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Mark Thomas - 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan (annotated edition)

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Mark Thomas - 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan (annotated edition)

  1. 1. "A 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan: Sustainable Website Optimisation" #BrightonSEO 2015
  2. 2. “Improve the web by providing data that helps people make their web presence accessible, relevant and effective”. DeepCrawl is a web crawler that will tell you everything you need to know about the health of your website.
  3. 3. • DeepCrawl MD • 12 years Digital • Proclaiming the virtues of brilliant Technical SEO @MN_Thomas
  4. 4. A 10 Step Technical SEO Game Plan: Sustainable Website Optimisation If you have ever struggled to have your voice heard and recommendations prioritised then hopefully this is going to help. Let me define the title. Technical SEO – I’m talking about all the work you do to make the (A) Content organisation better (B) The browsing experience better.
  5. 5. Definition: Sustainable - maintaining a certain rate or level – let’s assume that it’s a good level.
  6. 6. We’re working in a climate of rapid change
  7. 7. you need to keep yourself in good shape
  8. 8. maintain a balanced diet and take some exercise
  9. 9. “The notion of you being the stimulus for search will likely fade. Instead, any change of state will passively spark these implicit searches that will do things on your behalf.” Stefan Weitz, Senior Director of Search, Bing This is a great quote from Bing – the age of Personal Assistants is upon us. We move from the conscious to the sub-conscious. Your every act stands to passively spark implicit search. Cool or Not? A discussion for another time… The good news is that great Technical SEO will always underpin search.
  10. 10. Roll back…
  11. 11. "Even a basic understanding of what to look for in technical SEO can get you far. So many people today focus too heavily on off-page SEO, but if a site is technically flawed, it won't matter how many links you have or how good your content is.” Erin Everhart, SEO Manager, The Home Depot This quote from Erin at The Home Depot captures my experience completely. If a site is technically flawed – the campaigns you’re running won’t matter.
  12. 12. Your website is part of the DNA of every campaign. But I want to go further.
  13. 13. I believe your website architecture is the skeleton holding everything together and I want you to be considered the backbone of your organisation. As important as the people that used to choose store locations, dress windows, organise stock displays – rolled into one. The lynchpin. I’m like a dog with a bone when it comes to an analogy. Do you know the medical term for bone tissue?
  14. 14. Osseous: consisting of or turned into bone Osseous tissue, is the major structural and supportive connective tissue of the body SEO nestling right in the middle.
  15. 15. So, how do you become the backbone?
  16. 16. Step 1: Engage The end in mind is implementation of your ideas and (probably) recognition. Who do you need to influence, ultimately, to get these things done?
  17. 17. Begin with the end in mind
  18. 18. Macro Understanding
  19. 19. What are the company and marketing objectives for the coming year? Go and talk to the business – but more important, listen. As all good commercial people know, you have two ears and one mouth and you should use them accordingly.
  20. 20. Micro Understanding
  21. 21. What are individual teams prioritising? Engage with everyone and know their position.
  22. 22. Who’s blocking implementation? Content Paid Social CRO UX Dev You’re in a competition. These people might not intentionally be blocking; in fact, many are probably here in this room, but you are all competing for budget and development resource.
  23. 23. Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood Seek first to understand where everyone is coming from. This does take effort and discipline.
  24. 24. Do your colleagues believe SEO = TRICKS? Do they simply view you negatively from the outset?
  25. 25. Engaged teams support recommendations because they care more. Engaged teams are more productive because they understand what they’re doing. Engaged teams innovate more because they want their organisation to succeed. Ultimately – if you engage all teams you’re going to be working in a supportive and productive environment.
  26. 26. Step 2: Comprehensively Audit So now you’re everyone’s best friend you need to get into the data.
  27. 27. Moz 2015 Technical Audit Linkdex Audit coming up… Lots of good sources but the Moz 2015 Audit is super and Jono is going to give you lots of tips on execution shortly.
  28. 28. You’ve got two KPIs to concentrate on But I do want to impress on you the DeepCrawl view of the world. We believe you have two key KPIs to nail.
  29. 29. 1 = Total number of unique pages (Greatness)
  30. 30. 2 = The price of greatness (Crawlability)
  31. 31. Inefficient EfficientNumberofUnique Pages Low High Crawl Efficiency You’re aiming for the Top Right – Gold (Lots of unique pages and an incredibly efficient crawl environment to allow quick discovery).
  32. 32. But here’s the variation – I crawled 20 different sites and managed to find 9 that look vastly different to one another – These range from a very low number of unique pages with a high canonical footprint to 99% unique and an efficient crawl environment. In the middle you’ll notice a yellow slice of the pie – that’s duplicate content – nice opportunity there. The specific charts don’t matter. The point I want to get across is the variety in architecture both bots and humans encounter. Your audit will vary greatly to the person sitting next to you. You should consider benchmarking competitors.
  33. 33. Step 3: Solution Sell Two Key Wins
  34. 34. There’s no need to fail fast Solution Sell Two Key Wins – solution selling means building a water tight case around your recommendation – again Jono will talk more about that later. Be conscious of fiscal and resource constraints. You will have a long list but champion two that you are confident will deliver a clear ROI.
  35. 35. because you know what is going to work
  36. 36. opportunity abounds for improvements As we saw on the pie chart slide, opportunity abounds for improvements. Your architecture is the present that just keeps giving. Broken links, missing titles, speed issues….
  37. 37. Here’s another quick example of a simple win. On this site, when you look at a comparison between the pages discovered by a crawler (found by following every link a level at a time) – those being submitted in their sitemap – and those pages in Google Analytics receiving traffic, we can see that 182 have been ‘orphaned’ These are still receiving more than 2 visitors in the past 30 days but not passing any authority.
  38. 38. Step 4: Share Architectural Insight this will be available from a comprehensive audit.
  39. 39. Who’s blocking implementation? Content Paid Social CRO UX @DeepCrawl Dev We return to the list of potential blockers. Rather than simply attempting to use your charm – you can offer them amazing insight.
  40. 40. Support all the ‘blockers’ with unique data ContentPaid Social CRO UX Technical Architecture Dev The data you alone are viewing should be underpinning numerous departments Here’s a few examples:
  41. 41. Help your content team visualise website growth Content Let’s take the content team 1st up – you should be reporting the growth of the website Here we have a trend of the number of unique pages on this site over the past 12 months Growth of 20% - great KPI to be aware of.
  42. 42. Help your colleagues understand the technical quality of their content Content @DeepCrawl 2nd Up - Surface problematic areas of the website. Let’s look at another example:
  43. 43. Content This is an example of a well known website –we can see 9,000 thin pages in this report.
  44. 44. Here is an example of one of the pages from the list We can see this is a thin page.
  45. 45. Content This is the background of the page in question – returning a 200, indexed, unique – THIN.
  46. 46. We can see Google last cached this on 22nd March Once everyone realizes that low quality content is in fact present, then you can proceed with how to rectify the problems at hand. Determine which are ok (there aren’t many), which are truly low quality, which should be noindexed, and which should be nuked. It’s the type of issue that threatens to return.
  47. 47. Offer to extract insight from contentContent 3rd opportunity to support your Content teams – This example comes from a company in The Netherlands. They were looking to check the tone of voice on each page The simple answer is to survey every page and find out which had the correct copy – you can do this with a simple extraction for your colleagues. Let’s move on to the UX teams.
  48. 48. Visualise site architecture to help UX UX Once again we’ll see the contract between sites. Which unique pages are buried at 9 or 10 clicks from the homepage? Both examples of architecture look pretty good – most unique content is reached within 3 to 4 clicks.
  49. 49. UX Visualise site architecture to help UX How does your website look? How does that compare to the competition?
  50. 50. Paid Final suggestion with a slide is for your Paid teams – how about setting specific automated tests of their Primary Landing Pages? If any go down you’re instantly notifying them – easy ROI calculation. There are lots of examples – Social seem to get the budget these days. Effective OG implementation can lead to a significant boost in traffic – I saw a great presentation from Pete Campbell recently on this subject. How about supporting CTOs with feedback on the performance of their DEV team – one step at a time perhaps. I’ve dropped it in a few times but COMPETITOR ANALYSIS can support the whole business. Opportunities to increase your taxonomy – this is big, add blog content here.
  51. 51. Step 5: Analyse Impact back to the programme. We’ve engaged, audited, sold two recommendations, supported other teams – now time to analyse. You know how to do this but ensure you link back to those business goals.
  52. 52. Step 6: Automate it still surprises me how people will manually perform so much of their research. Regularly perform your audit and analysis – it’s a sustainable way of working Commercial organisations need thinkers rather than workers.
  53. 53. Drive leadership, innovation, increased time influencing strategy A lot of sustainability can sound boring but it’s for the greater good of allowing you to spend more time on research and the interesting stuff.
  54. 54. Step 7: Start Making History
  55. 55. Our views of the past affect how we endeavour to build the future
  56. 56. How is your website evolving?
  57. 57. Who can answer that question?
  58. 58. Build a cache of your website over time Build a cache of your website over time – you need to understand what ‘normal’ – hopefully ‘good’ – looks like. When changes come you need reference points. Your architecture should be paramount and you should be the person that knows!
  59. 59. Step 8: Be There In The Hour of Need is all about the time when those around you are most worried about how things are going. Migration.
  60. 60. All site releases should be pre-tested All site releases should be pre-tested > I’m still amazed at how many headlines are made on the front page of the FT when a company gets this wrong. There is great risk involved but tech SEOs hold cards they might not even realist. Testing the impact on Search in a staging environment is entirely possible – help them out.
  61. 61. Step 9: Simplify Reporting is a reminder to ensure your communication isn’t losing people.
  62. 62. Use the APIs from your valued tools
  63. 63. deliver digestible information
  64. 64. Here’s a neat example of a report we’ve seen from a client of ours in Texas – even non-tech people can get their heads around this.
  65. 65. Step 10: Control The Future I feel passionate that you should be the person everyone looks to when it comes to looking at the crystal ball. You’re informed of how your website is evolving You have a thirst for news on updates But you’re the person advising on caution when people are getting carried away.
  66. 66. Help integrate your data across all competing departments.
  67. 67. Build trust
  68. 68. Be confident
  69. 69. Provide the backbone @DeepCrawl #BrightonSEO
  70. 70. Come say hi @DeepCrawl #BrightonSEO

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