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Stop doing that!

Things well-meaning WordPress developers do that hurt a website's SEO efforts. Originally presented at WordCamp Asheville on August 18, 2018.

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Stop Doing That!
David Zimmerman
Reliable Acorn LLC
@reliableacorn
A Better
Product
Stop doing that!
SEO is not
1.Measure
2.Crawl
3.Content
4.Links
1.Measure

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Editor's Notes

  1. I want you to deliver a better product, with more value I want you to have less of a headache because it’s done right the first time. Allowing you to move on to other projects, rather than get caught in continuing tweaks I want you to make more money- with a higher quality site that is done right the first time
  2. First, have to define SEO. Lots of ways this is used. I’m using this to mean: connecting people searching for something on my website. Especially important for businesses- whether selling something or getting a sales lead.
  3. SEO is not: Magic Tricking Google All web marketing channels For everyone
  4. There are four parts to an SEO campaign.
  5. The easiest, most common way to measure results is Google Analytics. Developers typically add this to the site (whether doing SEO or not). Please, don’t add a client’s account under yours. Create a new account for them, so they can own their own data. Launch without Analytics Add as property under your account
  6. What is the purpose of the site? What do the website owners want to accomplish? The answer isn’t just “traffic” or “ranking”. What do they want after they get the traffic from good ranking? Sales? Leads? Make sure the site is designed in light of this most important goal. Make it stand out. Don’t make me think! No clear goal Goal but not stand out Email addresses Confirmation page
  7. Right now, Google is evaluating your entire site based on its mobile experience. This starts with good web design. If you think about your site from a mobile-first perspective, you’ll design it completely different- and better. Not just true for design. Developers need to think this way, too. Recommend: Google’s mobile development certification Not desktop first, mobile first Robots.txt excluging css/js Test example of every template file as rendered with Google’s mobile friendly test
  8. Related to mobile is site speed. Developers need to make sure that a site is fast (whether doing SEO or not). This affects how you code your site. This is something designers need to think about too. According to google Less than 3 seconds Less than 100 requests Less than one MB LESS THAN! Must say ‘no’
  9. For Google to serve a page, it has to know what the page is about. It can’t “read” images. It doesn’t do a good job inferring your intent. You need at least 500 words on a page for Google to know what you’re trying to say. Even the homepage. Good design isn’t mutually exclusive from words. Avoid hidden content (esp on desktop)
  10. Words are important but duplicate content is a problem. If you have several pages on your site with the same words, Google will devalue some of them. You’re wasting Google’s time. This is especially common in WP because of archives (dates, tags, categories) and can be solved with previews of posts and “read more”.
  11. While I’d always prefer keeping all urls the same, through a site redesign, if you have to change a URL (or remove one) make sure to use a redirect. 301 please. This preserves the link authority from links to a page. If you do this from the start, you’re setting your client up for success. Caution: plugins
  12. Every page should have one version of it, regardless of even slight variations within the URL. This is called the canonical version of the page. If you have links to several versions of one page, you not only cause confusion for Google but you spread out the links between these pages. If you use a canonical tag, it passes some link authority to the main page. Recommend: yoast
  13. Deliver a higher quality product when you include all these things in the new site.
  14. This is just the beginning- before you begin an SEO campaign. If you deliver a site with all these things, we can begin an SEO campaign right away. Otherwise we have to fix them before we begin.