Technical SEO in a Semantic Search World

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Semantic Search is the new reality for organic search marketers. However, many of the technical SEO best practices we've become accustomed correspond the the "old world" of traditional SEO, and not the "new world" of Semantic Search. Learn how to start thinking about identifying and prioritizing optimization tasks in the Semantic Search world.

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Technical SEO in a Semantic Search World

  1. 1. Technical SEO in a Semantic Search World Ethan Hays Head of Digital Products gyro @ethanhays
  2. 2. The Web is a Mess @ethanhays
  3. 3. Technical SEO is Table Stakes @ethanhays Technical SEO keeps your corner of the web clean, and easy to use.
  4. 4. SEO in 2014 @ethanhays
  5. 5. Semantic Search Changes Things… @ethanhays
  6. 6. But How? @ethanhays Q: How does the Semantic Search model change the way I optimize my site? A: Not much, if you were doing it right to begin with ;) Semantic Search has to be integrated into our organizations at the level of repeatable process, just like “traditional SEO” 5 years ago. The fundamentals are still important, but they’re evolving. 1. Information architecture • Depth of site architecture is critical 2. Code • Establishing process for Schema.org microdata should be started NOW 3. Content • Auditing for thin content at scale
  7. 7. Information Architecture @ethanhays
  8. 8. Depth of Information Architecture The depth of your IA is one of the most influential factors in how link authority is distributed through your site. 1. Take an average site with home page authority of 100 2. Each page links to 100 other pages 3. Pages lose ~15% of authority before linking to other pages (100 * 0.85)/100 (0.85 *0.85)/100 (0.0072 *0.85)/100 Home page 1 click 2 clicks 3 clicks Authority = 0.000061 A page 3 clicks away from home is 1.6 million times less authoritative than the home page!
  9. 9. Analyzing Depth of IA @ethanhays 1. Crawl your site using ScreamingFrog 2.4 2. See the summary in the Overview tab as it crawls 3. Export and open .csv 4. Select all crawl data
  10. 10. Analyzing Depth of IA (cont.) @ethanhays 5. Insert > Pivot Table • Drag Status Code and Content to Filter • Drag Address to Values • Drag Level to Row Labels • Set Status Code filter to “200” • Set Content filter to “text/html”
  11. 11. Code @ethanhays
  12. 12. Schema.org Microdata @ethanhays Seachmetrics study data shows us it’s important: • Over 36% of Google’s SERPs contain listings with Schema.org markup And underutilized: • Only 0.3% of websites have implemented Schema.org markup What’s the disconnect? • Requires developers to code differently than they’re accustomed to • Schema.org is intimidating  700+ data types in the hierarchy
  13. 13. Get Started on Schema.org Now @ethanhays Give your developers some background • Most developers appreciate good technical documentation • What is Schema.org? – LRMI whitepaper is a great place to start Break the task into manageable chunks • Don’t try to solve for all the data types at once • Focus on the data types that are applicable to the largest number of pages Give them concrete examples they can code to • Giving them HTML for a correctly coded page • Tell them to make the rest of the pages of that type look like the example
  14. 14. Use Handy Tools 1. Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper 2. Select what kind of page you’re tagging 3. Enter the URL
  15. 15. Tag Your Stuff 4. Select elements on your page 5. Apply the correct labels 6. Continue highlighting and adding data items 7. Click “Create HTML”
  16. 16. Create Your Source Code 8. Click “Finish” 9. Click “Download” 10. Advanced SEO Power Move: a. Sit down with your developers b. Walk them through each line of added code c. Sit down with QA to create test cases to verify correct implementation
  17. 17. What Data Types Apply to My Pages? Use AlchemyAPI and plug in your most common page types:
  18. 18. Content @ethanhays
  19. 19. Analyzing Word Count @ethanhays • Go to crawl data • Insert > Pivot Table  Drag Content and Status to Filter  Drag Address to Values  Drag Word Count to Row Labels  Set Content filter to text/html  Group your data • Right click any row • Select Group • Enter 200 in the By: field
  20. 20. Analyzing Word Count (cont.) @ethanhays • You get a nice grouping of pages with what is likely “thin” content • Go back to the crawl data worksheet • Select the Word Count column • Apply a number filter [Less than 200] • You have a list of content to prioritize for improvement
  21. 21. Accelerate Into The Turn • Semantic Search is going to accelerate the rate of change in SEO. • Begin to get your head around how you’re going to implement and drive organizational adoption. • What separates a website with good SEO from one with great SEO is rarely how much technical knowledge the SEO has. • It’s how good you are at communicating the why behind your recommendations: • Building a business case • Educating your C-suite • Integrating SEO into product manager & developer workflows
  22. 22. Thank You! @ethanhays

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