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Max Prin - MnSearch Summit 2017 - What does technical SEO look like in 2017?

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Max Prin - MnSearch Summit 2017 - What does technical SEO look like in 2017?

  1. 1. Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle @maxxeight What does technical SEO look like in 2017?
  2. 2. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit2 Max Prin, Head of Technical SEO, Merkle https://technicalseo.com
  3. 3. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit SEO…
  4. 4. “Content is king”
  5. 5. “Links still matter”
  6. 6. “Technical SEO is more important than ever”
  7. 7. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit7 Search Engines’ Goal Serving the best results  Most relevant  Great UX
  8. 8. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit8 How (Some) Search Engines Work? 1. Crawl the Web 2. (Render Pages) 3. Index URLs/Content 4. Rank URLs
  9. 9. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit9 Technical SEO’s Goal Making sure search engines can access and understand your awesome content, and the wonderful user experience you provide to your visitors. Crawling Can search engines access the pages? Rendering Can search engines see the content/UX? Indexing Are URLs/content indexed?
  10. 10. Crawling
  11. 11. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit11 Crawling “Crawling is the entry point for sites into Google's search results. Efficient crawling of a website helps with its indexing in Google Search.” - Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google
  12. 12. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit12 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs
  13. 13. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit13 Crawling: provide clean URLs (JavaScript-based websites) Fragment Identifier: example.com/#url  Not supported. Ignored. URL = example.com Hashbang: example.com/#!url  Google and Bing will request: example.com/?_escaped_fragment_=url  The escaped_fragment URL should return an HTML snapshot Clean URL: example.com/url  Using the pushState function of the HTML5 History API
  14. 14. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit14 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs  Lead bots to valuable pages
  15. 15. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit15 Crawling: leading bots to valuable pages Clear/clean site navigation Internal linking is a powerful signal:  Use <a href> elements  Avoid “mega-mega” menus Accurate/up-to-date Sitemaps Sitemaps (XML or HTML) should only include URLs that:  Render a 200 OK status code  Have a self-referencing canonical tag (or no tag) Properly handled duplicate content and low-value pages Parameterized URLs, sorts and facet navigation, etc.  Use canonical/noindex tags  Non-indexable URLs are crawled less often
  16. 16. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit16 Crawling: recommendations and tools Analyze your log files and crawl your site to find out if:  Search engine bots are not crawling some URLs  Pages are not properly linked to, internally  Sitemaps contain non-canonical URLs  Low-value and duplicate pages are indexable
  17. 17. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit17 Crawling How to make sure search engines crawl all of your important pages?  Provide clean URLs  Lead bots to valuable pages  Make bots crawl more pages
  18. 18. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit18 Crawling: making bots crawl more pages Decreased load time = increased crawl rate  Fast and reliable server (no 5xx errors)  Content Delivery Network Rendering = requesting ALL resources  Reduce the size of resources (compression, minification, etc.)  Reduce the number of requests (redirects, icons, fonts, etc.)
  19. 19. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit19 (Fast site: better user experience)  Optimize the critical rendering path (perceived latency)  Make the content above the fold appear faster  Use HTTP/2  Multiplexing, binary headers, header compression, server push Better engagement metrics: lower bounce rate, higher time on site (short vs. long clicks) https://raventools.com/blog/free-ssl-http2/
  20. 20. Rendering
  21. 21. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit21 Rendering Google is leveraging a headless browser to fully render webpages. Executing JavaScript/CSS “Understanding web pages better” Source Code DOM
  22. 22. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit22 Rendering: mobile-friendliness
  23. 23. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit23 (Mobile-First Index) Someday, Google will primarily crawl the web with they mobile user agent  Make sure ALL of your valuable content is available on your mobile site. http://maxpr.in/merkle-mobile-first
  24. 24. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit24 Rendering: intrusive interstitials As of January 10, 2017: Pages with intrusive interstitials may not rank as high
  25. 25. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit25 Rendering: Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
  26. 26. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit26 Rendering How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?  Don’t block resources
  27. 27. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit27 Rendering: don’t block resources (robots.txt)
  28. 28. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit28 Rendering: robots.txt testing tool
  29. 29. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit29 Rendering How to make sure Google can “understand” your pages?  Don’t block resources  Load content automatically
  30. 30. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit30 Rendering: load content automatically (vs. based on user interaction)
  31. 31. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit31 Rendering: fetch & render tool
  32. 32. Indexing
  33. 33. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit33 Indexing Part of the indexing process is to “annotate semantics” in order to retrieve relevant pages
  34. 34. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit34 Indexing How to, technically, make your content more relevant?  Optimize metadata  Leverage structured data markup
  35. 35. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit35 Indexing: leverage structured data markup Structured data markup has 2 components:  Vocabulary: schema.org  Format: • Microdata • JSON-LD
  36. 36. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit36 Indexing: leverage structured data markup
  37. 37. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit37 Indexing: leverage structured data markup Google supports a ton of markups that can enhance search results: - Product, reviews, ratings - Events, music, movie, recipes, etc. Rich Snippet = Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  38. 38. Max Prin @maxxeight | MnSearch Summit 2017 #MNSummit38 Wrap-up Technical optimization can greatly improve overall online performance  Crawling  More valuable pages indexed  Unique content → more authority  Fast side → better engagement metrics  Rendering  A great UX (mobile, PWA) understood by search engines  Indexing  More relevance and rich snippets (better CTR) through structured data markup
  39. 39. Thank you!

Editor's Notes

  • Search engines’ work can be boiled down to three core functions: Crawl, Index and Rank. As Google is able to execute JavaScript and fully render webpages, an additional step needs to be considered in the process: rendering, in between crawling and indexing.
    While technical SEO is only one aspect of SEO, overall online performance can be greatly improved through technical optimization of a website.
    In this session, we’ll go over some technical recommendations that help search engines’ efficiency: how to optimize crawling, rendering and indexing to eventually improve rankings?
  • Search engines’ mission:
    Serving the best results to their users (based on their intent)
    Relevance (content) + Popularity (links)
    UX (mobile-friendly, fast)
  • Your goal when doing technical SEO work is to make sure search engines can access and index your awesome content, and understand the great UX you provide to your visitors.

    Why is “technical SEO more important than ever”? Because while search engines get smarter and smarter, they’re not moving as fast as web development technologies, and simply not human (machine learning: great, but not the answer to everything).

    Sometimes, the quality of the content or the UX is not the cause of poor rankings. It’s their lack of visibility. The inability for search engines to understand that they’re there and they’re great.
  • https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2017/01/what-crawl-budget-means-for-googlebot.html
    - Small websites: not something to really worry about, but…
  • Fragment identifier: this URL structure is already a concept in the web and relates to deep linking into content on a particular page (“jump links”).
    Can’t be accessed/crawled/indexed.
    Hashbang: Used with the “old” AJAX crawling scheme. Not recommended, more complex to implement.
    Clean URL using History API’s pushState function.
    Must return a 200 status code when loaded directly

  • Ranking positive outcome:
    Unique content -> more authority
  • HTTP/2: https://www.merkleinc.com/blog/http2-electric-boogaloo-0

    Cloudflare: CDN + HTTPS + HTTP/2 for FREE! https://raventools.com/blog/free-ssl-http2/ (Jon Henshaw)
  • Googlebot is leveraging a headless browser (most likely a version of Chromium) to fully render webpages.
    “Understanding web pages better”: https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2014/05/understanding-web-pages-better.html
    Indexing dynamic content
    Understanding UX: mobile friendliness, intrusive/content-blocking interstitials
  • Mobile-friendliness is a ranking factor
  • https://www.merkleinc.com/thought-leadership/white-papers/digital-marketing-channels/seo/technical/road-mobile-first-our-technical-seo-guide
  • https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/building-indexable-progressive-web-apps.html

    Usually, PWAs are JavaScript-based website
    Server-side vs. client-side rendering
  • Googlebot is able to execute JavaScript/CSS to crawl and index dynamic content as well as “understand web pages better”: mobile-friendliness (mobile-first index coming), intrusive interstitials, PWAs. As advanced as the search engine is, there are a few things to remember and implement.
  • User-agent: *
    Disallow: /js/
    Disallow: /css/
    Disallow: /img/
  • https://technicalseo.com/seo-tools/robots-txt/
  • Googlebot is able to execute JavaScript to crawl and index dynamic content. As advanced as the search engine is, there are a few things to remember and implement.
  • Mega menu – mouseover + ajax
    Tabs/accordeons – click + ajax
    Load more/infinite scroll - click/scroll + ajax
  • https://technicalseo.com/seo-tools/fetch-render/
    - DOM Snapshot – dynamic “hidden” content
  • Paul Haar -> analyze crawled pages: extract links, render contents, annotate semantics…

    “Indexing” is not only for search engines to add URLs/pages to their indices. While scoring happens right before ranking, search engines index and flag pages based on their content, and more specifically, based on what they understand about the content => understanding what the content is about is the key to relevance.
  • Leveraging structured data markup, where applicable, in order to create context and improve relevance
  • Microdata: introduced with HTML5. Attributes and values directly integrated into HTML elements -> can quickly become complicated to implement, especially when the data is not grouped together in the code.
    JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data): much easier to implement (1 block of script)
    Bing doesn’t officially support JSON-LD yet
    It’s easy to forget the golden rule of SDM: do not markup non-visible data
  • Almost anything and everything can be marked up.
  • https://developers.google.com/schemas/reference/

    Ranking positive outcomes:
    More relevance
    better CTR -> better rankings

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