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How To Diagnose and Solve Technical SEO Challenges


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From the SMX West Conference in San Jose, California, March 3-5, 2015. SESSION: Conquering Today’s Technical SEO Challenges. PRESENTATION: Technical SEO Cleanup for Google’s Panda Algorithm - Given by Corey Morris, @coreydmorris - Voltage, Digital Strategist. #SMX #32A

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How To Diagnose and Solve Technical SEO Challenges

  1. 1. March 5, 2015 How To Diagnose & Solve Technical SEO Challenges Corey Morris Digital Strategist, Voltage @coreydmorris
  2. 2. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Decade of SEO client experience includes: Construction Equip. Parts National Restaurant Chain Boxing & MMA Brand Commercial Paints Mfg. Hearing Centers Chain Hospital Beds Mfg. Retirement Community International Logistics Firm Professional Sports Team Gourmet Coffee Company Natural Products Company Law Firms Banks, Credit Unions, & Mortgage Companies National Chain of Kid Entertainment Centers National Chain of Career Colleges Compliance & Risk Management Firms Leading Brand of Flowers & Shrubs About Corey Morris, Digital Strategist
  3. 3. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a • Branding, Web Design/Development, Online Marketing • Clients range from NFL teams to one-person start-ups • Distinctive strategy planning & documentation process • Based in Kansas City, Missouri – emerging tech hub and capital of the “Silicon Prairie” About Voltage (
  4. 4. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a • SEOs • Agency Marketers • In-house Marketers • Web Publishers • Webmasters Engineers & Developers: Please don’t tune out, but feel free to submit questions for these guys (Eric & Ehren) Who I’m Talking To
  5. 5. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a SEO MEMES!!! Not really, but would be a fun topic Tweet your favorites & use hashtags #SMX #32a (but please don’t tune out) What I’m Going to Cover Used with permission by creator: Elisa Gabbert. Source:
  6. 6. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Technical SEO Risks Uncovering Problems Go-to Tools Solving Technical SEO Problems WINNING What I’m Going to Cover
  7. 7. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Technical SEO Risks
  8. 8. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a I Have Large-Scale Content: • Tens of thousands of product pages that I can’t optimize individually • Dozens or hundreds of location pages • Hundreds of pages of standardized industry content and references • Multiple corporations, brands, and/or sites under one umbrella Technical SEO Risks
  9. 9. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a I’m Duplicate and I Know It: • Selling the same products as others • Industry standards and feature parody • Regulated Industries (standards & limits on details that can be shared) • Corporate multi-unit owner • Franchisee • Ecommerce website with products in multiple categories Technical SEO Risks
  10. 10. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a I Have Technology Challenges: • I don’t fully understand my infrastructure • My team doesn’t know or care about SEO • I inherited this website/system • I know we’re a mess • I don’t want to talk about it (someone took shortcuts, bought the cheapest option, we used to be black hat, etc.) Technical SEO Risks
  11. 11. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Other Risks & Issues (Known or Unknown): • 302 redirects • Errors in XML Sitemaps • 404s, 500s, and other crawl errors • Missing and/or duplicate tags • Multiple H1s and improper h-tag hierarchy • Flat URL structure and/or hierarchy problems • URL tracking parameters without canonicals • Mobile, printer-friendly, and feed pages • Mirrored and iframed content Technical SEO Risks
  12. 12. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Uncovering Problems
  13. 13. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Some Indicators: • Drops in organic traffic • Drops in visibility in SERPs • Drops in organic conversions relative to total • Webmaster Tools data alarms (not always a message from WMT) • Error reporting in audit tools • Changes in organic quality scoring Uncovering Problems
  14. 14. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Validation of problem(s): • Duplicate page content (tags, copy) • Not all content indexed • Lots of “omitted” pages in SERPs • Canonical tag problems • WWW vs. non-WWW with no global redirect • XML sitemap not accurate (enough) • Holy crap…I made URL updates without 301s!!! • I have 47 products with 95% same detail Uncovering Problems
  15. 15. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Go-to Tools
  16. 16. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Some Examples: • Google SERPs and search operators ($0) • Google & Bing Webmaster Tools ($0) • Moz Pro ($99/mo. & up) • Raven Tools ($99/mo. & up) • Bruce Clay’s SEO Toolset ($30/mo. & up) • Copyscape (credit based/cheap) • Internet Officer Redirect Checker ($0) • Google Analytics ($0) • DNSStuff ($0) • Screaming Frog ($0) Go-to Tools
  17. 17. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Solving Technical SEO Problems
  18. 18. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Understand the Current Situation: • What technology is in place for my website? • What questions do I have about how it works? • What is required from a content standpoint? • What can be programmatic versus manual? • Do I have CMS control over SEO elements? • What resources are at my disposal? Solving Technical SEO Problems
  19. 19. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Work it out: 1. Review sitemap & find areas that can follow templates for URL structure, tags, headings, & copy 2. Build formulas for the planned dynamic items in plain English for each template section 3. Consider content strategy: merge content & address need for unique content including user generated content (reviews, tips, comments, etc.) & other ways to build at scale Solving Technical SEO Problems
  20. 20. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Work it out (continued): 4. Determine areas where canonicals are needed & document (could be a big project) 5. Review pagination & develop plan for canonicals and/or single page solutions 6. Determine options for the Robots.txt and XML Sitemap files & develop recurring audit plan 7. Bring in the UX & Dev teams to review details the plan & elicit feedback Solving Technical SEO Problems
  21. 21. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a WINNING!
  22. 22. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Building Dynamic Content for 54k+ Pages for Tractor & Construction Equip. Parts Retailer • No choice but to scale and use database • Developing formulas and ensuring that even data- driven content has unique sources and aspects • Testing new ideas and techniques on single section of content before going global WINNING!
  23. 23. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Overcoming Duplicate Content Challenge for Restaurant Chain with ~100 Locations • Writing of custom blurb for each location • Use of user generated content including reviews, social media interactions, and local specials • Development of formulas for tags and headings to utilize database • Utilize local specials and calendar information WINNING!
  24. 24. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Identifying Hidden Problems for Boxing & MMA Equipment Brand • Recent Magento upgrades and MOM integration query development • Could not identify cause of drop in organic traffic & sales seen in Magento and Google Analytics • Found drops & increases in traffic to URLs in GA and determined that URLs had changed without 301s • Tracked down thousands of 404s WINNING!
  25. 25. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a National Chain of Career Colleges with Hidden Problem Not Found with Tools • Awesome optimization and custom content for all locations and programs & no problems in WMT or intelligence tools • Pattern of rankings stuck on page 2 and held back from where expected on page 1 • Duplicate mirrored site on different domain name found in page 70 of SERPs via manual review WINNING!
  26. 26. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Advice for Success • Prioritize activities and have patience • Explore all options and trust best practices and your experience • Educate your team and get their buy-in • Balance costs and resources with potential impact • Don’t cry wolf and don’t give up WINNING!
  27. 27. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a Source:
  28. 28. @coreydmorris #SMX #32a