Basic SEO Structural Issues


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This slideshow helps non-technical marketers diagnose SEO related structural issues and convey the findings to their developers and programmers. This content is good for marketers who understand the basics of SEO (on-page) but want to take it a step further.

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Basic SEO Structural Issues

  1. 1. Why Isn’t My Site Ranking, and How Do I Talk to My Developer About It? Lori Ulloa (oo-yo-uh) Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist with R2integrated
  2. 2. About Us Founded in 2004 60+ employees (40 developers and designers) Headquarters in Baltimore Regional Offices in VA and NY 24% Revenue Growth 2008-2009 Digital Marketing Plans Web Site & Creative Design Technology Platforms Management Services Social Media & Social Networks Competency Customers Company
  3. 3. So… You’ve done your keyword research, implemented your newly constructed page titles and meta descriptions, and edited your copy to include the new key terms. You feel like a rock star!... But you’re still not ranking?!
  4. 4. What Could The Problem Be?
  5. 5. Why? WHY AM I NOT RANKING??!!
  6. 6. There’s Help! Doc, what do you think it could be? Well, it looks like you could have structural problems with your website.
  7. 7. But My Web Site Looks Great! Just when you think that web designers, developers and programmers know SEO, you may find that there are many who do not . Their primary objectives are to design a site that looks nice and works — not always to create one that ranks in search engines.
  9. 9. Here’s How… You CAN do it with a few easy tools and methods! You’ll feel like one of the tech gang!!
  10. 10. Confidence … and you’ll feel much more open in your approach with your technical staff.
  11. 11. What Do You Know About Your Web Site? <ul><li>Ask Questions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Is this website on a CMS? If so, what CMS? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What type of server is the site on? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What language/platform is my site built with? (HTML, PHP, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there developers/programmers readily available? </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Things You Can Test <ul><li>Pages indexed? </li></ul><ul><li>Canonical specified? </li></ul><ul><li>In-Links? </li></ul><ul><li>XML Sitemap? </li></ul><ul><li>Site speed? </li></ul><ul><li>Robots.txt file? </li></ul><ul><li>Designed in Flash? </li></ul><ul><li>Text within images? </li></ul>copyright r2integrated, LLC 2009 – confidential and proprietary Today, we’ll focus on the top 5…
  13. 13. Pages Indexed? <ul><li>Indexed? What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s a measure of the number of pages of your website that the search engine found and added to its results. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your site may not be indexed properly. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. How To Test Indexing <ul><li>Go to Google (we’ll use Google in this case but you can do this with other major search engines as well) </li></ul><ul><li>Type in “” (If you see nothing, omit the www) </li></ul>
  15. 15. What Do You See? <ul><li>If the pages all look current and you don’t see anything that shouldn’t be there, you’re fine and this is not your problem! </li></ul><ul><li>If you see very little or nothing: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There could be issues such as: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your site could be built in flash </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Your entire site could be restricted by robots.txt </li></ul></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Talking To Your Developer <ul><li>If you see stuff that doesn’t look right, write down your findings . (research might take a while for larger sites) </li></ul><ul><li>If you’ve recently redeveloped your site, were 301 redirects implemented? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is something that could affect in-links. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Was a custom 404 created? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Canonical Specified? <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The preferred location or version of a web page. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Search engines can sometimes see two different versions of a webpage even though they are the same to you and your users. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. How To Test Canonical <ul><li>Go to your website. </li></ul><ul><li>Now go to the browser bar and remove the www only. </li></ul>
  19. 19. What Do You See? <ul><li>If you see the same website and the URL does not redirect to one version or the other, you may have a canonical issue. </li></ul><ul><li>One version should redirect to the other. If it doesn’t, you could have a duplicate content issue. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Talking To Your Developer <ul><li>“ We have a canonical issue. Both the www and non www versions of our web pages resolve.” </li></ul><ul><li>Methods to correct: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Server side redirect. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Link tag in the head of the web documents. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sign up for Google webmaster tools and specify a preference. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The same thing can apply internally to a site. Search engines see and as different pages. </li></ul>
  21. 21. Referring Links (“In-Links”) <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links into your website from other websites. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Links to your website count as votes to your site in the “eyes” of search engines. In-links give your content credibility because users find your content important enough to link to. </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. How To Test In-Links <ul><li>Go to (for this case, we’ll use Yahoo). </li></ul><ul><li>Type in “” Select “Except from this domain” from the dropdown. </li></ul>
  23. 23. What Do You See? <ul><li>Lots of in-links? You’re in good shape! </li></ul><ul><li>If you see links from reputable sources, you’re good to go! </li></ul><ul><li>Less than 50 in-links? You may need to do some link building. </li></ul><ul><li>If you see weird links, you may be involved in a link farm or purchased links. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Talking To Your Developer <ul><li>If you see a page with a link exchange with non-credible sites… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your developer why it exists. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you find that your rankings crashed with the creation of this page, delete immediately. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If your rankings declined a bit but did not crash, it will be up to you to do some legitimate link building. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>One you have established credible links, you can be in a position to delete the links page. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If there is no links page but you still see weird links… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Talk to your developer about the origin of the links. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you simply have no links… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>you need to do some link building or improve your content to inspire users to link to you. </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. XML Sitemap? <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A sitemap that can be prioritized to tell search engines what pages you would like indexed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Could be different from the sitemap available to help users navigate your site. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The XML sitemap helps search engines navigate your website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It also tells search engines what content is important. </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. How To Test for an XML Sitemap <ul><li>Type in your web address. </li></ul><ul><li>Click on the end and type the following possible extensions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. What Do You See? <ul><li>You should see something that looks like this: </li></ul>
  28. 28. Talking To Your Web Developer <ul><li>If you don’t see that… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your developer to generate an XML sitemap. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>If you already have one but you notice that the priorities are all the same… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your developer to reprioritize the sitemap. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The priorities will depend on the importance of content. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leave deeper content at the default if you have a CMS. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you have content that you don’t want to give priority to, prioritize the page as 0 and/or place in the robots.txt file. </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. Site Speed Issues? <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The speed at which your pages load. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google now factors this into their algorithm. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If your audience is still on dial-up, your site may be too difficult for them to use. </li></ul></ul>
  30. 30. How To Test for Site Speed <ul><li>The best way is to use add-ons in Firefox. </li></ul><ul><li>In FF, download Firebug. </li></ul><ul><li>Subsequently, download YSlow (Yahoo) and Page Speed (Google). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>I recommend using both because they will sometimes give you slightly differing info and have different ways of explaining each item. </li></ul></ul>
  31. 31. What Do You See? <ul><li>In YSlow, you should see something that looks like this when you run a test: </li></ul>
  32. 32. What Do You See? <ul><li>In Page Speed, you should see something that looks like this when you run a test: </li></ul>
  33. 33. Talking To Your Developer <ul><li>First compare the issues that both add-ons give you. </li></ul><ul><li>Read about each one to fully understand </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make sure you understand what each program is telling you. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Make a list of the issues and items associated </li></ul><ul><li>Research your issue in relation to your platform and present the list and possible resolutions to your developer. </li></ul>
  34. 34. Caution! <ul><li>Arm yourself with a few possible solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Research each issue in relation to your platform </li></ul><ul><li>Always take an average of a few sources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>For example, there may be a CMS module or add-on to solve your issue. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There may be a way to correct it specific to your platform. </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Research!! <ul><li>Doing this research upfront will prevent frustration </li></ul><ul><li>Knowing how to work with developers to solve your website problems will keep you not only in the know but feeling credible! </li></ul>
  36. 37. Thanks! Lori Ulloa Sr. Digital Marketing Strategist R2Integrated [email_address]
  37. 38. The Other Four Things copyright r2integrated, LLC 2009 – confidential and proprietary
  38. 39. Robots.txt File? <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A file in the root of your site where you can exclude pages from being indexed in search engines. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is it important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s pointless and sometimes detrimental to have non-essential pages of your website indexed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This could include privacy policies, terms of use, shopping cart pages where the primary item has already been optimized for. </li></ul></ul>
  39. 40. How To Test for Robots.txt File <ul><li>Type in your web address. </li></ul><ul><li>Click on the end and type the following extension: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  40. 41. What Do You See? <ul><li>You should see something that looks like this: </li></ul>
  41. 42. Talking To Your Web Developer <ul><li>If you see a 404 or redirect… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your developer to generate and upload a robots.txt file. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you’re feeling froggy, you can create the file yourself in a program such as Notepad. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Look at your site and determine non-essential pages and directories. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add to robots.txt file or ask your developer to. Chances are that they will leave the decision up to you as to what’s non-essential. </li></ul></ul>
  42. 43. Designed in Flash?: <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><li>The way your site could be built. </li></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><li>Makes it difficult to relate key terms to page content. </li></ul><ul><li>Not that great for users in terms of relaying the message of the site and driving them to the right content. </li></ul><ul><li>The URL never changes. </li></ul><ul><li>Search engines see very little (although this is improving). </li></ul>
  43. 44. How To Test for Flash <ul><li>Right click in your website. If you see this, your site may be in flash: </li></ul><ul><li>Also, click around your website, if the URL never changes, that’s a key indicator. </li></ul>
  44. 45. Talking To Your Developer <ul><li>If a website redesign is out of the budget… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Captioning with keywords </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>SWFObject </li></ul></ul><ul><li>General Rule: Apply these elements as if you were appealing to a request for low level 508 compliance or appealing to those with screen readers specifically. </li></ul>
  45. 46. Text Within Images? <ul><li>What is this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Your text is not really text. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If your text is embedded within images, search engines don’t see it and cannot correlate it to other key elements for keyword density. </li></ul></ul>
  46. 47. How To Test for Text Within Images <ul><li>Testing for text as an image: </li></ul><ul><li>Go to the web page in question. </li></ul><ul><li>Hover over the text with your mouse. </li></ul><ul><li>If using a PC, right click over the text. </li></ul><ul><li>If you see anything referring to an image, your text is not html. </li></ul>
  47. 48. What Do You See? <ul><li>If you right click and see a lot of stuff about copying the “image” or saving the “image,” your text may not be html. </li></ul><ul><li>You could also double check by viewing your page source, clicking “ctrl F” and typing in the first word or two of the content to see if it’s in html. </li></ul>
  48. 49. Talking To Your Web Developer: <ul><li>Ask them if they can remove the image and recreate the look and feel of the page as html. </li></ul><ul><li>If not, ask them to add alt text. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Since your alt text should be limited, you may not be able to recreate all of the text but some text is better than nothing at all until you are able to redevelop that page of your website. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Alt text should actually apply to all of your images! </li></ul></ul>
  49. 50. Really Because, really, a large stock photo of Brad, the friendly customer service guy, without a good keyword-rich description for the search engines may not be helpful to spiders or users…