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Technical SEO Checklist for Beginners

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In a world of content and links, technical SEO can often be left behind, but getting it wrong can be catastrophic. In this talk, Faye will take you through the different steps of a technical SEO audit and why it is essential, sharing with you some of the most common mistakes and what you should be looking out for on your own website.

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Technical SEO Checklist for Beginners

  1. 1. Bristol SEO Meetup Technical SEO Audit for Beginners
  2. 2. About Me • Digital Marketing Executive at Edico Media • 4 years experience in SEO & PPC • Started Bristol SEO Meetup Follow Me • @FayeWatt • @BristolSEOMeet • https://www.meetup.com/bristol-seo/
  3. 3. About Edico Media • Bristol-based Digital Agency • Specialises in: • Digital marketing management (SEO, PPC, CRO, Social) • Web application development and infrastructure • Digital/development strategy and consulting Follow Us • @edicomedia • https://edicomedia.com
  4. 4. Technical SEO Audit • Tools • Robots.txt • Index • Sitemap • HTTP Status Codes • 404 Page • HTTPS • Redirect Errors • Page Speed • Structured data • Mobile-Friendly
  5. 5. SEO Tools • Screaming Frog – Web Crawler • Ahrefs – Inbound Links • SEMrush – Site Audit • Redirect Path – HTTP Header & Redirect Checker • GTMetrix – Site Speed • TinyPNG • CSS Minifier
  6. 6. Robots.txt https://example.com/robots.txt Robots.txt file indicates whether web robots, usually search engine robots, can or cannot crawl specific parts of a website. By using the disallow directive, you can block search engines from crawling specific pages on your website, such as your staging site. • Accidently blocking important URLs • Blocking the entire website Common mistakes:
  7. 7. Examples of Robots.txt Blocking all web robots from crawling your entire website: User-agent: * Disallow: / Blocking Google’s search engine robot from crawling a specific URL: User-agent: Googlebot Disallow: /example-subfolder/
  8. 8. Index Review how your website is indexed by search engines and identify: • How many pages are being indexed • Any missing pages • Important pages are correctly indexed • Any pages that are incorrectly indexed • Any pages incorrectly excluded by noindex meta tag Common mistakes: • Forgetting to remove the noindex meta tag on new pages
  9. 9. Index Perform a site:search Check noindex meta tags – Screaming Frog
  10. 10. Index Coverage Report – Google Search Console Index
  11. 11. Index If your webpage’s have been excluded from the index: • Make sure you have removed the noindex meta tag • Inspect the URL using Google Search Console’s URL Inspection tool • Select Request Indexing • If no issues with the page are found, the page will be queued for indexing
  12. 12. Sitemap • Ensure it is kept up-to-date and includes any new pages • Remove URLs that 404 • Remove URLs that redirect • Remove non-canonical URLs • Identify any missing URLs https://example.com/sitemap.xml Use Screaming Frog to crawl the URLs in your sitemap and:
  13. 13. URL Status Codes HTTP Status Code 3xx — Redirection • HTTP 301 Moved Permanently • HTTP 302 Temporary Redirect HTTP Status Code 4xx — Client Error • HTTP 404 Not Found Identify any internal, external, or inbound URLs that do not return a 200 status code. Common HTTP Status Codes:
  14. 14. Internal & External Links Perform a site crawl to identify any internal or external links that results in 4xx or 3xx status • Perform a site crawl – Screaming Frog • Identify any internal or external links that result in a 4xx error • Update these links to a relevant, valid URL • Identify any internal links that result in a 3xx redirect • Update these links to avoid unnecessary redirects
  15. 15. Inbound Links • Export your historical backlink profile from Ahrefs or Google Search Console • Upload the list of URLs to Screaming Frog • Identify URLs that return a 404 status code • Redirect these URLs to a live URL or contact site owner to update the link Export and crawl your backlink profile to identity any inbound links to URLs that return a 4xx status code:
  16. 16. 404 Page Not Found • URLs redirect to a /page-not-found URL which returns a 200 Common mistakes: Design your 404 page so users are able to easily navigate your website: • Link back to the homepage • Provide useful links to most commonly visited pages • Consider adding a search bar • Offer contact options
  17. 17. HTTPS • Since 2014, Google has been using HTTPS as a ranking signal. • Over 70% of Google’s page one search results are HTTPS • Google Chrome now marks all non-HTTPS as non-secure when collecting sensitive data e.g. passwords & credit card details July 2018 September 2018 October 2018
  18. 18. Redirect Errors • HTTP to HTTPS • Non-www and www • Trailing slash and non-trailing slash • Upper and lowercase URLs If the following versions of a URL are not correctly redirected, you will create duplicate content! Example: https://example.com/UpperCASE https://example.com/uppercase
  19. 19. Page Speed Page speed tools: • PageSpeed Insights • Pingdom • GTMetrix Common fixes: • Optimise images • Minify and combine your JavaScript & CSS files • Minimise use of unnecessary images • JavaScript placement • Leverage browser caching
  20. 20. Optimise Images Compress your images to reduce their file size. Tool: TinyPNG
  21. 21. Minify JavaScript & CSS Files Unminified CSS Minified CSS Tool: CSS Minifier
  22. 22. Minimise use of unnecessary images Don’t use images for small icons, such as: • Magnifying glass • Arrows • Mobile menu icon • Social media logos Use a custom font instead! Font Awesome is a great resource for these.
  23. 23. Structured Data Structured data helps search engines better understand the content on a webpage, and can enhance how your appears in the search results. Structured data can be added to several elements of a website, such as: • Logo • Social profile • Breadcrumbs • Articles • Events • Job postings • Reviews
  24. 24. Review: Event: Job Posting:
  25. 25. Job Posting Markup:
  26. 26. Mobile-Friendly In April 2015, the Mobile-Friendly update was released and designed to give mobile-friendly pages a boost in the mobile SERPs. You can test how mobile-friendly your website is using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
  27. 27. Mobile-First Index 26th March - Google announced they’ve started to migrate websites. 30th April – Webmasters receive notifications in Search Console More info: https://tinyurl.com/yc28mfyn
  28. 28. Mobile-First Index What is it? Google will crawl, index and rank your website based on the mobile- friendly version of your site, even for search results shown to desktop users.
  29. 29. Mobile-First Best practices: • Meta data • Structured data • Hreflang • Content • Robots.txt • Page Speed • Internal Links & Navigation • Intrusive interstitials Manually review your site!
  30. 30. Any questions? @FayeWatt
  31. 31. Thanks for Listening! @FayeWatt @BristolSEOMeet https://www.meetup.com/bristol-seo/

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