addition to reviewing your site’s structure, it’s crucial to analyze your site’s internal links. Internal linking refers to the SEO practice of linking one page to another on your site, which significantly impacts your site’s navigation and user experience.

To optimize your site’s internal linking, ensure your links are clear and intuitive and help seamlessly guide your web visitors to the information they need. 

You should also prioritize linking to your most important pages, as this will help search engines understand the content on your site and boost your rankings in search results.

Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin that can make your life easier here. The tool can scan your website to produce detailed reports on internal links, 404 broken links, and orphaned posts.

Finally, ensure you check your content’s organization on each page. Make sure your content is well-organized with clear headings and subheadings and flows logically.

5. Review Website Rendering

Reviewing your website’s rendering is the next critical step when performing technical SEO for your SaaS business. Rendering refers to the process of displaying a web page in a web browser.

To review your site’s rendering, start by checking your site’s code and ensuring it’s optimized for search engines. Use tools like GTmetrix, Google PageSpeed Insights, and SEMrush. 

Also, consider using semantic HTML, which provides context to the content on the page, helping search engines understand the content’s meaning and the keywords’ relevance to it.

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Also, use sitemaps and robots.txt files that help search engines crawl and index web pages effectively by providing a map and specifying which pages the search engine should crawl or not.

When reviewing your website’s rendering, you should also make sure your site’s content is easily accessible and that your site’s images and videos are properly optimized and labeled. 

In addition, it’s essential to review your site’s load speed with the help of tools like Google PageSpeed Insight. Consider implementing cache technologies like lazy loading to improve your site’s performance.

Finally, ensure your site is compatible with all major browsers. Test your website on all major browsers, like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge, with the help of tools like BrowserStack or Sauce Labs. 

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Also, use standard HTML and CSS code that is supported and easily interpreted by all browsers. You can use validation tools like W3C Markup Validation Service, shown above, to validate your HTML and CSS code to ensure it meets web standards.

6. Check Mobile-Friendliness

With the increasing number of people using mobile devices to access the internet, ensuring that your site is optimized for mobile devices is vital. Doing this will provide a positive user experience. Mobile friendliness is also one of Google’s ranking factors, so a mobile-friendly website improves your search engine rankings.

Some key aspects to focus on when optimizing your SaaS website for mobile devices include:

To check the mobile-friendliness of your site, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, shown above. The tool will analyze your site’s code and provide recommendations for improving your site’s mobile-friendliness.

7. Analyze Website Security

To protect your SaaS business’s reputation and retain customer trust, it’s vital to keep customers’ data safe by preventing cyber-attacks and data breaches.

To analyze your website security, you can start by implementing SSL certificates, as shown below. This encrypts data transmitted between your site and your visitors’ browsers, adding an extra layer of security. 

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You can also use website security scanners like Acunetix and Qualys Web Application Scanning to check for vulnerabilities and security risks, like SQL injections, cross-site scripting, or cross-site request forgery attacks. 

Here are some additional security measures to implement:

The best part is you don’t have to break the bank for this. You can schedule regular backups for crucial data like financial or customer records and store them off-site, where they can’t be destroyed but can be quickly recovered after disasters.

8. Add Structured Data

Adding structured data to your SaaS website can significantly improve your technical SEO efforts. Structured data is a code that helps search engines understand your site’s content and display it more meaningfully.

So by adding structured data, you improve the way your site appears in search results, such as adding rich snippets, star ratings, and other relevant information that can attract users’ attention. This can increase your click-through rate and drive more organic traffic to your site.

To add structured data to your site, you can start by identifying the type of data you want to include, such as product information, reviews, or event information. 

You can then use a resource like schema.org to define the data structure and implement it on your site using the appropriate coding language. 

By adding structured data to your SaaS website, you also improve your user experience since search engines can provide more relevant and accurate information that fulfills user intent.

9. Optimize Your Content

Optimizing your content not only helps improve your search engine rankings but also provides a better user experience for your visitors.

To optimize your content, you can start by using relevant keywords throughout your content, such as in your page titles, meta descriptions, and headings. Make sure your target keywords are relevant to your content and are used naturally. We discuss more details about this in our guide on SaaS Keyword analysis

Another important aspect of content optimization is ensuring every piece of content is high-quality, informative, relevant, and fills a content gap. This helps you establish your site as an authority, improving your search engine rankings and building trust with your visitors.

When optimizing your text, remember high-quality images, videos, and other visuals are a great content strategy for SaaS. Optimize your images by using alt tags and descriptive file names. This helps search engines understand your high-quality content better and improves accessibility.

Optimizing your content for SEO allows your SaaS business to build trust with web visitors, which will help you boost conversion rates and search engine rankings.

10. Analyze Status Codes

The final item in this technical SEO checklist involves analyzing status codes. Status codes are numerical codes that indicate the status of a web page, such as whether the page is accessible or not.

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By analyzing your status codes on error monitoring tools like Raygun, shown below, you can identify broken links or pages on your site that are not accessible. This is important because, as mentioned, broken links can harm your search engine rankings and frustrate visitors, who will leave your site if it can’t fulfill their search intent.

CR Error Details

Find ways to counter error codes to improve your site’s structure and organization. For example, use 301 redirects to redirect visitors from old or broken pages to new and relevant pages. That can help improve the user experience and distribute link equity throughout your site.

Following these tips to perform technical SEO for your businesses will help boost your organic search traffic and search engine rankings and ultimately help you maximize your SaaS growth.

4 Tools for SaaS Technical SEO Audits

As I’ve mentioned, technical SEO can be complex, but the right tools can simplify the process and help you achieve a thorough and accurate audit. 

In this section, I’ll discuss four essential technical SEO tools any SEO professional can use to conduct technical SEO site audits for their SaaS businesses.

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a web service by Google that monitors a site’s presence in Google search results. This tool is essential for conducting a technical audit for SaaS businesses since it provides valuable data on performance, crawl errors, security issues, and ranking keywords.

The ability to monitor crawl errors can help identify broken links on your site, which can harm your search engine rankings and frustrate visitors. Fixing these errors should improve the user experience and help distribute link equity throughout your site.

Google Search Console provides valuable insights into your site’s search performance. This includes the keywords you are ranking for and the average click-through rate (CTR), as shown below. 

You can use this information to optimize your site’s content and structure, which can help boost organic traffic and improve your search engine rankings.

Finally, Google Search Console provides a security report that shows any security issues with your site, such as malware or spam. By fixing these security issues, you can ensure your site is safe and secure for visitors, which boosts customer trust and traffic. This will then help improve your search engine rankings.

2. Screaming Frog

Screaming Frog is a website crawler tool that allows you to audit your site’s technical SEO aspects. It is one of the most powerful tools for conducting technical SEO audits.

One of Screaming Frog’s key features is its ability to entirely crawl a site, including images, videos, and other media files. This allows you to get a comprehensive view of your site’s structure and content. Use this to identify any technical SEO issues affecting your rankings.

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The tool can identify any crawl errors, such as broken links, dead links, internal links issues, redirect chains, and duplicate content. You’ll need to fix these to improve your site’s search engine rankings.

Finally, Screaming Frog provides detailed reporting on your site’s performance, including its response times, load times, and mobile optimization. You can use this information to improve your site’s performance and user experience, boosting your search engine rankings and organic traffic.

3. Google PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights is a free online tool developed by Google to help website owners improve their website loading speed and performance. It plays an essential part in technical SEO audits.

Google PageSpeed Insights comprehensively analyzes your website, including its loading time, mobile responsiveness, and other technical details. The tool gives you a score for each page on your site based on the speed and performance metrics Google considers most important, as shown below.

One of the key benefits of using Google Page Speed Insights is that it provides actionable recommendations for improving your site’s performance, as shown in the screenshot below. 

For example, if your site has large image files that slow down your page load times, the tool recommends optimizing these images to reduce their size and improve your site’s performance.

Finally, as shown in the two images, Google Page Speed Insights compares your site’s performance on desktop and mobile versions. This is vital in helping you improve your site’s mobile friendliness.

4. SurferSEO

SurferSEO is the other popular SEO tool that can help you perform technical SEO audits for your SaaS business. The tool provides users with a comprehensive view of the website’s structure and performance, making it easier to identify areas that need improvement.

One of the key features of SurferSEO is its ability to analyze on-page elements, such as meta descriptions, titles, images, and headings, to ensure they are optimized for search engines.

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Additionally, the tool allows users to track keyword rankings, view website traffic, and access a backlink analysis, which helps SaaS businesses identify areas of improvement. 

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Finally, the SurferSEO interface is user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy to use even for those without technical SEO knowledge.

In Closing

Technical SEO can be the difference between your site ranking on the first page of Google and being lost in the digital black hole. 

Unless the search engine bots can crawl, understand, and index your site correctly, your “foolproof SEO strategy” is doomed to fail. It’s really that simple. 

You can avoid all this by following the technical SEO guide above. Go through each point one at a time, making sure your site ticks all the boxes. All the best.

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